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Passive Jazz pickups with onboard preamp. Is this advisable/possible?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by JPJ, Jun 16, 2001.

  1. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I am thinking of building my own bass an was wondering if I could pair 2 Fralin jazz pickups with an onboard active preamp, such as the LP 2-in-1 or the Aguilar unit. Ideally, I would like to have the sound/tone of a traditional early 60's Jazz but would also like the option to "go active" as well without changing the tonal properties of the bass. I don't think that I could really get that classic sound with low impedance pickups, so I was wondering if I could use a preamp with a higher output pickup to where the "active" sound would be the sound of the Fralins but just a bit louder, thinker, phatter, and fuller. Let me know what you think.
  2. Check out the J-Retro active preamp for Jazz basses. This is a sweet little unit that fits right where your control plate is currently located and requires no routing to install. Just remove your old control plate and slap the new preamp in it's place.
  3. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    $250 at Bass Northwest. And it DOES have an
    active/passive selector switch :) . Ya' might
    have to buffer the input a little if those Fralins
    are hot.
  4. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    The configuration that you are thinking of using for your bass is used by luthiers like Mike Lull and Roger Sadowsky. I'd say your in pretty good company.
  5. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    Yep... two passive jazz pups with an onboard preamp is a very popular configuration these days. I guess it started with Marcus Miller....
  6. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Not sure where I've heard this, but I hear that Bartolinis or Fender Custom Shop '60s are a better choice with J-Retro than the Fralins. Might be worth investigating. The other thing is, if you plan to use single-coils with a preamp, make sure you shield properly.
  7. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the affirmation, guys. I didn't think that I would have any trouble, but since I don't build basses for a living, I thought I'd throw this question out to see if anyone had any good reasons why this wouldn't work-as opposed to using low impedance pickups like most luthiers do with preamps. I figured that if guys like Lull were doing it, then it might be OK. Also, thanks for the reminder about the J-retro package. I had forgotten about that little unit, although I don't think it is really right for me. Finally, the issue about shielding had occurred to me, but I'm not sure what I want to do about that. I was going to have Warmoth rear-route the control cavity, but I don't know if they will shield it with shielding paint or not. I've seen the shielding kits that Carvin and Lane Poor offer, but that looks like a mess to me. It would be great if Warmoth offers a conductive paint option. Anyway, thanks for the posts!

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