Pots and switches on boutique basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blazer, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    OK Blazer, let's take a look at your picture.

    Why does your guitar have that exact pickup?

    Why is the pickup in that location, and not some other location like the middle spot?

    Why does your guitar have a whammy bar?

    Would it be possible for you to play exactly the same without either of those?

    Do you have any idea whether or not it would be possible for someone else to do exactly what they do without all the knobs and switches they may have on their instrument?

    Why would that be "overkill"? Can you define, in clear terms, what boundaries are exceeded, or how the music suffers?

    Do you feel that someone else needing more knobs and switches than you to do what they do makes them somehow inferior? Less skilled?
  3. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    P.S. Sorry, I asked all those without answering *your* question ;)

    Yes and no. I don't use the 3-band EQ on my basses much. However, I find the pickup switching (inner/outer/both switch plus blend) invaluable. And I know as a scientific fact that it would be impossible for me to get those tonal changes with "my hands".

    And, while I don't use the EQ on board, I have an external system (Alembic SF-2) that I use. On the face of things, it is slightly more complex than Stanley's bass (the filters can be LP/BP/HP). However, I have used this complexity to set it up so that I get exactly the EQ changes I want by turning one knob.
  4. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Options baby!!!! It's all about the OPTIONS!!!!!

    If you want to have'em, you got to have'em!!!
  5. LowEndLobster

    LowEndLobster Bass reviewer and youtube dude guy. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Sound is in the fingers, tone is in the bass.

    Whichever bass you pick up, if you play it the same way you play other basses, it will sound almost the same. I've played P's J's, Ric's, Wick's Conklin's, Sterlings, Stingrays, Tobias, Lakkies, and many other things, and based on my technique, they sound the same. If I play differently, they'll sound different.

    Now, the tone is different on all basses, based on the wood, electronics, fret and nut material, construction, pickup placement, etc... The tone is your sound combined with the tone of the bass. Jaco could play any bass and sound like Jaco, I can pick up any bass and make it sound like me.
  6. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    Lots of pros show up and play with a rented amp, so having the abilty to change tones on your bass is important depending on what the venue gives you.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    One of the guitarists in the program I'm in has a pretty strange setup -- Epiphone SG with PRS pickups and a MusicMan head through an Ampeg cab (used to be a combo bass amp, he chopped out the amp section). I've always attributed this pretty unconventional setup with his tone. Yesterday, I saw him perform in class with a 70's Strat to a Fender Princeton DSP combo amp. Low and behold -- he sounded just like himself! :eek:

    That said, I'm an insatiable knob-tweaker. My fretted has two volumes (PJ), bass, mid, mid-frequency select, and treble. Incredibly useful! My amp's front panel is a forest of knobs (although it's nothing compared to that 3 rack space SWR preamp!), etc. -- and yet, my main bass is a stock Yamaha BB404 Fretless, completely passive. Vol/vol/tone. Now, I'm STILL a knob-tweaker on this thing (the old Gibson-style speedknobs sure help) and I find that a lot of the active crowd cries out that passive basses aren't versatile...while I find this to be absolute bunk, I'm still putting in EMG active J's after I get an upright (with a prefered knob config of stacked vol/vol, bass/treb, and then a passive tone knob that pulls out as an active/passive switch).


    My conclusion is that knobs are good.
  8. The rarely seen 'go invisible' knob, for when you mess up.
  9. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    The three knobs in the GREEN circle control the volume and tone of the neck pickup.

    The three knobs in the RED circle control the volume and tone of the bridge pickup.

    The knob in the BLUE circle is the pickup selector (Off - Bridge - Both - Neck)

    The knob in the PURPLE circle is the Master Volume


    And for the record, the thing in the middle is a hum-canceller, not a pickup. Controls to calibrate it are in an access panel on the back.

    The reason for the separate controls for each pickup is that Alembic Series I and Series II basses are wired for stereo operation. In other words, you can send the signal for each pickup to separate amplifiers. If you were to do that (and I have) you can shape the tone of each one separately.


  10. ..when you put it that way that's really not so many knobs. Maybe not enough. Yeah, definitely needs more.
  11. Daniel L.

    Daniel L. Guest

    Aug 30, 2002
    I think it's pretty ridiculous to worry about how many knobs are on someone else's bass.
  12. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I just thought i would say that If you can do everything that a vol, treble, bass, mid, blend, preamp can do, than you have some pretty crazy hands. And not only that, but it can get pretty uncomfortable trying to get a certain sound with your hands. I like to play my jazz right over the front pickup, if i move very far either direction, it just doesn't feel natural.

    My American deluxe jazz has the setup i mentioned above, I can honestly say I use at least 3 of the 4 daily. I also like to have all the tone control I need on my bass. I run my hartke head totally flat, no eq, no compression, no shelving, nothing. This is helpful since I'm on at least two different amps every week. I'm sure my next bass will have quite a pre. I'm thinking volume and three band eq for each pickup would be nice.
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    you wanna see knobs go find a pic of phil lesh's alembic with superfilters built in. i belive it had at least 4 more knobs than the series 1 or 2.
    FWIW, my 86 tobias has 3 stacked knobs v-v-t and t-m-b. and it has an active passive switch. I don't do much tweaking, but it's cool not to have to run to my amp if i find that the tone needs a little massage that my fingers can't quite do.
  14. I want a bass guitar with 1 string 1 pickup and 25 knobs. I would then like to plug a multi-channel snake into my bass and my bass can become the band's mixing console.

    Now how cool would THAT be? :D
  15. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA


  16. The middle bass is the bass of a control freak! :D

    Booty's controls are for:

    - FunkFactor
    - Funky fresh 1 through 5
    - Thunderfunk low/mid/high
    and finally WHATTHEFUNK! :D :D :D
  17. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    THAT is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while... Anyone able to map that one out?

    Of course this is the ultimate in cool!!!!, but when you figure it has 5 pickups and at least 4 outputs (maybe 5, is that an XLR?) then I think the 7 knobs is kinda light, but the knobs themselves are even cool!!!
  18. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    That 5 pin connector isn't MIDI, it's power. These basses don't have room for batteries in them so the power is external in the form of a box, similar to a wireless transmitter that attaches to your strap that contains 2 or more (I dunno) 9v batteries. I forget who it was, but he had an F bass with some Alembic electronics in it and it had the same thing on it.
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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