#3
Quote by Roc8995
Why?

Anything with EMGs. Acoustic emulating solidbodies.



I'm trying to determine if there are any guitars where there is an actual preamp (not just eq), but the preamp is not active.

I suppose I should have reworded my question. Is there such thing as a non active preamp on a guitar?

On a lot of basses there are passive pickups with active eqs. Are there any examples of this on guitars?

Also can you have an active eq without having a preamp? If so can the preamp either be either passive or active or will it also be active?

When referring to a preamp and an eq on a guitar are these terms synonymous or do most guitarist recognize them as separate things on a guitar?
#4
The Blade VST system is a very good active tone control - I had one for a while. The active feeds into a passive standard tone control on a three-position switch - passive, mid-boost and treble/bass boost. Amount of treble, mid and bass boost can the adjusted via trimpots. It is a very versatile system, no doubt locked up tight in a patent.

EDIT. GFS sell assorted onboard fx, including eq. I've had a couple, amd they worked fine. I'm currently using one modded to a switchable system like the Blade VST.
Last edited by Tony Done at Jun 9, 2015,
#5
I don't think there are such things as passive preamps....

The 70s RDs had some sort of Moog witchcraft going on.
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#6
Quote by bachfantasia
I'm trying to determine if there are any guitars where there is an actual preamp (not just eq), but the preamp is not active.

I suppose I should have reworded my question. Is there such thing as a non active preamp on a guitar?

On a lot of basses there are passive pickups with active eqs. Are there any examples of this on guitars?

Also can you have an active eq without having a preamp? If so can the preamp either be either passive or active or will it also be active?

When referring to a preamp and an eq on a guitar are these terms synonymous or do most guitarist recognize them as separate things on a guitar?

See how much more productive it is when you ask good questions?

Preamps are active, almost by definition. A preamp for a guitar is essentially a boost, which naturally enough requires power, which is what 'active' means. I'm sure some marketing team out there has twisted words to pretend they have a "passive preamp" but by common definition that's an oxymoron.

There are plenty of guitars with passive pickups and preamps. Lots of Godin guitars have had this, the Fender Clapton signature guitar, Gibson Classic and Futura, etc etc. Lots out there. At the instrument level a boost, preamp, and active EQ are all essentially the same thing. Obviously the controls will differ a bit, but the basic idea is that you're doing some amplification on board. That's really all a preamp is when we're talking about onboard guitar electronics. Some might argue that there is a distinction between an "active boost" and a "preamp" but I think most of the time you could get away with equating the two.

An active EQ requires, not surprisingly, an active (powered) driver section. For our purposes that's as good as saying "preamp" so again you can interchange the terms and probably never be wrong. It's different when you talk about standalone amps, rackmount/studio gear, etc, but in a guitar there's a pretty low bar for what constitutes a preamp.

Passive EQs for guitars exist, but they're not common. An active EQ on a guitar can safely be assumed to also be a preamp. I think most guitarists would recognize them as the same thing (though obviously not all preamps have EQ controls, but that's an easy distinction.)

So: Active EQ is a type of Active Electronics which for our use is the same thing as a Preamp in this context. You can't quite interchange EQ with the other two but most guitarists would understand all three to be roughly, if not exactly, the same thing. Outside a guitar these definitions mean other things but for our purposes we can make some simplifying assumptions.
#7
I recently discovered the Gus G Pickups and I am just wondering how many guitars have this type of system. Passive pickups/active preamp (implied that pre amp is active right and that it also is an active eq? that would just be redundant to say active preamp and acitve eq? You could just say even passive pickups w/preamp or passive pickups with active eq and the latter would assume there is a preamp which is apparently always active?

Sorry... I am still very confused about this terminology.

What guitars have a similar set up as this with Passive pickups with a preamp?

Thanks.
#8
Slow down and think about this. You're asking for someone to think for you when you already have all the information you need. Reason it out, learn something instead of asking for lists of answers. You can figure this out.

Like I just said, all "active" means is that there's powered amplification going on. So, definitely active electronics here.
An EQ is an Equalizer, which is a tone shaping device, usually with two or more bands. Do you see that here? I don't. I don't think we can call this an active EQ. It is a preamp/active boost though.
As I just said, a preamp and active electronics are, for our purposes, close enough to be called the same thing.

