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Leftys: Your volume and/or tone pots??????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PhatBasstard, Oct 22, 2010.


  1. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    After 33 years of doing this professionally I was hit by something I've never even thought about.

    My band hosts a weekly jam at a local club. One of our regular jammers is a lefty bassist and brought his Carvin LB 5 string. There was another lefty bassist that didn't have a bass and our regular graciously let him play his Carvin.

    In setting him up on my rig I turned his volume all the way up to set his gain, but I couldn't get any sound at first.

    Long story short:
    Since it was a lefty bass I turned the volume totally counter-clockwise, only to realize the pot had to be totally clockwise just like on a righty bass.

    I had never realized or even contemplated this before. Are there no counter-clockwise pots for lefty instruments? Is this a Carvin thing or are lefty instruments commonly set up like this? Does/would this feel intuatively wrong to left handed players (who actually play left handed)?
     
  2. SnakeKappele

    SnakeKappele

    Sep 20, 2010
    A basic potentiometer is a resistive material in a semi-circle and a sweeping contact that moves from one end of the resistive material to the other. Volume and tone pots have three lugs on them. The center lug is connected to the sweeper and the other two lugs are for the ends of the resistive material. When the sweeper is at one end, there is no resistance between that end's lug (L1) and the sweeper lug and the rated resistance between the sweeper lug and the other end's lug (L2). As the sweeper is moved, the resistance between the sweeper and L1 increases and the resistance between the sweeper and L2 decreases. Once at the other end the resistance between the sweeper and L1 is the rated resistance and there is no resistance between the sweeper and L2.

    On the volume control, one of the outer lugs is grounded, the other is the pickup in, and the center is volume out. If the ground and volume in are swapped the volume will work counter clockwise.

    They probably mass produce the parts and it's cheaper to do them all the same way.
     
  3. amimbari

    amimbari

    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I play lefty and always thought it was more logical to turn the knobs CW, (up-towards me) to turn up the vol..it always seemed logical and never even thought about it like the OP until I got a lefty bass that someone had already swapped the wires on the pots so you had to turn CCW ( down to turn vol up ) and was confusing so I swapped the wires around to match all the rest of my units.

    And Snake is right, mass produced wiring kits = one used for all units.
     
  4. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I have a few basses, same manufacturer, same model, and some have lefty pots and some righty.
     
  5. All of my basses have knobs that turn counter-clockwise except my newest one, a custom by Dan Atkinson. It was his first lefty order and he didn't realize that he would need to get lefty pots.
     
  6. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I don't really know why, but it makes sense. Even though every other knob on amps and pedals turn the other way, and that makes perfect sense, too....
     
  7. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Because they don't make lefty amps!
     
  8. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Well no, I mean.....why would knobs turn CC on an amp? That's just stupid. It doesn't make sense. But on a bass....of course they have to turn that way.
     
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'm a lefty that plays righty, but when i build a lefty bass for someone, i use anti-log pots and wire them mirror imaged to the standard schematic.
     
  10. Since the volume pots on just about everything turn the same way, I think even if I was lefty that I'd prefer to have them turn the same way. But I'm not a lefty, so I don't know for sure.
     
  11. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    If it's a linear pot, it's just switching two terminals. Done.
    If it's a logarithmic taper, you have to get a reverse/anti-log pot and then switch the terminals from the standard righty config.
     
  12. SnakeKappele

    SnakeKappele

    Sep 20, 2010
    Didn't think of that.

    Another reason they don't do it, you need a special pot and more expensive to mass-produce.
     
  13. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Most knobs turn both CW and CCW on an amp. I can't think of an instance where I've ever had a potentiometer that could only turn one direction.

    But seriously, it's just convention to do it one way - we've all been trained that increase = CW, decrease = CCW. It could just as easily be the other way around.

    I've screwed up soldering so many times that I almost expect that my pots should be wired in reverse.

    Arguably, you could think of it like this: turning CCW means I'm directing LESS signal to ground, turning CW means I'm directing MORE signal to ground. That would make your pot function in reverse, but still follows the less/more convention.
     
  14. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I was thinking this might be the case with the third lug.
    Funny that Carvin doesn't reverse this on their lefty basses. It seems simple and logical...
    ...unless they're using these.



    I'm assuming the tone pots would work the same way. I know the blend is obviously reversible.
    I remember a lot of dissention on the fact that Sadowsky wires his blend pots backwards from almost everybody else
    (i.e. on a righty bass clockwise brings up the bridge pickup and counterclockwise favors the neck, which to a righty is counter intuative).
     
  15. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    This makes a lot of sense.
    I guess I just look at everything being totally reversed on a lefty bass.
     
  16. FunkMetalBass

    FunkMetalBass

    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Unless they're using what?
     
  17. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    A few of my basses turn different ways. I never really cared or gave it much thought. I just got used to each bass as it is. :bassist:
     
  18. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    The style of pot you quoted ("If it's a logarithmic taper, you have to get a reverse/anti-log pot") above my quote.
    Am I not understanding something?
     
  19. M0ses

    M0ses

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    :D way too take me too literally :p

    Anyway, what you said makes sense. And I'm just saying, all it is is just convention, and it may or may not make LOGICAL sense, but for some reason it just feels natural for my lefty pots to go that way, rather than the conventional way.

    my preamp has an input pad knob, and as you turn it clockwise it increases the pad. Go figure.
     
  20. synaesthesia

    synaesthesia

    Apr 13, 2004
    UK
    and guitars too...
    though volume and tone controls don't bother me which way they turn, they can swing one way or the other, it doesn;t bother me.

    However the wiring of balance pots do bother me.... if they are counter intuitive to location of the pickup towards the neck or the tailpiece. Some times it is easy to rewire, but sometimes not... I have one bass where the balance pot is hard soldered to a PCB that was obviously designed for RH instruments - rewiring the balance pot is possible but a lot of bother.
     

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