"Greasebucket" tone mod vs. standard tone cap comparison - WITH SAMPLES

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by EmaTheMirror, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Standard cap value

    0 vote(s)
  2. Greasebucket mod

    2 vote(s)
  3. I prefer the standard by itself but I see the point when playing in context or loud

    0 vote(s)
  4. Summer 2020 is starting to stink if we're doing this stuff

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I decided to try swapping a 0.047 cap on the tone control of my Classic 50s P (which was a "swap" itself, as the stock cap for those reissues is 0.1) with a Greasebucket mod kit I bought, which includes a 0.022 cap acting as "tone value", bridged to a 4.7 k resistor and a separate 0.1 cap. I'm not explaining the diagram here.

    For everyone's reference, I recorded a rather famous theme (no points for naming it, lol) before and after the swap, as an audio comparison.

    The same theme has been played 3 times with each component:

    - tone fully open
    - tone at 50%
    - tone fully off

    The samples are:

    - all 3 tone settings with the standard 0.047 cap value, played in sequence

    - all 3 tone settings with the Greasebucket mod, played in sequence

    - tone fully open comparison between the two components

    - tone at 50% comparison between the two components

    - tone fully off comparison between the two components

    The bass is a Classic 50s P with a Duncan SPB1 and roundwounds (Elixir nanoweb, not new) going completely D.I. in the interface and unforgivenly unprocessed in the DAW save for a gate - it's not flattering for your playing, especially with the tone open, but I think it makes more sense for this kind of raw comparisons. All the tracks feature the same gain stage and have not been normalised.

    My own very fresh conclusions, as I did the swap less than 1 h ago:

    - The Greasebucket has a cap value of 0.022, so it cuts way less frequencies by design, and it's pretty obvious in the samples.

    - Using that cap/resistor combo, it cuts at a higher midrange frequency without having that tiny boost when fully off which ends up sounding a bit like Donald Duck. I tried a 0.022 by itself in the past and I think this mod brings better results.

    - For this kind of playing, I think the mod retains better clarity and articulation removing the "unwanted" clankly bit. You could argue this is not the kind of bass usually associated with these music parts, and that's true... but I like swimming against the stream, masochistically, lol.

    - Without any sort of processing, the mod sounds "colder" with the tone off. However, my personal use of the tone most of the times is primarily to tame some harshness if needed, so I think this mod can help.

    - The standard cap wiring on a P bass when off sounds warm and woody when recording in the bedroom, especially for parts which are less articulated, but IME is usually boomy and muddy with no definition when playing loud through an amp in rock settings - rehearsals and live.

    - YMMV and mine too, as a real judgement and opinion might take some time and I might keep the mod as well as revert it in a few weeks, I don't know. I usually track parts with my tone open and leave the shaping to the DAW, anyway.

    - Horses for courses.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    Torrente Cro likes this.
  2. I have the feeling I shouldn't have used the dreaded word "greasebucket" in the title, unless I wanted to repel visits to this thread/poll :banghead::banghead::banghead:
  3. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    Yes, I know it's an old thread.

    @EmaTheMirror, thanks for the samples. Very good thread.

    I've been a fan of that low mid effect in the normal circuit, but maybe a bigger fan of maximum clarity with tone rolled down or off, so I'll consider the greasebucket. Sorry the name repels people.

    You probably know that there is another, simpler circuit with the same function - damping that resonance at tone near zero - but just with a damping resistor. One implementation is in some early 50's style P basses, a simpler one in Hofners; it basically just prevents the tone from going to zero (which can be done, equivalently I think, by just avoiding zero on the standard pot).

    The the second capacitor in the greasebucket makes it possible to use a smaller damping resistor (they used 4.7K instead of 15K), and so the greasebucket can go closer to tone=0 while still keeping that resonance damped. That could be worth trying.

    I don't mind if anyone corrects me or wants to say more. Thanks.
  4. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    On the other hand...
    If you like tone at or near zero but want to avoid that resonance, then leaving the tone up on the instrument (or omitting the tone control) and cutting treble after buffering (in an EQ unit or amp) is probably the perfectionist's way to do this. Obviously I guess.
  5. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    That is not true, sorry.
    In the early P circuit the tone capacitor dumps straight to ground; the damping resistor is very cleverly placed out of the way.
    So the early 50s P circuit with the damping resistor goes all the way to zero.

    So that's wrong too, sorry. The early 50s P circuit goes all the way to zero. Greasebucket does not.

    With the early 50s P circuit with tone=0, the volume does not quite go to 100%, just about 95%. So if you're a perfectionist, GOTO my previous post.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2022
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I love the Greasebucket in my Am. Performer Precision and never understood why anyone wouldn't like it. Of course I'm not a 'P bass with flats' type of guy either so that might be it.
    LetItGrowTone likes this.