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Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by luknfur, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Not of much use to most players probably but for the few minimalists out there, something I've been dinking with lately is a blend and a blend w/phase switch - using them as the only onboard controls that is. For the most part, I haven't found neck pups, blend pots, or phase switches useful - as I've used them in the past anyway, which has been with a full compliment of onboard controls.

    For a while I have been just running off amp/preamp controls using a single pup bridge position (or close) straight to the jack. But by adding a second pup with a blend I get more versatility in tone out of the bridge pup - and occassionally some use favoring the neck pup. In terms of a single pot, it seems more useful to me than a tone pot with a single pup (but it‘s been a while since I‘ve done that). I also get more use out of some of these pups that normally lay idle too, mostly the other pup in a set. Adding the blend is worth the effort it's seemed so far.

    Another interesting thing to do instead of a "coil tap" is to use a blend on a single 4 lead HB so you're blending the coils. Maxed either way you get single coil - pretty much. There is a trace of the other coil but on the plus side that seems to keep it humbucking. I've only done this with a Ray pup so far. At the detent, you get the HB. I ran it HB straight to the jack and couldn't tell the difference in tone from blend detent position. Kind of neat cause you're not only getting HB and singles front and back but singles in humbucking and all the mixes in between. Different but useful too.

    Even more interesting is adding a phase switch with the blend sort of doubles the versatility of the blend. Throwing pups out of phase with a blend is something guys do unintentionally sometimes in a mod and complain about - and is basically useless at the detent as it sucks all the bass out, drops volume big time, and doesn't much produce a tone of any practical application - let alone for bass.

    But once you click out of the detent in either direction the loss of bass is noticeable but negligible - so much so that often I have to throw the blend to the detent to know if I'm in or out of phase cause I just adjust to tone that works to the tune. A phase switch in conjunction with a blend makes the out of phase relationship variable, less and less as blend is moved towards pup max’d in either direction. On paper seems the blend max’d in either direction should
    sound like in phase - I can tell a difference in out of phase max’d but it's splitting hairs and of little consequence.

    Varies with the tune but what out of phase does IN GENERAL is cut bass some and make tone overall noticeably thinner, brighter, more punchie, with a softer, hollow percussiveness to tone. Often reminiscent of a hollowbody, ie. Beatle bass. More pronounced with a pick and often the best use for it. Tone can vary from upfront to background depending.

    In and out of phase get their share of use. Sometimes the same tone setting's are applicable in or out of phase and sometimes the same settings won't work at all, which speaks for the similarities yet differences between the tones.
    Sometimes it's just a matter of preference at the moment as to which I like, sometimes just trying a different tone to the same tune. Sometimes in phase sounds pretty much the same as out of phase but with the blend at a different mix.

    Modifying the concept, I threw the blend pot/phase switch into an outboard box running the pups straight to respective jacks stereo out. The blend worked without a hitch but when I added the phase switch, I got a ground like noise in phase that was dead quiet with one pup maxed but became progressively noisy as blend was shifted to the other pup. At the detent, too noisy to even be of any use. Never did resolve that issue. Worked fine out of phase.

    So far I’ve done the above using a the Ray, a pair of Epi T-birds, and a Mod LPMM/LP M3.5W combo.
  2. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    You must settling down some. The walkabouts seem less frequent these days.

    Yeh I read that spiel when I had a T-40 pup. Never really quite grasped how their pot swapped a dual coil to a single but seems had something to do with resistance beyond my capacity to absorb. It just "looked" like a regular tone pot but wasn't. Seems someone else also made that kind of tone pot.

    The phase/blend was pretty cool and if nothing else made phase useful for bass since it wasn't just the uselss 180 degrees out, except at the detent. Some nice variations in tone and could basically take an HB and get single coil HC with it by leaving a bit in the other coil. Never could get it to work in outboard form single in both coils though - it would hum like crazy on one side of the detent, dead quiet on the other. No problem in a bass though. Must have had something to do with the jacks intervening.
  4. I find this experiment a tad strange in that what you're doing is exactly what hundreds of people have already done on jazz basses...the only difference is your "two pickups" are right next to each other.

    My next experiment is quite the opposite, as I am looking for a slightly "thicker" sound from a P/J bass, I'm putting 100k resistor in series with a 0.022nF (that's right 22pF) "treble bleed" on the bridge pickup. The Resistor is actually a small trim pot, so it will be settable, but not externally adjustible.

    I haven't done this yet, as I'm awaiting a new neck pup (old one is U/S). But hopefully the results will be encouraging.
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I’d never ran across anything on TB or anywhere else that mentioned using a blend as a variable out of phase with a description of the results. A lot of guys play Jazz basses with both maxed. If you did that with this setup, you'd have about the only uselss tone it puts out. To me it not only makes out of phase useful for bass but is an much improved “coil split.“ At any rate, it was new to me but there’s nothing new about reinventing the wheel.
  6. I agree that a lot of guys do play their jazzes with both wide open.
    And I also agree that running a jazz out of phase with both pickups flat out yields a very thin, weak, and useless tone.

    But a lot of guys do have jazzes with phase switches and do use the blend pot to arrive at some useful "intermediate" tones...

    with that said, yours is the first I've seen with someone using a blend on a single humbucker, and is definitely worth exploring on many single-bucker basses.
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Actually it's not like I thought I'd "invented" anything. Guy's miswire pups with blends on TB all the time, they just don't leave them that way so there seemed to be no one exploiting the application. To me it's a bonafide wiring alternative - often preferable to a series/parallel or "coil split" switch (which obviously are very common and popular). Plus as mentioned, it actually makes a phase switch useful for bass application. Seemed an oversight as much as anything to me.

    Recently I extended the application to the V bass and swapped the control of the GK volume to a blend so that there's a mix of from 100% onboard mag pup through 100% direct V bass and that has REALLY add useful mixes. I run volume through the pedal (which alternatively could be set to run the pup blend mix)

    I could see where it would become a popularity among jazz bass players in particular (which basically I consider myself), so I'm not suprised.

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