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Need advice on upgrading electronics/pups!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ThirtyOver, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    Currently own a Schecter Omen Extreme LH 5 String.

    It has the stock Schecter Diamond Pickups with MasterVol/Master Blend/Active 2 band EQ

    This setup has crap for midrange! Have been considering buying a new amp but the one I wanted just came out of my price range due to recent events here. So I am now thinking that instead I will update my bass first. (being left handed is a curse as basses go!) I am planning on installing either a Hipshot or Full Contact Bridge and then working on the electronics.

    Question is....am I correct in thinking that to go passive all I have to do is change the actual electronics inside and the pickups will still work? Dont mind changing the pickups (have been considering some Bartolinis or EMG's anyways.) But if I can change the wiring first and see how the stock pickups sound in passive I might be able to save some cash. Which will buy more Bourbon! (Needed for Saturdays spent trying to get the drummer on the right song)

    If I have to change pups and pots wiring and all I dont mind. Just dont want to go about it wrong from the start.

    And whether I can simply switch the electronics alone or pickups and all. What Passive system (pot values and such, push pull etc.) will work the nicest in a bass with only 4 pots and two soap bar pickups?:bassist:

    p.s. I understand that sound desired is subjective...Im not asking what will sound the best to me. am asking for what system will provide the most options for control/adjustment without having to drill holes and refinish my bass by the time Im done. Solder-less system preferred but not mandatory.
  2. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Do you have a multimeter?

    There's "Schecter" on the PUs - but I think these are "normal high impedance" PUs and no special low impedance PUs. Is the impedance somewhere between 8k ans 15k?

    Then you can put in 500k pots for a pure passive wiring.

    You can also open the cavity and have a look if the volume or Balance pots already have 500k (which is possible if they are between PUs and active electronik). Then you even don't need a multimeter and can put in 500k pots for passive wiring.

    A photo of the PUs would be nice! Do they have 2 wires or are these 4 wire PUs?

    What do you prefer?
    - Master Volume + Balance?
    - Two Volume pots?
    - Master Volume + Rotary Switch?

    A toggle Switch or Mini Switches might cause problems in the pot holes ...
  3. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011

    Ok...my internet cut out for a few hours....will be going to practice in a bit here. Tommorow morning I will take some pics of the inside and find out exactly what pots I have. And I do have an old multi task voltage meter. Never considered seeing if that will read it. Ill pull that out to and see. Post in the morning then.
  4. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    Ok...loosened pickups and took back off. There is only 1 wire coming out of each pickup. The neck pickup has a Red wire and the Bridge pickup has a black wire.
    Master Volume...25k
    Neck pickup Volume pot...50k
    Bridge pickup Volume pot...50k

    This black plate has a sticker that reads 2 band E.Q. G&B Co. ....it has three plugs each with 4 wires of varying colors.

    Attached Files:

  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    G&B Pickup Co. also makes EMG Select pickups.

    Keep in mind that with a 2 band preamp, if you are boosting the highs and lows you are in essence cutting the mids. So don't boost too much. Also, how are you blending the pickups? Both on generally tends to notch mids. Try to favor more of one to the other.

    It may also be the pickups and not so much the preamp. Going passive won't automatically give you mids.

    Your pickups are passive, so if you indent on removing the preamp, you need a new volume and tone pot. If the blend if before the preamp, it's probably good to use without the preamp. if it's part of the preamp, then you need to replace the blend.

    G&B's website is gone, otherwise I'd look up that preamp. I do have a catalog from them somewhere... My 5 string Bart size pickup covers come from G&B.
  6. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    I have owned this particular bass for about two years now. have A/B'd it with several passive basses in that time that the drummer has. His Yamaha had a much nicer punch at easy playing. His Rogue Passive/Active 6 string has so much drive in passive mode that it makes mine sound like a toy, even though all other aspects of my bass are higher grade. And it has a clearly better all encompassing tone. Whereas mine either cuts through like a knife or is muddy as hell. No setting I have tried has really affected that.

    I think even if I stay with an Active set up I would be happier with something like this that has designated low, mid, high controls. blend and master volume.
    Guess it only works with EMG pups. there a few that would fit right in so that would be a quick solution, and should give me more tone control to boot. Considering a 18v upgrade as well. But Im rather new to installing guitar electronics.
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Those other basses don't have the same pickups either. Plus every bass sounds different.

