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How will this alter my tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by DLM, Apr 23, 2005.


  1. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    I currently have Bartolini soapbars + 3-band EQ. It was suggested to me that installing a series/parallel switch would give me more tonal variety to work with.

    Can anyone describe (as difficult as it may be) the changes this will make to my tone? Would it get me more growl? Is this a worthy modification?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Try a search for in depth answers. Basically, a series setup will give you a thicker, meatier tone, while parallel will enhance the highs and mids a bit. It's a cheap and worthy mod to make, but I'm not sure if you can add it to an active bass. As far as I can tell, an active bass can't have series wiring because of the voltage flowing through it (from the pre-amps battery).
     
  3. mrelwood

    mrelwood

    Dec 15, 2004
    Finland
    I really love the versatility this brings to any instrument. But the output level in parallel mode will be weaker than in series.

    There are two kind of active basses. One with active pickups and with or without active electronics (most EMG's), and one with passive pickups and active preamp (Stingray). Passive pickups can be connected in every imaginable way, regradless if a preamp is onboard or not. Active pickups usually only have a single wiring, so this is not possible. If a passive humbucker has a single wiring, it is usually possible to be modded for multiple wiring. I have done that a lot.

    EMG has one active soapbar model that also has an single coil output.


    -Aki.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Close, but not quite there.
    Series will give you more of a mid range emphasis. Parallel will give you more bass and highs, less mids than series.

    As mrelwood said, pickups wired in series will (as a rule of thumb) have approx 50% more output than parallel.

    And yes, with the bart preamp you can put in any coil switching options you want ahead of the preamp.
     
  5. Sorry but you've got the sounds of parallel and series reversed.
     
  6. mrelwood

    mrelwood

    Dec 15, 2004
    Finland
    Sorry, but no, he didn't. Parallel doesn't necessarily (or usually) give more bottom, but other than that David had it all correct.


    -Aki.
     
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    No I don't
    I would say that relative to series mode you will hear more bass in parallel mode, probably because there's less of a mid range emphasis than series.
     
  8. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    Will the tonal change give me more "growl" that what I'm currently experiencing? I'm looking for a tone that is more "aggressive" than what I currently have which I consider "smooth."

    BTW, I can install the switch because the luthier, who installed the original Barts and preamp, suggested it.
     
  9. id say go for it. maybe even a 3 way switch so you can get series/parallel/single. series is deffinitely the hottest, you will get the most growl and bite out of it, it is a bit deeper and has more midrange. parallel is a softer sound, not as much midrange, you will get more high's and the bottom will probably sound a bit weak (because you are probably eq'ed for series). single coil is a fun one, a bit thinner, more highs, you can get growl out of a single coil. it isnt as soft as parallel, but it is less than half the output of series. if you are going to install a switch you might as well go for all 3. its also usually the same wiring as series/parallel on a 2 way switch.
     
  10. There seem to be different opinions on the general tonal effect of series/parallel wiring. Out of curiosity I just concluded a rather long conversation with U.S. Masters Guitar Works. They are luthiers who offer series/parallel wiring on their basses. According to them series will produce more output, noticeably more bottom and a reduction of highs. Parallel in comparison will sound shallower and brighter. They also indicated that although you probably wouldn't notice the difference there will be slightly more mids in parallel.
     
  11. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'm sorry, but whoever you talked to there was either giving you bad information or you misunderstood them. Or maybe when they said 'bottom' they meant thick low mids rather than bass.

    There will be noticably more mids in series than in parallel. Parallel sound will sound bassier than series, and will also have more highs relative to series.

    Out of curiousity, have you done any parallel / series wiring mods?
     
  12. Along with installing preamps, doing repairs and modifications I have done series/parallel wiring. My experience has been identical to the description from U.S. Masters. I have always noticed a pronounced increase in bass and slight decrease in the high end with series. I don't question your results or abilities. That's just what I have experienced and also read on various sites re: mods.
     
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Those definitions are a work in progress, and need refining.

    If you think wiring in parallel will give you more mids, then you're entitled to that opinion. Just as I'm entitled to disagree with you :)

    Please refer to this bartolini wiring diagram:
    http://bartolini.net/instructions/pickups/passive/switching/Switch_Wiring_DualCoil_Pickups4_cond.pdf

    On the first page, it details the sonic differences you can expect between series/parallel. While there will obviously be slight differences in the exact changes in different pickup models/windings, in general the results will be the same and as described in that document.