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Is it worth the risk of drilling a hole in my bass for a passive tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Techmonkey, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    I'm installing an OBP-2 in my (currently) passive 'Wick Corvette. I've gone with the concentric bass/treble version and ordered a concetric knob for that, and I ordered a DPDT Volume pot too so I can bypass the preamp by pulling it out.

    This, however, is all 3 of my holes taken up. Volume/bypass, pickup blend, bass/treble.

    When in passive, this means I won't have any way of controlling the tone. Is this such a bad thing? Is it worth me drilling a hole in my baby? (I have no problems with modding basses, but modding anything worth £400 scares me slightly)

    Of course my natural instinct is to find out if there's some way I can have the passive tone without drilling any holes in my bass, but is there such a thing? Should I just leave the whole tone control out?

  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I have made cheap control cavity covers in the past, and then mounted a passive control knob into the cover. It's a good way to tell if you'll want the added feature withoout making a commitment to drilling a hole into the top.

    In some cases I've added the extra tone knob to the front, and in other cases I decided I didn't like the effect and re-installed the original cover plate and left the control removed from the system. If you do go the rear control plate method, be sure your pot is properly grounded, as no grounding = no effect

    all the best,

  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Missing something here, you have volume/bypass and your by-passing the preamp in that mode which means you're already running passive with that setup - what do you need an additional hole and switch for when it's already done?
  4. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    The new hole is for a passive tone control, or treble roll off or whatever it's called - the third pot in a VVT setup. This is so that I can have some tonal variation when I'm not using the preamp. If I run out of batteries, for example. Or if I'm just not looking for an active tone at that moment in time.

    I don't need another switch :confused: the only switch I need is to switch the preamp off, and I replaced the volume pot with a pot with a switch on it (like the active Warwick basses)

    I think I might not have made myself clear enough - when I talk about passive tone, I mean the passive tone pot.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding!
  5. get a see if you can get a stacked knob for the pickup blend.. lower pickup blend.. upper passive tone knob ;)
  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Ok, that part I understand now. Looks like Rodent got it the first time.

    I typically have no controls onboard and just run pups straight to jacks stereo out, although usually I just use one pup. With two pups, I've installed just a blend before when there's an issue with only one input (single channel amp, whatever) and a blend substitutes for a tone to a considerable degree since it mixes an inherently darker and brighter tone. In fact for a single control, lately I prefer a pair of pups with a blend over a single pup with a tone control. Typically, most of a tone control isn't useful anyway as a good portion is either to bright or too dark. In addition, you can throw a cap into the blend mix to fine tune it some. You may even be able to wire the cap into the pot switch so that the cap only effects the blend in passive mode.

    I'd try it with the blend before punching a hole. At any rate if I was going to drill it'd be for switch, I'd have a vol/tone stack. I don't like irreversable mods to a bass either. Most guys don't want a bass that's been jacked with. They want one that sounds like one they've heard. At any rate, an upgrade seldom draws more resale for a bass than stock. At some point that bass WILL be sent packing. If it's kept stock structurally when you go to sell the bass you can put it back to stock and keep or resale the upgrade to recover some of your investment (and even maybe make a little if you buy used). Otherwise you're going to have to plug the whole or give up the upgrade.

    You could even drill a whole in the control cover and use a flat slide switch, go through the pickguard or wherever and skip going through the body altogether - depending on how creative you are and how the bass is setup. The control plate hole you could fill at sell time.
  7. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Thanks for the help... Well I finished wiring my bass with the Aguilar last night, and to be honest it doesn't look much like I'm gonna be needing a passive tone control - I'm perfectly happy with the bass as it is. This way I can keep the bass as it is without any permanent modifications :)

    Thanks guys for stopping me from doing some potentially serious damage!

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