Crazy boredom ideas... would this work?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JACink, Nov 3, 2012.


  1. JACink

    JACink

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    Not sure if this should be here, or maybe in pickups, but anyways...

    So, as always when I am away from home, I have too much time to think of silly ideas!

    I have a bass that I am modding (slowly due to lack of time) and I also have some old effects pedals lying around, in this case an overdrive pedal.

    I was thinking about installing the electronics from the pedal inside the (rather large) control cavity of the bass, with a few extra dials for changing parameters, and a toggle switch for on/off, leaving the bass "normal" when dissengaged".

    Now here is where the idea gets a little strange...

    Would it be possible to wire an extra 3 way toggle switch to choose which pickup goes through the effect? In other words, the P pickup, the J pickup, or both?

    The bass is currently active, but I could go for passive if this would work better!

    Again, just an idea in my boredom time! ;)
  2. 5 string tapper

    5 string tapper

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    I'm not an electronics expert but that sounds like a cool idea for a lot of tonal options within hand reach.
  3. Gadgetjunky

    Gadgetjunky

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    I don't know for sure, but I would think that you can't run the raw pickup feed thru fx, now if you had a preamp for each pickup, then fx, then all blended back together that could work. So anything is possible with $$$
  4. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

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    There are some vintage Vox Guitars and basses that have built in effects you could check those out and maybe get a schematic.
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  6. topo morto

    topo morto

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    The Muse guitarist did it with his fuzz factory. In general I would think it should work fine. You're basically using the effect as your onboard pre.

    You might have an issue if you have really low output pickups that need a lot of boost, but you can check that out easily.

    I've considered doing this with a number of pedals - I was suggesting to Ryan of Fuzzricous that the BDPG would make a good onboard pre. The phat phuk would be another one...

    One issue you might have with some pedals is battery life.
  7. topo morto

    topo morto

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    If you have a passive bass, Isn't that's basically what you're doing?
  8. icecycle66

    icecycle66

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    Just put the effect as the last thing in line before the bass output.

    Whatever wire is going to your bass out jack, put it the effect in.
    The effect out will then go to the bass out put.

    All you would be doing is hardwiring the effect into the first position of your effects chain.
  9. JACink

    JACink

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    This I can do no problem, but it would affect the overall output. What I would like to do is add a 3-way switch to enable me to select individual pickups (J or P) or both.

    Thanks for the input so far guys!
  10. JACink

    JACink

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    Any ideas on wiring??
  11. topo morto

    topo morto

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    What do you currently have in the way of pickup blend / selection?
  12. JACink

    JACink

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    I currently have an unassembled bass, in process of modding, and I am planning on changing the p'ups and electronics anyway, so you could say I a have a blank page.
  13. topo morto

    topo morto

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    So what questions do you have about the wiring? not that I'm an expert, but a selector switch is easy...
  14. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    There's no reason why it can't be done. As topo morto said, that's exactly what happens in a passive bass once it's connected to a pedal.

    As far as I can tell, this can be done easier with a three-position rotary than a switch. Plus if you go for the four-position rotary, you get the "clean both" option.

    The one big problem I see'd be the battery. FX pedals can run on batteries (and often work better in case the power supply brick/wallwart isn't good) but you'll have to watch its usage same as with an active bass.

    The other big problem is that the effect probably has a low output impedance. Mixing low- and high-impedance sources (in this case, the FXed pickup and the clean pickup) always spells disaster for the sound, so you'd also have to have a secondary buffer (an impedance converter) that'd lower the clean pickup's impedance to the same level as the FX one - then you'd be able to just join the two outputs and connect them to the output jack.
  15. topo morto

    topo morto

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    Aha, yes I thought the OP meant just having the output from one pickup at a time, rather than also having the output of the others bypassing the effects... in that case there's a lot of possible combinations, so I guess you have to work out which you want!

    what is the overdrive pedal? is it one that retains bass ok?
  16. JACink

    JACink

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    So, to put this in simple terms, I would need a kind of DI that would act on the pickup that is not being processed by the effect?

