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Pots wide open?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Usul, Jan 15, 2001.

  1. Not too long ago I was window shopping for basses and the salesperson told me it is always best to have the pots/knobs on the instrument open as wide as they can go.Supposidly this gets the most from the instrument itself.Not sure if this is sound advice or not.My Ibanez GSR190 won`t let me do that...volume can be all the way up but the other two pots(tone/pu volume?) only make for lots of excess noise.I usually open them all the way then back off until the noise goes away. Any feedback on this would be great! Also I imagine the onboard controls of more expensive instruments allow for more finer adjustments or..?

  2. usually i keep trem. at about 3/4
    bass at 3/4 and volume knobs at about 1/2
    usually the volume makes it up to 3/4 or full depending on how "inspired" the guitar player is that day.

    i try to keep the volume knobs down a little so when the guitar player kicks it up a notch i can kick it up two.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    There probably are exceptions to this but I've noticed a tonal change between having the volume maxed and having it cut in any way. I always play with my volume controls maxed. I then control the volume with my hands.

    There may be exceptions to this, like an Ibanez, but I'd say the salesperson's advice was sound.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  5. since I always use my (passive) basses with the volume and tone flat out, I wired in controls bypass switches, which allows the full signal from the pickups to reach the output jack without anything draining to ground through the pots.
    I change tones by altering EQ and pickup selection(using switchable internal preset pots to back off either pickup if necessary).
    in practice, the bypass allows a bit more treble, I don't have any problem with the pots crackling due to dirt on the tracks, and don't have to worry about the controls getting knocked during a gig.

    [Edited by The Mock Turtle Regulator on 01-16-2001 at 05:34 PM]
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you have a passive instrument, keeping the pots wide open will preserve the high end of your pickups. If your instrument is active, the effect of your volume control on your tone is (or should be) negligible.
  7. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    On passive instruments I cut the wires on the tone pots.Even when wide open,they still drain some highs and I never use 'em anyway.
  8. Skip


    Mar 22, 2000
    Bronxville, NY

    On a passive bass, as was said, setting the volume pots wide open passes through the signal recieved. Being passive you can only cut, not add gain. Active basses are trickier in that you have to balance the gain available with what it does to your sound. There really is no right answer. You have to play with the settings until you get a tone and a sound level you are happy with. Good luck turning knobs! :)

  9. Hello, Usul.

    You raise a couple of interesting points. Sorry, don't know the bass you mention.

    Without full knowledge, I doubt that the quality of the pots used is that different - if it's different at all- between low and high priced basses.

    As an electronics man, I can say that an ordinary off-the-shelf pot for any purpose costs about £1.50 UK, retail: what would that be, about 1 dollar US? There are quality differences between brands and types, of course, but there'd be no advantage in manufacturers fitting pots at (say) ten times that price. If it were on a precision piece of scientific equipment that might be different. But it's not. It's a bass. And, in any case, the pots fitted to your amp will amost certainly be the £1.50 types.

    Because the pup(s)is a coil, there will be a capacitor(s), the pots are resistive and that's connected to your amp, the whole lot forms a filter circuit. Not surprisingly, therefore, the positions of the pots will alter both tone and volume. Exactly what happens depends on the electrical values of those things afore mentioned.

    If you're getting noise you should look for why that is. It might be the pots with dirty tracks but it might be other reasons or a combination of reasons. You might wish to remove the control plate and make sure all the connections are sound. If you don't know what to look for do you know a friendly electronics man who could help? Is the amp OK: have you tried your bass on another amp? Is your lead OK: have you tried another lead? Is the grounding good to the the pot cases, the output jack socket, the bridge and strings? Might the pup(s) be microphonic?

    Hope this helps.


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