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pre-amp or pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ishmael_the_god, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. i've got a relatively new PRS bass and i'm interested in re-working the electronics. i don't know a whole lot about bass electronics, so i was hoping that you all could help me out:

    the knobs on the bass are strange. there's three pots -- two volumes, and a master tone. the two volumes are for each pick-up, and are billed by PRS as being the bass pickup and the treble pickup. they only slightly alter the tone of the bass in every position i put each knob in. i turn them both down equally and the overall volume decreases, but rearrange the levels and there's not much difference.

    the master tone works strangely as well -- turn it slightly over one spot and there's a HUGE difference in tone, but the rest of the knob movement barely changes the sound.

    I love love LOVE the way this bass plays, and the sound that I do get from it is very good. I simply can't vary the tone as much as i want to. it seems i'm either playing a warm note, or a gritty metallic note. not much in between, or around the sides.

    what can i do? Is this rooted in the pre-amp or the pickups? would i have to replace both?

    please advise. gracias, amigos.
  2. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    First, does this bass have a battery? If not, it is passive. All the tone knob will do is roll off the treble. Some tone pots have an even taper, some don't. The latter sounds like yours. I suggest you experiment by running each pickup solo for a while.
    First Bass/neck pickup with variations of the tone, then the treble/bridge pickup doing the same. Then try blending the two, again with different tone/volume settings. If at this point you are still not happy with your tone you can try adding a preamp. This usually requires some routing to make room for the battery and some extra holes for added bass/mid/treble/blend pots. Does this sound like something you really want to do to your bass?
    Choice is yours. I have found I prefer the passsive tone of my basses. The other option is to leave it passive and just change out the pickups. The tone of all the different pickups is very subjective and can be a never ending search for the right ones. I prefer Bartolini and Seymour Duncan, but there are many other great pickups on the market. YMMV :)