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No volume or tone pot--- straight to the meat

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 2behead, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    A guy here in town has a bass that I have watched him play almost ALL of the paint off of. The thing sounds great. I thought it sounded that way from the first time I heard it. I asked him about it and he said while he was on the road with it the volume pot went out just before a gig and he bypassed both volume and tone pot. Just full tone and volume all the time. Any one have any experience with this at all? Do the caps change the sound even when the pot is maxed out? I am dot a fan of the relic fad, but honest wear makes my chonie bologna swell up a bit. About the only place on his bass that still has paint on it is below the pick guard. The rest is just polished up from use with paint specks here and there.
  2. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    The pots themselves make a difference to the sound (try swapping out 250k pots for 500k pots in a Fender - quite a dramatic difference) so sure going straight to the jack will make a big difference.
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Dropping the pots and putting in a kill switch might be an interesting experiment.
  4. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    His bass just sound SO mean. He plays the standard issue old svt. I've played and listens to lots of those. I'm thinking the lack of caps just may be part of what I'm hearing.
  5. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    Haha. The 11 is exactly what I was hearing!
  6. I once removed the tone pot on a guitar. It gut a really brite brittle ice-pick tone. Later I installed a 500 ohm resistor and a cap to simulate a tone pot turned all the way up. That sounded a lot better.

    That was 1983. As the years past and my playing evolved, I found that backing off the volume and tone pots was a better way to switch from a lead tone to rythm tone than the pickup selector was.

    I really like the simplest setup that is functional. With my current playing style I like a single volume and tone, but losing that single tone or volume pot would be too limiting.

    But if you find that you always leave the tone and volume pots set at 10, then go ahead and try it. It is totally reversable. I do suggest that you replace the pots with equivalent fixed resistors though. That pickup coil needs to fire into some kind of load.
  7. tmntfan


    Oct 6, 2011
    Edmonton canada
    if you Google around i think Chris Tarry (bassist in NYC) played a bass for a while that didn't have volume or tone controls.
  8. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I notice a big difference when the tone control is removed from the circuit. Not much difference when the volume is removed.
  9. The volume and tone controls on my no-name fretless P-bass do absolutely nothing. I suppose I could bring it somewhere to get them repaired (not my area of expertise), but I think it sounds ok.
  10. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    On all but one of my basses do I not have anything but a cable between the pickup and the socket.
    Works well and keeps it nice and simple.
  11. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I think that is how Steve Harris has all his basses.
  12. StevieMac


    Mar 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    His tone control is always bypassed but I believe the volume works.
  13. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    I have done this on a few fender style builds.
    Straight to the jack with a good passive pickup sounds great.
    It's all about the wood, and your fingers.
    Having a Stambaugh being built now with just pickup to jack option.
  14. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    I put 2 500k volumes on my pj straight to the jack. I think it sounds pretty good. No volume seems a little too minimalist of for me. Stephen Egerton plays a custom EBMM Axis straight to the jack. No knobs.
  15. theavondon


    May 11, 2009
    My Grabber is currently wired like that because at the first show I played with it, the volume and tone controls started cutting out, and I lacked any money, but I did have a soldering iron. Not at the show, at home, the next day. But, found out it's a lot brighter and less subdued, never have changed it back to stock, and that was...oh, four years ago now?

    I also ordered a knobless Electrical guitar company Series One once, got it, and it also slayed. Ended up trading it for pedals, but still. It's a time tested alternative for me.