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Turning my USA P Deluxe into a passive bass. Anyone done it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Joseph Draxx, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Hi guys, I did a search for this but had trouble finding anything related so if there is a previous thread is someone could point me in its direction I will shut up :bassist:

    I have gone a little passive crazy lately, and am thinking about taking the active preamp out of my usa p bass deluxe. Some of you might think this is not a very good idea - well I am not completly sold on the idea right now its just that I think it would sound really good.

    I just find that when I have a bass with lots of knobs and and on board eq I constantly fiddle trying to find the "just right" setting. With passive basses it seems like as soon as I plug in i have the "just right" sound and I don't fiddle at all.

    To be fair I dont fiddle as much on my P Deluxe as I used to on my Ibanez Ergo or my Bongo. There is also the issue of sound, I play in a loud rock band with two guitars and a loud drumer with 3 vocalists (lead vocalist and both guitars do a lot of singing and harmonies), passive basses seem to sit between the drums and guitars a lot better and if I dig in a little I can cut through with ease. With actives I seem to be either too loud all the time (to in your face) or sit under the guitars all the time so my runs and the bass lines that need to cut through don't cut through.

    So I was thinking that maybe a passive V/B/T(front)/T(back) might work really well for me. Has anyone tried anything like this or know anyone that does? Can anyone shout at me and tell me I have a L2000 on the way and a SB1 I don't need another passive bass? Yes I know I may really regret this, but I could easily have it changed back if it didnt work out.

    I have been thinking about this for quite a while, somebody please put my mind to rest!

    Thanks Guys

  2. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    I have done the same thing to my Spector ... the EMGs had to go ... you can get everything you need here ... http://www.has-sound.com/ ... including the wiring harness and hand wrapped pickups ...
  3. I thought I could just take the preamp out and use the same pickups? Please correct me if I am wrong as this particular issue has always confused me. I thought the 'active' bit of this bass was in the preamp, and the pick ups were the same as on a passive.

    Wow I suddenly feel like such a dork!
  4. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Sometimes you can use the same pickups ... I use Ibanez ATK basses alot I have two that have preamps built in, one does not, both use the same pickup . Many pickups with active systems have a very low output which the preamp brings up to a signal the bass head can read. It all has to do with getting a proper match, in my case the EMGs were designed to work with an onboard preamp. Sadowsky as an example makes an outboard pre amp designed to work with regular passive pickups . As for your specific Fender I don't know?
  5. I'm a purist in this respect.....the bass was designed with the acive pups and 18v circuit so I'd leave it that way

    but at the end of the day it is your decision, I would just suggest that you don't do anything other than change the electronics and esnrue its easy to put back how it was.

    what amplifications do you use in your band? I play a MIA P-deluxe and have no bother hearnig myself (see kit below). I'm playing amidst and average sized drumkit and a gibson les paul, a wickedly loud explorer and also an epiphone firebird.
    Maybe you need to experiment with the eq more - generally its the mids that will get you heard through the mix, but you proabbly also need to move some air to "feel" what you're doing too.....for me its a combination of what I feel and what I hear that is important...so the combintion of 1x15" and 4x10" cabs with my amplification does the trick nicely.

    and if you really want passive you could just go and get a passive p-bass to add to you collection :)
  6. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    The easiest wat to do this would be to just buy a new scratchplate and wire it up with new pots so, if it doesn't work or you change your mind further down the road, it's just a matter of resoldering the pickups back into place on the old scratchplate.

    This is your bass?

    They look like passive pickups with an active EQ so running a full passive circuit should be fine.
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    In your particular situation, you would be able to simply take out the preamp - the pickups are passive.

    One option to consider, however, is to just add an active/passive switch. That way you don't have to do any extensive mods to your bass. One 1/4" hole in the pickguard will do it. And if you don't want to drill your pickguard, you could get a push/pull volume pot that will let you operate in both modes.
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    if you have the sb1, you already have a "p" right? The situation will come up where you want the active. I would say wait a while before doing the swtich.
  9. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Somebody's taking they're preamp...out? Seems everybody wants to put em in...

    I think you should go for it, passive's where it's at.
  10. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA

    + infinity.

    I would do this simply because if you regret going passive (since you've already explained your passive crazy right now, it may be a passing thing), doing this will give you the option of both without having to do any extra work. I'd go the push/pull route too, seeing as all you really have to do is just rewire a new pot without having to drill into your pickguard. It'll look stock, but have the mods you want, like a sleeper.
  11. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    Chi Cheng from Deftones did this. Wired it to a single volume knob (both pickups in parallel). He seemed to like it.
  12. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I had a '99 Am. Deluxe P four string, and I considered exactly your proposal, except I also planned to replace the pickups with Rio Grande P and bridge Powerbucker. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth the risk and expense (probably close to $400 with pickups), so I sold it and bought a passive American Series P.

    I think the active/passive switch is a good idea, but I'm not sure the pickups will be hot enough on their own. Another option is replacing the preamp, possibly with one that might provide a punchier, more vintage tonality. Supposedly the new 18v ones are good, but I had the old 9v, and I think it was the weak link. A new pre plus an active/passive switch might do the trick.
  13. I use a Sunn 300t and Berg NV425 up against Gibson's and EMG'd Fenders through a JCM 900 Half Stack and a Dual Rec Half Stack. Being heard isn't really the problem - sitting in the mix where I need to is. I normally run the preamp with a slight bass boost and mid boost and a slight treble cut and blend the pick ups Bridge 60:40 Neck.

    I bought a SB1 a couple o months ago and a passive P (mmmm butterscotch) is on the wish list but I might have to wait a while first.

    The only change to the pickups I am considering is dropping a custom shoip P in the front. I am not going near this thing with a router as I love it too much. Maybe if I really loved it I wouldn't want to change it though...
  14. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    "Somebody's taking they're preamp...out? Seems everybody wants to put em in..."

    Yeah well I know it's "Sacrilege" and all especially on a NY Spector but I don't get on well with EMGs ... PLUS the Spector is a keeper, and these guys at HAS-Sound really know their stuff...

    On the other side ... I am considering adding an AGUILAR pre-amp to my passive Ibanez ATK, with a kill switch to go back to passive when I want to.
  15. Well it turns out the guitarists in my band have just been playing to loud. After a very loud practice on Monday my ears where ringing the next morning (and I was wearing ear plugs) so I had a talk to our lead guitarist and he agreed that we do not need to play so loud at practice. On wednesday I had my 300t on "1" and only brought the Fender to pracitce (my G&L has been getting a bit too much play time lately, so I wanted to show my P some love) and I have to say I think its close to being the best I have ever sounded. The bass will stay active.

    Thanks everyone for all you advice.

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