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Name that Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jasonb, Jul 23, 2007.


  1. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hey all...

    Looking for some help... I have my current Bass around 10-15 years now. I'm not certain exactly how old it is, but I'd say I bought it in the mid nineties or so.

    It's a 4 String Active Electric Bass, sunburst colour, with 24 frets. It's got Rhino Aria Pro II on the headstock, a serial number ( S7041294 ) on the back of the headstock and Made in Korea on the back of the neck. It has two pickups, one 'single' bar near the neck and two 'double bars' closer to the bridge. All the pickups are plain black, with no 'metal coil' visible on them and they have Aria Pro II written on them.

    There are 6 controls, four Pots and two switches. One pot controls overall volume, one controls bass, one controls treble and one controls which pickup is being used ( i.e either one pickup, or the other, or both, but as it's a pot it's not just on or off, it's gradual between on or the other, with a centre point of both together equally ). One of the switches is an on/off switch and from what I can see it turns off the active part ( so the Bass and Treble Pots don't work anymore, though the Pickups Pot still does ). The other switch is three way, and I've no idea what it does, though I can hear slight changes in tone when I change it.

    So, what I really want to know is exactly what model Bass do I have, is there any documentation out there, and what does that final three way switch do? I've done pretty extensive searches for Aria Pro II Rhino basses online, but it seems to be a fairly generic name, not a model name, and I can't find it on Aria's own websites.

    I can post pictures tomorrow if that'll help... Thanks in advance...

    J.
     
  2. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Me again...

    Here's the pics, sorry they're not great quality / too large, I'm new at all this stuff...

    J.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    And another pic of the headstock...

    J.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. ROON

    ROON

    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    That is what I found on some random website. Sounds like you have an Aria concept bass. Something similar to that described in the quote. It looks great! Keep good care of it.
     
  5. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hmmm...

    Thanks for the reply. Mine doesn't have EQ, but maybe that 3 way switch has something to do with changing the humbucker? I'm really not certain, I'm no expert on these things...

    The only other bit of info I can give is that I really didn't pay a lot for this bass that I can remember ( maybe £400 Irish Pounds ) so I doubt it's in any way a 'serious' bass if you know what I mean? I just loved the look of it and it came with flatwounds on it, which sounded and felt so sweet. I've used flatwounds on it ever since...

    J.
     
  6. ROON

    ROON

    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    So yours is not an active? I think that quote might be worded weirdly so it sounds confusing. I think the switches allow your humbucker to be used in the following modes,

    Single coil (Bridge)
    Single coil (Neck)
    Both coils (Humbucking)
     
  7. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Ah, yes, it is an active bass, what I meant is that I didn't have any obvious 'EQ' sliders on it ( which is how I took the quote from the website you posted ).

    If the three way switch basically chooses betwen the neck, bridge or both Pickups, why is there a Pot that does the same thing?

    One of the Pots lets you choose the pickup. In other words, if I turn that Pot all the way in one direction, the bridge pickup works and the neck one doesn't, if I turn it into the middle, they both work, and if I turn it the other way then the neck pickup works and the bridge one doesn't.

    However, from what I can see, no matter which position the three way switch is in, both the neck and bridge pickups work.

    More than likely I'm just ignorant about this stuff and it's a common switch / pot setup, but I guess I need it explained to me!

    I've also sent an email to the only address I could find for Aria ( their distributor in the UK ) so maybe that might help...

    J.
     
  8. ROON

    ROON

    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Your EQ is your Treble, Bass and Mid (if it has one) knobs. The 3-way switch doesn't do anything to the actual single coil closest to the neck, it selects the coils that are working in the humbucker (dual coil).

    Heres an example, your switch has three settings, like this

    1-2-3

    Position 1 being closest to the strings (pointing up towards them). Keep in mind this is just an example!

    Position one (might) select the coil closest to the bridge. Like so,


    -------- Neck Pickup


    -------- Humbucker "neck" pickup.
    -------- Humbucker "bridge" pickup


    Position 3 (pointing downward from strings) might select the coil closest to the neck, like so.


    -------- Neck Pickup


    -------- Humbucker "neck" pickup.
    -------- Humbucker "bridge" pickup

    Position two will use both of the coils at once, all the settings will have a slightly different tone.

    The knob that you were talking about would be a balance knob. It works in a different way, with the balance knob you can basicly turn off the single coil neck pickup (the ACTUAL single coil, not the ones in the humbucker). Or, if turned the other way, it could turn off the humbucker, leaving you only with that single coil. If in the middle it means both pickups are being used.

    The only thing I am uncertain about is whether position one solo's the bridge humbucker coil, or the neck one. Aria may be able to help you with that one if you email them and ask.

    With both of those little gadgets to fiddle around with you could get a pretty wide array of sounds. Sorry if its hard to understand, but I'm not good at explaining stuff like this, I did my best! :)
     
  9. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hi again!

    Actually, you explained it quite well! The problem I was having was my lack of knowledge regarding Humbuckers etc., but I know exactly what you mean now.

    When I get to rehearsal tonight, I'll fiddle around with it and see what I get. I do normally leave that three way switch in the middle, which now sounds like it's using both coils of the bridge pickup. I know using the 'balance' pot I can see which pickup is 'on' by tapping a string against it, maybe I can do that using the three way switch and the two coils at the bridge to see which switch setting turns on or off the two coils there.

