Active bass guitars feature built-in preamps capable of boosting certain frequencies - passive instruments can only cut frequencies - and getting a hotter signal to your amp while driving longer cable runs. Bass guitars with active electronics tend to have a brighter, snappier sound as a result. First introduced by Alembic in the 1970s, active basses have only grown more popular over the years, becoming more and more sought-after for their tone-shaping ability.