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Unread 01-10-2010, 09:44 PM   #1
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Active bridge & passive neck?

I haven't seen any threads specifically talking about this so I was wondering if it would be a good idea to put a passive pickup in the neck position of my 6-string basswood guitar? Currently I have an RG3EX1 with an EMG 81 in the bridge and the 89 in the neck, and the single coil tap sounds OK for cleans, but knowing from playing passives previously, passives just sound better for cleans.

For instance, I had a tone zone in the bridge of an old guitar and it sounded good for both cleans and high-gain. I think the 81 sounds better for high gain than the tone zone did, but not so great for cleans.

And any recommendations for a good passive neck pickup to pair with the 81 bridge? I used to have a PAF Pro in the neck position of a different but similar guitar but it was too quiet for my tastes.
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Unread 01-11-2010, 01:23 AM   #2
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Did you have the PAF Pro adjusted high enough? I've never had volume issues with it. It balances really well with high output bridge humbuckers.

If you were to do this keep in mind you would need to buy a preamp (EMG PA2 or Afterburner for example) for the passive pickup to bring it to the same impedance of the active, or use 2 sets of pots with the switch coming after them. Active pickups use 25k pots, where a passive humbucker typically uses 500k pots (though some people use 250k to darken them up, or even as high as a 1meg for maximum treble or long cables.)

Overall, do some research and make sure that is what you want to do before you decide to. I'd personally say try a 60, 60a or maybe even the new 60x. They sound much nicer (imo) for cleans and leads in the neck than the 85, 89 (both modes), or 81.

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Unread 01-11-2010, 12:59 PM   #3
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Cool, thanks for the info. I might give the 60x a try. Is it push-pull like the 89?
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Unread 01-11-2010, 01:10 PM   #4
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I agree with seph I'm not an active pup fan but the 60 was the first neck pickup I ever liked (passive or active). Very nice cleans.
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Unread 01-11-2010, 01:33 PM   #5
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I don't think passives and actives would work together due to the active circuit. Actives are electromagnets and passives are magnets. Having power to the passives would have undesirable effects. It could be possible if you had two independent circuits, ie knobs, switches, isolated jack and wiring.

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Unread 01-11-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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It CAN work, but it's a massive pain in the ass to wire it all up and it's really not worth the headache.
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Unread 01-11-2010, 05:45 PM   #7
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I guess I'll try an EMG60x then for the neck and see if that solves the problem... if not I might just switch to both passives.
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Unread 01-14-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepherus View Post
Did you have the PAF Pro adjusted high enough? I've never had volume issues with it. It balances really well with high output bridge humbuckers.
I missed this earlier. I thought the height was fine, but I don't have the guitar anymore to check.
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Unread 01-14-2010, 06:25 PM   #9
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you can definitely have a passive and an active pickup in the same guitar. i have a guitar w/ a Pearly Gates in the neck and an EMG81 in the bridge. it has a 3-way toggle w/ separate volume for each pickup and an overall tone knob. the tone is also a push switch that switches the PG to single coil or humbucking. it also has a mini toggle for an EMG booster.

i have no idea how it is actually wired. it looks like a cluster f inside. a guy made it for me in China Grove, NC about 12 years ago. at the time, i didn't care to ask how he did it.

i'll post some pics in a bit. maybe the more tech savvy would be able to figure it out.
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Unread 01-14-2010, 07:20 PM   #10
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If you've got separate controls for each and you don't need both pickups combined it's a really simple thing. If you want to share controls and/or have the option of combining the pickups properly you'll need to buffer the passive pickup. The absolute simplest and cheapest way to do this is with something like this - General Guitar Gadgets - Buffer - IC RTS PCB
It's a really simple assembly, and works well. There's a bunch of other buffer PCBs at muzique.com
Otherwise you can go the commercial route and something like the EMG Afterburner or PA2
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Unread 01-14-2010, 07:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatfil View Post
you can definitely have a passive and an active pickup in the same guitar. i have a guitar w/ a Pearly Gates in the neck and an EMG81 in the bridge. it has a 3-way toggle w/ separate volume for each pickup and an overall tone knob. the tone is also a push switch that switches the PG to single coil or humbucking. it also has a mini toggle for an EMG booster.

i have no idea how it is actually wired. it looks like a cluster f inside. a guy made it for me in China Grove, NC about 12 years ago. at the time, i didn't care to ask how he did it.

i'll post some pics in a bit. maybe the more tech savvy would be able to figure it out.
Please do take high quality pics!!
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Unread 01-14-2010, 08:05 PM   #12
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ok, i here's a few shots...




i just played it for while. it is such a versatile guitar it is ridiculous. strumming sweet chords with a PG in single coil mode (HIGHLY recommended), then doing some Cream neck humbucker leads, then some tight down-tuned chugging with killer pinch harmonics. it's a lot of fun to play.

the guitar has it's issues though. it's old and the tuners are tired. the bridge is a crap trem that it blocked. it is basically all used parts. i asked the guy who built it what he could do for $400. he gutted this body and showed me his used parts bin. i like ZZ Top and Metallica (who doesn't?) so i picked the EMG81 and the Pearly Gates. he came up with the coil tap and individual volumes i deas. damn good ones too!

i should get it fixed, but there is something to fighting it a little. keeps the riffs a little raw. besides, if i want to play a perfect guitar.... i grab my RGA121 with Bareknuckles!
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