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Blend vs vol vol

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by gimmeagig, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Hi
    I just read on the Mike Lull website something about Jazz Basses.According to that article a configuration of two volumes is supposed to have a fatter sound than using one volume and a blend pot.Is there anything to that?I've used Jazz Basses with preamps and blend pots for decades now.It it worth making the change?
  2. I don't know about a fatter sound, but I've tried both and prefer the vol vol configuration over blend. I feel it's a little more versatile being able to dial in the exact volume for each pickup instead of being restricted by the dual taper of the blend pot.

    That's just me of course. I know many people that prefer their blend pot ;)

  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I prefer the blend pot, but I've never been able to tell any sonic difference between the two methods
  4. I like to have the ability to set a blend and then to reduce the volume of that blend if nessesary.Much harder to do with two volumes,but if the sound suffers from having the blend pot I would consider a change to vol vol.
  5. A blend pot is exactly the same as two volume pots, only on the same housing, so it all depends on the values of the pots. A 500k blend pot + 250k master volume is exactly equivalent to two separate 250k vol pots in terms of pickup loading (and hence "fatness", "darkness" or whatever you want to call it).
  6. So it's okay to use a 500K blend pot with 250K volume and tone pots?
  7. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I think a lot of the myth and confusion in this area comes from the fact that some people believe that with a blend pot one pickup is always at least half off. That's simply wrong but once these rumors start they tend to stick. Any setting that can be achieved with 2 volumes can be achieved with a blend + vol. The choice of which to use should be solely based on which one you prefer and how many holes you want to drill.

    Like many of these myths there is no end to the people who claim they can hear a difference but you'll never find one who can tell you which setup is being used just by listening.

    I prefer the blend as I like the tonal choice and the volume to be separate and I also turn my volume off between tunes and it would be a drag with 2 volumes.
  8. I certainly don't claim to be able to hear a difference between blend or vol vol. I don't think I could for a second.

    I do however prefer vol vol on my bass. ;)

    I didn't know some people beleive that with a blend, one pup is always at least half off. That hasn't been mentioned here.

    With a blend pot, at the centre detent, both pups are on full. As you back it off one way or the other, one pup stays full on, and the other backs off. Right? You can then adjust volume if necessary with the master volume.

    That's fine, I just prefer vol vol, that's all.

  9. Sure. In fact you *should* do that if you want the same sound as a vol-vol-tone config with 250k pots.

    You can combine pot values as you like. What's going to define the final tone is the overall loading that you have on the pickups, i.e. the resistance of all the pots in parallel. BTW this includes the tone pot, where the cap has a negligible effect when the pot is fully open and it contributes the same as if it was connected directly to ground (of course the cap does affect what happens when you turn the tone control down).
  10. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Preference is a great way to choose a bass :)

    Yeah the half off thing has been posted here, crazy huh?
  11. mahrous


    Aug 13, 2005
    i have read and was told by many that many blend pots are not 'really' zero-resistence at the center. so in a way they dont give u the full tone/sound of your pickups when ur asking for all of the pickups' output.

    which lead to people like Delano, Benavente and Mike Lull (for examples) to start coming up with all sorts of different pots and electronics and claim they are doing it right. Delano claims a 'really' zero-resistence blend pot. Benavente has the 'really' open uncolored sound preamp. Mike Lull as the initial poster quoted.

    so are all these makers just trying to sell more? or is there some truths behind their talk?
  12. duckbutter


    Mar 30, 2005
    How about a 500k vol and 500k blend?
  13. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Do you have a DMM? Simply check one to see.

    Often luthiers are looked to for scientific advice because we like what they build but that's a bit foolish as they usually have no scientific training. The guitar world is filled with more mythology than most religions and so much of it is based on looking at something and deciding what it is. Testing and research is nearly non existent.

    But I'll go back to my earlier claim that there aint a soul alive who can tell me if a bass has a blend or vol/vol by simply listening. And no human alive can hear the difference between .001 ohm and .002 ohms resistance. Though many will see that as an insult and will argue they can.
  14. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    To continue my rant, volume pots aren't really "zero resistance" either. For that matter neither is an inch of pure silver bar.

    When people are making claims about how their new pots have zero resistance they are simply wrong unless you see a liquid nitrogen tank somewhere, and if you want them to get mad ask them the difference in measured resistance of a blend in the middle and their zero pots. Surely anyone who makes a claim of minute improvements knows how much it improved.
  15. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder/Owner: Wing Instruments
    If this is true then Blend-Vol is different than Vol-Vol, meaning you would never be able to do half-vol on one pickup and say 3/4-vol on another. Then again, I'm not sure how that's practical. I usually have both pickups cranked, or have one on full while rolling off on the other.

    I used to be strictly Blend-Vol (like my Valenti), but by default with the F Basses, I'm Vol-Vol. No issues either way.
  16. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Actually that would be easy, turn the main volume to 3/4 and then turn the blend till one pickup is about 1/3 off. Voila!
  17. Slightly higher overall resistance, slightly treblier tone.
  18. Well, actually it is true, and you can get half plus 3/4.

    Just get the blend the way you want it, then back off the master volume a little.

    Think about it. It will have exactly the same effect as vol vol.

    My preference is for vol vol, but a blend can certainly do the same job.
  19. True,

    Blend pots are not really zero resistance.

    Neither are volume pots.

    If you really think you need a "pure" signal, wire your pup directly to the output jack.

    I will test some volume pots and blend pots tonight and post the actual resistances for comparison.

    As Moo has stated, I think you'll find that they are way too close for you to hear any difference. I certainly can't hear a difference.
  20. BassJunkie730


    Feb 3, 2005
    What about a 250K Blend, A 250K tone, and a 500k Volume?