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Can I install a tone knob on my passive/active bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Cody Davis, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Cody Davis

    Cody Davis

    Nov 17, 2016
    I have an ESP LTD BB-4 bass. on this bass is a switch that turns the bass from active to passive. when it is set to passive it bypasses the active preamp. but there is no tone control when it is set to passive, just volume and pickup select. is it possible to install a tone control on this bass? and if so, how?
    Please help.
  2. Yep, it shouldn't be a problem for a decent tech. But if you want to have a go yourself...

    -open the back and see if it's going to fit etc. Also, if the pots are all pre soldered to a circuit board, it is probably still doable, but may be a bit fiddly.

    - make room for an extra pot. you can drill a hole of course, or better yet, combine two of the other controls with a stacked pot. Commonly, you can stack an active treble and bass pot to free up a hole for your passive tone pot. Or if you have a separate active-passive switch, you can replace the volume with a stacked vol + passive tone pot. Don't forget you'll have to order a pair of knobs for the new stacked controls.

    - decide whether you want the passive tone pot in the circuit all the time, or just while it's switched to passive mode. Either is possible with a DPDT switch.

    -go ahead and install the pots and knobs, rewire etc
    Cody Davis likes this.
  3. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I did this to a Spector bass I had briefly. Replacing the push-pull that made it active/passive, I ran the other side of the DPDT switch body to a tone knob that I installed by drilling a hole in the top and putting it in the corner of the control rout. by measuring carefully, and using a mini-pot, I was able to fit it in to the geometry of the other four knobs so it looked like it had always been there. Then I put a .1 cap/1meg resistor bridge over the lugs between active and passive modes so it wouldn't "pop" when I changed back and forth. The bass had EMG HZ 35's on it, and sounded really good passive. Then I got an offer I couldn't refuse on it, and it went away.
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