Assistance Needed

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Garry Grow, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
    Howdy all,

    I feel there are going to be some people who may upset with my latest project. I have a 2004 Ricky 4003. I love the feel but I wanted to play with the sound so I decided to change some stuff (everything) out. Here is the end goal:

    Nordstrand Big Blade 4's
    Series/parallel switch
    Active/passive switch
    Darkglass tone capsule (active circuit)
    Passive tone knob (passive circuit)
    Kill toggle switch
    Mono out
    Using the second quarter out as 18v in to preamp (no room for 9v batteries)

    I have made my own schematic based on many schematics I have collected from TB threads and cut/pasted together but something is amiss.

    Can anyone assist in a rough schematic? I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks much!!

    Attached Files:

  2. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Can you show us the schematic as you have it built? And some photos of the wiring? That'll probably make it much easier to spot a problem vs someone else drawing a new schematic from scratch.
    Kinkh likes this.
  3. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
    Here is what I have. This is the 3rd iteration of wiring. My thought is maybe there is a failed component instead of a wiring issue and I'm chasing my tail solving for X when it's really Y. I'll check functionality while folks soak this in and have time to respond.

    20211125_074716.jpg 20211124_174319.jpg 20211124_174314.jpg 20211124_174310.jpg 20211124_170710.jpg

    I suppose that the problem could be I'm more confident than smart and I have no idea what I'm doing! Fingers crossed I'm at a 50/50!! Thanks again for the help.
  4. You're right, if you'd asked me first, I'd have advised you not to do anything unreversable.
    I once bought a beat up '71 P-bass with an unusually thin neck, carved it up and molested it and made a sweet-playing fretless that I used for years. Found out much later that there were only a handful of basses made with that odd in-between P-bass and J-bass neck and the bass would be quite valuable today, more than 25 times what I paid for it. Would be valuable if original that is - close to worthless now.

    Since you've already done it though, here's the main problems I see.
    1 - The kill switch, when activated, leaves the output floating, same as an open cable, likely to pick up hum. A better way is to wire the volume control to the output jack so that the amplifier input always sees a resistance to ground and to put the kill switch before the volume control.
    2 - As drawn, the kill switch will also short the output of the tone capsule to ground, which may damage it.
    3 - The passive tone control is always in the circuit, active or passive mode. I'd wire it so that the A/P switch removes the passive tone control when in active mode.
    4 - In passive mode, the input of the tone capsule is shorted to ground, which it may not like, depending on its internal design, and it's likely to produce a pop when going from passive to active mode. It might be better to put a 1 Megohm resistor there instead.
    5 - Usually you put the preamp before the volume control, not after. As drawn, the tone capsule input also will be shorted to ground when the volume is turned down. But the preamp circuit noise will still be there. Putting the volume control after the preamp turns down both noise and signal and avoids shorting either the preamp input or output to ground.
    Better order:
    Blend -> Kill switch -> A/P switch -> preamp or passive tone -> vol control -> output jack

    6 - It's not clear from the diagram what you're doing with the power supply. Are you using the output jack tip for -18v and the ring for the signal?
    tblurker likes this.
  5. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    What exactly is amiss? As @MoireBass pointed out there are a bunch of possible changes you could make to improve things, but is there a specific problem you're trying to solve?
  6. Alpha pots?
  7. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
    @dwizum The issue is I currently have no sound. No hum, no buzz...just silence.

    @MoireBass I do really like your suggested signal path. The reasoning behind wiring the components and 18v the way I did, was based off of the tone capsule wiring diagram. I just sort of did a plug and play for the additional things I wanted. In regards to the 1 megaohm resistor, where exactly would it go?
    tone capsule.jpg

    Also, I understand that for some the value of an instrument is monetary but this bad boy is never meant to be resold. This Ricky's value to me is as a tool. I want it to sound crazy cool and play awesome. We shall never part! Too sentimental. It's priceless to me. I also kept all of the original parts just cuz.