    Thanks for all your help, I should at least now know what all the switches / pots do! And you're right, I do get quite a wide range of tone from the guitar, depending on the switches / pots, it's pretty cool...

    J.
     
  10. ROON

    ROON

    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    No problem. :) It's a sweet bass! In really nice condition too, it'd be nice to know what year it was made. Another TB member may know.
     
  11. nastyn8c

    nastyn8c

    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Seems like you found yourself a winner!

    I admire your diligence in figuring this out. I know a lot of players (more g**tarists than bassists) who have no idea what their knobs do. When you know what you're working with, you add so much versatility to your playing style.
     
  12. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    I've kept it in the hard flight case I bought with it when it's not being used, so it has been looked after over the years. I'd imagine it was made in the early to mid 90s, but I'm not sure. It's possible that the last four digits of the Serial Number are a Date code ( 12/94 ) but that might just be a coincidence. I do have an old CD Rom somewhere with lots of old email on it, that might tell me when I bought it!

    I don't know why people wouldn't want to know what all those knobs and switches do! Even if you choose not to use them, it's good to know what they do anyhow. Which leads me to another question... I haven't bought a bass in a good few years but anytime I bought basses in the past, they never had 'instructions'. It was almost like you should just 'know' what the controls do. It's fair enough on something with only volume and tone, but no instructions came with my Aria and there's 6 controls there! Is this still the case? Is there a sense of 'you should know what they all do without having to ask'?

    Speaking of not buying a bass in a few years, I'm saving up for a Lakland Darryl Jones 4 String Natural Finish with Ebony Blocks next year. Now that will be sweet. But for the moment, I'd still love to find out what model Bass I've got! I'll see if Aria UK get back to me...

    J.
     
  13. ROON

    ROON

    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    If you ever want to get rid of your Aria, I'll have it. :D Those Lakland DJ's are sweet. I can't remember if my Stingray came with any instructions, I think there was a "how to maintain your EBMM bass" leaflet, and an insurance slip... My Ibanez didn't come with any instructions, though a volume/balance/tone setup is pretty easy to pick out with no instructions, no probs there. You'd expect that with coil tapping your Aria would have come with instructions.

    EDIT: Just realized how many typo's I made when I was explaining the coil tap switch, LOL. Atleast you still understood it :D
     
  14. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hi again...

    Just a quick update... Went through some old email and it looks like I actually got the bass in 1998 and remember it was also made in Korea, so I'm thinking it's not any kind of an expensive bass, probably just a cheap copy that looks good!

    Having some serious buzzing from it, which I can reduce a little by turning off the active and carefully choosing a mix of balance on the pickups. I'm gonna have to get someone to look at it and get the electrics behaving themselves again...

    As for the Lakland DJ, my time will come! :) Hopefully sometime next year, when I have the money and the model I want comes out...

    J.
     
  15. jasonb

    jasonb

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hi again...

    Took some better pictures, so I've updated them above. I've also attached a pic of the controls on the bass...

    The top Pot in this picture is the Bass Tone, only works with Active, fully anti-clockwise drops Bass Tone, middle point doesn't affect it and fully clockwise boosts Bass Tone.

    The Pot on the left in the picture is the overall Volume Pot, works with Passive and Active, anti-clockwise off, clockwise on.

    The Pot on the right is Treble Tone, only works with Active, fully anti-clockwise drops Treble Tone, middle point doesn't affect it and fully clockwise boosts Treble Tone.

    The bottom Pot is Pickup Balance, works with Passive and Active, fully anti-clockwise is neck pickup only, middle is both pickups, full clockwise is bridge pickup only.

    The top switch is the 3 Way switch, works with Passive and Active, which we think chooses one coil, the other coil, or both coils ( humbucker ) in the bridge pickup.

    The bottom switch is the Active / Passive switch.

    Apart from just being a bit of a nerd, why am I writing all this? Well, I'm suffering from a lot of noise / hum with this guitar and I'm trying to pinpoint it. Firstly, it is definitely the guitar, as a different guitar through the same amp and lead is quiet as can be.

    Secondly, touching or holding the strings makes no difference to the noise at all.

    In Passive mode, I can get rid of some of the noise by using the bridge pickup only and by leaving the 3 Way switch in the middle position ( I'm guessing in humbucker mode? ). I can also reduce the noise by using both pickups evenly, but putting the three way switch in the down position ( I don't know which coil this selects, if indeed that's what this switch does! ). Any other configuration brings the noise back.

    In Active mode, it gets even worse, as in louder, but it's the exact same thing, two positions on the controls reduces the noise, everything else doesn't. Also, if I boost Treble at all, the noise gets a lot louder, but I'm guessing that'd just cos Treble is boosted, not a problem with the wiring on the Treble Pot.

    So, any ideas what's happening here? Have I a dodgy neck pickup? Is it 'just' a case of proper shielding. Any idea why I can reduce noise by using both picups but only 1 coil from the bridge pickup? I don't have enough electronics knowledge to fix this myself, but I'd really like to know what's wrong before I pay someone else to do it. Thanks a lot, sorry for the long post!

    J.
     

    Attached Files:


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