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

thomquietwolf

Dr. Stratster
Gold Supporting Member
Silver Member
Dec 2, 2010
19,233
Peardale CA
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

Thank you....
 

wavemagnet

Strat-Talker
Jun 8, 2010
113
Noise in Illinois
The 25db boost in the Clapton Strat works well and the battery lasts for months. A little goes a long way, it doesn't have to be dimed all the time. Also, Clapton Strats are built so well. I've never seen or played a bad one.
 

JKjr

Strat-Talker
Jun 8, 2008
206
Raleighwood
I suppose I could come up with all sorts of reasons to justify it but the fact is I just like the old school sounds. I haven't heard an EMG I liked. Gilmour doesn't count.
I have 2 strats with Lace sensors and TBX; One has the mid boost. They're both great for noisy places, beer neon etc...but I prefer the passive sounds. If they came up with an onboard that sounded better to my ears I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
 

libertarian

Strat-O-Master
Dec 26, 2013
890
Boston, MA
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

Depends on the situation and instrument. I’m not fully opposed to the idea. I still want a Gilmour Red Strat clone one day with his EMG rig. But I would likely still resort to my vintage Strat and a Les Paul most of the time. Part of the sound to me is the interaction of the components. I don’t like active components along the way to the amp (yes, I’m also a “true bypass” guy when it come to pedals).
And then there is the OCD factor around batteries…
For my seven string I actually bought a MusicMan Petrucci JP15. One of my biggest problems with it are the electronics. The pickups are passive but it has a (useless) boost switch that keeps the circuit buffered and dependent on a battery. I’ve been looking for a while now to find a simple way to bypass all that. The guitar doesn’t react as lively as others that are very similar otherwise.
 

jackietreehorn

Strat-Talker
Jun 17, 2020
103
Minneapolis, MN
I’ve had active electronics on guitars, and in reply to the person who mentioned impedance, that was the reason why - putting buffers right after the pickups or boosters right before the jack eliminates / minimizes impedance and gives you more top end. It’s not for everyone though. I certainly use more active electronics on basses.
 

stylemessiah

Strat-Talker
Dec 11, 2017
276
Sydney, Australia
The Clapton Mid Boost kit is about the best investment you can make in inboard electronics on a Strat, end of

Eric's hated his since 1988.....its sounded crap on millions of records sold...he's had to unfortunately buy several Ferraris with the proceeds

But my larger point stands...
 
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davidKOS

not posting these days
May 28, 2012
16,017
California
to quote Bill Lawrence, "Batteries belong in flashlights."

Mostly I don't like active electronics in electric guitars - but I make an exception for the Variax!

Vox-Organ.jpg

those combo organs in a guitar were rough to keep working - it was triggered by contact with the frets.
 

AJS000

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 19, 2021
36
Australia
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... "

My Martin 000 has a pre-amp without the hole in it.
Some kind of Fishman power jack thing. I can't mic the guitar unless playing solo. Can't do it on stage with a band
 

keys88

Strat-Talker
Apr 4, 2014
280
Columbus, OH
When it comes to active vs passive electronics, neither one is better or worse. They're just different. When I'm playing my Strat I'm typically going for a more vintage-voiced, nuanced, tone. I want my guitar to pick up on every subtle change in my playing and I don't want active electronics getting in the way. They're just a little TOO present. But I also have a Dean Z79 with active EMGs in it. That guitar is not subtle at all lol. But with a Dean Z that's kind of the point. Just different tools for different fools ;)
 

Neckbone281

New Member!
Jan 28, 2021
8
Florida
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
I looked through several replies, and I didn't see the Deluxe Powerhouse mentioned. I believe it was modeled after the Clapton model (with 12 db boost vs 25 db). I agree with you in that these were the only models like this. On the Powerhouse (pic), the lower tone knob is the volume for the mid-boost. I like it when it's your turn for a solo, as that "boost" can put you up top just enough. I have yet to meet a Strat owner that is familiar with this guitar.(Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, was his band in 1966) my 02 strat.jpg 2007 musicians friend mag ad.jpg
 

AJS000

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 19, 2021
36
Australia
I looked through several replies, and I didn't see the Deluxe Powerhouse mentioned. I believe it was modeled after the Clapton model (with 12 db boost vs 25 db). I agree with you in that these were the only models like this. On the Powerhouse (pic), the lower tone knob is the volume for the mid-boost. I like it when it's your turn for a solo, as that "boost" can put you up top just enough. I have yet to meet a Strat owner that is familiar with this guitar.(Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, was his band in 1966) View attachment 512644 View attachment 512645
I remember that one. Also the FSR Tele.

Also the higher priced Buddy Guy Strat had it too. The 25db boost.
 

jackblues

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2021
85
Princeton, NJ
Hey, i’m new here, but here’s my five cents on the topic… I’ve been playing all kinds of strats for over 20 years and own quite a few myself, I think that everything you can invent that will help improve your tone ( EQ circuits, mid range boost etc) is absolutely great and has the right to stay in these guitars. On the other hand i personally don’t like active pickups in strats ( or any guitar for that matter) as those add too much compression and basically eliminate the nuances of playing, making the tone very stable but incredibly average sounding.
 

Lancehankins

New Member!
Oct 23, 2011
2
Anchorage, AK
Haven’t read this whole thread yet, but thought I might throw in my 2cents worth. Back in the late 60s my first Strat had been abused quite a bit before I got it. I’m not saying this was a good idea (in fact I was probably an idiot) but I modded that guitar pretty hard - electronics wise. The major thing I did was blocked the tailpiece, removed the springs and used the cavity for a preamp that ran on a pair of 9volt batteries. It boosted the output at the jack into the Strat-osphere (pun intended) and I pretty much didn’t need any other pedals. Eventually got rid of that one. It wasn’t a failed experiment but I got tired of it. Battery life was pretty good. But there was no bypass in case you lost it at an inopportune moment.
So a few years ago I got what I consider to be the ultimate electronic Strat. Fender teamed with Roland to create the Strat VG. It’s actually a modeling guitar and you can get a great many tones out of it. Runs on 4 AA batteries. But there’s a bypass position where you can run it as a standard American Strat. I’m still really happy with it although they didn’t sell well enough for Fender to keep them around. If you haven’t heard this one, search YouTube for “Strat VG” and check it out.
 

holyjaguar

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 10, 2010
48
Youngstown,Oh..
4 Stratocasters/ 2 Les Pauls / 1 of my Basses/ a fifth Strat with an active tone circuit. All active-all low impedance,means no signal loss over long cable runs- active does’nt mean outrageous gain(unless you want it)able to play multiple genres-three Strats have 18 volt setups behind the doing plate, as they have Kahler Tremolos, they all sound Different from each other, and different from my passives “We” Likeum
 

Piranhakeet

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 30, 2021
15
Tampa, FL
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
Batteries are a pain. :)
 


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