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How do I fix this issue with my Precision?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jmattbassplaya, Jul 30, 2012.


  1. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    This has been bothering me for close to a year now and I've finally decided that enough is enough! Basically, the tone control on my P bass goes from completely off to completely on almost instantly. There is no 'middle ground' with the tone control and it bothers me to no end that my only options are bassy with no highs or highs with no bass. I'd like a nice middle of the road, grindy sort of tone, and this just ain't cutting it.

    My question is what can I do to fix this? Is there any specific part I can buy to fix this issue and give my tone control a smoother slope?
     
  2. Sounds like you need a linear taper pot. Perhaps even a different tone cap if you feel so inclined.
     
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Sounds good to me. Any suggestions on what would work best for a Fender P? I did a google search and a LOT of options came up. I'm a little overwhelmed and am not sure which is the right choice for me.
     
  4. Well, really.... you will only know what the right choice for you is.

    Your bass probably has 250k pots and a .047uf or .022uf tone cap.

    Going to 500k pots will make the bass sound brighter and going with a higher uf tone cap will make the bass sound darker (.022uf more treble, .047uf more mids, .1uf bassy) . Even having the tone pot circuit pre or post the volume pot will change the voicing some. Experiment around and find what works for you.

    Start with a 250k linear taper tone pot and go from there. Perhaps just having more precise control over your tone knob will do the trick for you.

    I have three passive & one active bass. My passive 5 string jazz has 500K pots & .1uf cap. My other two basses don't even have pots and only one has a simulated tone circuit with a .470k resistor and a .022uf cap.

    What's funny is I dislike bright and trebley bass guitars.... but I've found that with the darker settings on my amp having brighter basses just makes for more presence instead of high end.
     
  5. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    Sounds to me as if your bass simply has a defective tone pot. A 250K or 500K will work fine. Just buy the CTS brand off ebay. There a LOT of sellers on there with genuine Fender CTS pots. I just replaced both volume and tone with 500k's and the part numbers are the same with volume and tone. They come with the cap. I used a 500k with the original cap (.047) to give me more range and with the tone all the way up, the tone control is effectively not in the circuit. I like highs coming from my bass. I'd rather have all the sound coming from my bass and control the tone from the amp. I may occasionally turn it down a bit for a less trebly sound for just a few songs. The only thing tone controls do is SUBTRACT highs. They don't ADD highs (unless you have an active bass).
    I forgot to say...I don't know what type of Precision you have, so you could have a Greasebucket tone control in there. Better take off the pickguard and check it.
     
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    It's a Fender MIA Precision from 2010 :)
     
  7. Muckaluck

    Muckaluck

    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    Sounds to me like the tone cap is bad. Just buy a new tone cap rated at .047 and replace the one you have in there. If you're comfortable soldering you can do it yourself or get a tech to do it. It should take 5 minutes.

    I have an orange drop in my p bass that gives a smooth transition from open to closed. http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/electrical_capsorange.htm
     
  8. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    It doesn't matter what kind of cap you put in there. If you can tell the difference with an orange drop then it's all in your head.
    I still think it's the pot. A cap will not change tone all by itself. All the tone control does is dial how much of the cap is in the circuit, and the more the cap is dialed in, the more treble roll-off you'll have.
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    +1

    It's the pot's taper that gives you a smoother transition, not the cap.
     
  10. Muckaluck

    Muckaluck

    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    Ha, I didn't know that. I stand corrected; you learn something new every day!
     
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
  12. kesh

    kesh

    Jul 9, 2012
    Brighton, England
    Important question is where does it go from open to bassy on the pot's travel.

    If it goes on the last part of its travel as you are turning it down, then you probably have a linear pot and need a log one.

    If it goes at the beginning of its travel as you turn it down, you probably have a log one and need a linear.

    It could also be you have a 500K one and need a 250K one.

    Very helpful thing would be to open it up and tell us the pot's value, and whether it has an A or a B after it.
     
  13. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
  14. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the responses so far. I cracked the bass open and they are 250k audio pots. It also looks like it has an orange drop on it. I'm guessing a 250k liner pot would be more the ticket, although I'm curious if there's anything else I could potentially change to help fix the tone up to be more to my liking? I already upgraded the pups to Delanos which have helped tremendously, but I still have trouble getting that grindy and open sort of tone that lots of other precisions seem to get with relative ease.
     
  15. Consider trying a .022uf tone cap...

    I'm thinking of making a comparison video of different tone caps on different basses.


    When I get some time.
     
  16. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    There's never enough hours in a day :)
     
  17. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    I put a 500K tone cap in my Precision. That effectively takes the cap out of circuit when it's on '10'. That's where you'll get all the treble your pickup can put out. Some like linear pots, but the taper for audio pots is log:
    "In a logarithmic track variable resistor, the resistance does not increase/decrease constantly. As the wiper is moved from one end, the resistance changes at a slower rate and when the wiper is brought to the other end, the resistance changes at a faster rate. This means that when the wiper is at halfway along the track, the resistance is not half the value of the total resistance. This is specifically applied for volume control as the response of the human ear to sound is also logarithmic. That is, a slow change in the beginning and a rapid change towards the end".
    You might want this so you have a SMALL change in the beginning as you turn down the tone.
    BTW, I also used a 500K for my volume. You won't lose any lows this way and your P will perform almost like the P/U is wired straight to your amp.

    Craig
     
  18. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You mean 500K tone pot. It does not take the cap/pot out of the circuit, but will sound brighter on 10.

    If you really want to take the tone control out of the circuit, either get a no load tone pot, or a Fender TBX tone control.
     
  19. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    I agree. It doesn't take it completely out. It 'effectively' does. 500k ohms > cap > to ground is a lot of resistance. I can't tell the difference with it this way compared to having the tone control disconnected. YMMV.
     
  20. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    Whelp, I picked up a couple of pots and caps to try out. Here's hoping something works out well for me :)
     

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