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Wiring StingRay5 passive, straight to output

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lefty007, May 31, 2007.

  1. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I'm planning to wire my StingRay 5 in series, bypass everything and go straight to the output jack.

    I want to do this to have an idea how the bass will sound all passive. If it works, I will add a series/parallel switch, and volume and tone pots laters, and maybe try a Nordstrand or Aero pickup.

    But for now, can anybody help me with wiring the stock pickup in series, straight to the output jack?

    I have a recent single H SR5.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Cant help you about the pickup wiring itself.

    But im sure ive heard that the MM pickups are pretty low output (by themselves) ? Could be totally wrong there tho
  3. Oh man....

    "A bass is like a h*rd-on. If you don't f*ck with it, it won't go down."

    I have a new SR5/HH on order, and I couldn't imagine hacking it. There is a huge amount of engineering in the design, which you will invalidate (along with your warranty) when you hack it.

    The G&L MFD is the only pickup that comes to mind that works both active and passive. The rest (soapbars, etc) require a preamp. The volume pots are spec'ed for active electronics, not passive.

    You should contact Nordstrand, etc and find out if any of the MM pickups run in passive mode.
    Please, please do the research before destroying that beautiful bass.
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Thanks, bgavin. I've been playing SR5s for a long time. The victim in question was bought as a project bass to experiment (used bass).

    It's funny how so many people is against modifying StingRays (what I have read countless times and various forums). . . I used to own an MTD Kingston with passive electronics and it sounded phenomenal. . . can't see why a StingRay wouldn't.

    Anyhow, I just spoke with Carey Nordstrand and yes, his pickups are designed to equally run passive or with a preamp. Aero also has an MM5 replacement pickup designed to run passive. . . I wonder why these top-notch builders make these passive pickups if the stock MM pickup/preamp is supposedly so good.

    You saying destroying? Well, I'm about to route the body under the pickguard to shed some pounds off this anvil. . . wood saw, anybody?
  5. Drill holes right through it and paint it yellow, someone needs a swiss cheese bass!
  6. If you have the luthiering chops, anything is possible. Most folks do not, and wind up hacking a bass and destroying the value, playability, or both. I see a lot of act-first, think-later activity here, and wanted to speak up before a nice bass got hacked.

    I have an SR5/HH on order, and fully understand the anvil thing. At 10' 3" the SR5 is 9 oz lighter than my old Fender RB5, but weight is still an issue. My first SR5/H was a great player, and the weight didn't bother me. Only the maple board did that, so I offed it.

    I like the active/passive ability of my G&L L1500. In almost all cases, I run it passive. The MFD pickup is still quite hot, but the preamp makes it clanky. I still have stainless strings installed, so they have to go. SS + MFD + Preamp is too much.

    I did listen to the samples on BassTasters. The stock MM did more for my ears than the aftermarket pickups. It is so hard to tell, even with decent samples.
  7. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Good luck with the work, I'm looking forward to reading about your results.

    I also wanted to offer support for doing anything anyone wants to do to any instrument without collectible value.

    We all have the right to do whatever we want with our paychecks and the things that we buy with them.

    Besides, re-wiring a bass is not going to harm it and is completely reversible, assuming the person doing the work has any common skills available to them.

    Let us know how it goes.
  8. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass

    Sep 9, 2006
    Tijuana Mex.
    It would work but you'll need a different preamp. The stock Musicman preamp is very complicated and works as a unit, it can't be dissambled.
    John East has a preamp for Stingray stile instruments, maybe that would work.
  9. midopa


    Nov 26, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't see how this mod could be considered "hacking" up the bass. You can bypass it all with a simple switch no? And that can be done easily with some wiring and drilling a small hole in the pickguard. Anyway, I bleeb EBMM has made a few basses for its artists that had pickups wired straight to the output jack. I think you'll be fine.

    As for routing out wood to make it lighter. OK, that's 'hacking." :p But it's yours so do with it what you want. I'd be interested to see how it works out. That is, is it lighter, any change in tone, maybe even structural implications, etc.
  10. jvb


    Jul 11, 2005
    Canberra, Australia
    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with this.

