#1
I'm thinking of building a guitar during the summer and I'm wondering which pick ups to use, I just want to know what the difference is between these two type.
#3
active = output = gain= metal
passive= 60s,70s sound distorsion , cleans = universals
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-Squier Bullet Strat

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#4
Quote by prleLTD
active = output = gain= metal
passive= 60s,70s sound distorsion , cleans = universals


........ No. Passive are great for metal as well. In my opinion, better because they are a lot more versatile and generally, have better cleans.

Actives are sort of a one trick pony in that they do the gain thing lovely, but it's without its flaws. The cleans are OK, as long as you can deal with lack luster cleans. As well, the distortion, while tight, feels a little bit... soulless to me.
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#5
yeah man i just wrote this quickly ..... sure i actualy prefer singlecoil passives
Gear:
-Squier Bullet Strat

DUNLOP CRY BABY

-Peavey ValveKing 212
#6
Quote by prleLTD
active = output = gain= metal
passive= 60s,70s sound distorsion , cleans = universals



Passives are excellent for metal and usually have a more crisp, defined sound than active pickups. They definitely have a raw feel to them. I say go for passives.
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heres the progression

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played at 883 bmp change the chord every click

its pretty easy though
#7
Comparing "actives to passives" is like comparing "Ford to Honda" (idk lol)

The argument is absolutely pointless without specifics. Otherwise all you have is broad sweeping generalizations, that don't actually help you at all. If you want legitimate help, you'll need to compare actual pickup models.

EDIT: To answer your initial question though, the objective differences (having nothing to do with sound) is that active pickups are comprised of very weak magnets that are boosted with a preamp that is powered by a battery(ies). A passive pickup is a just a magnet that acts on its own, without the aid of a preamp.

Like I said, what that means sonically will depend on the actual pickups being compared.
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Last edited by Offworld92 at May 31, 2011,
#8
I really have to disagree with the active pup = sterile cleans. I find that my KH-602 with EMGs gets a nicer clean tone than my custom shop LP, but y'know, it's all subjective :P

IMO the best clean tone is a sparkly strat tone

Anywho, back to the TS, I find that passive pups don't hum as much (unless they're single-coils), and if you're trying to get pre-amp gain (like from an old Marshall head) then they're a much better choice than active pickups. Active pickups are typically very high-frequency oriented, so in a way they're like single-coil pickups, but many of them are built in a humbucker fashion, using a battery to get that high output. If you want a really squeally tone (think Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Neal Schon), then go for the actives. If you want something a bit more natural sounding, then I'd go for the passives.
#9
It depends on the pickup, really. I prefer EMG so I can have a flat tone that I can shape afterwards. I don't want it 'coloured' before it hits the amp.
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#10
i love my emgs and with a bit of fiddling with eq and tone/volume controls i can get a good clean sound
#11
Quote by Offworld92
...To answer your initial question though, the objective differences (having nothing to do with sound) is that active pickups are comprised of very weak magnets that are boosted with a preamp that is powered by a battery(ies). A passive pickup is a just a magnet that acts on its own, without the aid of a preamp.

Like I said, what that means sonically will depend on the actual pickups being compared.


I think the weaker magnets are compensated by the fact you typically adjust the pickups much closer to the string than you would with a passive pickup. Then the onboard preamp adds gain and compression.

Quote by Superstrat101
...Anywho, back to the TS, I find that passive pups don't hum as much (unless they're single-coils), and if you're trying to get pre-amp gain (like from an old Marshall head) then they're a much better choice than active pickups. Active pickups are typically very high-frequency oriented, so in a way they're like single-coil pickups, but many of them are built in a humbucker fashion, using a battery to get that high output. If you want a really squeally tone (think Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Neal Schon), then go for the actives. If you want something a bit more natural sounding, then I'd go for the passives.

My EMG 81TW is dead silent, I have no hum or any of the noise I've had on all the passive pickups I've played. Of course it's only dead quiet when I mute the strings as coupled with the 6262 it starts to feedback pretty damn quick if I'm not playing or muting.
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#12
Without knowing anything about what they're being used in or for, or any specific models being mentioned the main features of actives is that they're quieter than passives, will retain clarity under distortion, and maintain signal integrity through a large chain of effects. Having said that there's plenty of passives that will maintain clarity under distortion too, certainly most pickups with a ceramic magnet will do that.

