How the bass guitar sounds to a large extent is dependent on the pickups and a good bass guitar pickup can make a big difference to the sound that emanates from a guitar. You can always change your pickup if you are not satisfied with the one that you have on your guitar. Normally the pickups are categorized into two namely passive pickups and active pickups. What is the difference between the two and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each type?
The basic difference between the two is that active pickups are battery powered and the passive pickups are not. Let us look at both in detail so that we will be able to get a better decision regarding the kind of pickup that will be suitable for our guitar.
Most bass guitars that were made during the 1950s to 1970s period used the passive pickups and you can find this in the kind of music that we heard from the guitars of James Cameroon, Beatles and The Cream. You will hear a dynamic, full, warm and round tone from a passive pickup and therein lays the appeal. There is a larger magnet that is used in comparison to the active pickup and due to this external noise or interference is easily picked. When you use the passive pickups you can cut out or tune down the bass and treble frequencies.
The active pickups use a pre amplifier and will help you to cut and boost frequencies and you can control the tone coming from the bass in a much more effective manner. As it is battery operated you will need to carry an extra spare of batteries if your current batteries die down. As these pickups use very small magnets the chances of picking up the external sound or interference is very less. Most professionals listen to the different pickups that are available and then make a choice.
You also have the split coil pickups and this means that the double coil is split twice. There will not be just one coil under all the four strings but the pickups will be equally divided between two pair of strings. You will need to do a bit of research on good bass guitar pickups and then decide which one will ideally suit your requirements.