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Questions about active EMG pickups, and install

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by chump stain, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. I want to replace the stock passive pickups in my Peavey Grind NTB 6 (when I get it soon). I'm thinking of going with the EMG exended model pickups, configured as 2 single coils (like a Jazz). I also want to install a preamp.

    How noisy would this setup be?
    and would a first time installer (me) be able to handle a job like this?

  2. Dan, as a newbie at this it would be helpful if you read the FAQ

    I was also wondering why you are planning to change the pickups before you even hear the stock pups?

    The traditional pickups for bass require no power source, and are limited in their onboard tone-shaping abilities. Generally, the only controls offered are volume, and a single tone knob, which reduces the high frequencies in the signal. Active electronics add a great deal more in terms of flexibility and signal strength. Usually when a bass says it has "active electronics", it usually means that the bass has passive pickups which are wired to a preamp, which is in the bass itself. Often this preamp gives the play player more tone options, in the form of EQ controls. Similar to the EQ controls on amplifiers, these knobs modify varying frequencies in the bass' signal. For example, a bass might have 2 bands of EQ control, the bass and the treble. That means the low or high frequencies can be boost or cut from the bass itself. These controls can vary, coming in 2, 3, or more EQ bands, with variable mid frequencies. Some offer only signal boost. Active basses can also drive longer cables with less signal loss than passive basses. The price of this flexibility is power. Active preamps have to have some kind of power source in order to function. The power comes in the form of batteries, usually of the 9v variety. Active pickups, such as those produced by EMG, have a preamp built in to the actual pickup housing.

  3. Thanks Treena,
    but with all do respect, I know the difference between active and passive pickups, and how the controls work for each. I've also seen wiring diagrams before.

    I have played the bass I plan on doing the swap on, and IMO the bass needs a little help in the "tone shaping" dept.

    I was thinking EMG's because of the preamp built into the pickup design. I thought they might be easier to install because of that. I've never wired up a pickup and preamp before, and was just wondering how tough of a job is it. I can solder, and I'm pretty good at following directions.

    The main point of the question was; I know that passive single coil basses are a little noisy. Would a active single coil setup amplify the hum?

    basicly I'm looking for an easy and affordable way to upgrade this bass. Maybe a set of Barts, with a Carvin preamp? the Carvin preamps are pretty affordable, and they offer Active/Passive which may be good with the barts.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    the EMG's are certainly easy to install if you're good at following diagrams and can solder.
    You won't get much in the way of tone shaping though, just the built in EMG pre shape. For bass/treble boost, you'll still have to use your amp.

    You don't say what your price range is, but the Aguilar OBP-1 and the Seymour Duncan preamps are very good down the $80-$100 end of the market. As you go up in price, you get the Aguilar OBP-3, J-Retro, Demeter on board preamps.

    The OBP-1 is very simple to wire up, the Seymour Duncan and J/URetro preamps come basically assembled and require minimal soldering on your part. The OBP-3 has a lot of wires to solder, but it's still not that difficult. You can order a OBP-1 or OBP-3 in a prewired harness (with volume/blend and bass/treble/mid pots) from http://www.bestbassgear.com , great and fast service from Brian there.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    EMGs are very easy to install and quiet as far as I can tell. Another nice thing about them is that you don't need a bridge ground any longer which is a great safety enhancer...

    The only drawback that I've found is that EMG wires are very thin and it's easy to cut the wire while trying to strip the insulation off.

    It might be well worth the cost to have a skilled tech do the wiring for you.
  6. thanks guys,
    I'll check out bestbassgear.com.

    I don't have a set limit. But, I don't want to spend a ton. If I can get a nice improvement for $300 I'll be stoked.
  7. Let us know what you decide on!

    P.S. Sorry for the rant above about pickups!

  8. No prob. I really appreciate all the help I can get, this forum is great!
  9. Hey guys,
    What about just replacing the pickups? Maybe with some barts, and remain passive?
    1. Would that improve the sound/tone?
    2. Could I just wire them up inplace of the stock pickups, and keep the stock pots and stuff?
  10. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    Barts sound completely different than EMGs.

    What kind of tone are you looking for?
  11. I think I want to go with a single coil type sound. Like a Jazz bass. I have Bart Quad coils in one of my basses, and when I switch it to passive it sounds pretty good. I have 2 three way toggles to spit the coils in that bass.I would probably have to have a coil splitter switch to run them single coil in this new bass.

    Basicly, I just want to improve the sound as easily and as cost effective as possable. I was thinking if I just swapped out the pickups first, I could always add a preamp later. What do you think?
  12. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I have EMG DC's in may bass, it was a huge aftermarket improvement. Becaus EMG's have fewer windings than normal humbuckers, they retain a single coil sound without the single coil noise. The lack of windings is why they need a battery or two to work, even if you don't have a Onboard pre-amp for an EQ. Another advantage of the EMG is they are the quietest pickups you will ever find. you can play next to floresent light, a computer monitor, anything, and they will NOT hum.

    Click here for a sound clip of my bass
  13. Update, I should be getting the bass soon. And I'm bidding on some EMG45P and 45J pickups. They come with the battery clip and output jack.
    Question; Can I mount the pickups using the exsisting tone and volume pots?
    From everything that I've read this seems to be the case, since the EMG's have the preamp built into the Pups. I guess what I'm asking is, is there anything else I need?
  14. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    The output impedance of EMG pickups is much lower than normal passive pups. EMG supplies 25K ohm pots with their sets (vs 250K or 500K ohm pots for passive pickups). For best results you really need to change them.

    Parts are available from EMG, other sources and frequently on eBay.
  15. thanks a lot.
    Then that should be it then?
  16. robb.

    robb. Gold Supporting Member

    yeah, that sounds about all.

    i have a grind NTB 5, myself, and i'm thinking about getting a 40P5 for the neck and a 40TW for the bridge. it's either that or sell/trade the bass! the nice thing is that the pickups come with volume and tone knobs, so i can literally just drop them into my bass and go. of course, i'm very good at soldering, so that's not an issue for me.

    good luck with your mod! i'd like to hear what you think about EMGs in your grind. don't forget to post a review and sound clips!

  17. Okay, what about this?

    It would cost about $250 for the EMG upgrade. I was thinking (to save some money) how about a pair of Mighty Mite Soapbars for $30 each, and an Aguilar OBP 1 preamp for $99.

    Would it be worth it? The EMGs come with everything to complete the project, where as the Mighty Mite/Aguilar combo leaves me to come up with the rest. I don't know if I can still use my old pots and imput jack with the new active electronics, if so that would save me a little, but if I have to replace them, then I might as well go with the EMGs.

    What do you think?

    Like I said before, I'm just looking for a good affordable upgrade, that's going to give me the most bang for the buck.
  18. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    If you really want EMGs, get them the first time!
  19. Okay, heres the deal. It looks like if I want to go with EMG pickups in this bass, it's going to have to be 2 P-40s. They're the only pickup in the 40 size shell that has the range to handle the string spacing. Either that or alter the pickup route to accept 45 style pickups. I don't really want to do that, although that would give me more of a selection of pickup styles.

    So it looks like I can get 2 P-40s for about $175 + shipping. Not bad, I'm just wondering what 2 P style pickups would sound like. I've seen them before on some B.C. Rich and Peavey basses in the past, I've just never heard them.

    Any thoughts?
  20. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I'm confused. The shell size for the 40J, 40P, 40DC, and 40CS are all the same? What do you mean? with the exception of the 40P, the pickups run the full width of the pickup
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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