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Common alternatives for P-Bass wiring

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dirtychinchilla, Feb 12, 2018 at 7:48 AM.


  1. Afternoon,

    I think my p-bass needs to be opened up for a bit of surgery. I'm not confident that the jack is properly wired as my bass has cut out on occasion, and I think that's the reason for it. I've just been reading some other threads here and I was wondering, since I'm going to have to rewire the jack, and because I like fiddling with stuff, what else could I do.

    So, what would people recommend for the re-wiring? What are the most common changes people make? I can get new pots, though I was just considering doing away with the volume knob as I only use it to silence my bass.

    I think I did upgrade the wiring years ago, but I may well have done a bad job...

    Thanks in advance,

    dirtychinchilla
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Your electronics may just be grounding out which is causing the short. I would pop it open and take a look for any loose connections or contact points. We are talking about a P-bass here, there isn't much to go wrong.

    As far as changing electronics goes, is there something you feel the bass is lacking? If not, there is no need to change anything.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  3. I think you're absolutely right, which is why I'll rewire the jack. I think it may be hitting the shielding sometimes.

    In terms of lacking - no, nothing. But I like to fiddle :D
     
  4. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    You could experiment with wiring the pickup to the wiper or hot to wiper, and tone control between hot/ground or out/ground. How the volume and tone interact is changed for each of the 4 possible combinations...
    20180212_162524.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  5. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    Since you have it opened up, the easiest mod is to go to a 500K tone pot. Gives you a bit a extra zing wide open, but you can dial it down a tad and since it's wired like a rheostat, it's exactly the same as the stock 250K pot when dialed back a bit.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  6. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    The extra zing will be more pronounced if you also change the volume pot to 500K Ohms.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  7. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I personally replace the audio taper pot with a linear pot on all my P basses. It’s a much smoother volume adjustment rather than the “on/off” effect.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  8. sikamikanico

    sikamikanico Supporting Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    Iowa
    I find a cap selector switch quite useful. If you get rid of the vol pot, I’d consider putting a rotary (or some other) switch in its spot, and keep the tone pot to dial it in... then again, differences may be too subtle for some...
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  9. Thanks very much for these. If I can understand what's going on, I may give one of them a go. I play almost exclusively rock music so I'm generally looking for a fairly trebly tone. I play with my fingers and have no desire to switch to a pick, so any extra treble I can squeeze out is valuable (without switching to Geddy flamenco style or something).

    Thanks for all that. So, I'll probably get a couple of 500K pots. Having thought about it, I'll keep the volume pot in there as I guess I could need it some time, and there's no reason other than for fiddling to get rid of it.

    These pots, should they be linear or logarithmic for the tone control?
     
    jamro217 and Killed_by_Death like this.
  10. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Another vote for 500k pots. I prefer linear for vol and log (250k) for tone, but YMMV. If you looking for more top, you could add a bypass/bleed cap to the volume control then wind it back a notch...
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  11. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Linear for volume, log/audio for tone.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  12. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    +1

    Most basses ship with audio in both positions, so unless you're really itch'n for perfection, leaving the volume stock as audio taper is fine.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  13. Wonderful. I've ordered some new pots and I'll replace the jack while I'm at it. May try some of those wiring combos if I can work out what's going on.

    Thanks for the advice, chaps.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  14. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I like the following on my Ps:
    Assuming you have a standard output pickup (in the 9-12K resistance range)
    -250K linear volume
    -250K (or maybe 500K) audio tone with a .047-.068uF cap
    -I'm surprised no one mentioned this, being that you said you like to tinker... Series/parallel switch (usually via a push/pull tone pot) so you can get the standard, series mid/low thick P sound and the parallel tone that has more clarity and a touch less output, yet still hum cancelling. It's a pseudo Jazz bass neck/SCPB tone. It is a mod that ultra traditional P players say is blasphemy. I have been doing this to my split coil Ps since the mid 80s when I read about it in a guitar magazine.
    Pbass_1V_1T_mtSP.
     
    jamro217 likes this.
  15. Morning, thanks for that! I've just bought the two 500k pots, so I'm probably going to put them in. Is there normally a capacitor bridging some of the connections on the tone pot, though?

    Have you got any demos of the difference between these two settings? The one video I watched doesn't seem to show that much. I basically go from full brightness and dial down to maybe 30% most of the time, and just switch between those two, so I don't know how worth it this would be, even though I like to tinker :p
     
  16. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    There are a few ways to wire a P bass, the version with the cap bridging between the volume and tone pots is common, too.
    I don't have any demos of the series/parallel sound. Here's a video of a P with the S-1 switch, the series and parallel sounds are pretty evident here.



    Side note: when looking for a video, I came across one where a guy showed how he did the series/parallel mod on a P after coming across the article in 'an old back issue of Guitar Player-March 1987.' Ha! That's where I originally heard of this mod and did it to my 1983 Electra/Westone X630B to try it out. Been hooked ever since.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018 at 4:32 AM
    jamro217 likes this.
  17. I can hear the sounds difference - is the thicker tone with them in parallel? To be honest, I don't think I've any need for the series tone as it's much thinner than I'd like to hear. The tone that I'm typically aiming for is a fairly thick grunge tone (think Audioslave or similar), with a trebly edge to it.

    Oh wow, that's a nice link to the past!
     
  18. bigtone23

    bigtone23

    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Series is the standard P tone, in the video it's S-1 off/up. Parallel is the brighter tone, S-1 on/pushed in.
     
  19. Uche_bass

    Uche_bass

    Jul 31, 2017
    Argentina
    I have a controls bypass on my p, and when bypassed it has a little more output and treble (like having the pickup wired directly to to tge output jack). But I still can use the volume and tone with the flick of a switch. I can use the tone closed and then hit hit switch and and have a change in sound, or leave tge volume all the way down and use it as a killswitch of sorts.