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Active And Passive Pickups In One Guitar?


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Lots of information both on this forum and through Google.

The short answer is: yes, it's problematic.

Most people seem to overcome the most obvious of these difficulties by sending their passive through a preamp, essentially making it an active pickup. Then they can use the same values of potentiometers, etc.

If you had both pickups along completely discrete signal paths (ie. one or the other, with their own controls), it'd be pretty trivial, but it's when you want to combine and blend them that you have to do some planning.

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I’ve done it. I used an EMG humbucker in the bridge and a single coil tele pickup in the neck. Problematic was the word of the day.

I ran the EMG into 25K pots and the single into 250K pots.

Problem 1: avoid connecting them to a shared toggle. Hook each pickup to their own on-off switch so they can maintain their independent signal path straight to output. I used the shared toggle and had a mess of a time with it.

Problem 2: without using a pre-amp on the passive you can’t avoid this one. Signal level. You will have a very significant drop in level when you switch from the bridge to the neck. When running both pickups at once the active will over power the passive.

You can adjust for this by lowering the volume on the active but that tends to weaken the sound and degrade the over quality of the signal.

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