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Jazz bass VVT change to VBT - tone concerns?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JMacBass65, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Ok, so here is the deal. I have an 83 AVRI Jazz, it's my #1 bass, and has been since I got it in '87. I wanted to change from the stack knobs to VVT for the longest time, but never wanted to jack around modding it. If it aint broke dont fix it, and all that.

    Finally a couple of months ago I had @bassman_al make me a VVT harness, dropped it in, and I wondered why I waited so long. For the way I use the bass and controls, it's much more sensible than the stack knobs. I also happen to like the look much better too.


    I started thinking, if I REALLY wanted the ultimate in functionality, for me, for quick on the fly changes, a volume, blend (pan?), tone would be the ultimate. And now, since I have broken the modification barrier, whupy not go for it.

    Question is - when compared to VVT, will it alter the tone at all? Will it do so in certain setting, like when favoring the neck or bridge pup?

    You get my drift, what say you?
  2. bassman_al

    bassman_al Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Fairfax, VA USA
    Blend gives fewer tonal options, but offers easier one-knob operation. In other words, like everything else it's a matter of personal preference.
  3. Hey there Al, funny you should reply, you'll be making' this if I decide to do it.

    I'm pretty simple. For 90% of my playing, I have both pups full up, and the tone either full up, or rolled off completely.

    And every now and then, I roll off a just bit of the bridge pup, or just a bit of the neck pup.

    So I guess the question is, will it sound the same with the blend in the center, and it does w/ two volumes, full up? Or, do things change a bit due to resistance in the pots, and other stuff I don't understand?
  4. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Subbed, curious about this myself.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    OK OK, here i am!
    how so? either one will give you any mix of the two pickups, at any level.

    tone-wise, it's all about the total impedance load of all the pots in question (with them all dimed anyway).

    if you just gotta have the exact same sound, a 250k volume and tone with a 500k m/n blend will have the same load as a 3x250k V/V/T setup; the blend pot is two pots stacked together parallel, so 2x500k results in 250k.

    thing is, if you want this blend to really work smoothly, you'll want something different: the trick is to use a lower-value blend pot and don't wire up the ground connections, creating an "unloaded" or "ungrounded" blend. here's my "ultimate" version with the cut traces, but if you're not so worried about each pickup by itself at max brightness then you don't need all that. just follow the wiring and skip the trace-cutting part.

    with a 250k M/N blend pot, it'll blend more smoothly and have way less tonal effect overall; couple that with one of the stock 250k volumes as a master and the stock 250k tone and you'll be right at stock J bass sound; i recommend a linear volume as having a way smoother sweep, if you can't find a 250k linear than a 300k lin will be close enough.

    i myself like to use 500k linear volume and 500k audio tone to open up the bass for more growl and punch; if i want to go back to vintage then rolling the tone down a little puts me right back there again.
    jackAbrasion, M.R. Ogle and Doctor J like this.
  6. . giphy.
  7. MothBox


    Oct 25, 2010
    Looking at doing the same thing here myself. My go to bass is VBT (all 500k) and I love that configuration, although recently play in series a lot and have been foregoing the blend, but I just find it easier to dial in a sound I want.

    The VVT on a jazz is alien to me, so I'm thinking of doing the same, VBT, with a series/parallel switch and probably a 0.068uF or 0.1uF cap. Probably use 500k purely because it's what I've used before. Audio for tone, linear for volume - following Line6mans advice from a thread a while back.

    This is the wiring schematic I used. It came from line6man originally, and following advice I switched the volume lugs and removed the blend ground. Works a treat.

    BTB405 2013 wiring.
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Damn good information! Thank you WalterW!

    This is why TalkBass is worth the a supporting membership.
  9. Yeah - thanks so much @walterw , that was very informative.

    I need to ponder it to decide if it's worth the bother. Of course, it ain't that big a deal to have a harness wired up and try it out. Would still be easy enough to swap back.

  10. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    V/B/StellarTone is my favorite electronic setup. Much better for putting in just as much of either pickup as needed. Since a bunch of my basses are of the P/J variety I use mostly the P and then blend in a little J as needed. Then you can use a regular StellarTone or a DuoTone. The regular one works like a standard tone pot going to both pickups and the DuoTone sends a different tone to each pickup. Puts more mids and highs into the bridge pickup.
  11. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    The Stellartone is a pretty neat invention. Each click towards 'zero' not only alters the tone, but the capacitance as well. I bought one for my first parts-bass project…specifically for a Precision bass. Ultimately, I scrapped that project, but wanted to keep the Stellartone in-play.

    So, for my next project, a P/J Jazz, I tried a V/B/T circuit…mainly because it was the only way I could use the Stellartone for the tone pot. (they're specifically built for one or two pickups, never both) Personally, I didn't care much for the blend circuit. I felt I had much greater control with two, independent volume pots. However, in my quest for a decent, pre-made wiring harness, I found my personal crown jewel in the form of a Santellan Sounds Elek-Trix solder-less series/parallel harness.


    It's a pre-wired, two pickup system that lets you clip the wires straight into the circuit (left-most pot) and can switch between series and parallel wiring (middle push/pull pot). But what I really dig is the dip-pin chip in the right-most pot. It allows me to reconfigure the tone control's overall capacitance with the flick of it's itty-bitty switches. Here's what it's capable of…

    Elek-Trix bass series switch settings.

    They also make a V/B/T circuit and all of them can have an optional Varitone control installed as well. But for me personally, I found the sound and versatility I got from without it was just fine.

    It's also worth mentioning that this harness, full and complete, is less expensive than a Stellartone that only includes the one pot.
    jackAbrasion likes this.
  12. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    I hadn't heard of them before. After looking at it I'm considering using the
    Jazz Bass Wiring Harness with Blender& Varitone Control - Santellan Sounds Wiring Kits for Guitar & Bass
    in my Squier Telecaster to Telecaster Thinline conversion. I'm going to use two of the Guild BiSonic pickups that Best Bass Gear is selling.
    Guild DS1 Bi-Sonic Pickup - Best Bass Gear

    I've kinda fallen in love, or at least lust, with non traditional wirings.

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