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Thread: Question about active electronics (Brawley bass)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2017
    Portland, OR

    Question about active electronics (Brawley bass)

    I got this Brawely as a fixer and have it in working order now, but the output seems kind of low, especially for active electronics. Output seems slightly less than my passive early 80's Carvin LB40 bass, which uses a guitar humbucker for crying out loud. Output is about the same as my Yamaha BB350 passive J bass copy. This is with both tone knobs maxed out. Have changed the battery, so don't think it is that. Adjusted the pickups up as high as I can go with reasonable clearance.

    This is the first instrument I've had with active electronics, and don't know if this is normal. I thought active should give higher output levels. Heck, just the two soapbar pickups seem like they should give more output even without the preamp.

    Any thoughts? Anyone have any idea about the wiring on one of these basses? Probably common with the Laguna line and maybe some Corts since I think Cort did the actual manufacturing. The two band EQ seems odd, almost all of the Brawley's I've seen have a three band. I actually thought it was passive when I bought it because it had four knobs and no battery compartment.


  2. #2
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    No help with your bass but I thought that I was the only person in the world who bought (and kept!) a Brawley... Mine is an SSH strat-ish guitar that I rewired.

    Keith Brawley was an executive with Fender who had a lot of contacts in Asia (or just Korea?) so he had them manufacture a guitar that was designed with the open shark mouth headstock (which incidentally is being used on the Laguna guitars I've seen recently at the local GC.)

    Steve A.

    P.S. I have an active bass and thought that the preamp was to allow for shaping the sound actively (boost as well as cut) rather than just boosting the volume as with the preamps I've added to my guitars.

    I really liked the EMG Afterburner I bought for $30 maybe 15 years ago but with it selling for $80 nowadays I'll have to pass on it. (I installed in a 2 knob PRS SE so I wired it up to a PP pot to switch it on to a preset boost.) Does anybody here know of any decent FET on-board preamps around these days - commercial or DIY? Thanks!
    Last edited by Steve A.; 02-15-2018 at 08:53 PM.
    glebert likes this.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    I'm not familiar with that particular preamp, but I do work on a lot of active basses. Some have a level trimmer that balances the passive/active levels - does yours have an internal trimpot?

    Make sure that the circuit itself is getting full battery voltage. Trace where the leads go to on the board and ensure that the full voltage is present. Don't assume that if the battery is good that the voltage is reaching the board.

    Older preamps can suffer from signal loss due to ageing capacitors - take a look to see if there's any crusty, oozing or bulging electrolytics.

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