    The problem could be your preamp, but you wont know until you try the pickups passive. I've had a number of people write me about replacement pickups for that bass, so apparently some don't like the pickups it comes with.

    This one works with any pickups:


    The best thing to do is try disconnecting the pickups after the blend and right to an output jack. Then you will get an idea how they sound passive. from that you can decide if you like the way they sound, and then a better preamp would be in order.

    The EMG stuff has a nice tone, and is pretty transparent to the sound of the pickups. Two of my basses had BTC preamps in them with my pickups for a number of years.
  8. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I put an inexpensive Artec three band EQ with sweepable mids, in two of my basses, a Stingray type I built of parts I had around, and a Squier Cort manufactured, Pro Tone 5 string (with cheap replacement soapbars). The mid cut/boost and sweep are on one concentric control, and the bass and treble are on another concentric control. I have no issues with this cheap preamp in either. I have a lot of control over the mids. It's model SE3P-A. I paid around $35 for each.

    I also have two basses, both with active pickups, where I put a 2 band EQ on the neck pickup and an EMG mid boost on the bridge pickup, with the balance control wired in after the preamps. This is a highly versatile setup. When I sweep the balance, there is a huge contrast between the bass and treble boosted neck pickup and the mid boosted bridge pickup. I could put a trimpot on the mid boost and just leave it in the control cavity. I never turn it down.
  9. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    I looked at that set you posted SGD...its a bit cheaper. And the separate volume pots might be nice instead of a "Blend knob"
  10. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    both of those options seem like they would accomplish better control of mids. But require 5 holes correct? Or im reading this wrong.
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The EMG BQC only uses two knobs (bass/treble boost-cut, and mid freq/mid boost-cut). Then you have two left for volume/blend or volume/volume.
  12. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    yeah...been looking at it. Looking at this http://www.emgpickups.com/products/category/147/4

    Wondering if a balance would work better than a blend or not.

    At the moment Im considering a EMG 35 PX set with the BQC and the ABCX

    Not sure what the best type of volume pot is...seems theres no consensus on linear or audio?

    edit: After looking at the EMG site a bit more it looks like the 40 DCX and CSX models would work alot better than the 35px's
  13. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    Got another question though...

    When I figure out exactly what system to install, is it necessary to do all the reverse wiring and such that I have read about for left handed use? Or can I just install in standard right hand plug and play fashion (I dont care what way I turn a pot to boost or cut) or is there some consideration Im not thinking about?
  14. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Blend and Balance are the same thing.

    If you are going with the active EMG X series you have to use all their parts.

    If you have just a master volume control, it doesn't matter too much. If you are using two volumes to blend the pickups, then linear usually works better.
  15. ThirtyOver


    Dec 30, 2011
    Yeah....after a bit more research into pots I realize I was a bit off on the blend/balance statement.
    With the controls Im looking at there would be one Master Volume, and a blend. And after reading the installation diagrams it appears that using all their stuff will make installation pretty simple. Was considering Bartolinis but the specific type I would need requires I drill another hole for another screw for each pickup. Not a big deal just dont want to drill any holes into it. Spent today looking at all manner of different manufacturers and all seemed to have something that was a bit off. Requiring some sort of tool work where the EMG's will pop right in. just got to nail down this left vs right handed pot issue and I should be all good.

    Still looking at all their pickups though. The BQC will work with whatever pickup they offer so I really just need to pick 2 4x1.5 inch soapbars that will cover my spacing right and go with it.

    I do appreciate your feedback...Thanks.
  16. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Just want to put in a pitch for the EMG ABC Active Blend control.

    I've been a Vol-Vol guy for years, always disliked the way the volume drops at the 50/50 blend with conventional balance pots.

    I recently decided to try it on a two-pickup Ibanez ATK I was building up. It does give a smoother blend with no volume loss at the center position, but more importantly, it perked up the sound of the ATK. Presumably because it buffers each pickup before the stock preamp, it seemed to to take a bit of the blanket off. The bass still has warmer mids than a "real" EBMM, but it has more of that top end air and clarity. A really good mod, IMO.

    I just decided to put one on my good 5-string (EMG 40P5's at neck and bridge). This bass has no other preamp, just two pickups at 18V. To my surprise, it seems to have given that bass a subtle lift as well.
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