Why don’t we like active electronics in a guitar?

tubedude

Strat-O-Master
Mar 18, 2015
598
Golfcity, Ga
Lawrence has a vested interest in stopping progress as it would cost him a bit in R&D.

I find the treble cut tone controls rubbish, I want more mids and volume from my bridge pickup in certain circumstances.

Regards

Mark
In related news of progress, the transistor has rendered tubes useless.
Don't confuse active pickups with progress.
I get better tone and less noise without an active preamp in any of my guitars or basses.
If I used a 35 ft. cable to my amp maybe, but no.
 

diogoguitar

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
2,145
Northwest US
without a battery box it's a pain in the nuts to replace the battery... imagine having to unscrew 11 screws and having to loosen the strings every time. Plus if you leave it plugged, it will keep draining.

Also usually active electronics weigh more ... so the benefits need to far outweigh these "costs". I do have an ESP with active electronics, but it's really easy to swap the battery - I just tap the lid and the battery compartment pops open
 

Groundwire

Strat-Talker
Apr 16, 2021
436
Oregon
Factors One and Two are the root of the "Tubez!" crowd, some of whom will loudly proclaim that all solid state amplification is inferior without acknowledging that their fuzz and tube screamer and the FOH power amps are all solid state amplification.

Your post makes some excellent points, however I will offer a counter to this one point above.
For FOH amplification, solid state is almost undeniably better. More power, more headroom, less distortion.

Distortion and Compression through, are what most of us love about tube amps for guitars. It’s the interaction. The amplifier is acting as a signal processor of sorts. You’re not trying to cleanly amplify the guitar signal without color. Most solid state amps attempt to recreate the tubelike interaction with built in compression and overdrive circuits and this is where they fall short.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not an apples to apples comparison because we are talking about two very different ways to use amplification.

Same with pedals, as tube screamers and fuzz faces are designed to be run into, and interact with, tube amps and generally sound their best when doing so. A fuzz face into a SS amp is not a very good sound, at least in the majority or guitar player’s opinions.
 

amstratnut

Peace thru Music.
Dec 1, 2009
21,161
My house.
I had Duncan A2 active set in my strat for a number of years.

I was playing hard rock at the time and, even though they could handle a lot of gain, they sounded mushy. I never realized that it may have been the fact that they were A2. In fact I only found out what magnets they were after I sold that guitar. A5 might be better. I haven't run across an A5 active sc set.
 

Ronkirn

Most Honored Senior Member
May 26, 2006
6,744
Jacksonville, FL
when I get a fine acoustic in for some kinda work and I see a hole cut in the side with a cheep plastic housing full of sliders, a battery etc... I just cringe.... Particularly in something like a better Martin, Taylor, Gibson.... etc... God... just mike that thing... don't leave a legacy of someone that condones hacking a hole in the side for convenience...

Some day in the future, your GrandSon is gonna say, "Yeah, my whacky GrandPap did that... we erased him out of our Ancestry.com tree because of it . . damn him... didn't he have any idea that a 9v Battery would be banned around 2049... "
 

train

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 22, 2015
1,068
Usa.
I sometimes play thru a pedal board, lots of dc power. So hanging a couple more in front is ok . But ya the electronic era. Sounds different. I remember when everybody was bummed after learning Jeff beck used a pedal…upon reflection .. iam a stupid man.
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
5,825
Murfreesboro, TN
Your post makes some excellent points, however I will offer a counter to this one point above.
For FOH amplification, solid state is almost undeniably better. More power, more headroom, less distortion.

Distortion and Compression through, are what most of us love about tube amps for guitars. It’s the interaction. The amplifier is acting as a signal processor of sorts. You’re not trying to cleanly amplify the guitar signal without color. Most solid state amps attempt to recreate the tubelike interaction with built in compression and overdrive circuits and this is where they fall short.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not an apples to apples comparison because we are talking about two very different ways to use amplification.

Same with pedals, as tube screamers and fuzz faces are designed to be run into, and interact with, tube amps and generally sound their best when doing so. A fuzz face into a SS amp is not a very good sound, at least in the majority or guitar player’s opinions.

I agree with this entirely. The best sounding distortion combines solid state and tubes, and plays with the interaction between them. And is further amplified by big clean SS amps to go to FOH.
 

Groundwire

Strat-Talker
Apr 16, 2021
436
Oregon
I agree with this entirely. The best sounding distortion combines solid state and tubes, and plays with the interaction between them. And is further amplified by big clean SS amps to go to FOH.
Yes, absolutely. The richest guitar sounds are a result of multiple styles of overdrive and compression: Pedal, preamp tube, power tube, output transformer, speaker, mic preamp and outboard gear, analog tape (remember that stuff, which saturates in the most musical way which is totally impossible to replicate via digital?). Too much of any one will sound harsh, fake, or otherwise unpleasant, but used tastefully, in combination; magic can happen.
It’s like when I first started learning to mix. I could never get the mixes loud and when I’d add a bunch of compression at the end to get them louder, the mixes sounded terrible. It took me a long time to learn that multiple stages of subtle compression are much better sounding than a single stage of compression that smashes the damn thing…
 

thomquietwolf

Dr. Stratster
Gold Supporting Member
Silver Member
Dec 2, 2010
19,233
Peardale CA
I’m still amazed that there aren’t more guitars with active tone controls in Strats and Teles.

I remember them coming out in Ibanez guitars in the 80’s and they were well received. The only thing I can remember is a booster being fitted to the Clapton Strat.

While people will say use an EQ pedal, I think an EQ for a particular pickup is a nice touch, this isn’t so hard in a Strat as it is in a Tele.

What are your thoughts?

Regards

Mark

Didn't know we don't like em...
Really?
 

circles

Resident Pinball Enthusiast
May 26, 2013
26,295
West Seattle, Washington
I've never been attracted to active electronics (if it ain't broke, don't fix it), but I did end up buying an EOB Strat, which I suppose qualifies, so I have expanded my horizons a bit I guess. Does the the Sustainer qualifies as 'active'?
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
12,593
State of Disbelief
when I get a fine acoustic in for some kinda work and I see a hole cut in the side with a cheep plastic housing full of sliders, a battery etc... I just cringe.... Particularly in something like a better Martin, Taylor, Gibson.... etc... God... just mike that thing... don't leave a legacy of someone that condones hacking a hole in the side for convenience...

Some day in the future, your GrandSon is gonna say, "Yeah, my whacky GrandPap did that... we erased him out of our Ancestry.com tree because of it . . damn him... didn't he have any idea that a 9v Battery would be banned around 2049... "


or put a piezo under the bridge..but hacking a hole?? That was one reason I liked the Fishman for the strat. It's an elegant solution.
 

fezz parka

fezz parka
Apr 21, 2011
33,088
Nunyo, BZ
Electra_MPC_Guitar_1976.jpg
 

Impulsive guppy

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jan 9, 2020
1,095
Springfield
More info please...

You replace the jack cup with this unit and keep the 9v battery under the pickguard.
They have been making them for decades. Used to be rectangle shaped and called stratoblaster.

I really like it, sounds great and well made.
I don’t run it for overdrive or distortion just to give a boost.
Someone described it as sounding like you installed a new set of strings, I’d somewhat agree with that.
Famous players include Lowell George, Nils Lofgren, and maybe Jerry Garcia.

Here is a link to a page that describes it pretty good:
http://jgsguitargoodness.blogspot.com/2013/08/alembic-blaster-aka-stratoblaster.html
 


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