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Pickup/Preamp Compatibility

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Soundmind20, May 17, 2011.


  1. Soundmind20

    Soundmind20

    May 8, 2011
    I picked up a $20 fretless thats mechanically sound but the electronics are a total mess. I was planning on putting in a whole knew setup and was wondering what I should know about mixing and matching p-ups and preamps.

    The bass is some sort of Aria but the finish on the headstock is a little messed up. As you can see from the picture, it currently has a weird PJ setup where the P is more like the size of soapbar and no knobs/preamp to speak of. I have no qualms about drilling new holes or widening a p-up slot to accomodate something new.

    Any suggestions for two decent but affordable p-ups and a preamp? Do certain pickups only work with certain onboard preamps?
     

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  2. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Those pickups are pretty sweet - (reverse)P+J combinations sound fantastic. You might try just getting a preamp and seeing how it sounds with the stock pickups. I really like the look of that P pickup too. If you decide you don't like them, I might be quite interested in it.

    What's your price range?

    With passive pickups, I can't see there being any preamp issue with any commercially available preamp. Hell, even most active pickups wont have an issue beyond needing a different volume pot of a different value.
     
  3. Soundmind20

    Soundmind20

    May 8, 2011
    I didn't even think of that!

    I would like to spend less than $125 but I could be convinced otherwise.

    Also it looks like there are 5 wires coming out of each pickup, how do I know where each one goes?
     
  4. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    5 wires from each pickup? Wow. That means that there's a sweet world of series/parallel options in your future, because you have the ability to access each coil individually.

    If there's a black wire, it's probably ground. As far as the other four wires, you can grab an ohmmeter to find out which are pairs. You should measure a hefty 4-7kOhm DC resistance when you figure out which two belong together.

    As for preamps, I guess it depends on what you want. You can probably find an Aguilar OBP-3 in that price range, and possibly a whole slew of others if buying used.
     
  5. As long as the preamp has a high input impedance (Above 1M Ohms.), you can pretty much use any pickups with it.

    The exception, possibly, being piezo saddles, which have an extremely high output impedance.
     
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Is that an Aria? Those split pickups sound pretty nice.
     
  7. Soundmind20

    Soundmind20

    May 8, 2011
    It is an Aria, and glad to hear that I can save a little by keeping those pickups.

    However, being a newbie at this I still have endless questions. What exactly are these series/parallel options and do I have to get a special preamp to accomodate these or do I just wire in a switch or two somewhere? Also I'm not totally sure how parallel and series pickups work electrically, can anyone shed some light on that for me?

    It looks like the original bass had two switches which I assume were for series/parallel switching.
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It's easy to do series parallel switching with a DPDT switch. What you have to figure out is the wiring from the pickups.

    What you need to do is figure out which pair of wires to to each coil, and then try connecting them in series and see if they hum cancel. If they do, you know which way to connect them.

    Then you have to follow one of the diagrams for series/parallel wiring.

    Here's an example:

    STEWMAC.COM : Color Codes
     
  9. 5295413673_13d1b96ee7_o.
     
  10. Soundmind20

    Soundmind20

    May 8, 2011
    After doing a little sleuthing I've found that the bass is a Aria Pro RSB Deluxe II and it had quite a little tone shaping package. The mangled mess currently in the back of my bass looks nothing like what I think it should according to this, not enough switches or pots

    Series

    And after looking at the wires it looks like I've got 5 coming off the P pickups and 4 coming off the J. In this case there is a black wire but also a bare wire which is attached to the metal casing of a pot, I assume a ground.

    I'm still a little unsure on how I could hook up an aftermarket preamp and take advantage of all these options. Can anyone point me to a resource that describes how coil tapping and series parallel work? I get the basic concepts but I don't think I'd know how to solder it together myself.
     

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