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Pots vs. Pickups in regard to tone shaping

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Godfather, May 7, 2010.

  1. Godfather


    Feb 4, 2001
    Hi folks
    Not sure if I am using the right phrasing to describe my issue, but hoping you will read on.....

    I have a 7 basses, most of them relative cheapos ( SX, Squier ) , a TBC, and a nice early 90's Chandler 60's Jazz Bass....

    With many of them, when I open the tone pot from a fully closed position, it gives me what seems to be an inordinate amount of treble...say in the first 5 degrees of movement....then , the rest of the way, there is little if any change in the tone....

    Is this a function of the pots, or just a characteristic of the pickups on those basses where I am finding this issue?

    I am hoping to find a scenario where the treble boost occurs over a wider range of movement in the tone pot?

    Hope I described myself in a manner which will allow someone with the knowledge to share it with me


  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    These are passive basses, yes? Meaning they don't use a battery. What that means is there is no treble boost at all. The bright sound you're hearing is the normal sound of the strings. The problem is a bit reverse from your description, in that the tone pot doesn't do much of anything until you reach the last 5 degrees of movement, and then suddenly it rolls off the highs.

    It's a very common complaint, and the solution is in (a) replacing the tone pot with a better-quality pot, and linear taper not audio taper; and (b) selecting the right capacitor value to get good response in combination with the pot.

    It's not caused by the pickups.
  3. Godfather


    Feb 4, 2001
    OK, thanks.........
    and yes, we are talking passives ( except for the TBC , which I stopped playing because the active circuit is engaged when the bass is plugged in , and I keep burning out 9v's and it has become a pain in the ....)

    So, any suggestions as to what brands/types of pots and caps ( and values of caps ) would be an improvement ?

    Thanks again!

  4. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I find that there are many recommendations online for many different types of wiring.

    A tone circuit simply being a variable resistor and a capacitor, personally, i would get one of each

    250k linear pot
    250k audio pot
    500k linear pot
    500k audio pot

    and 0.1 uF and 0.047 uF capacitors.

    Try them all, its easy if you have crocodile clips and a wiring bench. Note that the effect of the tone circuit changes depending on your pickups, your volume pot(s), as well as the setting of your volume pot(s).

    The first thing i would try is replacing the pot with an audio if it is linear, and a linear if it is an audio. Usually its a 250k. This seems to work for most people. But try the rest if you are so inclined and post back here.

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