Bass Guitar - Active or passive?
Feeling clueless about which kind of bass to use? Active bass or passive are different in their inner circuitry, and this has a major impact on their tone. If you are indecisive about which kind of bass is right for you, this is an article you shouldn’t skip..
How does a pickup work?
The pickups system operates via magnets wrapped with fine wire, made from copper. These magnets, called pickups, translate the motion of the strings into an electrical signal which can be sounded by an amplifier.
Bass active pickups
Active pickups are a way of incorporating circuits of electronics in order to change signal detection. As an addition to the regular circuitry, active bass pickups need a battery of 9 volts (which is inserted into the guitar itself as an external power source). The use of active pickups, that can be either single-coils or humbuckers, can boost the output of the volume of the bass guitar. Moreover, active pickups could make the sound much clearer and brighter, than the passive ones. In addition, the bass player can have control over high, low and mid-ends!
Bass passive pickups
Passive pickups are the most common system used by musicians today. In contrast to active pickups, which have an external power source, passive pickup do not have such power source and therefore the sound is more limited to the characteristics of the guitar itself. Using passive pickups, the bass player can still choose between a treble sound (high-end), or a warmer bass sound (low-end).
What is better - active or passive pickups?
Each style of pickups has its own advantages and disadvantages: The passive pickups are limited in the range of the sound, but the active ones would require battery change every once in a while - in order for the guitar to work. One way of making the life of the battery longer, is to plug out the amplifier whenever it is not being used.
To conclude: Choosing between an active pickup and a passive pickup is a matter of individual style!