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No pots passive wiring

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mgrewe12, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. mgrewe12


    Oct 4, 2012
    La Crosse, WI
    I've searched and found how to wire one pup straight to the jack, but would like to know how well/if a pickup selector switch (neck/both/bridge) would work when wiring straight to the jack (or in this case, with no pots). Would there be a volume bump when both are on vs soloed?

    Also, with 4 conductor pups, could one parallel/single coil/series switch be wired in after the selector switch or does it have to be on each pup placed before the switch?

    Would introducing switches change/take away any of the effects that wiring straight to the output jack has? I know pots have resistance, but besides the possible effects of increased wire and connection points, switches shouldn't alter the tone, right?

  2. You can expect the same behavior as in a setup with pots.

    Series/single coil/parallel switching is the first thing the pickups go to.

  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    There is no problem having a selector switch and no pots. My favorite selector mod is using a Stew-Mac 5 way rotary switch with neck only/both series/both parallel/bridge only/Mute. Works great. With that switch with plenty of contacts you could wire for any 5 combos you like the sound of including single coil. OR you could wire like mine and put a series/single coil/parallel switch on each pickup for 4 wire two coil pickups. (like G&L does)

    As for volume, understand that pickups wired in series will have twice the output of those wired in parallel. that is about 3 dB louder. There is no easy way to compensate for that without changing the tone or adding active circuits.

    with a switch you lose the ability to finely tweak your pickup mix, but quite frankly I like the idea that I can flip to a reasonably different tone while playing without having to try to tune in a bunch of knobs.

    And one final thing, i'd wire a 500k or 250k resistor across your output jack. This takes the place of the volume control and loads the pickups. Otherwise your tone may tend to change depending on which amp (and what imput impedance it has) you are plugged into.
  4. If you're going to do that...why bother eliminating the volume control? You've merely replaced a variable resistor with a fixed resistor. Electrically, there's absolutely no difference between a pot wide open and a fixed resistor of the same value going to ground.
  5. mgrewe12


    Oct 4, 2012
    La Crosse, WI

    Thanks. I'm actually looking forward to the tone change;) I'm going from a cheap MK1 preamp to straight passive. On that note...

    This bass will be a recently fretless 4 string Ibanez with a rosewood board and mahogany body. I'm putting TI flats on there and will likely upgrade from the MK1 pups. My only two options that I've found so far is SDG (thinking the Neos) and the Bartolini MK4 Classic Bass.

    This bass will be used for small acoustic guitar/bass, afro cuban funk, theater, grateful dead type rock, etc. and want a pickup that will sit in various mixes really well and not overpower the other musicians. I don't want too much low low end either. Any suggestions on pickups?

    By the way, I'll experiment with the MK1 pups for a bit after the defret is finished before making my decision to upgrade if I need it. I've heard Ibanez puts the bridge pickup in the neck position and vise versa so that will be something to try putting back to their intended locations.
  6. MIMike


    Jan 1, 2013
    West MI
    I did this with my Jazz Bass 24. Hated the original electronics, so wired a set of Bart single coils through a 3 way switch. It actually has more volume with each pickup individually than when they are both selected.

    Attached Files:

  7. mgrewe12


    Oct 4, 2012
    La Crosse, WI
    Any idea on possible pickups? Are any of those a worthy improvement over the MK1 or just a different flavor?