Balance Pot vs. Blend Pot, Same or Different?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gabe7539, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Hello, I am a newbie to active basses. I'm a big fan of Rudy Sarzo/Billy Sheehan and I'm considering buying an inexpensive active 5 string bass and then upgrading it with a set of Sims pickups like the new sig. model Sarzo just had made. I've seen many active basses advertised with "balance" and "blend" pots. My understanding of a blend pot is that it adjusts the amount of signal being outputted by all pickups simultaneously, like the extreme ends would be exclusively one pickup and then in the middle would be a mix of the pickups. I have no idea what a balance pot does.

    I believe the ideal setup for me would be 1 volume, 1 balance or blend, 3 band EQ and an active/passive switch.

    My question is are balance/blend different words to describe the same tool or do they do different things entirely? Feel free to school me, I need to learn this stuff.
  2. LUpton

    LUpton Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    Probably too old for this sh--
    Same thing...
  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I prefer volume + volume, because there is less loading & there are certain things a balance/blend cannot do. i.e. one pickup at 90% volume & the other at 70% volume.
    When you turn the balance/blend you're just decreasing one, while the other stays on 100%, but TBH it's not really 100% in the center, because of the loading due to the resistance in the blend/balance pot.

    This ^ is a blend pot wiring diagram

    and this is the underlying schematic:

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  4. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Thanks, I didn't realize that, and that's a good tip that you have. I do like the 2 volume setup on a jazz bass. I just have to find something with a large enough control cavity with room for all the switches. Was thinking about a Squire active bass and turning the slap switch to an active/passive switch, or maybe picking up a Brice or Harley Benton
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    No that's a dual gang pot. Different animal. A blend pot schematic is more like this:

    Balance Pot.jpg

    In the centre position both pickups are on full.

    Attached Files:

    David Mochen and Killed_by_Death like this.
  6. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician
    Buyer beware. One of my customers made this mistake and bought dual gang pots rather than blends. Being a decent sort I bought the pot from him and supplied the right part.
    Handyman and Killed_by_Death like this.
  8. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Tell your customer not too feel bad - Carvin was using plain old dual gang pots as passive blend pots for 20 years.

    When they started using proper blend pots several years ago they made all sorts of noise about their magic pots that had full volume when you set it to the center detent. Total magic! Or just what everyone else had been using forever. :roflmao:

    The EE in me thought "Guys, maybe you shouldn't be advertising that you JUST discovered Ohms Law after being in business for 70 years"
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  9. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Have any recommendations on the preamp? I've read a lot of good about Aguilar preamps.
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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