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Jazz bass wiring help (removing tone pot and more!)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Milky, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Hey all, I could use some wiring help for my jazz bass.

    I have an SX jazz bass with Labella flats on it. I hate the tone control though. I always leave it full off (on? no treble cut) and love the sound. If I roll the tone control the other way, the bass sounds like it is underwater. Anyway to me, the flats already cut out the treble so I want to just get rid of the tone control. Anyone else done this? Thoughts, regrets?

    Also, to make this more interesting (since taking out the tone is pretty easy), I have some other questions. I only ever use neck full, bridge full, or both full. I never use 80% or any less than full blend of the pickups. I would also like to be able to switch between parallel and series for the pickups.

    Anyone have any elegant (or otherwise) solutions to this while still using the stock control plate? I think the easiest way will be replacing the tone pot with a DPDT switch and still having volume controls but I just wondered if there were any other solutions since I only ever use full on/full off with the pickups. Thanks!
  2. Removing the tone control is very easy, but that will brighten your tone some. I would suggest using a fixed resistor in place of the pot so that the tone will remain the same as having it on full.

    You could replace one volume pot with either a Gibson style toggle switch or a DPDT On/On/On mini switch to select between the pickups.
    Of course, removing the volume pot is also going to brighten the tone, so I would recommend a fixed resistor in place of the pot to simulate it's affect.

    You could easily do a series/parallel switch in the third hole.
    If you have a pickup selector switch, you can only operate in series mode when you are using the neck pickup or both pickups.
    I would suggest using a 3PDT switch to bypass the pickup selectors setting in series mode.

    I can draw you a diagram if necessary.
  3. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN

    Thanks, a diagram would definitely help. Your idea would basically be master volume-pickup selector-series/parallel switch? Also, how much would the lack of resistors brighten the tone? Is that something I am just going to have to check and see for myself? Thanks again.
  4. I explained pot resistance in this thread:

    Ok, did you want a DPDT On/On/On mini toggle, or a 3 way Gibson style toggle?

    The next thing to do is check out the pots in your bass, are they 250K or 500K?
    You will want to use fixed resistors of the same value as the pots.
  5. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks, I get the point of the resistive values now, but how much treble is actually lost through the resistors? I guess the easiest way to tell would be to use alligator clips with different resistors and see for myself? My volume pots are 250k and my tone pot is 500k.

    Also, between the two types of toggle switches, just by looking around I'm not sure if I can tell the difference and they seem about the same price, so which one do you recommend?

    I really appreciate the advice, I know this is probably a pain for you to try to explain/draw out.
  6. You're going to have to see for yourself how big of a difference it makes. Resistors are very cheap btw. It should only cost you a couple of bucks at RadioShack...

    FWIW, I use push/pull switches on my tone controls to bypass them when I am looking for a super bright tone. The difference between a 500K tone on full and being bypassed is pretty much only noticeable when the volume (500K) is on full.
    If you are dealing with a 250K pot and a 250K resistor, I doubt that you would really hear a difference with the tone control simulated to be on full versus completely removed.
    I would just stick with a 250K resistor to simulate the second volume pot, and not worry about the tone control.

    As far as the switches, A Gibson style toggle would be sturdier in the long run, but I think the mini toggle would keep with the aesthetic of the bass, as the other switch is also a mini toggle.
    I would probably go with the mini toggle switch personally.

    The reason why I ask is that the wiring configuration is a little different for the two types of switches.

    Nah, I've done about 75 diagrams here now, and helped out on hundreds of threads. I don't mind giving electronics help.
  7. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks, I think I would prefer the mini toggle to match the other mini toggle. I really appreciate the wiring advice. It has been a long time since I took a circuits class.
  8. 3962956282_3e1cfa58c0.
  9. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Wow, thanks for the wiring diagram. I'll swing by Radio Shack later and try to wire it all up tonight. One question, on the middle toggle, how are those two lugs connected? Is it in on the right, jumped across, and out on the left?
  10. Your welcome.

    Yes, the signal starts from the series/parallel switch and goes to the two lugs in the middle of the pickup selector switch, and then it goes from there to the volume pot.
    Exactly as shown.
  11. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    So I am trying to get my purchase list down, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    1 - 250k resistor
    1 - dpdt (series/parallel)
    1 - 3pdt (pickup selector)

    Or is this last one another dpdt on on on?

    And use one of my current pots for volume. Correct? Thanks
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    line6man knows what he's talking about.


    If you don't want to fool with resistors, and you don't mind your tone changing perhaps slightly, then you can just skip them, and simplify the wiring a bit. Personally, that's what I would do - I like the simplest wiring possible. The tone shouldn't change too drastically, and you should be able to compensate at the amp.

    Just my opinion.
  13. The 3PDT is for the series/parallel switch, not the pickup selector.

    Here is what you will need:

    One 250K resistor. (but RadioShack sells them in packs of at least five) 1/4 watt is fine, or 1/2 watt works equally well.

    One DPDT On/On/On switch for the pickup selector.
    There are actually two types of On/On/On switches, and either type will work in this particular instance.

    One 3PDT On/On swith for the series/parallel.
    You may have a hard time finding this switch at RadioShack. You may need to order one.

    Yes, use one of your current volume pots.

    Something you might want to keep in mind is to make sure that the washers you use for the switches are large enough to fit the control plate's holes.
    The shaft on the switches is smaller than the shaft on the pots you have mounted on the control plate, so you want to make sure that the washers are large enough to cover the hole.
  14. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
  15. Yeah, I think those should do it.
  16. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    There are also no-load pots which at one extreme takes the pot out of the circuit completely, so, best of both worlds.

    There are also rotary switches that you could use for the pickup selector (possibly the s/p too, but it might get a bit big for the control cavity). Then you could keep the same knobs and the basic look of the bass...

    So you could go with a rotary pickup switch, no-load tone, and a DPDT on your vol for the series parallel...relatively speaking, a LOT more expensive (20 or 30 bucks, probably), but the most "hidden"...
  17. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    UPDATE: Just wired everything up, it works great! However, in series mode it doesn't matter where the pickup selector was - it stayed in series and didn't change the tone or anything. I would take a picture of the wiring but I am a terrible solderer and it looks like a 5 year old wired it up. Thanks line6man, I really appreciate the help!
  18. Yes, that is how I drew the diagram to be.
    In series mode, the two pickups join together into one big pickup rather than two, for that reason, you cannot select between them, otherwise only the neck and neck+ bridge settings would be functional (both the same sound FWIW) and the bridge setting would mute your output.

    In series mode, you bypass the switch setting and go straight to the switch's output, so that you don't end up muting the output if you are on the bridge pickup setting.
  19. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    Ah, got it. In your first reply you mentioned the series only working in neck/both positions but I see now that the 3pdt switch fixed that. Thanks again!

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