    Nor the bass, nor the pedal are exactly "good quality", but I thought it might make a nice experiment.

    My original idea was to have the option of the overdrive only on the J pickup, leaving the P always clean, but one thing leads to another, and having the option to switch would be cool.

    Thanks for your help so far guys!
  17. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Dingwall ABZ Player Supporting Member

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    Just install an output jack for each pickup and a switch that turns on the neck/both/bridge pickups in those respective positions.
  18. Gadgetjunky

    Gadgetjunky

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    Aug 9, 2011
    you can get a passive mixer from Rolls that could blend them into one output jack also.
  19. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    A kind of DI, yes. A buffer does exactly that, and can be a very small circuit - I've seen one that's basically the size a pot knob on a bass!

    The wiring depends on which options you want:
    1. The ability to select P, J or PJ, then the ability to select FX or clean.
    2. The ability to select P, J, PJ or none, then the ability to send the selection through the FX and whatever wasn't selected clean, with volumes for each channel.
  20. JACink

    JACink

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    So, a little more info on the plan...

    I am thinking of picking up a set of DiMarzio P/J's (originally I was going to get EMG's but I think passive may make this a little easier).

    I currently have 4 pots already on the bass, but adding extra holes is not a problem. I am thinking that maybe it would be easier to have a toggle switch for each pickup to switch between normal/effect instead of a 3 way (or 4 way) toggle. Maybe even a 3 way which would give me off/normal/effect for each pickup.

    After thinking about this for a while, I have three options, and I will list these in order of preference, which I choose will depend on difficulty and cost (this is an experiment, with cheapish componets, so I don't want to throw too much money at it, and take into consideration that in europe, Spain especially, it is not easy nor cheap to find parts!!)

    Option A:
    The possibility to choose which pickup should have the effect and which should be clean. So I would have volume for P, Volume for J, Master Tone, Switch for P (off/clean/overdrive), switch for J (off/clean/overdrive), a on/off switch for the effect (for battery life) and maybe a kill button just for fun!

    Option B: Only have the effect present on the J pickup. So I would have Vol P, Vol J, Master Tone, Switch for J (clean/overdrive), on/off switch for effect (battery life).

    Option C: Have the effect always present on J. So I would have Vol P, Vol J, Master Tone and a off/on switch for the effect (battery life) which would also work as on/off for J.

    As I said, I would prefer option A, or if neccessary B, but this will not be my main bass, so if C is the only option then I could live with that!

    Now, can anyone tell me how I would wire this???? :D
  21. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

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    And here it is. Best I could do for option A.
    [​IMG]

    Couple of notes:
    • Depending on the effect's power usage, I might even suggest you ditch the FX on-off switch and hard-wire it in the "down" position - you have to use a buffer for impedance matching anyway, and the bass is wired so unplugging the cable shuts the circuits off as is normal for active basses.
    • The clean/off/dirty and on/off switches should work, but I can't guarantee there won't be any pops. I couldn't find a way to ground the FX input when it's not in use, which is normally done to avoid popping noises.
    • For the buffer, your best bet is to Google the "Tillman buffer". It's a very simple design, very easy to solder at home and it's very transparent.
    • Check the diagram for your effect and note where the input, output and battery contacts are to find what goes where - you can check the diagram against the legend in the lower right corner.
    • Since you wanted a master tone control, it's located behind the buffer and FX. Since it's working on a low impedance signal, it needs to be an order of magnitude smaller than the volumes. So, if you use B250K volumes, use an A25K tone. Ditto for 500K/50K.
    • Don't forget t connect all your grounds ;)

    This is how it'll all work:
    [​IMG]

    Since you're in the EU, take a look around Banzai Music's online shop. I get most of my active and passive component and bass bits there and they never messed anything up, plus the shipping's cheap.

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