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Favorite PJ bass wiring

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by snorn, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. neck volume, bridge volume, master tone

    176 vote(s)
  2. master volume, blend, master tone

    80 vote(s)
  3. master volume, master tone, 3way switch (P/J/PJ) - aka Tony Franklin

    93 vote(s)
  4. other (I´ll specify)

    50 vote(s)
  1. snorn


    May 25, 2006
    Brno, Czech Rep.
    What´s your favorite / prefered or the "best" wiring for PJ bass?

    I thinking about adding a bridge pickup to my p-bass, so I´ll gonna make similar decision.

    Suggestions, pros/cons and other thoughts are welcomed! :)


  2. JKambing


    Aug 5, 2008
    I voted the first option. I think its more versatile and gives you more control over your tone. This is especially the case if you're more into the P bass tone, but just want the J pickup for that extra "OOMPH!".

    I feel that blend isn't as versatile, though its simpler to use. I think. I'm not too familiar with VBT.

    I didn't vote the third option because you won't be able to blend tones at different pickup volumes (example P on full volume, J on half volume).

    All this is just my two cents though.
  3. To put it plain and simple, if you use a second volume or a blend, the P bass tone will change.

    I always prefer 3 way switches, as they keep the wiring direct and do not add resistance, which would darken up the tone.

    Aside from that, 2 volumes is better than a blend pot.
    The blend pot adds another pots worth of resistance, and of course there are problems associated with passive blends as well.

    I say 3 way switch, and failing that, 2 volumes.
    jebmd, gfen, bdplaid and 1 other person like this.
  4. How about 2 volumes with the 3 way switch, so that you can blend the pickups if you want, but the tone will stay the same in P bass mode.
    MarkA, tlite and bdplaid like this.
  5. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    vol, 4pos rotary switch (P, PJ in series, PJ in parallel, J soloed), tone aka Dingwall Super PJ 4str

    CTv likes this.
  6. JKambing


    Aug 5, 2008
    Wow. I didn't know that. I knew resistance affected sound, but wasn't exactly sure how.. Thanks. Learned something new. Haha.

    I got a question though. If the tone is darkened when using VVT, would using 500k volume pots instead of 250k volume pots help retain a more traditional P bass tone (instead of it being darkened)?
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Oh I love that bass!

    That's what I had in my PJ, a 4 position rotary with the same combinations.
  8. In theory, two 500K pots is 250K, so it should be the same.
    I am not sure how different real life would be from this theory though.
    You would be taking a resistance relative to a 500K pot and adding a 500K pot in parallel rather than using a resistance relative to a 250K pot.

    Either way, i think two volumes and a 3 way would be the best option.
    bdplaid likes this.
  9. JKambing


    Aug 5, 2008
    Line6man: I see. Thanks!
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I agree.
  11. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    Two 250 ohm concentric pots (vol/tone) for each pickup. It is the simplest. You can run the P flat and put some extra bite on the J. I've used this combination on a fretless and it works great.
  12. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Master volume is critical to me. Every bass I've had with two volume controls is a PIA on stage. Probably from years of playing Precisions and StingRays, but I just want one volume control. A decent blend pot PROPERLY wired works well with both passive and active P/J basses in my experience. Make sure it's a blend pot, and that you have the hots of the blend and the ground connected to the correct part of each pot gang's resistance path, and that the PUPs are in phase. It'll be electronically just like a typical Jazz bass-style V/V/T, with the addition of an extra volume pot (the master) in the circuit. And that's a pretty minimal tone loss in the real world (assuming good PUPs, cables, and amps).

    PawleeP and MobileHolmes like this.
  13. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    One thing to also consider that is probably even more important to your sound than the wiring options you mentioned is the placement of the J pickup. I had (what I considered to be) a failed P/J project when I had my luthier rout a J pickup onto a '77 Precision in the exact position that a 60's style J bridge pickup would go. This ended up being too close to the P pickup and there was too much frequency cancellation with both pickups wide open which made it too thin and "midrange scooped" sounding for my taste. It'll sound better (IMHO) if you place the J pickup in the 70's J bridge pickup position which is about a half an inch closer to the bridge. In addition, get a set of P/J pickups that were designed to work as a unit such as Bartolini, Sadowsky or even EMG if you don't mind going active rather than "mix and match" different brand and/or model P and J pickups and if you don't like 60 cycle hum, get a humbucking J pickup ... but that's just my opinion ... I could be wrong. ;^)
    PawleeP likes this.
  14. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    Mine is VOL-VOL - had a 3 way, didn't need it, so I pulled it and kept it simple.
  15. i love my Tony Franklin. there are enough good tones in it to satisfy me. i don't miss the ability to blend...
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    V/V/T works fine for me (I like some darkening). I would probably switch to a switch next time, though.
  17. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I'd prefer to have a VVT, but right now my PJ has a VTS (Tony Franklin style) and it works fine.
  18. troyus


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Diego, CA.
    I'm building one right now, and it's going to be a stack knob VT-VT setup ala 60-62 jazz bass.
  19. After much experimentation I ended up with Master Volume, Neck Volume, Bridge Volume - No tone control at all! - plus 3 toggle switches between the pots - Kill, Series/Parallel (P) and Phase reversal. I gigged this arrangement for several years.

    I tended to find that I never used the tone control, always wide open, the Kill switch was useful in the Cabaret/Show work with fast chart changes I was doing and after trying just about every combination of coil and phase switching I could find I settled on the two I mentioned.

    However, I just rewired my bass with VVT - plus the coil switches - well, I felt like a change :)
  20. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    I ended up with this bass, and it has become my "go to". I found that swapping the jazz pu for a single coil Fralin made a huge difference in tone. I'm just saying this to suggest that a 60s spacing may still work for some. There are a lot of factors.

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