Quiet Bass?

Hi all, just wondering if anyone else has encountered this issue. I have several ESP LTD basses with the 204 pickups (soapbars). All of my basses have two pickups, except for one which has one pickup. Coincidentally, the single pickup is a lot quieter than the two pickup models. Is that just how it is? It may be related to my new Zoom B6 pedal, but I’m not sure yet, and I’m still ruling out other factors. Anyone else run into something like this? I don’t know much about voltages and electronics so don’t mention that haha

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Do you know if your quiet bass is active or passive vs. your louder basses? Active basses can add a deal more oomph to your volume.

You can tell if your bass is active by flipping it over, if it has a compartment for a 9V/18V batteries, that means it’s active. No compartment means it’s passive.

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Good point, I should have mentioned that all the basses are active, fresh single 9V batteries in each.


Have you checked the pickup height? Maybe the quieter one is too far from the strings.


Good suggestion. I have now checked the heights, they are all the same within 1mm or so. I have not adjusted heights set by the factory.

The dumbest question but it has to be asked - volume knob cranked up all the way on the quiet one?

A little experiment you could try is pan the blend pot or turn down the volume on one of the pickups of the dual pickup models so that the same pickup in the same position of the single pickup model can be heard alone. Play the basses back to back to hear if there is a difference. If they are the same model of soapbar pickup, in the same position under the strings, at the same height and the preamp is the same they should sound pretty similar.

Not a dumb question. All volumes are up.

I’ll try this :slight_smile:

Most stringed instruments have an arched fretboard, to allow for the difference in string diameters. The strings should usually follow that radius.

In other words there should be a difference between the large diameter low E string distance to the pickup pole pieces and the thinner high G string.

1ml can make a difference, however, different pickups have different output levels. Passive or active preamp etc aside.

The solution…turn up your amp!

I did have an EMG set that was so low output (Frank Bello bass that I swapped them with the actives cause it drove me nuts.

I’ve got DiMarzio passives that are hotter than any active setup etc. gain knobs are your friend here

Agreed, but the volume difference affects all four strings.

The solution will seem to be to set different gain levels based on the instrument. I can just assign different volume levels to different effects patches on the B6, based on which bass I am playing :slight_smile:

This is completely normal.
My amp also has a ‘low/high gain’ switch for pickups to help normalize this as well.

I have several ESP basses with that series of pickups. One is very quiet; raising the pickup really helped



Also consider this, if your double pickups wired in parallel naturally it would be much louder.