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MBD: the KiloRayOneThousand, or, why I love capacitors

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fermata, Jan 20, 2017.


  1. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    I'm very fond of my SBMM SUB Ray4 in terms of looks and feel, but I've grown less fond of the tone over time. (I prefer warm classic tones.)

    But the G&L Kiloton caught my ear in recent months and got me thinking about the possibility of a passive bass with a pickup in the Stingray sweetspot. I had tried this before, but I found the lowest notes lacking without a preamp. But the Kiloton got me thinking...

    So after quite a lot of reading here and on the Basses By Leo site and helpful tips from people in both places, I've cooked up a wiring scheme that draws inspiration from the the Kiloton and the G&L L1000, as well as the old passive Music Man SUB (USA).

    IMG_0908.JPG

    Like the Kiloton, I've wired up a standard 250K pot Volume-Tone harness, and since I had an extra switch on my control plate, I made that into a capacitor switch: .022 and .047 uF. So far so good, but since my pickup is a GFS MM Pro (alnico), and not a mighty MFD, I needed to resolve the low end issue.

    Enter the G&L L1000. I didn't see a point to a bass cut control with only a bridge pickup, but I liked the idea of the .001 uF loading capacitor to drop the resonant frequency of the pickup--less bright/more bassy. (It's connected between the pickup and the volume pot.) In my opinion, this is the secret sauce (along with series wiring) that gives a MM bridge pickup a rich enough tone as a passive standalone.

    The L1000 also got me curious about the OMG setting, which puts a .1 uF capacitor on one coil of the humbucker for a passive bass 'boost.'

    IMG_0912.JPG

    To my ear, series wiring offers the best sound for a passive MM pickup (that's what the old passive Music Man SUBs used); parallel and single coil have a big volume drop compared to series, and the tone isn't as rich (running passive). So my three-way toggle differs from the Kiloton and the L1000: I have normal series wiring and two OMG settings (north coil and south coil). Thanks to @eastcoasteddie for the idea and diagram.

    1ufCapsseries-splitcoil.

    The three settings don't offer radically different sounds so much as variations on a theme with different harmonic emphasis (the biggest difference is between either OMG setting and regular series). I'm really liking the tight, punchy, growly, burpy-but-bassy sound, and it's a great fit for one of my projects--(believe it or not) an acoustic instrumental band. Overall, the sound is less brittle and 'chewier' than the stock pre-amp, and the passive tone roll-off offers a warmer sound than the original pre-amp's treble cut. After a rehearsal yesterday, I'm particularly liking how the .022 capacitor rolls off the highs while keeping a nice degree of clarity in the tone.

    The previous mods are Hipshot Lic Ultralight tuners, a decorative coin from my country and year of birth, and a smaller MM-style bridge.

    IMG_0913.JPG

    Finally, a question (in case anyone is still reading): The series/OMG toggle switch I ordered is more mini than I expected--does anyone know of a larger DP3T switch? (Update: I found a washer that's a better/prettier fit, so I'm OK with the mini switch.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
  3. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Thanks, that looks like a nice switch. OK, the switch diagram should be showing up now. (Ignore the fact that it says Neck Pickup--it was originally a two-pickup diagram.) I don't have an overall diagram...basically, it's the switch wiring into a standard P-bass harness, with the addition of a capacitor switch, like this:
    3747857353_2fdf0c6500.
    As you can see in my photo of the circuit, I wired the caps across the switch and then connected the center lug on one side to the pot wiper and the center lug on the other side to ground.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  4. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I made a lousy video of my passive Squier Jazz V (With VMJV neck), showing differences between Series/ Bridge Coil/ Neck Coil, as per the diagram shown above by @fermata

    The video is not edited for sloppy or outright horrible playing...



    I start out in Series, then switch to Bridge Coil, then Neck Coil...then kind of switch back and forth a bit.
    Tone control up 100%
    I'm usually a better player than this video shows, but I guess I got a bit self-conscious...

    And another with my Dean Sledgehammer 5...same thing soloing the bridge pickup. This one is wired Series/Neck/Bridge coils...not sure why I did it this way...I think I made Red hot instead of White in this bass, or the other way around...don't remember...



    You can definitely hear the difference between Series and the soloed coils, but the difference between Neck and Bridge coils is very minuscule. They both have brilliant highs, but the mids are shifted about 200Hz or so between them.
     
    fermata likes this.
  5. fermata

    fermata

    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    That's my experience, too. The setting with the .1 uF cap affecting the north coil is my favorite of the two--clear and bassy at the same time; that and series are my go-to settings.
    Update: I should add that the OMG setting affecting the south coil (north coil 'open') with the mids bumped on my amp starts to lean toward the P-bass tonal spectrum (not as hollow sounding, though), so there really are some different sounds tucked into this setup. From there, each flip of the switch gets a bit brighter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  6. Malak the Mad

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

    Main question; Is the neck pickup involved in that sound at all or are we hearing the MM bridge pup all on it's own?

    Secondary question; Is that an Affinity body? If so, I did the exact same thing…hitching a VMJ-V neck to a gem of an Affinity. Also, where did you get a black pickguard that fit? The VM's wasn't a great fit with the Affinity, so it's going au-naturale right now.

    I've considered getting my "Guilt-Free Fiver" modded to take a pair of MM's. This might push me down that road just a little bit more, so don't be surprised if I start hitting you up for some tips, 'kay? :nailbiting:
     
  7. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    1:
    All bridge pickupnin both videos. With the Jazz, you can see the position of the knobs where the neck p/u is rolled off. The other bass has a Les Paul-type p/u switch, it is in the bridge position.

    2:
    Affinity body, VMJV neck. PG from the same VM (I'm assuming), cost $10. Purchased both from Stratosphere.
    The PG fits ok, there is a 1/8" gap at the bottom of the neck, but everything is black so you don't see it unless you look for it. It doesn't line up so well with the control plate, though...but again, can't see it unless you look.

    3:
    No problem, I'm always glad to help anywhere I can...
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  8. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I did a similar thing with a Sterling SUB. Love the neck and lightweight body but wanted to add a P bass tone to make it more versatile. Had my luthier add a P pickup but I didn't like the sound of it through the active electronics. We added a separate output jack and wired it directly to see how that sounded. Not good. Those caps in a P bass are in there for a reason. Added a stacked volume/tone knob and an .047 orange cap. Much better. On the one hand, I can't blend it with the SUB pickup this way, but on the other hand I have a stereo bass.
    P.S. Added lightweight tuners to mine too!
     
  9. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    New, better videos



     

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