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Passive Pickup Wiring - Advice / Ideas please

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PaulF, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. PaulF


    Nov 17, 2004

    I decided last night to rewire my Bass Collecton five string as a passive set up (fed up with battery problems etc.)

    I've got two single coil (I think) pickps and 4 rotary controls. As the bass has no scratch plate, it would be very difficult to change the physical sontrols, so I'm working with them and changing the wiring behind them.

    My idea last night was:
    Each pickup connects to it's own Tone control (using a Capacitor for tone control)
    Blend the two outputs from them through a fader control,
    And then through a final volume control to the Jack output.

    First question - any advice / suggestions re the capacitor for tone control ?- I've seen web sites / posts suggestiong 100nF, 27nF and 0.047uf. What's the difference, and has anyone got any advice on this ??

    This morning, after reading loads of posts on here (and other websites), I've had some more ideas:

    Is it worth experimenting with phase switching on one or both of the pickups ? - The bass is a little noisy (especially near the amp) - I'm going to look at the shielding, but would phase switching enable me to use the two pickups as one big 'humbucker' ??

    Series - I've read with great interest the many posts on series switching and I would like to try it. However I saw it mentioned that you need to bypass the 'blend' (fader) pot when in serires otherwise the volume can be affected. Will my idea of having a tone control on each pickup also affect the series wiring ? Do I need to make sure these are bypassed as well in series mode ??

    Any advice / suggestions you guys can offer before I start buying components would be greatly appreciated.


  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    re: Capacitors, it's down to personal taste. Read SMASH's excellent thread on the subject: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=113665&highlight=capacitor

    If you're doing series parallel switching, you'll do it as the diagrams here show, only instead of the wires going to neck vol and bridge vol you'll have them going to neck tone and bridge tone. The issue with blend pots and series/parallel wiring is that when in series there's only one hot signal (usually the neck pup) going to the blend pot so you need to have the blend pot on 100% neck - or use a 3PDT switch to bypass the blend pot as shown in Lyle Caldwells diagram (link to can be found in the pickups faq)
  3. PaulF


    Nov 17, 2004
    Thanks David - very useful thread