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Converting to stacked knobs

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Gorn, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I have a late 80's MIJ jazz bass (the body at least).

    What do I need to buy to convert from this kind of setup:
    ....to this kind of setup:
  2. A three hole plate and a couple stacked knobs and a couple caps. The pot values and tapers are going to depend on what you want tone-wise and control-wise.

    The standard I believe is these, for the pots:


    (part #001-9268-000)

    And the schematic you want to follow is:

  3. Yeah, you could buy a pre-made one, if you are handy with a soldering iron you'd save a bit of cash making your own (could do it for at least half the price, depending on the parts you used).

    The reason it didn't stay standard for long is that the tone controls interact, then though they are off separate volume controls, they will still roll the high end off the other pickup signal. The extent of this depends on the resistance between the tone control and the signal.

    There are ways around it, I've seen suggestions of adding a resistor in series with the signal but this comes with the downside of reducing your signal (making the bass quieter).
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Yah, I'm not handy with anything actually, especially electronics. I was hoping someone would tell me what to buy so I could give the bass and parts to a guy I know who's good at this stuff.

    I should probably just give him the bass to look at and see what he thinks. I appreciate the input.
  5. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
  6. The "Guitar Parts Resource" website has the control plate and pots for the standard setup, you could follow the cap ratings in the schematic or adjust as preferred. You'd just need some wire and a mono jack socket, done! :)

    I'd throw some copper or aluminium foil (or shielding paint) to shield the cavities in the bass too.

    (I have no idea how good that website is or if the prices are all that great)
  7. Can't really argue with that price!

    (though looks like you'd still need to pick up the knobs for the pots).
  8. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Is that everything I'd need? Is that the underside of the control plate or something else? Would I need to buy the actual knobs?

    Ugh. I suck at grown-man work. I'll leave it alone for now.
  9. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    That was just with a 2 minute ebay search. I will bet that you could find a place that has all of the parts including the knobs for around that price if you wanted to pull the "kit" together yourself. It's worth googling around for 10 minutes or so.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    So that's everything I need aside from the knobs? Can you point me in the direction of the knobs I need?

    Btw, I'm a 30 year old homeowner with a 9-5 job. It's shameful how little I know about this stuff.
  11. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
  12. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Don't be ashamed-- gotta start somewhere. :)
  13. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    The guy I'd be taking this to is a family friend that does this kind of work. I bet he already has the parts in a drawer somewhere. I'll see what he has before I start spending money. It whole conversion might just cost me a bottle of ouzo.
  14. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Good call. I'll bet he doesn't have the pots, knobs, and plate, but I'll bet he has everything else.
  15. Lou Bottini

    Lou Bottini Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2004
    I would choose the Fender plug and play route. Your bass tech will want to be paid for assembly anyway.
  16. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    Nobody is born knowing this stuff. You'll dive in and you will know it someday.

    The Ebay kit is cheap enough for a control plate and two CTS stacked pots. I doubt you will want to use the original '61 Jazz wiring with the resistors. I think you will want to use the wiring schematic posted by Mohawk; it will keep your current sound, volume, etc of the way you have your bass today.

    The best deal on knobs are the MK-0137-010 at Bass Parts Resource.

    I have two sets of these and two sets of the genuine Fender knobs. I think these are better than the Fender knobs. The Fender knobs have little divots around the perimeter of the bottom side of the bottom knob for a detent washer, but few people use the detent washers.

    If you can operate a screwdriver, a small adjustable wrench, strip insulation off the tip of a wire, & solder, you can do this. If you keep all your parts you have now, you can always go back to your current setup.

    You may want to go with a volume, volume, rotary 6 position tone someday & you'll need those old parts....
  17. BucketOfFish


    Mar 17, 2014
    That ebay item does not include the control plate. That is a template for drilling a blank plate or assembly if I read it correctly.
  18. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    OP, unless you can strike a good deal on the labor required to assemble and solder all of the components properly (including the small inline resistors), you might want to go with a pre-assembled control plate. That's what I did (that's actually my Classic 60s J in the above image).

    Regardless of whether you spring for a kit or go pre-built, you'll want to decide which knob config to go with. If you go with genuine Fender stack knobs, you need to get the small chrome volume knob (top), the larger black tone knob (bottom) as well as the corresponding spring-loaded washer (sits underneath tone knob). When assembled, this knob arrangement gives you a detent feature for the tone knob, allowing you to click-click-click your way around the tone control. It's a brilliant design, and I found it very handy for quickly dialing in the tone I wanted, because all of those knobs can get to be a handful.

    Another knob option is the aftermarket stack knob set, such as the ones supplied by AllParts. Their appearance is 95% the same as the Fender parts, but the tone knobs don't contain the underside provision for the detent washers, so you just spin your tone controls without any sensory references to rely on. Different strokes.

    AllParts knobs, with smooth-bottom tone knob...

    ...and the Fender knob assembly, showing the spring loaded detent washer mating with underside of tone knob. These Fender knobs also have deeper knurling on their surfaces and a more correct appearance than the AllParts knobs.

    One last thing:
    The three screws that mount the stack knob control plate to the body aren't your typical Fender pickguard screws, as used on every other bass. They're 'pan' head (semi round top, flat bottom surface) like these. If you need some, PM me your address and I'll send you some.

  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yes, for someone with no electronics or soldering background, I think prewired is the way to go. That way you get pots, knobs, plate - everything you need - no muss, no fuss.