pros and cons of stacked jazz knobs?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kkaarrll, May 7, 2017.

  1. kkaarrll


    Jun 1, 2014
    is the standard roll the bridge off with tone all the way up--to add the mids like a precision thing in there----is that sound as easy to get with stacked knobs? is it even really available with how the tone knobs interact?
  2. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    Somewhere in time
    I don't even get VVT. My main bass (J) I modified with VOL - (rotary for neck/ neck+bridge series / neck+bridge parallel/ bridge) and tone. Recently I acquired another bass with JJ VVT configuration, and I find myself wondering if I should do the same to it - can't say I play in pretty much any position other than both full blast or one pickup soloed.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  3. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    Somewhere in time
    I do the same, I think I could survive on a bass with switches instead of pots: volume 100%/0%, three way pickup selector, series/parallel selector, tone open/closed switch.
    JMacBass65 and bigtone23 like this.
  4. Bassmunnky


    Jul 3, 2004
    New York and Philadelphia
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball MusicMan Guitars
    My Fender Flea is now my #1

    I love the two concentric knob set up

    Was a VVT jazz guy prior

    I'm just not tweaking like crazy in between songs I guess -

    It's different and cool -

    cons - Fender doesn't offer the option on all Jazzes!
    Marikk likes this.
  5. Yes, that works fine with stacks.
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Here's a weird question: has anyone ever tried to make a stacked knob dual P Precision?
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  7. mp40smg

    mp40smg Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Worcester, Ma.
    I like the look. but to me concentric pots are a negative.

    1. If I'm playing and need to adjust something (volume) I am prone to turn both knobs, not just the one I am aiming for. Fat fingers.

    2. A single pot can't fail and be replaced. BOTH pots have to be replaced. And many times, it's not a walk in, fix it walk out. it's a open it up, look at it, order the part, wait, and then install it.

    3. I have had issues when one gets sticky, then both pots are effected. Or you need two hands to adjust (hold bottom knob still while rotating top).

    To me.. The huge upside is you can fit a LOT more controls in a small foot print.
    Axstar likes this.
  8. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    • They look cool.
    • Errr... that's about it.
    • Redundancy with two passive tone controls. Offers no unique tones you can't get off a simple 3-pot setup (except the combined capacitance of the two tone controls).
    • Require stacked pots, which are more expensive and less easy to track down (and I didn't like the quality of the CTS pots I eventually tracked down).
    • Original '60s wiring scheme used fixed resistors to isolate pickups rather than the resistance of the pot. This resulted in tone and output loss.
    • Above period wiring not even reproduced on modern variants (Flea sig, various CIJ models). So you won't get Bobby Vega tone unless you solder in some resistors.
    • Fiddly onstage.
    • Turn down one half and turn down the other by mistake, as the stacked knobs simply rub up against each other.
    • ...except the ones with the annoying clicky preset system (a sprung washer under the black knob, bouncing through some indentations, from memory)...
    • Not as smooth or plushy feeling as they probably should be; at least on the stackers I've tried (or built) myself.
    • Not as easy to gauge position of knobs quickly. You can use the setscrews as indicators, but on the black lower knob this can be tricky to make out.
  9. stumblebee


    Jan 13, 2014
    Columbus, Ohio
    I understand the differences between the two as far as looks and adjustments on the fly and all that, but is there a direct affect on tone by having either VVT or VT/VT. Is one known to have my highs or sound fuller or anything like that? Or are they both exactly the same minus the extra tone control for the VT/VT.
  10. TWO volumes on a stack. MASTER tone.

    That’s the best for me unless VOL, rotary PU, Tone.
    BurningSkies likes this.
  11. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Not true. At least not wrt to the kit I got and used on my parts bass. Why? the 2 tone controls have caps of different values.


    But actually, my experiences with my VTVT guitars tells me, that you can NOT get all the same tones with a VVT setup, anyway.
    Jinobass1 and ajkula66 like this.
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    I prefer master volume, pan, etc. much easier for live playing imo

    UNCLE SUSAN Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2017

    Just set up my Schecter with two EMGHZ humbuckers and two stacked knobs, each running to minis for series parallell switching, and I gotta say I love this tone more than any other bass I own.

    I have the same capacitor on each pot though, is there some magic to be had if I twist two capacitors together and add to bridge/neck tone pots? What's the tonal differences of having a higher number capacitor? Which tone pot should I solder the double capacitor to?
  14. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    The issue is that passive circuits can only remove stuff. Tone controls remove treble frequencies, and volume controls remove volume.

