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No circuit: Pickup straight to jack..........

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodboy, Aug 8, 2003.


  1. Woodboy

    Woodboy

    Jun 9, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    I saw on Fodera's website a bass with no circuitry: just the pickup straight to to output jack. This seems like a stroke of brilliance! I know from my hi-fi days that the fewest number of devices in the signal path, the more the sound seems like real music. I am building a P bass style guitar with just one split humbucker. I doubt if I'll ever roll off any highs with a tone control on the guitar. The volume (and tone) I can set on the amp. I never turn down the volume knobs on my J bass to achieve attenuation of the volume. I just dial them to get the mixture of tone I want. The bass I am building is going to be rear-routed for the control cavity. I figure I can try it "straight" and add a tone or volume or both if I think I need it. Anybody else ever tried a similar setup?
     
  2. kaboom133

    kaboom133

    Oct 19, 2001
    Latrobe PA
    never on a bass, but on a guitar i've tried it. i personally didn't like it on the guitar, but on a bass it sounds like a good idea to me at least, because i never turn down the tone or volume anyway. i was actually thinking about doing this to a bass i'm building too, i say go for it, and like you said, you can always ad in whatever you want later as long as you leave room for it.
     
  3. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I think it's a silly notion. Even with direct wiring to the jack, the sound is still produced by an electromagnetic device. Who's to say that the particular sound produced by that circuit "seems like real music" moreso than a circuit with tone controls in it? I might need to adjust the tone to get to something that "seems like real music" to me. I think that any improvement in the overall sound that one might imagine is far outweighed by the convenience and utility of being able to adjust the tone at the bass.
     
  5. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey Munji,

    I agree with you. On my own basses, I at least have a volume control -for convenience. Lately, I've been enjoying the Aguilar OBP-3 preamps in some basses too.

    I guess part of the argument for the "bare wire" approach is that outboard gear is of a higher quality than on-board stuff. The cost difference between any on-board pre vs. say, an Avalon or Millenia rack preamp would bear this out. However, I do understand about passive bass' line loss, and why on-board makes sense for some players. Different strokes. . .

    LM
     
  6. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Another option is to wire in standard volume and tone controls, using a push/pull pot for the volume to send the signal straight to the jack when activated. My P-bass is wired like this and the difference is noticeable... Not radical, but not subtle either. With both controls dimed, when I pull up the knob to activate the circuit, (or 'de-activate' the controls as the case may be), I get a bit more volume and a definite 'bite'... I don't use it as much anymore playing live, but it is nice to have, and the recorded sound is much better IME/IMO on this bass with the controls bypassed when going direct. Just another useful color to add to the palette :cool:

    -robert
     
  7. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    all i can add to this thread is that if you're going straight to the jack, your pickups better be pretty dang good!

    i heard a few guys with Fodera's say that only with the Aero pickups does this really sound any good. most others just sound too brash, and actually need a bit of the treble bleeding potentiometer's to tame that harshness.
     
  8. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Word! For what it's worth, the stock pickup in my '96 MIA P is The Best Sounding passive P type pickup that I've ever heard. When I had my '78 Musicmaster wired in bypass, (no push/pull, just full on all the time), the little Strat pickup had a lot more bite than with the controls, (the vintage controls were tone suckers...). A very nice midrange grunt to it, but it sounds ever so much sweeter after adding a Raven Labs P-Retrofit to it... Some basses benefit by bypassing, some don't.

    -robert
     
  9. Woodboy

    Woodboy

    Jun 9, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
     
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    On a passive J it might be a good idea to put the tone pot out of the loop.
    I forgot the technical details, but the sound will open up considerably.
     
  11. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    The reason is that the tone knob is never completely off with a standard tone pot. There is now available a new style of pot that has a switch in the end of it. They call these "no load" pots because the pot is switched completely out of the circuit when these pots are turned all the way to one extreme.

    As for direct to jack, if you like it, then do it. If you don't, then don't. A bass is a musical instrument and thus is the source of a sound. It should sound they way you want it to. If the raw pickup sound is your desire, then go for it. Personally, I like some control at my finger tips, but that is me.
     
  12. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Any tone control circuit, be it active or passive, alters the tonal quality of an instrument. Sometimes this is warranted, and desired, but often it is less than desirable.

