P bass for rock, passive, active or doesn't matter

For more hard rock etc, is a passive or active P bass pickup preferred, or doesn’t matter.
If so, why?
Just curious if there are differences that make a difference.

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On my TRBX504 there is a noticeable difference in the tone between the active and passive positions, which is why I upgraded from the TRBX 304 which is only active.
The active position gives a punchier sound/tone and the passive position makes the sound/tone more mellow.

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There may be differences, but there are so many choices between pickups, pedals, preamp, amp, cabinet that I don’t think there’s any straightforward choice to make :sweat_smile:

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in my opinion it mostly depends if you need/want a large tone panel under your fingers while playing, or if it’s useless to you.

second option for me, so I absolutly don’t see why I would bother with batteries and unplugging cables :grin:

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I’d be more concerned about preamp / amp and pedal chain than pickups.

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Perfect thanks all, and @terb, agree batteries are never a good thing (MM aside I guess)

There is of course this…

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yeah but why ? really I don’t understand this active-thing.

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@terb I’m so happy you and I agree on something

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we already agree about picks somewhat :grin:

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I like it. It just really expands the tonal possibilities of the bass right there on the bass. But of course you’re right that it’s identical to putting a preamp/EQ early in your effects chain.

Ironically it’s less important to me now that I do everything in the DAW for effects. I record totally clean now and change it with plugins. And at this point I think I can make my basses sound like nearly anything I want them to. It’s kind of funny. Even noise can be dealt with.

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I’m with Howard. I like active just as much as passive. I agree that passive is less of a hassle with (un)plugging cables, but is that really a big deal? My active basses have a passive/active toggle but the active side usually sound more balanced and have a bit more punch (this all depends on the preamp from your pickup, signal could be boosted, EQ, etc.).

I would say it doesn’t matter if you use active or passive for rock. Like Noisembryo said it’s prob more worth looking into your amp/pedals. Hell, you can even play rock on a J Bass :metal:

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I can see @terb’s and @PamPurrs’s point . . . for the longest time, I didn’t use any kind of effects or preamps or pedals, etc.

As a newbie to active/passive preamps though, I really like the active capabilities of my bass, and agree with @howard and @Paul. It’s not any hassle to pull the cable out of the bass when I’m done playing, either . . . :slight_smile:

However . . . I do wonder how they got along without all this stuff back in the 70’s, and whether or not these effects, pedals, etc. are somehow a ‘shortcut’ to achieving the tone you want to create?

Cheers
Joe

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You might find this article interesting @Jazzbass19 . It’s about guitar pedals but it also covers a bit of history.

For example Eric Clapton relies only on his amplifier and guitar pickups for his signature sound. Personally I like to connect my bass directly to my amp too. You can get so much different sounds out of them. That’s why I like to have my amp head and cab separated so that I can switch around head amps for different vibes. Amplifiers existed in the early 1930’s.

So in the context of rock I just turn up my amp gain and drive and tweak my EQ for that gnarly sound. Works on all my amps and they all have a unique sound.

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Just dropping in to say if anyone tells you that ‘you can’t do X on a passive bass’ they’re either a liar or need to practice more. Everyone else already said it better – active/passive is like, 99% a tone thing (and maaaybe 1% a loudness thing?). If I’m using an active bass for a heavy metal/hard rock chug, it’s not because you have to, but because it sounds cool. Same with slap/pop. Same with rapid picking. You can do any of those passively just fine.

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This is what I had thought but wanted to check, thanks all.

I fiddled with the Darkglass Microtubes B3K last night and got every bass I had to sound pretty clunky/gnarly. I think I have finally understood the value of preamps like the Tech 21 and why people like them.

I have pedals and sims up the wazoo, and it really wasn’t until last night and this thread that it all clicked about how one can fully shape tone beyond that tone knob on the bass. Several ways to get to the same place, some with batteries, some without, some active, some passive, some with sims, some with eqs, Yadda Yadda Yadda.

Reason I was asking is there is an ESP Frank Bello bass (the matte black with red stripe) available here locally and the price is super right, love the look, and its passive vs. active like the more $$$ version. I was concerned it wouldn’t give enough ooomph, but I am realizing I can give it more ooomph with all my knobs and dials here if I really need it to.
So, pulling the trigger. Anything that looks like the 1960s Batmobile is a bass for me!

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Nice. Sounds like a killer investment – enjoy it and not changing a battery every 3-6 months :sunglasses:

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Picking up Tuesday

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image

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Very subtle, @Barney . . . :rofl:

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I find that having an active bass is really helpful for playing with others and doing bass solos. I adjust the level of sound for normal playing with the active at about halfway, and when my solos come, I quickly dial up the active so the bass cuts through the rest of the band easily. Then I dial it back when the solo is finished. I have a Yamaha trbx304.

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