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Bypassing Pots

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ChaosGwar, Apr 6, 2002.

  1. Can I bypass the control pots, and wire the pick ups directly to the output jack?

    I want to keep my frankenbass very simple looking, and it looks sweet without the knobs.

    I've heard of people bypassing the controls, and change volume and tone with their amps, and/ or effects.

    Is this possible/ recommended?
  2. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    It is totally possible and is always a good test to see if your pickup sounds as bad as you think... A recent case in point... My 'new' little '78 Fender Musicmaster sounded 'Okay', but just wasn't getting that hot of a signal. I replaced the stock volume knob which helped, but after a few weeks, it still lacked that tone that I fondly remembered from my youth. I decided to bypass the pots altogether before I swapped pickups... Good thing I did, cause this little guy just flat out roars! Hard to see it in the picture, but this is the bypass...


    I usually wire in a bypass using a push-pull volume pot from StewMac, and that's the treatment that the Musicmaster will get when I refinish it this summer. Simple schematic for a P type instrument... Works great!


    Hope this helps,
  3. I was thinking something more like this, This might be exaxtly what you have shown in your diagram, but I can tell.

    The wires go directly from the pups to the jack. I won't even have the pots in the cavity at all, just empty space and an output jack.
  4. I did it to my Ibanez guitar. I opened up a lot more output and some better tone too. Try it...you can always undo it as long as you have the wires.
  5. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    ChaosGwar: Yeah, you and rllefebv have pretty much the same diagram.

    Kinda off topic here, suppose I want to do that to a bass with a P/J pup combo? How would I wire that?
  6. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Same deal John... wire the hots together, (white) and the grounds together, (black), then connect to the output jack... And ChaosGwar, yeah... essentially the pots can be removed, (or never installed in your case...) Notice how this bass doesn't have any pots?? Look closely :D

  7. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    That's what I thought, thanks!
  8. Yeah, thats what I'm wanting to do. What would be good to fill the holes? I don't want to leave them left open like that. The body has a silver finish if that helps any. I was thinking about getting some wooden dowels and cutting them to fit, than paint over them.

    I'm not really worried about this bass looking pretty, cuz it's butt ugly already.
  9. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    The dowel idea would work. Seal them up real good because end-grain tends to suck up alot of finish. Of course, if you want to be way funky, you can hightail it to the local hardware store and get yourself a coupla carriage bolts... I ended up doing the to the jazz bass in the linked picture. Pretty cool when some yutz sits in during a gig!

  10. I like the idea of using bolts. The finish is silver spray paint, so it's got an industrial look to it. Filling the holes with bolts opens up a slew of possibilities. How else could I "industrialize" this beast?
  11. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Yo, leave the pots and the knobs on the bass! Just because you aren't using them doesn't mean you should take them off. When I bypassed my P Bass it just didnt look the same without those 2 knobs on it, so I left them there. Nothing is wired to them anymore and they dont do anything at all, but they help keep the original look of your instrument.
  12. Lo-end, this is a bass I am putting together as I aquire parts. I don't have the pots and knobs to begin with. My question was whether or not I needed them at all. If I did, I would have gotten them. Since I don't, I won't spend the money on getting them. I wanted to do something to make the bass stand out. If I ever did this with another of my basses (which I don't plan on really) I would keep the pots and knobs there.

    If I sound course, it's cuz i'm tired. I don't mean to sound like an arse. ;)
  13. This is a crude sketch, but you should get the idea.
    Bypassed pots, bridge p-up wired to jack, neck p-up wired to switch, then to jack.
    Sorry, it's a bitmap, best I could do.

    I guess the only difference those pups would make is if they are active or passive. If they are passive, this diagram will work just fine. How do those pups sound isolated? Do they hum really bad? I guess not if you want the option to turn the neck pup off.
  14. Josh,
    If your pick ups have two wires, one is hot, one is ground.

    Do the wires go to the switch first, then over to the pots? It so, that makes this job so much easier. Remove the wires that go from the switch to the pots. Save these for later use. The bridge pick up is easy to wire. It should already have the ground wired to the jack on one side. Normally ground wires are black.
    Wire the hot to the other side of the jack. You will have to disconnect this wire from the switch.
    That should take care of the bridge pick up.

    The neck pick up is still wired to the switch, but will have to be grounded to the jack also.

    I think this is all you should have to do. I'll try to work out another diagram when I get home.
  15. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Wait...bypassing the control pots make the pups have a much higher output? Is this right? My Ibanez is LACKING in the output department, and if bypassing it is the trick...then it might be saved without having to buy new pups.

    Is there a simple way to install a switch that would be on/off for pup? Of course, there would be two switches, one for the P, one for the J, but I Only need to know how to do one to do them both...(duh!)

    Course, I'd feel silly not having a volume knob, but then again, its always cranked anyway...But then I'd also have to fit the two pot holes with switches, and cap off the Tone pot...but I think it'd be worth saving the dough on a $100+ for a set of not crap pups...
  16. Ok, so I didn't have to wait til I got home.

    I've got both ground wires from the pups going to the ground point on the bridge. The hot wire on the bridge pup stays the same, and the hot wire on the neck pup goes to the switch. I think you may have to run another hot wire from the switch to the jack.

    That should take care of it all. If you have any other questions or need some help, PM me.
  17. From what was posted by rllefebv I got the impression was you'll get a better output without the pots. You will probably have to cut a hole for the switch to fit in, but like lo-end said, it will look better if you keep them in.

    Anyway, here is a rough sketch of what you're wiring will look like once you bypass the pots and wire in the switch.

    hope this helps, and PM me if you have further ?'s
  18. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I was thinkin of taking out one of the pots, maybe the tone or something, and setting a switch into the already drilled hole, then set it up P/J/P&J for the three modes, everything's passive, of course...
  19. Re read your post, you said you wanted 2 switches.

    If you have a 3 way switch, the above diagram will work. Just wire the P to one slot on the end, the J to the other slot on the other end, and leave the middle slot empty. The middle slot on the switch should be used for having both on.

    With two swtiches, get a pair of 2 way switches, and wire them each seperately.
  20. And here is the diagram.
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