So, answer your own questions.
It's not redundant to say active EQ. You can have a passive EQ, and you can have an active circuit that does not have an EQ.
Passive pickups with an active EQ would be assumed to also be a preamp; again, just said that preamps are going to be active.

I just listed you a whole bunch of guitars with passive pickups and preamps.
#9
a little late to the party, but better late than never.

i think john mayer or eric clapton had active knobs on their (or one of their) signature guitars. i can't remember which or both though.

i have had a passive HB guitar with a boost (preamp, needing power). it was a variable boost, but it caused enough buzzing at high gain, it, for me, was not worth it. the pickups were passive EMG's (EMG HZ's) and the gain IIRC was a EMG afterburner.
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#10
Alexi Laiho's signature ESP has passive pickups and a pre-amp. So both Duncan and ESP will sell you that type of setup.
#11
Quote by bachfantasia
?

Sorry... I am still very confused about this terminology.

What guitars have a similar set up as this with Passive pickups with a preamp?

.


Carvin has had an active guitar preamp available for decades, and I have them on a couple of their guitars:



This one changes how the four pots are used (Master Volume, master treble, master bass, blend knob) and adds an active boost and cut of about 15 dB to both tone controls.

Other manufacturers include Ibanez (their original 2622 from the late '70's and the AR-500 and AR-5000 guitars), Bartolini (I have a couple of mid-70's Moonstones with active preamps), Alembic, etc.



The reason we don't see more of them on guitars is that guitarists, by and large, tend to be sheep; traditionalists who still believe that a strat or Les Paul with a Fender or Marshall amp is the height of guitar capability. Bass players, however, tend to be a bit more practical and comfortable with various technological breakthroughs. Thus, there are a huge variety of preamps built into guitars with otherwise passive pickups.

It should be noted that "active pickups" aren't, really. They simply have part of the preamp built into the pickup itself and part outside, but the basic electronics remain the same. It all requires a 9V battery (or two).



Worth noting that there are a wide variety of pickups available for guitar that require power that aren't magnetic in the usual sense. Piezo saddles, for example, are "active" in that they won't function without a power source, and their output can be fed into a variety of electronic devices. Most have a preamp that simply modifies the signal (and tones) to something we can use directly in an amplifier. Some, like the Variax, have a whole electronics suite built into the guitar. Others feed MIDI synths, etc.
Last edited by dspellman at Jun 10, 2015,
#12
Quote by Roc8995


Passive EQs for guitars exist, but they're not common.



Hmmm.. I suppose I don't understand this part... When we are talking about an eq on a guitar, aren't we just referring to the tone knobs? In this sense, don't many stock guitars have passive eq's?
#13
Quote by dspellman

It should be noted that "active pickups" aren't, really. They simply have part of the preamp built into the pickup itself and part outside, but the basic electronics remain the same. It all requires a 9V battery (or two).



What about push/pull systems just applying to the EQ? Are there systems where the push/pull applies to just the EQ being active/passive and not the pickups? Meaning the pickups will remain passive no matter what, but you can control whether or not you want the eq to be passive/active?

Thanks.
Last edited by bachfantasia at Jun 10, 2015,
#14
Quote by bachfantasia
Hmmm.. I suppose I don't understand this part... When we are talking about an eq on a guitar, aren't we just referring to the tone knobs? In this sense, don't many stock guitars have passive eq's?


Almost every electric guitar has a tone knob or two. Tone knobs filter out high frequencies. They eliminate those frequencies.
Some guitars have other types of tone controls. The G&L guitars had a bass cut. Again - it removed frequencies.
If you go back in history there used to be Gibsons that would remove frequencies in the middle. (hell, someone probably makes them today) You can also adjust the location or the depth of the mid-frequency cut.

These are all ways to alter the frequency of your guitar sound. They're all passive, which means no battery required.

There is no way to boost a frequency unless you use a battery and anything that uses a battery is considered "active".

So yes, you can cut any frequency with a clever tone stack and install it on any guitar that has room to fit the parts. But if you want to boost any signal at all then you need to have an active circuit, and the requirements of designing those circuits are such that you're going to have a pre-amp no matter what. The overlap between active tone controls and pre-amplification is almost total.
Sure, you could technically design the circuit to have no amplification whatsoever, but then you're adding a lot of complexity to the circuit (compared to a passive design) and getting no benefit.

