Yamaha BB1500a-Replacement Pickups & Pre-Amp

Hello, Everyone,

I have a Yamaha BB1500a Jazz bass that I have owned since the 90’. I do not play it often anymore but pulled it out yesterday and noticed that it has a really low output in comparison to my other basses. So, I went down a rabbit hole looking for replacement pickups and a new pre-amp without much luck (my inexperience is showing).

Would any of you have any advice as to how to go about finding a replacement harness for a five knob (Volume/Blend/Treble/Mid/Bass) bass? I found one on EMGs site but wasn’t sure whether that would replace all the electronics in the BB1500a since the knobs and the circuitry are separate in the current configuration. Below is a YouTube link that shows the current circuitry if that helps?

Apologizes for the long post, but any advice would be appreciated.



Just to get some of the more obvious reasons out of the way: have you checked the battery, string and pickup height?


Well this ^^^, first thing first right?

You can change one or the other or both. Pick up and/or preamp.

If you want to stay with the active preamp then you can switch the pickup to something hotter or more output, Quarter pounder, Nordstrand, Delano. If you want to go with EMG and their electronics then you kinda have to (want to go with their electronics). EMGs active pickups are different than most aftermarket pickups since they are actually active pickup compare to most passive pickups with active preamps.

There are plenty of option for preamps if you choose to go with EMG you can do the BQC, or BTS in tandem with the pots that come with the pickups or run them with the 5 knobs preamp to start with. If you choose to go with EMG shoot me the questions, I’ve done plenty I can help you with what I know and have tried.

Here’s the example of what I did with my EMG custom built with the Prototype PVX pickups.


Well, that would have been the smart thing to do before going shopping! :rofl:

Let me check that out and I’ll let you know if there is any improvement. My memory of this bass is that it has always had lower output and I would need to crank the gain on the amp.


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Thanks, I will check the battery etc., as Mike has suggested.

Having zero experience with swapping out pickups or preamps, I was obviously jumping in with both feet here…I’m going with I read too many forums! :rofl:

So, I am not tied to EMG, it was just one of the sites I was looking at thinking I would need to replace both. Is it your opinion that if it turns out that the battery, string, and, pickup heights are fine, that I should first try upgrading the pickups? This would certainly be an easier step forward then attempting to swap everything out and then getting frustrated and just buying a new Jazz bass. :crazy_face:

I appreciate your offer to help, very kind of you.



Upon closer look at the video you may not have to change or swap anything. The BB1500A is pretty awesome and offer some of the more extensive adjustments under the hood.

Starting at 9 minute mark he’s talking about the preamp adjust and at around 11: minute ish he’s adjusting the global preamp output.

All you have to do is have a few screw drivers ready one is the normal size Phillips and another is the small precision flat screw.

This should be simple enough and it would be awesome if you can snap a few pictures and share it with everyone here for reference. I would not change out the pickups on this one for sure. They are pretty awesome.

Got stuck? Let us know. It’s all trials and errors you just have to feel your way to the right balance.

Have fun! You are about to dial in your bass. It would be so awesome.


Thanks, I already tried to adjust the global output per the video. Turned it up to the max and no noticeable difference. Going to swap out the battery tomorrow evening and measure the pickup heights to rule that out.

I appreciate your input and will provide an update soon.


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Update -changed out the battery and checked the pickup height. No output change, so swapped out the Tapewounds that I had on the Bass for La Bella Deep Talkin strings and did get some improvement to the output, but not much.

So, guess I will have to decide whether or not to changed out the pickups or just keep turning up the gain on the amp. It’s funny because this is probably one of the reasons that haven’t played this bass for years along with fact it is heavy!

Thanks again for your advice!

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