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PREAMPS: Mounting a Small Preamp to your Tailpiece
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A number of players, especially the very active Rockabilly bassists, have elected to mount their preamplifier on their bass (K&K Power Pack, Pure Preamp, Dual Channel Pro/Pro ST, Bass Master Pro/Rockabilly, Golden Trinity Bass systems). This can be appropriate for a number of players for a lot of different reasons. As a result, I've documented the setup I did for a friend, and I've also had special cables built for your convenience, since I have not been able to find a commercially available one-foot stereo cable with angled TRS connectors.

Mounting Kit Available for your convenience:
I've published this page for several years in order to assist players to acheive a low-profile pickup installation, but some customers have told me that they had a bit of trouble sourcing the appropriate materials. To make things even easier, I've assembled a "kit" to aid you in this process. The kit includes:
  • A high-quality 12" cable (mono or stereo available)
  • A dark-colored, dual-surface hook-and-loop strap
  • A piece of charcoal-colored, vibration-deadening foam
  • Complete, illustrated instructions
This kit is available at the bottom of the page, in both mono and stereo versions, if you're interested. It contains one of the same high-quality 12" cables I've carried for several years. The full mounting kit is only $1 more than the cost of the cables alone, which I still carry separately if you'd rather source the other materials yourself. Regardless of whether you purchase the kit, the cable, or nothing at all, the instructions will continue to remain published here for your convenience.

This photograph is the final one in the series below that gives you some ideas on how to mount your preamp on the back of your tailpiece. The brightly colored velcro strip and foam were used for clearest illustration; I ordinarily use gray.
Pleun Vermeulen's installation - he choose to mount his preamp on the tailpiece.
This photo shows Pleun Vermeulen's Bass Master Rockabilly system installation; he choose to mount the very light preamp to the outside his tailpiece. CLICK ON THE PHOTO to reach Pleun's Doghouse Slappers Society, then click on Members and Pleun, Number 1 and founder.

Some players prefer to mount their preamps behind their bass' tailpiece, so it can remain on the bass and still fit in the case (Power Pack, Pure Preamp, Dual Channel Pro/Pro ST, Bass Master Pro/Rockabilly, Golden Trinity Bass systems). I've written out the following instructions, with photographs, as a suggestion for an easy method for mounting a preamp. If this is something you'd like to do, this information may give you your own ideas for placing your preamp in a more convenient location. Please understand why I used the bright colors for these photos—I would recommend the use of dark gray or black foam and a black or other color Velcro strip to make the installation less obvious. I used these colors to make the components more visible in the photographs.

You will find the special cables I had built available for sale at the bottom of the page, as well as on individual product pages.

The key to mounting the preamp is the belt clip. Older K&K Preamps have the belt-clip pre-installed, with a single screw (and sometimes some adhesive to keep it from rotating.) The newer ones have an optional belt clip, which the end user can install with adhesive (included). On the older model, I removed the screw and rotated it 90 degrees, as shown in the photo below. This way, the preamp knobs will face out from the side of the tailpiece, which I think makes them easier to use. If you have the adhesive model, you can choose to install it this way. If you don't rotate the clip, the knobs will face up and be mostly behind the tailpiece, and the cable connections and knobs won't be as obvious from the front of your bass. However, it's not a deal-breaker -- it's a personal choice. Do what works for you!

Here you see the preamp (the two channel Bass Master Pro model is used in this example) with the belt clip rotated 90 degrees. The other materials used are shown: a piece of foam about the same size as the preamp, and a seven inch Velcro strip. I favor these strips (commonly available) as they have the two different Velcro types on back and front, and can be threaded through the slot for extra security.

Here you see both sides of the Velcro strip, as it is threaded through the belt clip.

You can see that the hole cut in the foam is large enough to accommodate the Velcro fastening strip. Again, these colors were chosen for visibility—my choices usually do not run to red and purple ;-) The ones included in the preamp mounting kit (below) are a much more subtle charcoal/black color.

We're now ready to mount it on the bass.

You can see the preamp mounted on the bass tailpiece, by threading the Velcro strip through the E and D string holes and securing the Velcro strip. As I mentioned earlier, it can be less noticeable (and the knobs a little less available) if you don't rotate the belt clip, which results in the knobs on top and the smaller preamp width not exceeding the width of your tailpiece.

I have had special cables built for tailpiece preamp mounting. In this case you see the 1 foot TRS (also called stereo, three conductor) cable with 90 degree connectors in place. This cable (or the mono one like it) is the one included with my preamp mounting kit, below. This allows for a compact installation that can stay in place even in your bass bag. Of course, you may wish to route the cable so it is less obvious, as well as make sure it doesn't cause a vibration against the tailpiece. These and other cables are available as part of our mounting kit as well as separately on my Cables page.
Preamp mounted with 1 foot 1/4

Deluxe Preamp Mounting Kit

New! Get a kit which contains everything you need to mount your compact K&K preamp to your tailpiece—without any modifications to your valuable instrument! Consisting of high-quality components, this kit includes complete, illustrated instructions and can be applied by most people in less than 15 minutes. The included cables use top quality materials. Links to the page where the mount kits can be purchased are below, under "Product Associated With This FAQ."

Get the stereo version if you have a preamp with two-channel input on a single jack (like the Rockabilly System or Bass Master Pro). If you're not sure which one you need, ask me!

Get the Mounting Kits Here!

Products Related to This FAQ

The Fine Print:

The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain — and/or my observations and opinions from my personal experiences (and those of Bob, before me) — as of this moment today, and is subject to change. I'm sure that a great deal more information and detail could be added — but the intent of these writings is to present easily understood, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge.

What's written here is by no means any kind of authoritative absolute answer, for I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on much of anything else, for that matter. So, by all means, get a second opinion, and know that all the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. I am not providing professional advice; be aware that, where applicable, any information acted upon is at your own risk.

I simply and sincerely hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you on your quest for knowledge about the bass and related subjects... that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints/information/updates that help improve my personal awareness and these content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.

PS: It should go without saying that all of the information here, unless otherwise attributed, was expressly created by us for the benefit of our customers. All graphics, text, data, and other information is copyrighted © 1995-current. You are not permitted to re-use any text, information, or graphical elements on your own website; you may post links to it, or small excerpts, on message boards if properly attributed and linked back to our pages.