Active pickups are boosted pickups. The designers can design the circuitry to filter the signal or they can design the circuitry so that it (almost) doesn't filter it at all, but the difference between the two approaches is barely worth thinking about.
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Jun 10, 2015,
#15
Quote by paul.housley.7
Almost every electric guitar has a tone knob or two. Tone knobs filter out high frequencies. They eliminate those frequencies.
Some guitars have other types of tone controls. The G&L guitars had a bass cut. Again - it removed frequencies.
If you go back in history there used to be Gibsons that would remove frequencies in the middle. (hell, someone probably makes them today) You can also adjust the location or the depth of the mid-frequency cut.

These are all ways to alter the frequency of your guitar sound. They're all passive, which means no battery required.

There is no way to boost a frequency unless you use a battery and anything that uses a battery is considered "active".

So yes, you can cut any frequency with a clever tone stack and install it on any guitar that has room to fit the parts. But if you want to boost any signal at all then you need to have an active circuit, and the requirements of designing those circuits are such that you're going to have a pre-amp no matter what. The overlap between active tone controls and pre-amplification is almost total.
Sure, you could technically design the circuit to have no amplification whatsoever, but then you're adding a lot of complexity to the circuit (compared to a passive design) and getting no benefit.

Active pickups are boosted pickups. The designers can design the circuitry to filter the signal or they can design the circuitry so that it (almost) doesn't filter it at all, but the difference between the two approaches is barely worth thinking about.


Thanks this helps...
So even if the tone controls aren't active, they are still considered to be an eq though, right?
#17
Quote by paul.housley.7
equalization is a process. An eq could be any device that you can use to shape tone.


Perfect thanks.
#18
Quote by bachfantasia
Hmmm.. I suppose I don't understand this part... When we are talking about an eq on a guitar, aren't we just referring to the tone knobs? In this sense, don't many stock guitars have passive eq's?


Passive EQ is pretty much limited to rolling off whatever the pickups produce. Most stock guitars have nothing more than a treble rolloff control.

A standard "tone" knob is a treble rolloff. But there are also mids rolloffs (Gibson put those on the L6S, for example) that roll off a particular frequency band, and there are sweepable mids rolloffs that can select the frequency area that rolls off. And then there are bass rolloffs as well (the reissue L6S had one of these instead of the mids rolloff). Most guitars have none of the rest of these, but all of these can only roll off what's already there.

NONE of them BOOST those frequencies. That takes power (usually in the form of a 9V). An active preamp can boost treble frequencies, boost mids, boost bass frequencies, and can accurately CUT those frequencies (a capacitor doesn't do much in that regard). It can also boost volume. I have a sweepable mids boost (a Chandler Tone-X) that produces a 16 dB boost, but you can select the mids frequency you want to boost. Think of a parked wah pedal.
#19
Quote by dspellman


The reason we don't see more of them on guitars is that guitarists, by and large, tend to be sheep; traditionalists who still believe that a strat or Les Paul with a Fender or Marshall amp is the height of guitar capability. Bass players, however, tend to be a bit more practical and comfortable with various technological breakthroughs. Thus, there are a huge variety of preamps built into guitars with otherwise passive pickups.



I wouldn´t go that far. Many guitarists like to gig with a variety of guitars. If some have pre-amps and others don´t there´ll be trouble on the amps and effects side of your setup. That´s why I for example only have 2 such guitars which I rarely play. It´s a lot easier to use a pedal as a booster or eq or whatever when necessary.
#20
Quote by kentuckyklira
I wouldn´t go that far. Many guitarists like to gig with a variety of guitars. If some have pre-amps and others don´t there´ll be trouble on the amps and effects side of your setup. That´s why I for example only have 2 such guitars which I rarely play. It´s a lot easier to use a pedal as a booster or eq or whatever when necessary.


I've never had issues with either amps or effects from preamp-equipped guitars, and I don't think bassists do either (I've only got one "active" bass, so I can't speak for all, or even for many).
#21
Quote by kentuckyklira
I wouldn´t go that far. Many guitarists like to gig with a variety of guitars.


The bulk of the guitar market as it exists today consists of traditional and quite ordinary guitars that echo other guitars that have existed for 20 years or more (some 60 years). Most buy what some guitarist before them bought, and that guitarist likely followed someone else.

