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what does a pre-amp do?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by crossingpoint, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. what does a pre-amp do? what does it look like? is it like a pedal or what? can it change the sound on a jazz bass 2 make it sound more like a punk/metal bass?

    thanks for anyone who cared to answer these dumb questions
  2. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    short answer ( non techinical ) ..

    The preamp is the bit before the poweramp stage. Its the bit that does all the tone colouring ( bass / treble etc ) the power section makes it audible.

    Theres more technical stuff to it - but thats for the gurus
  3. is a pre-amp internal or external? can i change the sound on my jazz bass to make it sound like a punk/metal bass with it?thanks for replying!
  4. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    There are PLENTY of jazz basses in both Punk AND Metal. I find them perfectly suited for both.

    Jazz bass doesnt refer to a "bass used for jazz." It refers to a style of pickups and/or body shape, first poularized in Fender's Jazz Bass in the 60s. The name Jazz has nothing to do with what style of music it is to be used for.

    What kind of tone do you want out of your bass? More low end? Punchier? More cutting? What band has the bass tone you are after?

    Preamps can be onboard or outboard, either in pedal form, or in rack form.

    A LOT of good punk and metal use passive basses (no preamp). I don't think you know what it is you want in your tone well enough to justify ANY sort of purchase right now. Trust me, you can get good metal/punk tone out of your bass.
  5. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    Yep. Amp heads generally refer to a device that has both a preamp and power amp. But you can get just power amps and just preamps in almost any format. Though most power amps are rack mounted because they will tend to be used with other equipment, like a preamp.
  6. bassjamn

    bassjamn Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    In my opinion what aftermarket (Bart, Aguilar, etc.) onboard preamps primarily do is give more onboard control of seperate band widths (bass, mid, treble) and boost/cut the signal. Not much tone shaping of consequence since they're generic to be used with any pup. They also tend to reduce noise and in the process can filter out some of the pup signal as well. More than player has unknowling ditched a good set of passive pups cause the preamp was sucking the life out of them.

    An outboard preamp is useful cause you don't have to alter the bass in any way and you can use it with any bass. You can also wire most onboard preamps in an outboard format. The Aggie 924 outboard is the OB-1. But you don't have onboard controls and you already have a preamp in your amp that will likely do more than an outboard.
  8. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005