1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Looking for the basics of bass electronics, please.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by saresu.bass, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. I want to start learning how to fix/repair bass circuits.

    I've been finding all sorts of fragmented information about bass electronics, pickups and everything but they don't help much. As a total beginner I'm looking for learning the basics.

    Is there any book or article out there for basses?

    I only found the book: Guitar electronics for musicians Donald Brosnac. Does it serve for basses too?

  2. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    The passive electronics in skinny-string and bass guitars are the same. The only real difference is the value of the cap on the tone controls.

    Another good source of info is the reference section at stewmac.com.
  3. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    can you solder? That's where I'd start. I was lucky enough to learn to solder at about ten years old. Although I have tweaked my technique and tools along the way as I gained more experience. Try building a few hobby electronics kits. In Australia we buy these at Jaycar, Altronics, Dick Smith. I'm sure there are shops like that In your part of the world.

    As a teenager, I had a book called "Customising your electric guitar" by Adrian Legg. It helped/inspired me a lot. I also found a few of those little Babani books pretty useful later on. There's one or two that are specifically about electric guitar wiring. Plus Craig Anderton's book from the mid 90's called "Guitar projects for musicians".

    See if your local college has certificate or diploma courses in electronics. I did one years ago. It wasn't related directly to audio electronics, but it was pretty good.

    Build a basic pickup winder. My first was just a hand cranked axe grinder with the stone removed and a digital counter added.

    Buy opshop and ebay cheapies and try to rewire them, and also improve or mod them. You should also learn at least the basics of guitar setup- nut filing, relief, intonation etc.

    Don't believe anything you read on the internet until you've tried it out for yourself. There is an enormous amount of misinformation here, and the process of trying it yourself will help you understand it and decide what is real and what is BS. It's amazing how many people just take what is written somewhere, and because it sort of makes sense in their mind, they repeat it on other sites or forums without actually experiencing it for themselves.

    Buy a soldering station, not a cheap soldering pencil. And some aluminium heatsink clips. Unlike a lot of guys who solder just on circuit boards, you'll be soldering a 1/8th watt resistor one minute, then trying to solder 8 earth wires twisted together to a 24mm pot casing the next. I tweak the temp on my soldering station all the time.

    Don't buy the cheapest multimeter at the hobby electronics shop. Spring for the 2nd or 3rd cheapest. It'll be fine to get you going. Later on you can get a good meter with the features you use, and maybe an inductance meter if you get more into pickup winding or a 'scope if you get more into preamp design etc.

    Buy a packet of blutac. A blob of blutac is the most handy thing you'll own when you are trying to wire a handful of pots and switches into a guitar's electronics cavity.

    Use safety specs when soldering. Wash your hands after handling solder - it's made of lead. Don't be lazy with your health and safety.

    Become proficient at bass and/or guitar. Play in bands, preferably covers bands, so you have to play all styles. Play gigs. You have to try out the mods at gigs. Many times I've modded one of my basses and it's sounded like a really useful and cool tone at home, but on a gig, it's lost in the mix, or just no good. Really. Many many times...:meh:
  4. From these suggestions I know where to start.

    Thank you very much for the input guys!
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I have that Brosnac book. It's great for basic info, but WAAAAY outdated when it comes to active EQ.