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Fender "greasebucket" tone controls

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RobHouse, Nov 3, 2013.


  1. RobHouse

    RobHouse

    Nov 2, 2013
    Hey guys.

    I've been looking into buying a new p bass for a while now and I've noticed fender have these grease bucket tone controls in there basses. What are peoples opinions on this? Apparently they roll off the highs without adding any bass. I was thinking about a new American standard p bass but before I travel 100 miles to my nearest dealer, I wanted to know if it was worth it. All comments welcome !
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    That is what Fender says about it, but that's misleading. Normal tone pots don't add bass either. The Greasebucket cuts lows and highs. This can make the tone more "tight" or "clear", less "muddy"... but many bassists don't like to cut their lows.
     
  3. RobHouse

    RobHouse

    Nov 2, 2013
    Oh right I see. Have you tried them yourself? Do you by any chance know when these tone circuits were introduced?
     
  4. ahc

    ahc

    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    If you look at the specs on Fender's site, you'll see that the American Standard P basses do not have the greasebucket tone control. They use the "normal" one.
     
  5. This is correct.

    The Greasebucket tone control has only been available on certain models, namely the Highway One and the American Special.
     
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have the greasebucket circuit on two basses and I like what it does I don't notice any loss in lows.
     
  7. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil

    May 12, 2011
    I've had both a Highway One and an American Special. I took the Greasebucket out of both of them because it sounds horrid to me.

    Before getting into specifics, though, it probably would be helpful to know where I am coming from... I am an old-school player, I keep my P circuit wide open most of the time, but use LaBella flats (scooped tone) with a foam mute. I want attack, I want fundamental, and I want enough mids to really make it sing. Turn the tone up, and it isn't as bright and clear as an American Standard, turn it down, and all you have is the growl, no fundamental or clarity/attack. To my ear (and remember that it's just one man's opinion, and there are many other ones out there), it is the worst tone circuit ever built.
     
  8. chinmullet

    chinmullet

    Jun 22, 2013
    ^ What he said, except I only have it on one bass - a FSR nitro Special.

    It's fine for what it is. It would not be the deciding factor for me in buying another p bass, either for or against.

    Also, I use it sparingly and partially. When I do use it, I only spin it maybe 25% just to buff out any abnormally harsh high noises.
     
  9. RobHouse

    RobHouse

    Nov 2, 2013
    Oh right some interesting points It was the p special I must have been looking at then. I suppose I need I try and find a dealer with both a special and a standard to do some comparing
     
  10. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Minnesota
    Grease Bucket Tone Circuitry was introduced on Fender Highway 1 basses midyear during the 2005 run .. and then carried over to the Highway One series, and then into the American Special Series
     
  11. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Search "greasebucket" for answers, more than you can possibly use.

    .
     
  12. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Seems to me more people rip them out than keep them and very few people want to add them to a bass that did not come with one. But that could just be preconceptions at work. A few minutes soldering and a tone cap of your choice will convert one to a normal tone control. If your choice of tone cap is the slightly large 0.1uF there is already on in the Greasebucket. Just clip one of its leads and solder it to the pickup can. Done. So there really is no reason to avoid a bass that has one. Buy it, try it, and change it if you don't like it.
     
  13. I agree. I bought an Am Special P less than a year ago and think it is a surprisingly good sounding (and feeling) bass. Look at my profile and judge my frame of reference for yourself.
     
  14. stonewall

    stonewall

    Jun 14, 2010
    ontario,Canada
    IMO ...you should call the dealer ask what P Basses they have instock research those models then if your a buyer drive the 100 miles play them all pick the one You like ....good luck
     
  15. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    Same hear. My American Special is my main guitar, (though I use a Squire Fretless quite a bit as well) and I don't have any complaints. I generally run it about 25% open and as my ears get saturated throughout the night, end up almost wide open in the fourth set. I like to have a little left most of the time on both my volume and tone controls-helps when the guitarists get a bit too loud-if that ever happens!
     
  16. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Here is a plot comparing a Greasebucket (blue) and traditional (red) tone control with a 22nF tone cap like the Greasebucket uses instead of the more typical 47nF.

    upload_2016-11-14_11-19-59.

    There is not a huge difference. The Greasebucket tames the resonant peak you get when you turn down the tone knob by about half. The 4.7k resistor in the GB circuit limits the range of the circuit slightly so that it does not cut quite so far into the midband. The 100nF cap in the GB circuit has a slight effect on the response as well. Here is a plot with the 100nF cap removed:

    upload_2016-11-14_11-27-45.

    The circuits now look more similar, there is still a small difference at the low end. If instead you remove the 4.7k and keep the 100nF you get this:

    upload_2016-11-14_11-32-43.

    and finally here is the GB compared to a traditional tone control with a 47nF cap:

    upload_2016-11-14_11-37-32.

    The biggest effect comes from the 22nF tone cap instead of the traditional 47nF which suggests that if you want to modify a GB to be more like a traditional you could just change out the tone cap, leaving the cap on the pot wiper in place. Conversely if you want to get some of the GB response on a bass with a normal tone circuit you could just change the 47nF tone cap to 22nF.

    Secret decoder ring:
    22nF = 0.022uF
    47nF = 0.047uF
    100nF = 0.1uF
     

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