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Microphone Month 5

Conspicuous (Battery) Consumption

Q: I own a wonderful bass guitar with an active EQ and preamp, but it’s seemingly insatiable when it comes to gobbling up 9-volt batteries. I’ve tried every 9-volt battery type with the same results. Is it possible to play it as a standard passive instrument or circumvent the active electronics?

A: First off, we suspect you are leaving your bass plugged in, making it a snap to flip on your amplifier and start playing. If a cable is plugged, the electronics are drawing current. That’s our very best guess, and if that’s the case, unplug the cable and your problem is solved. Unfortunately, without a battery inserted, the active electronics won’t work, thus the signal cannot reach from the pickups (which are not designed to be passive in any case) to the output jack. If you have unplugged the cable and the bass is still sucking up batteries, it’s time to take it to a qualified guitar tech who can troubleshoot the problem properly.

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