# Help me understand

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Lord Henry, Apr 10, 2006.

1. ### Lord HenryGuest

I want to stat learning about the wirering/electrical side of the bass. I basically know how to read circuit diagrams, and I understand most of the physics behind how this stuff works. The thing is, when I open up my bass I'm faced with a load of wires etc and I don't know how to relate them to the drawings. I want to know what the different connections of a pot are for, just by looking at them, that sort of thing.

Could any of you lovely people direct me to a website that will teach me these things?

Also, as a side point, could you please tell me what the difference is, in terms of sound, between series and parallel wiring is?

2. ### niftydog

Jun 23, 2005
Canberra, Australia
I don't know of any guitar specific sites, but there's plenty of electronics sites such as http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/.

Go to Volume 1 to start with, learn about Ohms law (taking note of the "resistors" section) and divider circuits.

A pot is a variable resistor. The two outer solder lugs are the two ends of the resistor. The middle lug is the wiper - this is where the resistance can be varied by turning the pot. By connecting a pot in a certain way you can make a divider circuit (see above.) By connecting it another way you can make a simple variable resistor.

Sadly, no two brands of bass have exactly the same kind of circuitry - though there are similarities that can be generally assumed to exist in all pre-amps. Buffers and filters are almost certain to be present. To learn more about these you need to dive into Transistors and Operational Amplifiers, or op amps. The basics can be found in that same site in volume 3 - semiconductors. Look for Bipolar Junction Transistors (chapter 3) then Common Emitter Amplifiers for a simple intro. Then, look for Operational Amplifiers (ch.8.)

3. ### luknfur

Jan 14, 2004
DIXIE
FWIW:

Personally I would toss the books aside for a while and get some simple parts and tools youre going to need anyway if youre going to apply any of what youve learned. Guitar modding is amhands on trial and error thing and takes primarily common sense and rudimentary understanding and essentially no theory or physics.

Start simple and expand. Put a meter on the pot lugs and see what it does, wire a simple passive P bass setup outboard according to a schematic then plug it in and tap on the pups and check that it works, etc. You dont need to touch a bass till youre up for it - Id recommend a beater.

There are tons of descriptions of various tones on this site (Bass Tone Glossary, etc) but describing a tone is like describing the color of wet hickory bark. Sound clips are of more use and there are those on this site as well. Search.

Regardless, the only way to know what something is going to sound like in a specific application is to do it, there are too many variables. No book or other person will ever be able to answer that question for you.