    You can use caps of two different values, but when you turn both tone controls down in a stack Jazz you hear the sum of value of the caps. At that point in time it doesn't really matter if you have a .022 uF in the bridge circuit or and a .047 uF in the neck circuit, or however you might want to mix it up. With a stack knob setup you can't turn down the bridge tone control, keep the neck tone control wide open, and hear the full signal of the neck pickup and the backed-off tone of the bridge pickup. You need a buffered active circuit to achieve this.

    Beyond that, I've never really bought into the notion that there is one perfect cap value for a given tone control setup. If you stick a 0.1 uF capacitor in a bass then people will often comment that these are 'too dark', but that is only if you stick the tone control on '0'. What if you turn it down to '3'? Surely that won't sound too different to a 0.047 uF capacitor with the tone control on '1', say?

    In guitars with a VTVT setup you get weird parasitic interactions between the controls. This is especially evident in '50s Les Paul wiring schemes, where both volumes and both tone controls act as master volumes and tones in the middle setting. Some guitarists used this to good use, especially before master volume-control amplifiers and various stomp boxes hit the market. Jimmy Page usually set his Les Paul with the switch in the middle position and balanced his tone by adjusting the volume control for each pickup.
    Greg75 likes this.
  15. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    My Jazz has a stacked bass and treble pot. I didn't notice any difference to the separate pots that were on my other J basses.
  16. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    I prefer the stacked configuration in conjunction with a Series/Parallel switch, and a SELECTOR switch...
  17. vinnydbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    Bobby Vega mentions the resistors in his Bass Player Live video from 2012. He has a white/blonde stack knob jazz that has the original wiring, he demonstrates the output change when one pickup is soloed. He also mentions that his famous “shark” bass has the resistors removed.
  18. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    Functionally, I find no real advantage to the stacks, but the look is totally cool. I had to build myself one. 1EF39F8D-9B65-4E81-B760-ADEA2D4C1DED.jpeg
  19. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I like the stacker setup. I have 4 builds made this way. I am not a much of a tweaker per song, I get a tone I like and leave it.

    I like stackers.There's just something about the perception of extra tonal flexibility that draws me on. Plus the cool look IMO.
    Each of the 5 J's I have with this setup are quite different but, I can always get what I want with each, and not by maxing out each pot.

    My "ultimate" passive stacker setup was put together by my tech on one of my basses - stackers on each pickup with a Master volume with push/pull for series/parallel. I like how this works a lot.
  20. radiopicture


    Feb 27, 2009
    I may not have read all of the various posts on this this topic, but with a quick scan, I don't see any mention of the position of the tone control(s) on the dual concentric vs V-V-T. I always thought that was the main reason that some people believe the stack configuration is more "proper". The trouble (or difference) with the V-V-T arrangement is that tone circuit is after both volume controls (has to be in order to affect both pickups). This means that changing the volume affects the loading of the tone circuit. So after you change the volume(s) you might find that you have to readjust the tone. That might be a tool of sorts for some, but I'd prefer to set the tone and then not have the volume changes affect it. So, if you were arguing that dual concentric arrangement requires more adjusting, it may be the other way around. I changed my V-V-T setup to stack and like it better. The knobs I got from Fender (which I think are made in Japan by Gotoh and are very nice), had detent springs for the outside (tone) ring. Those I didn't like, and I took them off. I see the point having a pointer to show the control position, but I never had a hard time with that, as they're not usually adjusted all that precisely. I can feel out where the controls are by going to one extreme or the other as a reference, or just observing the set screw. I certainly never had any trouble moving the volume and tone separately. If someone is having that issue, then the top knob height hasn't been set properly and it's dragging the ring knob along. Having said all of this, I don't adjust any of those things enough during a live performance to make much difference. I guess I primarily changed mine for appearance. As to whether tone after volume is improper, the two tone control controls are before the volume on a Stratocaster, and the volume still makes the tone brighter, so I'm not sure what's going on there. You could say that most Jazz Basses are V-V-T so that makes it proper. I wired my controls using a diagram from Seymour Duncan, and it didn't include the two 2.2K resistors. Other diagrams and pictures show them to be used on the original Jazz basses (stack knob). So, I took an interest in the resistor discussion. I like the high output I have (and I'm also using Quarter Pounders, which are pretty hot), but I must say that my tone controls don't have a large effect. I have wondered if adding the resistors would change that. It would certainly knock down the output voltage, but I wonder if it would be noticeable. I'm visiting this because I'm deciding what to change, if anything with a second Jazz Bass. Maybe one of those Stellartone plates with the Tele blade that includes series wiring. Big bucks, but I'll bet that works great with all of the different cap values they give you. Obviously, I can't decide anything.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
    T. Brookins likes this.
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