Author Topic: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar  (Read 5880 times)

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bryan6002

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Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« on: October 10, 2009, 02:01:57 pm »
Hi, I have a ESP KH202 and want to replace the bridge pickup for a EMG81/85 but would like to make it more versatile by fitting a passive humbucker like a DiMarzio PAF 36th anniversary or similar to the neck, just wondering if this was possible or would I have to just fit the EMG60 or equivalent to the neck position.
Thanx in advance for any help (go easy on me Im a noob at this kind of thing)

Offline Tourniquet

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2009, 03:26:55 pm »
You'd need separate volume and tone pots for each pickup at the correct rating (250k or 500k for passive, 25k for active) and don't bother wiring up the middle position as they really wouldn't work well together (maybe use it as a kill switch position).

Done like that there's no reason why not.
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bryan6002

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 04:27:50 pm »
Thanks for the quick reply it was what I wanted to here just one more question though I wouldn't damage it by fitting a second volume knob would I ?

Offline MadCat

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 04:37:29 pm »
No. You just have to replace one of the volume-pots.

But you can only use the tone-pot for one of the PUs (I would use it for the neck-pu).
Or you have to fit a second one wich will "damage" your guitar.
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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2009, 11:23:03 pm »
Reasons why this won't work :
Not enough volume/tone pots to divide between the pickups
VERY high output difference between active and passive pickups
Grounding issues between active and passive

And yes, by drilling a hole for a second volume knob, you will probably damage the guitar, unles you know what you're doing.
My advice : either get another guitar without the active pickups, OR take out the EMG's alltogether.
Wiring active and passive together is just a very bad idea.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2009, 11:55:02 pm »
What are the grounding issues between active and passive?
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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2009, 12:54:22 am »
The fact that the actives aren't grounded, and when you wire active and passive together, then select both pickups, you often (not always, mind you) will get some horrible buzz like you get from an ungrounded lead. (or think of an old fashioned record player with seperate ground cable that's been left off while connecting, that kind of sound)

Come to think of it, with the differences in impedance, i think they can't be on the same switch either...
But i'm not quite sure of that part.
TB, you know your electronics a bit, got any ideas ?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 01:01:37 am by Dan Graves »

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2009, 01:30:08 am »
Actives are grounded.

--------------------------

To the OP, The most simple solution to your specific needs are provided by EMG.

Install their preamp to boost the level of the PAF. Then it will play nice with all the EMG controls and such. The preamp they sell has a little trimmer pot on it that you would balance the gain with. It has an on/off switch too, but you don't need that. So it could fit inside your guitar with no "damage" once set.

You could do things differently but it would be more elaborate especially when trying to make things retain a stock look.

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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 01:42:20 am »
I was under the impression the EMG's wheren't grounded the way passives are...
*wanders off to check EMG site again*
Ah, i found it, EMG's aren't grounded the same way as passives :

     "When installing EMG Active Pickups, DO NOT connect the bridge
     ground wire. This wire is usually soldered to a Volume or Tone
     Control casing and goes to the bridge. This wire grounds the
     strings and uses them and your body as a shield against hum and
     buzz. It also creates a shock hazard.
     
     EMG Pickups are shielded internally and DO NOT require string       
     grounding. This greatly reduces the possibility of reverse
     polarity shock from microphones and other equipment."
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 01:47:44 am by Dan Graves »

Offline MadCat

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 09:45:01 am »
My advice : either get another guitar without the active pickups, OR take out the EMG's alltogether.

The EMG LH-301 wich are fitted to the KH-202 are passive PUs.
I would put a 81 in the bridge position and a 60 in the neck. (But I'm a metallica fan so it's my personal opinion! 8))

When you go for active PUs maybe you have to change the output jack 'cause you need a stereo-type for switching the electronics off. Don't know wich type is fitted to the KH-202.
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bryan6002

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 12:27:27 pm »
Thanks for all the info guys its been loads of help. In response to MadCat I am also a metallica fan but its not all I listen to or want to play and since you pretty much just use the bridge pickup for distortion I want to fit something that sounds more like a single coil to the neck as I mentioned before this will make the axe much more versatile (I hope!)
THANKS again to everyone for their input.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2009, 02:18:52 pm »
@Dan, that in no way indicates the pickups are not grounded.

Read the specifications for the pickups and look at -any- of the wiring diagrams. The written material indicates the braid to be ground and the diagrams show the braid to be grounded.

From EMG:
"Our pickup wiring color code is standardized across most models for simplicity:
White = Signal Output
Metal braid = both signal & power Ground
Red = Power feed (+9V) to the active electronics"



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Offline MadCat

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2009, 09:59:17 pm »
You could also fit an 89 in the neck position. It is splittable, so you have a singlecoil and a humbucker in this position.
My Framus has two splittable HB (bridge and neck) plus a SC in the middle so it's quite versatile, like it very much.
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MousPotato

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Re: Can I use both active and passive pickups in the same guitar
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2009, 01:29:39 am »
Godin makes some nice affordable guitars with both active and passive built with the touch of a button.

 

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