    And finally @jamro217 , yes, alpha pots.
    jamro217 likes this.
  8. I was asking because there are arguably higher quality pots availalable (Bourns and CTS come to mind).
  9. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    Electronic techs never struggle with these 'mysteries' because they know how to use a multimeter.

    For starters, it appears the output jack is mis-wired, it looks like the red 'signal hot' wire is going to the ring terminal, and not the tip terminal. This would keep your bass from making any sound. You can physically see which solder terminal is connected to which jack contact if you examine the jack closely.

    Your tone control lacks a ground wire. The bass should still work, just the tone control won't have any effect without a ground connection to the tone pot's can. You may have been tricked by seeing pictures of Fenders with only one wire attached...that only works because Fender cheats and uses the shielding foil on the inside of the pickguard as the ground conductor.

    Also note that series/parallel pickup switching and blend controls don't play nicely together. When you switch to series mode, you're making both pickups into a single, large 'bridge' pickup, so that will cause the blend control to act like a second volume control. You cannot blend the two pickups in series mode when they're normally wired for parallel blending.

    MoireBass is right on some points, wrong on others. Any bass with active/passive switching needs the volume control on the input of the preamp. Kill switch should be an on/off switch between output jack's tip terminal and ground. Shorting the output will not hurt the preamp any more than leaving your car's transmission in drive at a stoplight does, but send an email to Darkglass if you're worried about it. The ToneCapsule's output is protected by a DC blocking capacitor and a 1k Ohm series resistor.

    DarkGlass' schematic is drawn that way on purpose. Grounding the input doesn't hurt the preamp in any way.

    If you are really going to use the second output jack for power, then you don't need to use a stereo jack for the output, and don't need to attach any wires to the ring terminal. However, the sleeve/ground connections on both jacks should be connected with a wire.

    I would recommend for the power jack that you use a TRS jack and use the ring terminal and not the tip for the 18+ volt connection. This will avoid the chance of frying your pickups if the power supply cable is accidently plugged into the output jack. This means you'll have to use a TRS (stereo) cable for the power connection if you do it this way. If you do decide use the tip terminal for power, it'll work fine, and most likely accidently hitting your pickups with 18 volts DC won't hurt them, but I'm conservative and would want to make this as "idiot proof" as possible. It IS possible to use a single TRS (stereo) cable to carry both the power and signal, but you stated you wanted to use the second jack for power, so that's what the diagram shows. Also, putting power on the ring connector will make it compatible with EMG's power injector.

    tblurker and Kinkh like this.
  10. Maybe this will help. It's a scan from an old notebook showing the mute switch, a/p switch, passive tone control, and preamp I/O wiring of my Lakland 55-02D. It's basically what you're trying to do, just implemented w/ push-pull switches on the pots [and an on-board tuner that you can ignore]. The wire labeled 'Output' goes to the tip of the 1/4" output jack, and the ring of the output jack connects to the negative of the 9v battery as typical.

  11. I should add that the kill/mute switch can also go after the preamp. The reason I wired the Lakland as shown was to accommodate the onboard tuner module.
    Can't say about Darkglass, but Warwick Thumb5, Musicman SUB5, and Lakland 55-02 basses all have the volume control after the preamp for the reason stated. Just what would be the advantage of putting it before?

    Can't be sure from the pics, is this one of the non Rick-o-Sound models, i.e. w/ single output jack?
  12. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
    @Crater Thank you for all of the input. Some of it was very helpful. By the way, what is this thing you call the, uhm, multy-mater? Sounds fancy.

    Only kidding. I am well versed with the use of a multimeter. I am on this forum just reaching out for help because I am not a guitar "electric tech" and this is circuit is more complex than I had anticipated. Comments like that are rude and a deterrent to reach out further or try new things. But thanks again for the other stuff.

    To everyone else. Thank you for all of the valuable input. Especially @MoireBass . As this is clearly not my day job, this may take me a while to de-solder, remap and solder back. I will reach out once I make some progress.

