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Do you need tone control?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Christian Houmann, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Hi Tb'ers

    I'm curious to heard from you if you need a tone control on a bass.

    From what I understand many basses like Roscoe, MTD, Sadowsky metro's and Celinder dont' have a tonecontrol.

    I like really like tonecontrol on my basses but still many basscompany's doesn't seem to offer it.

    Also I like to have the opportunity to switch to passive.
    Does it matter to you if the bass can passive/aktive?


  2. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    All a tone control does is remove treble, and you get that with pretty much every eq on an active bass, including all of the ones you mentioned.

    Also, do you mean 'tone control' (changing the sound) or 'A tone control' (pot that removes treble, found on passive basses)?

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I have found it to be a great tool exspecially with Maple finger boards , my VTC can darken up my Sadowsky very nicely.
  4. A tone control knob can be emulated with the treble knob on an active bass, so there isn't a huge need for it. However, it doesn't work the same way as a tone knob, so it isn't an exact replica. Sadowsky even offers a tone knob on its active basses, although I believe his preamps are boost only so you can't even cut treble if you wanted to.

    Yes, I do use the tone knob on my passive basses and the treble knob on my active basses. Both work fine for me.
  5. I think you will find that most of those basses you listed are active, and replace the tone control, a "one-band EQ," in a manner of speaking, with a 2- or 3-band (bass, mids, treble) EQ, which allows for an even more minute tweaking of tone. A few people actually decide to have only volume knobs (or even no knobs!) on their basses, such as Stewart McKinsey, or Mark Hoppus, or Timothy Schmitt.
  6. Where the heck did you get this information??????
  7. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Well technically he's right.

    While they offer tone control, they dont offer a tone control.

    See the difference? :D
  8. Easy!

    I know that Sadowsky metro's and Celinder's don't have and on the MTD site it does say anything about a conetrol on the their bass. Therefor!

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I'm not being sarcastic but Whether you have a 1,2,3,or 4 band EQ system on your Bass that technically would be your tone control and if you had only a volume knob on your Bass that as well can be considered a tone control.what ever method you use on your Bass to alter it's tone makes it a tone control.
  10. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    And your fingers would be considered tone control (or pick or whatever)

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

  12. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    No, you don't actually NEED a tone control on your bass. Obviously you're going to have control of the tone on your amplifier, and your hands do affect the tone in many ways. Having said that, it's nice to have some sort of tone control on the bass itself. It can be handy when being forced to plug directly into a board or direct box so that you have some sort of control there. It's also easier to make changes when you're in the middle of a performance.

    It is nice to have a passive/active switch in case your battery dies, or for times that you'd prefer a passive tone, but again it isn't necessary. Just make sure that you change your battery on a regular basis so you don't have your bass quit while you're on a gig.

    I believe that your info on Roscoe, etc. is inaccurate, BTW.
  13. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Personally I prefer a tone control because of the fact that it's much easier to adjust than a 3 band EQ on a bass..
  14. Then again, when you have a bass that has a treble control and a bass control, and all they do is increase volume, it's time to get some new electronics.

    As for tone controls, there's a line of guitars out there that was designed for Peavey by Eddie Van Halen - all they have is a volume control. If you have a good amp, outboard EQ, shape control, or even a "wah" pedal, you have a ton of ways to control your tone (and you'll need it for the different kinds of rooms you play, since your "tone" may need to be tweaked to cut out some "ringing" note in the room. Change the EQ and your tone will change ((unless you use a parametric EQ). Modeling amps today will set the tone for you, too.

    Now if your amp setting are set by the sound guy, or your have an amp with just a volume control (knew one player than just used a crown power amp), then you'll have to be able to control your own "tone," and with more than just one "knob."

    Jauqo's right - players discount their technique too much. When you consider it, it is what makes your sound uniquely your own. Electronics can only enhance what good technique produces.
  15. there are 3 names you don't often see in the same thread!

  16. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I really like the 'passive tone control' option on basses with active electronics (I assume that's what you are talking about... the classic 'treble roll-off' control that is on the original passive J and P Fender designs), especially if they are J-type basses. Actually, per the thread originators beginning post, current Celinders all have 'passive tone controls' along with DIP switched to adjust the active treble boost... very nice preamp by Greengrove.

    Regarding the boutique basses mentioned, I normally associate passive tone controls with 'super Jazz' type instruments versus more 'modern sounding' instruments like MTD's and Roscoe's. I guess Fodera would be an exception, since the Pope preamp comes standard with a passive tone control.

    As mentioned above, the combination of an active treble boost control and passive tone control (like Sadowsky and Celinder) is a very powerful tone combination IMO.
  17. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    my jazz's tone control basically has 2 differant sounds, i basically turn it about 30 degrees to get from one to another, it isnt even a gradual change, i think i need to get a new capicitor/pot
  18. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    To answer the original question: I kinda miss having any tone control on my G&L SB-2. It's wired up with 2 volume pots only. I've just accepted the sound though, so it doesn't bother me too much anymore.
  19. Dan D

    Dan D

    Feb 17, 2006
    What a good thread...

    Hope nobody infers this post to be a blatant commercial plug (and that's not my intent) but I wanted to weigh in here from a designer's perspective.

    In our chambered solid-bodied acoustic/electric bass guitars http://www.demarsguitars.com/instruments/bass.html, we decided to only go with an accessible volume control, located on the rosewood bridge. There is an onboard 2-channel preamp with 3-band EQ to adjust the tonal signature of each pickup (there are two piezo transducers: one at the traditional under-saddle location and one at the neck heel to capture the influence of the neck on the overall tone). Our philosophy was "set it and forget it" and that any EU/tone adjustments the player wanted to make could be done at the amp or mixer or via a stompbox. When I play (any) bass at gigs, I rarely feel the need to change my tone - I can easily do it with my right hand fingers where I pluck the strings, or if I use a pick or not.

    Jauquo III-X played both our fretted and fretless models at the recent NAMM show and he might be able to weigh in with a thought or two.

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