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Pickup Blending?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CyberSnyder, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I frequently see people talking about neck pickup full up and about a quarter of the bridge. (Or some variation of a blend, pick your favorite ratio.) I don’t know about you, but on every bass that I’ve owned the blend knob acts essentiall as a three way switch. There is maybe the tiniest of windows next the the center detent where you have an extremely quick slope of a blend, but after that it doesn’t matter if you’re at 0 or 49%, you have all neck. 51% or 100 gives you all bridge. Similarly with a VVT setup, you get one pickup until you have the volumes matching.

    This would be different with something the the Audere preamp or th J-Retro that have active blends. But since most basses have passive blend, it really seems to be all or nothing when it comes to blends. I hear no difference between a quarter or zero.
  2. Paulabass

    Paulabass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Agreed. There is a huge change of tone within the first 1/8th. of a turn, or on vol/vol setups, just turning down one pick SLIGHTLY.
  3. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I agree. Most basses with a blend know have a really tiny range where the pickups actually "blend." I find this range so small and finicky that I can't really dial it in on stage. I also find that having an active bass is helpful, because rolling to the bridge pickup really requires some bass boost compared to the neck pickup. Having said that, unless I am soloing (and I'm never soloing), the neck pickup alone is mostly useless with a band.

    I think 75% Neck and 25% Bridge is really 100% Neck. I don't have a problem with that - I almost always run either the neck pickup or both on two-pickup basses.
    GlassToMouth and Ellery like this.
  4. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Mine is very responsive, very smooth.
    I’ve heard others complain about not being able to get a handle on how to use theirs, but I can’t imagine why.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    same here. ;)
    jd56hawk likes this.
  6. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    There's no change in the sound if you have the neck pickup almost all the way up, then turn it all the way up or almost all the way down?
  7. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Take a Jazz Bass, dime the neck and bridge. Now start rolling back on the bridge. I hear almost 100% of the change in tone in the first degree of turn. After that, it’s the same as if you have the bridge at zero or 98.
  8. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    I haven't had a bass with separate volume controls in a while. It was a Gibson EB5. I didn't have it for very long and I don't remember if it had that problem.
  9. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Or a bass with a blend control.
  10. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Of all my basses over the years, the Smith preamp seems to have the most useful blend control. Often on a gig I wouldn't touch the eq but would just find a particular spot with the blend that gave me what I wanted.

    By contrast, every other bass I've had was essentially as you describe - a 3-way switch. There was some gradiation to be had near the detent, but not nearly as wide as one might expect or hope.
    coves and juggernaut7 like this.
  11. I don't care for the blend at all ... I'd rather have a 2-way selector switch.
    packhowitzer and SpazzTheBassist like this.
  12. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    I actually disagree with this in some way: On a jazz bass, I dime the bridge pickup, then start blending in the neck pickup until the bridge pickup loses its signature purr tone. Once it does, I roll it back. This means I have plenty of low end in the signal, while retaining the bridge pickup's midrange.

    When recording, however, I do make sure to just use one pickup or the other, or both, the reasoning being that I want the most consistent tone I can get, and fiddling with knobs can make this a nightmare.

    Also hard to get it right live.

    But there's definitely a sweet spot unattainable with just a pickup selector switch.
    b-b-b-bass likes this.
  13. yeah with all my Js and Rics it is the same.

    2 pickups. 5 distinct sounds with very little wiggle room

    both on full
    favour the neck
    favour the bridge
    just neck
    just bridge
  14. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    I'll have to pay more attention next time I play. I have a Kiesel VB5 with a blend knob. I usually leave it in the middle.

    I'm surprised there aren't more replies to this thread. I've always heard that a Jazz Bass has tons of different sounds and everyone has their preference on where they like to set the volume knobs for their sound.
  15. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I think it’s imagination. The signal will always take the easiest path and that’s going to be one path or another. But it also makes me wonder if part of “the one” that we hear is really better matched pots. Just a theory.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  16. Creative Hspace

    Creative Hspace

    Dec 8, 2018
    For over 30 years I've just gone forward/back/or 50/50 blend. Other blends have never really done it for me. Hmmm strange... perhaps I should record a track with a few blends. For some reason I want coffee :D
    Pbassmanca and Ellery like this.
  17. This is precisely why my holiday project is to install selector switches in place of the blend know on both of my basses.
    jbrew73 likes this.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If you spend a bunch of time doing Spice models of pickups and bass guitar circuits, you understand this issue pretty quickly. Pickups are very reactive - their impedances vary a lot with frequency. While you can do a decent volume control on a single pickup bass, doing dual volume controls or a blend control passively never results in the action you think it does.

    Pickup switching, with one volume control, has a bunch of advantages. Granted, you can’t do 75% of one pickup, and 25% of the other, but if you look at what actually happens on a vvt or passive blend circuit, it doesn’t do that either.
    sikamikanico and packhowitzer like this.
  20. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    Absolutely true.

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