    As for the DC in for the tone capsule, I am running a female barrel connector in the standard input from the power supply on my pedal board. My plan is to make a custom cable with two cables in one braided sleeve. It seemed like a pretty slick way around finding a place for batteries! If this is a bad idea, please let me know before I make a bad choice. Should I be worried about interference or anything?

  13. If you get tired or start pulling your hair out and want something to work, made with good parts by someone who knows how...

    Starr Guitar in the Dallas, TX area. Google it!
  14. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
  15. Beautiful, excellent. Much better to have the 18 volts on a separate connector from the one with the bass signal. Using a remote power supply like that is a good solution to the problem. You can use 6" wire ties or heat-shrink tubing every few feet to hold the cables together and then put some kind of a sheath over both. There's certainly the potential to pick up interference that way, so you'll want to use a (electrically) low-noise, well-regulated power supply on the other end and keep the cable length down. 20-25 feet should be fine though. It may help to construct both the power and signal cables from cabling that has two inner conductors plus a shield. Then connect the shield to the ground wire at only one end. That's one of those "can't hurt, might help" things.
    But using a remote power supply is absolutely doable and practical. Make sure to carry spare dual-cable assemblies to every gig.

    One possible problem is that barrel-type power connectors aren't latching, meaning that there's really nothing holding them in except friction. I don't recall ever seeing one used on equipment that would be moved around while in use. You could get loud pops with it or it might even fall out if you're jumping around like Pete Townsend.

    If that's a problem, Switchcraft makes some slightly smaller phone jacks - look much the same but 0.206" in diameter instead of 0.250" so a regular phone plug won't go in. (Which won't stop your drummer from spending 20 minutes trying.) The jack you'd put on the bass is a S11 type, and the matching plugs for the power cable are S280, and there's also some color-coded sheaths to fit over the plugs. They're available at Mouser and Digi-Key (Mouser's a little cheaper). It'd look like Billy Sheehan's blue bass w/ two phone plugs connected.

    I'd swap the connectors though and put the signal out jack in the back hole that says 'Regular' and the power-in jack in the hole marked 'Rick-o-Sound', which hardly anyone uses anyway, make it as compatible as reasonable.
  16. You can certainly punt and get someone else to wire this up if it gets too difficult, but there is something to be said for the concept of taking on a project that is somewhat beyond your current abilities, seeing it through and gaining expertise in the process. Sometimes the most valuable thing is not the end result but is more the growth in the struggle.

    If you decide to see it through, best to take your time and subdivide the problem. Soldering and wiring are places where neatness and attention to detail really do count. Get the passive section all tested and working first with volume control, passive tone control, and series/parallel switch. Then add in the preamp and external power supply and get that all working correctly.

    Then maybe play the bass for a couple of months and see what you think about the way that the blend control still operates even when the coils are in series. Some people like it, some don't. If not, then (after everything else is working) you could replace the series/parallel switch with a 3PDT one and bypass the blend control in series mode. And if you find the volume difference between series and parallel modes annoying, you can add in a trimpot to reduce that too. And a 1N5817 Shottkey diode at the power connector can prevent damage from reversed power polarity and only drops 0.2 volts.
    Make it easier on yourself and take it it stages though.
  17. Garry Grow

    Garry Grow

    Mar 28, 2020
    @MoireBass I certainly appreciate all of the help! The "assembly in stages" is where I'm currently at. I have changed things slightly. I really took to heart a previous response regarding the blend and series/ parallel. In series, the blend doesn't add any benefit so I am now using two volume pots which should make the whole process not only easier to complete but diagnose if I once again wire things wrong!

    I am definitely going to look into the different switchcraft plugs. I didn't even think about the movement at a gig! Thank you again. Hopefully the next time I'm posting on here, it will be because I'm all finished and it sounds super bad ass!
  18. Sure, either a V/V/T or V/B/T configuration can be made to work, whichever you prefer. It may not have been clear in the previous post, but was suggesting that you could also change the series/parallel toggle switch to remove the blend control when the coils are in series. Whichever way you prefer though is what's right for you. Hope it turns out great!
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 19, 2022

Share This Page