    On a well built, and well set-up, bass the most faithful and efficient tone controls are your hands. No amount of circuitry can compensate for what a good player, with a good instrument can do merely with finger pressure and placement.
    Many studio players prefer an "all bypass" or abscence of tone circuit, as these techniques are at their disposal.
    Of course this needs to done with good pickups at the start...a well set up bass, a must be sent on to approriate amplification (running to "true" tone bass thru yer little $800 combo amp defeats the whole purpose...)


    In a psssive circuit, the volume and tone controls
    put a load on the pickup(s). This load is wired in aprallel with the load presented by the impedence of your preamp input. When you add all the loads, the total impedence load on the pickup is low enough to alter both tone and output voltage. This never effects a pickup evenly over its entire frequency bandwidth, so the result is more coloration and less tone. This also provides a signal path to ground resulting i less pickup voltage and decreased output. Having an "all bypass" control, or a circuit which is removeable from the signal path, ca actually improve the tone of a pssive bass.

    Active circuits are a bit different, but most active circuits are cheaply made and designed to sound like the electronics and not the bass. Aguillar, Demeter, Sadowsky are certainly high quality preamps, with Lane Poor, Pope and Alembic being slightly above them. Most others offer tons of eq boost/cut, for which most players severely abuse, and upon inspection simply sound like poor quality electronics. A mediocre tone circuit CAN (and will) make a great bass sound lousy, but a great circuit will not make a lousy bass sound great........

    Yet, being able to bypas the active circuitry gives the player an opportunity to hear the true sound of their bass. And therby using those "digital" tone controls I spoke of...
    Again, this is not an option for everyone, but one many, many pro players opt for...especially session players.

    Max
     
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    At a gig, it's completely unnoticeable. Recording, you might detect it if you listen closely, but how many recordings do you think have been made with direct-wired basses? Approximately zero. It makes absolutely no difference in either situation, unless you have overtly noisy electronics in your bass. You'd probably get more noise from a poorly-shielded cavity than from on-board electronics. This is mental masturbation.
     
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Name three, and cite references.
     
  15. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Mike Brigandello, Anthony Jackson, Michael Rhodes, Mike Chapman, Hutch Hutchinson; Keith Jones; Brian Bromberg; Kim Stone; Neil Stubehaus;Lonnie Plaxico; myself....

    Should I go on?

    Max
     
  16. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    …I will second your opinion that on most gigs this sort of mod would be lost. But, I should stress that is on MOST gigs.

    Clarity and “transparency” of tone is dependent upon all factors of one’s signal chain; and especially of the amplification used. An “all bypass” type mod on a bass run thru a typical bass amp (of your choice) would be lost, or pretty much so, in the voicing and coloration of the amp.

    Yet…when I play jazz gigs, I depend on having the tone control in my fingers, and frequently use an “all bypass” on my bass. My amplification in such a venue is very transparent (and I might note here that I am not a fan of bass amps in general…but this is my personal bias, and I certainly encourage everyone to find what works for them).

    It is quite common among studio players to have at least one bass in their cartage with this particular type of modification. And yes, it is much more aligned with studio/recording work than with live playing (although Anthony Jackson swears by his set up of a single passive PU with no volume or tone control…and his tonal flexibility is pretty acute! But, he runs this, a Fodera, thru a Millenia Media mic pre into a Krell power amp (!!!!!) and onto two custom Epifani 1x12’s….)
    Often this type of modified bass is used on a track which requires a special nuance, dynamic or personality…and often when a track requires a sort of anonymous bass sound, also. I don’t think it would suffice as one’s “bread and butter” axe, save for the case of Mr. Jackson or Abe Laboriel, both of whom have supreme command over their playing and their instruments.
     
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I think you should only keep the controls you need on a bass. If you use none, install none.
    I replaced tone pots for a tone switch a long time ago on my basses and never regretted it.
     
  18. i thought i was nuts when i ripped every thing out and wired a p pickup to the jack and thought it sounded better.liek just more sound like some was there that wasnt befor . guess i was right.
     
  19. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    In your opinion... I, however, do notice it.

    -robert
     
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Perhaps, but the crowd has no clue. That's exactly my point. You're spending all this time obsessing on minutia, but in the long run, the people who listen to your music wouldn't know the difference if you put a half-turn on any knob on your bass. Do you think folks like Nathan East, Dave Pomeroy, Les Claypool, Flea, Fieldy, Michael Manring, Alain Caron, Michael Rhodes, Leland Sklar, or John Patitucci even give this stuff a second thought? It's fundamentally irrelevant. It won't make any difference in getting you a gig. It might even lose a gig if the guy at the board says, "Can you add a little mid, and roll back the bass a bit?"