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Anybody not find much use for pickup blend?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Bardolph, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Ok, just so I don't have people on my case, in this particular example, by "versatility" I'm talking about pickup blending versatility, not player versatility or the ability of a bass to sound good in different styles of music. People talk about having versatility by being able to blend pickups. Any time I've used a 2-pickup bass I always thought that the best sound was with both pickups equal to eachother. Even slightly favoring one pickup over the other changes the sound and you don't get the same texture and fullness. My jazz bass gets a cool Jaco-ish tone with the bridge pickup soloed, but for practical use in a band I'm only ever using it with the pan centered. It's the only thing that sounds good to me. Same with my Lakland. Most of the time I never even touched the 3-band EQ either. I guess the only exception is my PJ, where I either use it with both pickups equal or with the P only, but the P is a common pup configuration in itself so it's kind of like having 2 different basses. Anybody else share my opinion that there's nothing quite like the sound of two pickups at equal volume?
  2. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    same here, on all of mine I think they sound best at the same level. sometimes I'll nudge it a touch in either direction, but 99% of the time it is 50/50.
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Instead of twiddling a knob, I just reposition my right hand; over the bridge pickup, over the neck pickup, or over the fingerboard.

    That's probably because I've played a passive P-bass for so long that when I'm playing my active 5-string, I often forget that there are more than two knobs.

    I'm seriously considering a bass with only a volume knob for my next purchase, but that's probably because I'm pullin' fifty.
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    In my cover band, I find I am using my blend dial frequently to change the tone of my bass to match the original bass tone in the recording. I find it much more useful than multiple volume dials.
  5. i prefer a pickup selector switch (a la musicman) and master volume over a blend and master volume over multiple volumes.
  6. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    I'm in the same boat. For my cover gig I try my best to match the tone from the original tune, but usually I've only got a Fender Jazz. For many tunes I'm 50/50. When trying to get a Pbass tone, for instance when we play "What Is Hip", I'll use more of the neck pickup. Some tunes like "I'm Coming Out", I'll blend to the bridge pickup.

    I like the 50/50 tone best too, but sometimes I have to change to match the tone in the original tune.
  7. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I forgot; FWIW, I have a 62RI. That means I don't actually have a "blend" knob, just a volume knob for each pickup.
  8. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    With my P/J setup, I use both full most of the time, but occasionally all P or all J. Never in between.
  9. I think it depends on the bass. I'm with you that I never use an 'all or nothing' approach to one pickup or the other, and play 80% of the time with both on full. However, an instrument like a Jazz Bass can sometimes sound a little scooped with both pickups wide open in certain playing situations. I find (as many others do also) that just favoring the bridge pickup slightly (on most blend controls, this is basically moving the control toward the bridge just a slight amount away from the center position... I mean just a tiny bit) can act as a wonderful, naturalmid-range boost... it just tightens up the tone a bit, while still keeping a touch of the neck pickup low end in place.

    It really makes a difference if you are playing a passage that requires a lot of note articulation or a 'percussive' fingerstyle tone.
  10. I've found I get a better B string sound if I favor the blend towards the front or back pickups.
    With both 50/50 there seems to be some phase cancellation. Could be my particular setup though.
    In general, I use the blend knob as more of a tone control.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I use the blend like another tone control...much easier to do than with two volumes.
  12. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I use the crap out of my bartolini preamps. That includes the blend control. I like to use my bridge pup with just a little neck if I need a little more roundness. When I heed a PBass sound I go with just the neck and add a little treble. Sometimes for slap I go with the center position. Most of the time I use the bridge pickup and the mids up a bit.
  13. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    I've tried blend pots in the past and couldn't get them to work properly eg, getting both pickups to be balanced properly at the zero position unless I wanted to resort to an active blend circuit which I'd rather avoid because I prefer passive basses. So.... I've found that for me V-V-T works better, is simple to use and is very versatile.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I allways run fully open on both so it gets littel use with me.
  15. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY

    I'm with KJung on this one. Rolling back the neck pickup volume on my 62RI just a tiny bit is a real sweet spot. It takes a bit of mush and boomyness out of the bottom, and adds growl to the mids, resulting in a very tight and punchy tone. Once of the most useful tone I can get out of my Jazz bass.
  16. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    THe last active bas that I gigged with was a custom build where I used the pre from a MIA Deluxe. That one used Bart 9J's FWIW. I used the blend and the mid control all the time. Set the B& T to not 'overly bright and not muddy', then I got great nuance from minor adjustments to the blend & mid. I really liked that setup the best of all the active basses I've had.

    That being said, I'm totally passive these days and I'm a J guy. I tend towards a full sound emphasizing the upper mids rather than true high's. The J bridge pickup is way important to me. I tend to run with the neck full up and then roll it down a smidgen for a more agressive tone.
  17. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I never found blends of much use cause to me it’s not an intuitive control like two volumes. You’re still taking up two pot holes and usually still have to adjust two controls with any degree of blend variation because output varies with much change in a blend. With a blend I always just went by whatever sound went to what settings rather than thinking I need more bridge or whatever. My guess is a lot of players don’t even know how they work. Can’t say I do myself for that matter cause all that really matters is the sound but I recently ran across mention that one pup is always on 100% relative to the other pup, which wouldn’t surprise me. In the end, whatever works is good.

    I played my basses for over a year with no onboard control cause I used a single pup and ran off outboard. Some pups really open up ran straight to the jack.

    However, lately I’ve found blends very useful for non-traditional applications. See:

  18. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    +1.5 sideways? I don't use Jazzes, but on a P/J I basically have 2 blended settings (besides P soloed). 1) is P full on, then a touch of J rolled in to add more mids. 2) is blend centered, then rolled slightly toward the P side to get rid of nasty J tone and make it sound like a bass.

    The only time I ever use active EQ or favor the bridge pup is on a P/P.

    To the original poster: yes, you are stark raving bonkers. All you really need is a blend control and kill switch. Although a passive tone is nice to have.
  19. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    For my preference, a blend control affords more subtle adjustment of the tonal balance between the two pickups. I've found that I tend to like the blend somewhere on either side of center, changing the focus on the instrument's voice by somewhat favoring one of the two pickups. IMO, the middle position is often too scooped in the mids.

    +1 for blend...
  20. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've found blend controls to have too small of a usable range to adjust sound. I much prefer volume-volume setups- that being said, I generally play with just one pickup soloed most of the time- as pickups will load off of each other when more than one is on, which generally causes some phase cancellation- specifically loss of high end and high-mids as well (though that is an important part of the J bass sound for alot of people- I'm just not big on that sound!).


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