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EMG-81 bridge with seymour duncan 59' neck combination


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Hi, a friend of mine has told me if I could install an active pup in his passive guitar combining both active and passive pups.The problem is that the guitar (Jackson) is one volume, one tone, 3 way switch.Is is posible to combine both pups or is not a good idea due to I think they both should be in different circuits with a tone and volume control separately for each pick up.What do you think? thank you so much in advance:

Juan Carlos

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The short answer is it will work...just barely...but with a number of caveats.

  • The active pickup will dominate the passive (especially noticable when combining the two).
  • The two pickups require use of vastly different volume pots - high impedance for passive, low impedance for active. Using the recommended low impedance pot for the active pickup will slug the passive pickup output a lot and dull the tone. Going the other way and using a high-impedance volume pot will give slightly better results, but the rotational behaviour of the pot will be vastly different between the two pickups. Mixing pickup types with a common tone pot will give equally wacky results

Longer answer can be found here.

General concensus is that it may be an OK idea if you never want to combine the two pickups and are happy to use independent volume/tone controls, but if you want to do anything more than this you're going to have to install some kind of onboard preamp to allow the passive pickup to play ball with the active - depending on your motivation and/or skills possibly more work than it's worth - or perform the mixing of the two pickups externally from the guitar (you'll need more hardware on the floor before going to the amp and will have to mod the guitar to have dual outputs).

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+1 on the pre-amp idea. It is possible to find pre-amps which are built onto the rear of a pot from what I remember. This would perhaps mean you'd have two volumes rather than switching. A separate pre-amp would be better. Perhaps one of the EMG boost accessories like the PA2 might work?

If you want switching, you could buy two dual-gang pots - one with a a resistance similar (20-25k) to the EMG and one higher (250-500k) for the passive. Disassemble the pots and swap one wafer to create a dual-gang pot with two values. One controls the passive and the other the active. Switching can be done with a toggle, however mixing the two signals is now an issue.

I would go the route of a small pre-amp buffer. It maintains the benefits of the EMG whilst providing a cleaner signal path for the passive through your cable runs, etc.

Curtisa is totally your guy on this one, Juan.

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