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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eVersi0n, Feb 5, 2003.
Just wondering what exactly is a preamp in a bass for(whats it do/purpose)?
The prime purpose of an onboard preamp is to give more control of sound at your fingertips. If a person is a "one sound all night" type of player, they dont really need a preamp. If a person is, say, playing in a Top 40 covers band where every song might require a different sound, it's easier to have the controls for those changes at your fingertips, than to have to turn around and fiddle with your amp between each song. This is a simplification, but it is the basic difference. Also, a preamp allows you to cut and boost the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, whereas a passive bass only allows you to roll off the treble frequencies.
Some preamps, most notably John East's J-retro, have a buffer preamp for each pickup. This means that when both pickups are wound up full, they do not load each other down, and so have a full sound as when one pickup is favoured over the other. Most basses sound better with one pickup favoured over the other, and when both are on full, there is a certain amount of tonal quality lost. As I am a "both pickups on full" kind of guy, the J-retro preamp is worth its weight in gold to me.