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Right, novice question about PJ p'ups, and associated electrickery.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by wheelyjoe, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. I'm debating whether to build a bass from parts and was thinking about making it a PJ.

    I've found a body and all associated parts, except for pickups/preamp.

    I'm really into the J-retro idea of p'ups you can switch from active to passive, and was wondering if anyone could direct to me simple instructions and good parts, or even packages that come with the whole lot?

    I'm looking at something pretty decent, EMG/Bart/nord end of the spectrum, but if anyone has any better ideas or anything, I'd be open to that.

    I want a good all-round bass, hence the P/J idea.
    I'm not a novice player, as such (I didn't say I was good mind:ninja:), just a complete newbie when it comes to building the damned things... :crying:

    If anyone could help it'd be much appreciated...

    Ali :bassist:
  2. SnakeKappele


    Sep 20, 2010
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    My favorite arrangement for the old PJ is using Seymour Duncan quarter pounders... they sounds nice and big and, in a PJ arrangement, sound great.
  4. But how do you do the whole passive active thing? Is that just in the preamp?
  5. Active/passive switching (Which only applies to preamps, NOT active pickups) is done with the addition of a DPDT switch to put the preamp in and out of the circuit.
    Most preamps can be set up with an active/passive switch, but you need to be sure that you are running 250K/500K volume(s) before the input of the preamp. If the preamp is set up for a 25K volume pot after the output, that will have to be changed, as applying such a low resistance across a high impedance passive signal will kill most of it's output.
  6. So you need active p'ups? Any they work passive?
  7. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    What you're thinking of is using passive pickups with a preamp.

    The "Active" in that kind of active bass is the preamp. The pickups are entirely passive at all times.

    90+% of "active basses" are passive pickups with a preamp.
  8. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    The rest appear to run those potted EMGs
  9. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Yeah. Seymour Duncan is getting more and more into the active game lately too.
  10. Yep.

    Active means that any component in the signal path is active. (Requires a DC supply to operate.)

    Although there are exceptions, 90% of the time, an "active" bass is passive pickups with a preamp.

    No active pickup will work passive. (That I know of, anyway.)
    Even if you were to bypass the internal preamp, usually the coils are far underwound from traditional passive pickups, and thus, the output would be quite weak.
  11. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Line6man, could this be modified to have the following functions:

    • Position 1 - passive volume switched to passive tone.
    • Position 2 - passive volume switched to preamp, bypasses passive tone

    My instincts tell me we'd need a couple more lugs on the switch for that, but, is it even doable?
  12. "T"


    Apr 6, 2010
    The active and passive option has it's merits, but as a self described electronic newbie, since EMG is already on your list, the EMG's with the solderless connectors may be a good place to start? Not sure about the passive options, but they are an absolute piece of cake to install.

    Good luck either way! :)
  13. You can do that with a 3PDT mini toggle switch.
    Unfortunately, push/pull pots are DPDT, so it has to be a mini toggle.
  14. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Thanks for the clarification, makes sense. Could you create such a scheme and post it?
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