Re: Active Pickups - what's that all about?

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Posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on December 18, 2000 at 09:31:02:

In Reply to: Active Pickups - what's that all about? posted by Rich Laird on December 17, 2000 at 13:48:54:

: Exactly what are Active Pickups? I know there's a battery involved (which sort
: of puts me off to begin with) - and it seems like they have something to do with
: EQ and getting more tonal variety out of a bass. Am I on the right track?

You're right indeed! Active pickups have a preamp and usually some sort of EQ, and the purpose *is* to get a greater tonal variety from the bass.

Normal tone controls will roll off bass or treble frequencies, but can't add anything; active pickups can either add or roll off different frequencies, which gives *much* greater tonal flexibility.

: Also, do you need an amp with a special input for active electronics?

Nope; any amp will work, although you might have to be careful not to overdrive the input too much.

: Does active electronics give you any thing you can't get with a graphic
: equalizer - or any other kind of pedal? Personally, I would probably rather
: just get a pedal and "keep it simple" as far as the bass is concerned
: - if that's an option.

The idea behind active electronics is to have all the electronics *in* the bass, so you don't need the hassle of pedals, cables, etc. Also, those electronics are optimized for that particular bass, so you'll probably get a better tone from the active bass than you would from the passive bass with an EQ pedal.

: After christmas, I'll probably start prowling around the music stores and try to
: learn more. But I can't really expect the sales guys to be really unbiased.
: So, I thought I'd start here.

You came to the right place!

: Like I said - don't hold back...don't worry about being politically incorrect...
: bad-mouth anything or anybody you want to - I don't care. Just give me the
: "real deal" on Active Pickups or anything else I should know about
: six-string basses.

To be honest, when you're dealing with the extended frequency range of a 6-string bass, I'd tend to recommend going with active electronics, although it's not an absolute must.

: Thanks a lot,
: Rich

Hope that helps!


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