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Turning a passive bass active

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Hippos Melas, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. There is only one reason behind this...

    I am bored.

    Well, no, that's not true. The reason I'm doing this is because I am making a bass to leave at our summer home so I can not worry about carrying my Sterling back and forth.

    Bottom line, I'm taking an Ibanez GSR100EX and I want to throw a Nordstrand MM4.2 pickup in it and a John East BTB-01 2 Band Preamp as well. This makes it a decent enough bass that I won't even mind using it to record a bit.

    My question is: am I going to go through way too much trouble to make this thing active? Or can I do all of those mods without too much trouble? I've got no experience with modding or electronics or anything, but I've always wanted to give this a shot.
  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Should be fairly easy mod so long as they come with good instructions and diagrams for wireing. When I did my last preamp install. I got all the wires hooked together ready for soldering all of them in one go first. Double checked that had em all done right for where to go. Then soldered em all and tape wrapped all the wire to wire solder connections. Took about a half hour to install 2-band basslines blackout preamp with the stacked bass/treble pot. Did have to slightly widen the hole for pot shaft thru guitar body. After checked everything for fit. Did the wire connections. Then soldered everything then taped. Then tried it out. Worked fine so put cavity cover back on. Did add a 1/4 inch hole to it away from the mounting screws to make removal of cover easier for battery changes.
  3. LotusCarsLtd52


    Dec 6, 2009
    What about the opposite, taking an active bass passive? I like MusicMen except for the fact that none of them are passive.
  4. I am at that point in my bass playing career where anything hifi just doesn't appeal to me that much. That being said, my next big project is a custom made Jazz bass, but I want a bound fretboard, which is expensive. So making a custom neck is expensive, and at that point I might as well just make a custom body as well. Bottom line, I'm doing what I can with my budget.
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The John East will come mostly pre-wired so you're really only hooking up the pickup to the volume pot, the preamp to the output jack, and the control cavity ground. It gets a little more complicated if you're going to put a 3-way switch on board to mimic a Music Man, but only slightly so.

    I guess the real question is whether you feel the bass is worth the investment and only you can answer that.
  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    You could also buy an outboard preamp, like a Sadowsky. No alteration of the bass required.
  7. I don't plan on putting a 3 way switch in since that would require a physical modification of the bass and I hardly trust myself with a saw in the first place, let alone cutting slits in my instrument.

    I would buy an outboard preamp, but I find this to be more fun. Besides, I want to get into building my own custom bass and I figured this would be good practice. Custom jazz is next on the list! ;)

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