    I have a passive MM SUB-4 which I love (except for the truss-rod rattle). One tone only, the passive bass & treble roll-offs don't do much for me, but that one tone is great, IMHO better than the active ones.

    I've been thinking adding a P quarter pounder or similar... :)
  11. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    You can use the stock MM pickup in passive if you like the sound of it.The pickup itself is passive and will work without a preamp. Not sure of the output,but it should be ok. The Norstrand pickups are great btw.I have one in a Sterling,and just ordered one for my SR5. Good times!

  12. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Happy times?

    Well, I'm still in the process of doing this. I really like the sound of the original pickup/preamp, so I'm dreading to change anything.

    It looks like I will try the original pickup passive, wired series first, to see if it still retains the punch. I'm worried about loosing the punch in passive. And if I like what I hear and the output is too low, etc., I would go for the Nordstrand.

    I'm having second thoughts about routing the body. . . but it might have to be done. I might send it to a professional shop so it can be done neatly. . .
  13. Maurice Carr

    Maurice Carr

    Aug 7, 2004
    Mt Wellington, Auckland, NZ
    Authorised BFM and fEARful cab builder: New Zealand
    They do. I have a Nordstrand MM5.4 on my custom bass and it is wired ( with an Audere ) to do series/split/parallel in either passive or active mode.

    The best overall tone I get is Active/Paralle with the Z mode set in the middle position, bass flat, mid flat and treble slightly rolled off.

    Passive is "interesting" but not my everyday tone.

  14. mikopita

    mikopita Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    I personally thought the Nordstrand samples sounded better. I've been rather unhappy with my SR5 and realize that the Nordy's are the sound I've been looking for.
  15. lfh


    Dec 18, 2003
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I've run my '92 SR5 passive for an extended period of time (a year or so), and it worked just fine. (Disclaimer: I've read that the pickup design was revised sometime in the 90:s, changing from alnico to ferrite magnets (possibly together with other parameters such as number of turns etc). I don't know whether the current revision would be less suitable for passive operation.)

    For Q&D experimentation I removed the preamp and installed three jacks in the potentiometer holes such that I could route the two coils to separate channels (for flexible mixing and EQ:ing, and also for stereo), but also run the coils in parallel by simply hooking up to the third jack (the kind that closes a circuit when the plug is connected).

    Of course, in absence of a buffer stage, the tone is influenced by the input impedance of the amp, the cable capacitance etc, as is always the case with passive instruments, but overall the difference (assuming a contemporary, well-behaved amp) is not dramatic IMO.

    Typically you lose some HF bite / shimmer and hence get a tad more of an old school sound. The characteristic StingRay sound is in essence still there when running the coils in parallel.

    I'd say give it a try. As you've stated yourself it's easy to revert the changes if you're not happy with the result.

  16. lfh


    Dec 18, 2003
    Stockholm, Sweden
    The preamp might look complicated, but the circuit design is quite straightforward (again referring to my '92). Thanks to the traditional hole mounted components, it's easy to modify. I've changed the "voicing" to better suit my taste and way of working with the controls. This was back in '94 or so, so I don't recall the exact details, but I reduced the amount of max boost and cut for the treble control, as well as raised and lowered the corner frequencies for treble and bass respectively. The rationale for doing so was that I thought the stock settings were too crude (over the top whan maxed out), and I wanted to have a more subtle palette to work with in the heat of playing.

    Perhaps this is one more option to consider?
  17. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I don't think people see you're kidding about the weight shedding job.

    Anyway you're not hacking anything, bypassing the electronics is easy disconnect the 4 pickup lead wires. Follow the leads coming off the pickup (you may need to remove the pickup to see where the leads go to the windings). The coils each have an in and out. You may want to get a radio shack jack for your experiment. Attach the 'tip' lug from the jack to the in on one coil, the out of the coil join it to the in of the next coil, the out of that coil attach to the other lug on the jack.
    There there you have series wired straight to the jack.
  18. ibz


    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Whatever people tell you the original stinray pups have no issues run passive.. I've wired EBMM stock pups this way many times before.
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