They're quiet because of the weaker magnets, the pickups themselves generate a weak signal compared to a passive pickup - it's the onboard preamp that provides the power and results in a hotter output from the guitar.

The sensible thing is to approach this from the other direction, the right direction. What kind of guitar are you building, what are you going to be playing with it, what are you going to plug it into and what do you want it to sound like - then you can actually start to make an objective choice as to what pickups to use in it.
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#14
I have to argue against the active stereotypes - if you can't get a very nice clean tone out of active pickups, then you don't know how to EQ properly. Active pickups were originally designed for jazz, so to say they can't handle cleans is a pretty stupid statement. Even the 81, which is about the only one that doesn't have a very good natural clean sound, can be EQ'd to perform quite well. Plus the distortion kicks ass , and you can always 18v mod that bitch if you want it to sound even better
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#15
Quote by steven seagull
Without knowing anything about what they're being used in or for, or any specific models being mentioned the main features of actives is that they're quieter than passives, will retain clarity under distortion, and maintain signal integrity through a large chain of effects. Having said that there's plenty of passives that will maintain clarity under distortion too, certainly most pickups with a ceramic magnet will do that.

They're quiet because of the weaker magnets, the pickups themselves generate a weak signal compared to a passive pickup - it's the onboard preamp that provides the power and results in a hotter output from the guitar.

The sensible thing is to approach this from the other direction, the right direction. What kind of guitar are you building, what are you going to be playing with it, what are you going to plug it into and what do you want it to sound like - then you can actually start to make an objective choice as to what pickups to use in it.

Spot on steve! TS, read this, forget the rest.
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#17
Quote by teh_goon
is it true that you shouldn't use actives with an ss amp?

No, it's not true. SS amp or tube amp, doesn't matter. Active pickups have no particular use unless you have a long cirquit signal or want to push an already cranked tube amp even further.
It could be that you actually LIKE the sound active pickups, and that THAT is the reason why you buy it. But seriously, whether you use passive or active pickups on a SS amp, it wont change alot. On high volumes you'll get that horrible cranked SS amp sound, and on lower levels it'll be preamp overdrive anyway.
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#18
Actives, or at least my EMG 81TW don't sound too great through solid state in my opinion. Too much solid state clipping and it sounds like static. Sounds absolutely amazing in my humble opinion through my Bugera though.
My Gear:
Suzuki Classical Guitar from 60s
B.C. Rich Warlock
Epiphone Les Paul Junior
Monterey Steel String Acoustic
Maton M255 Steel String Acoustic
Agile AL-3100 w/ EMG 81/85
Bugera 6262-212
#19
Passives: More of the sound of your instrument comes through than just the electronics. The ones with alloy magnets are warmer and fuller than ones with ceramic magnets.

Actives: You'll only hear the sound of the pickups. You could put the same set of actives on a guitar made of old growth mahogany with a neck made from the Yggdrasil, Madagascar rosewood fretboard and an finish made of mermaid tears and it'd still sound the same as on a piece of particle board. Also, there are batteries that die and you have to replace.
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#20
Seems to me that people here prefer passive.......listen to him ^^^^^^^^ and the others that mentioned the exact same thing.
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#21
Quote by kangaxxter
Passives: More of the sound of your instrument comes through than just the electronics. The ones with alloy magnets are warmer and fuller than ones with ceramic magnets.

Actives: You'll only hear the sound of the pickups. You could put the same set of actives on a guitar made of old growth mahogany with a neck made from the Yggdrasil, Madagascar rosewood fretboard and an finish made of mermaid tears and it'd still sound the same as on a piece of particle board. Also, there are batteries that die and you have to replace.


completely untrue. certainly, you hear more of the pickups with actives, thats inescapable. but to say that you hear none of the construction and materials is outright wrong.
#22
Quote by krehzeekid
completely untrue. certainly, you hear more of the pickups with actives, thats inescapable. but to say that you hear none of the construction and materials is outright wrong.


+1. It's a silly stereotype mostly spread by people who have never actually spent any real time with actives. Same goes for the "one trick pony" comments and the "no cleans" comments.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X