Bass players have a much higher incidence of acceptance of innovation, and keyboardists fairly slobber over the latest board or synth software release. It's a different world once you get beyond guitar players. Probably a subject for another thread.
#22
Quote by dspellman
The bulk of the guitar market as it exists today consists of traditional and quite ordinary guitars that echo other guitars that have existed for 20 years or more (some 60 years). Most buy what some guitarist before them bought, and that guitarist likely followed someone else.

Bass players have a much higher incidence of acceptance of innovation, and keyboardists fairly slobber over the latest board or synth software release. It's a different world once you get beyond guitar players. Probably a subject for another thread.


I went all 19" rack, Floyd Rose superstrat etc. back in the 80s. I´m back to a simpler set up because I hardly ever used 90% of the options my rack gear had. I still thank Satan for Floyd Rose´s trems and use them regularly. I also don´t miss one channel amps and all the step dancing it took to switch from clean to crunch to solos etc.. I think most guitarists aren´t that traditionalist.

There is, of course, the small but wealthy group of one blues session a year lawyers and dentists who fit your description above. They are ridiculous but they´re also the reason I´m keeping every old amp and instrument I own to make sure I´won´t die poor.
#23
Quote by kentuckyklira

There is, of course, the small but wealthy group of one blues session a year lawyers and dentists who fit your description above. They are ridiculous but they´re also the reason I´m keeping every old amp and instrument I own to make sure I´won´t die poor.


Smart man. I figure that sooner or later some interior decorator will want one for wall art or to use as an end table.

I'm referring, in part, less to the rack bunch than to the army of darkness folks who line up nose to tail to buy exactly the same Ibanez or Schecter or LTD in flat black and who share guyliner tips like Klingon Kardashians.
Last edited by dspellman at Jun 13, 2015,
#24
Quote by Roc8995
See how much more productive it is when you ask good questions?

Preamps are active, almost by definition. A preamp for a guitar is essentially a boost, which naturally enough requires power, which is what 'active' means. I'm sure some marketing team out there has twisted words to pretend they have a "passive preamp" but by common definition that's an oxymoron.



Let's give some correct information about preamps so the guy knows why there aren't any/many passive ones for guitar. Passive preamps certainly exist, and preamps are not active by definition. A preamp doesn't even require tones having capabilities, just a volume control and/or line selection. A passive preamp attenuated volume rather than adds gain, so no power is required. It's becoming more and more popular in hifi setups, where you have a generally accepted (yet sometimes deviated from) 2V output from a source into an input with 500mV sensitivity. This setup without a pre is more than enough to drive a power amp. The attenuator is just there to cut the volume down from being 'full on'.

Then again, with the huge variation in pickups and playing dynamics, there will be far too low voltage for use with a passive preamp and more than likely impedance mismatching.
Last edited by Deliriumbassist at Jun 13, 2015,
#25
It's a good thing I used terms like "almost" and "in this context" specifically to avoid having to add all that information. It's not wrong, but it's irrelevant and could be confusing in this narrowly defined discussion, which is why I didn't make any of the claims you're addressing.
#26
Man, I must have been tired when I wrote that. Must have just seen 'preamps are active almost by definition' bit and went 'NOPE'

I'd argue that any volume or tone control on a guitar is part of a preamp setup, though. It is, after all, preparing a signal, which is, by definition, what a preamp does. It's just that a passive preamp can't boost, only attenuate.

I don't think it's a whole lot more info to take in/adding confusion. Better to know what something is and then understand why JD how it's applied rather than knowing how something works in a smaller context and then having to almost relearn something if you come across the same thing in a different context.
Last edited by Deliriumbassist at Jun 14, 2015,
#27
I would not say that the usual passive controls constitute a preamp. I think when guitarists say an instrument has a preamp, they mean an active circuit. I'd be confused if someone told me a guitar had a preamp when it just had a passive volume control. The preamp term loses all meaning if it applies to every production guitar on earth.
#28
I have a pre amp guitar that doesn't boost volume by design , a G&L Cavalier E , it switches the pick ups from high impendence to low , why it does this was for players in the 80's that would play out in the audience with 100's of feet of cable and not loose sound from the additional cable , it works good to

here's a quote from the G&L forum
Unlike any other preamp Leo Fender had designed to that point, the Cavalier's unit did not boost volume or treble frequencies. According to G&L researcher Gabe Dellavigne, it simply switches the output from high impedence to low impedence and the preamp does not color the tone in any way. Very, very few Cavaliers were produced with the optional preamp.


G&L CAVALIER (May 1984)