Passive PJ sounds a bit dead. Why???

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by frits51, Oct 14, 2021.


  1. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    I have a 2009 Squier passive PJ. Dimarzio Ultra Jazz and Aguilar 4P60. Bourns type MN blend pot, CTS volume pot, both 250K. Wiring by the book, the pickups were out of phase. If you've ever heard that, it's a dead give-away! So, I reversed the wiring on the Ultra Jazz and that fixed the phase problem.

    Semi-high mass bridge (cast zinc body with round brass saddles) was replaced with a Fender bent metal bridge, same as I have on another P that sounds great. Nut is bone.

    But, the overall tone is rather subdued. I keep looking at the tone knob, wanting to open it up, but it already is! Acoustically, this bass is pretty duddy.

    I've considered using 500K pots. Would I have to change Vol and Blend both to 500K? Just one? Which one?

    Or, do you have another explanation/idea? The overall sound lacks high-mid detail.

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    What kind of strings do you have on it? What is their age?
     
  3. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    Strings are Curt Mangan nickel rounds, 40-100. Brand new.

    Good question!
     
    djaxup likes this.
  4. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Cuz it’s passive.
    Seriously though, there are many reasons that a bass could sound dead.
    I’ve had some jazz basses that sound absolutely alive and some that sound like a blanket thrown over them
    How’s it sound acoustically?
     
    TonyP- likes this.
  5. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    Acoustically, it's a dud. Nut is bone. It had a semi-high mass bridge (cast zinc body with round brass saddles). I replaced it with a Fender bent-metal, same bridge I have on another P that sounds great.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  6. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    I've heard too many passive basses that seemed to generate their own energy! I'm wondering if the wood combination is killing it. With all the pickups I've tried (too many to list), I should have a nice bass by now. That's why I'm asking about the electronics. That's something I can modify. The wood is what it is and ever shall be.
     
    djaxup, bigsnack and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  7. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    I think that’s the answer.
    I truly believe that some basses are just born dead.
    I’m hesitant to recommend throwing money at an instrument that may wind up just being what it is…
     
    BlueTalon, sonojono, petrus61 and 5 others like this.
  8. Aloe

    Aloe

    Apr 10, 2016
    Ukraine
    a 250k balance pot is two 125k pots (one for each pickup), they do lose brightness. with a 250k volume for sure.

    rewire it to two 500k volumes (I prefer them to have linear taper) and see what happens next.
     
    Killing Floor and frits51 like this.
  9. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
     
  10. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    Actually, the Bourns MN blend pot is a pair of 250K pots (measured). I have the same pot in 500K. I also have two 500K linear pots on hand. I hate to do yet more work on this bass, but I just might try a 500K VVT configuration.
     
    instrumentlevel likes this.
  11. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    Just remembered... A few years ago, I wired my son's 1999 MIJ Jazz VBT using the same components as this PJ. His bass sounds good, especially since he installed the Super 55 pups!

    Maybe Les is right, this PJ is a dud.
     
    BlueTalon and MynameisMe like this.
  12. frits51

    frits51 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Heath, Texas
    I DO have a Benson P pickup coming on Saturday as a last try. I'll post those results. If the Benson doesn't perform per the recordings I've heard, I start messing with electronics.
     
  13. rashrader

    rashrader

    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    What’s your setup like? How’s the action? Neck relief, etc…
     
    Killing Floor likes this.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    What color is it? Just kidding.
    I would try a higher value for the pots but I've not used the DM pickups so can't say. If the bass sounds dead unplugged it could be the strings or something else. The nut, bone or otherwise, only affects open notes but the bridge can contribute. Not a trap question, did the bass sound better, worse or the same prior to the bridge swap? Is the neck set properly? Sometimes a turn of the screws does wonders.
     
  15. shnapper

    shnapper

    May 1, 2005
    Dead to one person can be not so dead to another….

    Try a set of strings known to be very bright first.
     
    Rolling Thunder likes this.
  16. Bolsyo

    Bolsyo

    Oct 18, 2015
    Norway
    I'd definitely try all 500k pots. I have that in my PJ with Quarter Pounders to get that bright aggressive punk-rock tone, and then I can just dial the tone knob back a bit to get a more mellow tone.

    Also have a Harley Benton Jazz that was kinda dark and lacked detail. I was planning to swap pickups, but then I tried 500k pots first, and that fixed everything.
     
  17. KJMO

    KJMO

    Feb 6, 2015
    I don't buy a lot of things making a difference in tone (bridge, neck wood, even type of body wood), but I now have had enough basses that I will admit that somehow a bass' build can be good or bad. I've had two bass bodies with the exact same neck, hardware, pickups, etc. they had a different sound. I have one body that is chambered, and it is really bright (Idk). I'm not saying alder is warmer, ash brighter, maple brighter, etc. but rather, some builds, for whatever reason, sound better than others.
     
  18. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    I agree
    Sometimes it seems as if the particular components just don’t want to play together nicely
     
  19. OldSchoolFlats

    OldSchoolFlats

    May 29, 2021
    Slap on some flats, use this bass only for that ol' time thump, and get another bass for the round-wound zing?

    I wonder if that P pickup might not be your thing. I LOVE a P pickup - I had only Jazz basses for years and found the sound too "thin" - but maybe you are lusting for a neck single-coil, soap-bar or big hum-buckers?
     
    BarfanyShart and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  20. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    Some wood just doesn't want to be a bass.
     
    frits51, sonojono, bigsnack and 6 others like this.
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