Passive as main bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bernie Connors, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Who out there has opinions on or does have a passive bass as their main instrument? Do you feel you lose anything in versatility or do you find your way around not having an onboard preamp? Why did you decide to go passive?

  2. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    My main bass is passive and it seems to work alright. I do wish I had the money for an active bass, but right now, the passive works just fine.
  3. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Oh man,

    Dude, your main bass should be the one that you love to play the most. Period. End of story. Passive/Active be damned.

    That being said, if you have a gig that calls for a different bass, fine. If you can, get gigs that let you play your main bass. But your main bass should always be the one closest to your heart.

    (Ewwww, did I just say that?)


  4. If I had a louder amp I would go with passive.

    ...a lot of people are talk about how great a passive jazz bass sounds.

    ...but for now, I have an active jazz bass that gets the job done.
  5. beam


    Dec 29, 2002
    My main bass is a all passive, and I've no desire for anything different
  6. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I currently play nothing but passive basses and don't believe I'm missing a thing.
  7. Do you guys find yourselves using alot of EQ on gigs or do you alter your playing to suit? Or do you not change anything? :D
  8. Simball


    Mar 26, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    As far as getting vintage tone goes, you can throw active basses out the window. My passive jazz is my main bass, my stingray after that. I always thought it would be cool to have a jazz bass with switchable active/passive electronics however :bassist: As far as EQ goes, I always start out flat and boost whatever I think is missing. Mids=tone IMO
  9. Shearstown


    Oct 15, 2005
    I play a passive. I love it fine.
  10. All of my basses are all passive. I adjust the eq at each gig on the amp and use the tone control (s) as needed. It works for me.
  11. My "main" bass' are an Ibanez RKB900, and a Rickenbacker 4003.

    I also have a Sterling and a Carvin LB70P.

    I prefer the simplicity of passive. It's either bright, dark, or balanced. The end. No sweepable mids, so on, so forth, and there's nothing wrong with that either.
  12. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    +1 passive into an amp at flat EQ, it's the tone!
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    After using active basses for the past 15 years, I bought a passive Jazz last year, and I have no desire to ever go back to active. I hate changing batteries, I don't like the sound of active electronics, and quite frankly, I think they're completely useless. You never see soundmen boost their EQ's much above flat, if at all. They always subtract frequencies instead of adding them. So why would you want to do it to your bass? It always sounds false and ugly when I do it. When I first got active, I thought it sounded cool to boost everything wide open, but now I listen to stuff I recorded back then and ask myself what the hell I was thinking.

    As for EQ, I EQ my amp the exact same way with passive pickups as I did active...flat with just a hint of boost around 750 hz.
  14. I use passive as my main bass as well. I also have an active. Usually take the passive to gigs and play with that one, but on occasion I'll take the active.
  15. All my basses are passive, and bolt-on necks. I just like the simplicity of having as few controls as possible on the instrument. And passive basses work best in the studio, IME.
  16. Thanks everyone.

    I have the most experience with passive basses. On one hand, having the versatility of an active bass is nice but on the other, the "blank canvas" of a passive bass is something I really dig.
  17. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I run my passive Surfcaster into the amp, and use a flat EQ. I am not a knob twiddler by a long-shot.
  18. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    i used active basses for years, got an old p bass, now all my basses are passive IMHO actives have a habid of sounding sterile, especially musicmans! A lot of actives you end up sounding more like the pre-amp than yourself......
  19. lenorules1950


    Aug 20, 2004
    Meriden, CT
    I've only owned passive basses... it's simpler that way.
  20. my KSD jazz is passive/active..i had a gig just last friday night and well, the whole night i just had it on passive with the pickups centered...sounded great...i roll a little more to the neck pickup when slapping though, just to get a slightly more marcus miller tone...

    once i upgrade my amp (ampeg svp-pro, some poweramp, hartke 215xl), im gonna re wire my ksd just to be passive like a 70's tone