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No Load Tone Pot

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by EZ9R, Apr 20, 2010.


  1. EZ9R

    EZ9R

    Oct 28, 2008
    Any one have one of these in their bass. You can buy or even make 'em. Made one today. Basically, your tone pot works from 1-9 and when it's maxed at 10, it bypasses so your volume pot goes straight to the jack.
    Kind of a true by-pass.
     
  2. I've been known to use push/pull pots to bypass my tone controls.
     
  3. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I've wired them in guitars and basses. I prefer using a blender pot (not to be confused with a blend/balance pot) which is exactly the same as a no-load pot but doesn't click into place on 10. The only downside is that no-load and blender pots are rarely available in values other than 250k.
     
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    No, it takes the tone control out of the circuit, it does not bypass the volume control.

    Not really. And generally with pedals, if you have more than a couple of pedals in your signal chain, true-bypass is a bad thing. It's just a fad.
     
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    While the idea of true bypass seems appropriate here it really isn't. In the case of pedals, true bypass infers a hard wire connection between the input and the output, removing anything that would interfere with the original signal when the pedal is off. In the case of a no load passive tone control, you're actually lowering the overall resistance of the instrument's passive circuit by bypassing the tone pot. This means activating the tone control not only brings the capacitor into play (making the sound darker) but also adds resistance (lowering the output). It's not drastic but it is noticeable.

    There are some who adhere to the idea that anything between your pickup and the output jack will "degrade" your signal and to a certain literal extent they are correct. But keep in mind virtually all pickups are designed with volume and tone controls in mind so removing them won't necessarily improve your tone. In most cases your tone will simply be louder and brighter.
     
  6. fourstringburn

    fourstringburn

    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    I would put a double pole double throw switch between the input jack and all the pots and run it to the pickups if that's want your after. That would make a true switchable bypass and still give you the option of volume /tone. I know of people who just wired their basses direct to the pickup and used the amp for volume control. Any pot in circuit creates a load and will effect tone and volume some.
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Except as I mentioned when you have a number of pedals, the signal is being degraded by all the wire it's running though in a true-bypass situation. Pedal makers started doing the buffered electronic switching for a reason!

    But historically it came from a time when some circuits, such as wahs, didn't have very high input impedance and where left connected to the input so the manufacturer could use a cheaper SPDT footswitch, and the circuit loaded down the guitar's signal. True bypass fixed that situation. But proper input impedance would have fixed it also.

    I wouldn't say "degrade" but it does effect the signal. And that's the tone people have come to know as a "passive" bass. ;)
     
  8. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    Just for clarity, I think that's what the OP said- the no load takes the signal directly from the volume control to the output jack, meaning bypassing the tone. I just put that pot in my bass, I don't notice a huge difference, it is pretty subtle. It is nice to have a tone pot that's not crackling though! That was the bigger difference.
     
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yeah, I guess he did say that, but the volume pot always goes straight to the jack. I just wanted to make sure he didn't think it bypassed the volume control.

    It all depends on the rest of the controls and pickups. If you use 500K tone pots, you might not notice much of a difference. If you install a 1Meg tone pot, you wont hear any difference.
     
  10. mrufino1

    mrufino1 Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    I just realized something about what you said- the tone is not in series with the volume, so you are correct, the volume goes to the output anyway, the tone bypass would just take it out of the circuit, but doesn't change the way the volume is connected. Thanks for the minor lightbulb moment!
     
  11. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Banned

    I installed one of the Fender No-Load pots in my Paisley J-bass, along with a push/pull for series-parallel switching. It sounds good when maxed at 10, but it's not really necessary for me. I'll probably be going to a simpler VVT, or VT/VT stacked setup someday.
     
  12. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I've been making my own no-load tone pots for a few years now. I find them to be very useful on guitars; the "effect" is more subtle on basses, though. I just like knowing that when I turn the tone all the way up, the control is out of the circuit.

    Here's a tutorial, in case anyone wants to try a DIY no-load pot:

    http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/pots.htm
     
    JES likes this.
  13. EZ9R

    EZ9R

    Oct 28, 2008
    That's what I meant. Bypassing the tone alone
     

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