As I get ready to buy and install the Active Guitar Tone Controls or TBX Boost as in The Eric Clapton Strat, I noticed a bit of info that would be considered important. Make sure your guitar has passive pickups.

Definition: Active and Passive Pickups:

Pickups can be either active or passive. Pickups, apart from optical types, are inherently passive transducers. So-called active pickups incorporate electronic circuitry to modify the signal. Passive pickups are usually wire wound around a magnet. They can generate electric potential without need for external power, though their output is relatively low, and the harmonic content of output depends greatly on the winding.

Passive pickups are very convenient as they require no power source to operate. They are the most popular and widely used pickup type on electric guitars, and their frequency response curve is unique to the type and manufacturer.

EMG 81 & EMG 85 — pair of the most famous active pickups in the world

EMG 81 & EMG 85 — pair of the most famous active pickups in the world

Active pickups require an electrical source of energy to operate and include an electronic preamp, active filters, active EQ and other sound-shaping features. They can sometimes give much higher possible output. They also are less affected in tone by varying lengths of amplifier lead, and amplifier input characteristics. Magnetic pickups used with ‘active’ circuitry usually feature a lower inductance (and initially lower output) winding that tends to give a flatter frequency response curve.

The disadvantages of active pickups are the power source (usually either a battery or phantom power), cost, and less defined unique tonal signature. They are more popular on bass guitars, because of their solid tone; most high-end bass guitars feature an active pickup. Most piezoelectric and all optical pickups are active and include some sort of preamp.

The main advantages of active pickups are that they are hum and noise free, at least compared to their passive single coil counterparts, as they require no ground wiring to connect to ground, which also may isolate the player from being electrocuted, should the wiring elsewhere, in other equipment such as a guitar amp, have become hazardous in any way. THE END

Some American Standard Strats are equipped with this tone control that cuts either treble or bass instead of the standard style that attenuates treble only. When the control is set at the centered detent, it is off. Turning the control one way cuts treble; the other way cuts bass. The TBX can be also be wired as a master treble/bass control. It will also work in place of any standard tone control on any guitar with passive pickups.

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2 Responses to A Cool Upgrade for any Electric Guitar With Passive Pickups

  1. cool….

  2. There is no risk of being electrocuted if you insert a capacitor, valued at below 22 nf and rated at 750-1000 V, between the bridge and the ground line.

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