pros and cons of stacked jazz knobs?

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

  1. radiopicture


    Feb 27, 2009
    My new project is taking a MiM 5-string and painting it Daphne Blue with matching headstock. Just because that color is beautiful. Your bass is proof of concept.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    The original VTVT wiring had resistors to help contain the effect of each tone knob to its own pickup. So in theory you have all this extra variety - but not without side effects. When I had them in I found the output and the treble were constrained. All the supposed extra variations weren’t really rocking my world. There was this old school darkness about it, though - unlike anything I’ve experienced on a J bass.
    I chose to take the resistors out, so now there are two “global” tone controls. I could have gone farther and disabled one of those so it would be electronically identical to a VVT layout. But it sounds so freaking good to me as is, I don’t want to change a thing. (If having a redundant tone pot loading down the pickups more is wrong, I don’t want to be right.) Plenty of output & treble now, but also super warm.
    Apparently some factory stack knobs come without resistors, now. They do make quite a difference, so one should probably at least be aware & decide whether one wants them included or not.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  3. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    What would also be slick is to run a tele style 4-way switch so then you could have series or parallel when running both pups.
    BurningSkies likes this.
  4. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    I had a '62 Jazz reissue with stacked knobs and hated it. Constantly fiddling with the tone controls that had these mini stops/clicks and always seemed to affect the volume too. Finicky to adjust and redundant.
    VVT is way more intuitive for me and easier to operate with better results.
  5. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
    I'm struggling to get the concentric pots working properly on my 1990 '62 AVRI Mary Kay Jazz Bass. The only way I can describe it is there is absolutely no usable taper on the volume pots. They're much more like on and off switches. Full up sounds ok, but once I roll off either PUP I get a pronounced 'out of phase' nasal sound. I replaced the harness and there is no change, exactly the same issue. I've been told this is the design... But I can't believe that is the case.

    Any ideas?

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    I had one bass w/ stacked knobs. I didn't see any benefit adjustig the tone on each PU separately. It was too many knobs, and I ended up messing up the vol when adjustig the tone or vice versa. Classic 3 knob layout is much better.
    marchone likes this.
  7. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Is your phase correct? Did the pickups sound OK with the previous harness?
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    One of the standard features in the basses I play is a 4-way rotary switch which does neck-neck/bridge series-neck/bridge parallel -bridge. Works beautifully and is a bit more 'under the radar' than a Fender style switch. My P/J (passive) has three knobs... master volume, 4-way and master tone. Since my neck pickup is actually a double coil there's a hidden push/pull on the volume for series/parallel for the bridge pickup.
    Heavy Blue likes this.
  9. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    I lived with the original stacked knobs on my early 80's '62 reissue for a while. I found it was too hard to see where the knobs were set without pointers, also the individual tone controls weren't as useful as I thought they'd be and it was hard to grab the tone knobs on the fly. I changed to a VVT configuration and was much happier.
    marchone likes this.
  10. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for your reply,
    I had the same issue with the previous harness, that's why I replaced it. I had a tech install Lindy Fralin hum cancelling split coil jazz PUPs... and I'm trying to track back if that's when this issue started. I contacted Fralin to see if there's a possibility that they could have been installed out of phase, or if there's a way the split coils need to be installed differently and how to check for that. I don't ever remember this bass seeming so odd when I first got it, but back in the day I was always a pots wide open dude.

    I rarely play this one, I'm a P-Bass / Mustang / 4001 guy when I record and rarely need the sound of a Jazz, so it's not one of my go to guitars.

    I'll post what I find

    Jinobass1 likes this.
  11. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Just today I changed my '62 AVRI from VTVT to VVT and this thing has never sounded so good ever. I felt there was just something off with the stacked pots. I went through 3 harnesses and never worked for me. I have 2 Fralin hum cancelling PUPs in there and a VVT harness from Wainright Custom Guitars who I found on Reverb. His workmanship is impeccable and he answered so many questions, awesome seller. I was worried about changing the configuration, but I'm super happy that I did. It sounds incredible. I couldn't be happier.
    Jinobass1, ad9000 and MVE like this.
  12. AndreasK


    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    Love my stacked VM 70´s :D
    Jinobass1 and fretno like this.
  13. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Ive been thinking about changing my stacked to vvt, but I have a massive pile of knobs with a varitone on each pu. My body is chambered so it is pretty light compared to the neck and I am kinda worried removing the giant apparatus will throw my balance out of wack and give me neck dive.
  14. E S Anderson

    E S Anderson

    Dec 26, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Yeah man it's pretty shocking how much heavier those stacked pots are then the VVT. I really thought my '62 was a real dog, one of those dumpy/heavy fenders. Once I removed those electronics it seemed about 2 pounds lighter. I imagine of your bass is perfectly balanced with the VTVT in there that it'd change the balance, its a significant weight.
  15. Enlightening discussion. I am getting my first Jazz Bass today - a Classic 60s lacquer that someone had added stacked knobs to. I have always played a P Bass and prefer simplicity. I ordered a VVT tone kit and plan to change it out, however, I will give the stacked knobs a try first and see how I like them.
  16. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    I've found no sonic advantage to the stack knobs and I find them more difficult to use, but they look cool as hell. I had to build me one. They are heavy. I got this bass to be 8 pounds, but it meant starting out with a body that was 3lbs 11oz.

  17. Bestjammin jj

    Bestjammin jj

    Jun 18, 2021
    Correct me if I’, wrong but the volume knobs interact not the tone knobs. Just wired by PJ concentric stereo/mono (combined mono out) and mono into the stereo out just gives you P, without any resistors, and what happens on the combined mono out is either volume acts as a master control, and when you mix in the second pickup it gets louder.
  18. Update to this post. I tried the stacked knobs for 2 weeks and didn't take the them. I didn't like that the tone knobs did not turn smoothly but had those clicks to them. And with no markers on the knobs, too hard to tell where my settings where. I switched it out for a VVT control and it is much easier for me to adjust. I also shaved off .2 lbs to get my Jazz Bass at 9 lbs.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  19. Bestjammin jj

    Bestjammin jj

    Jun 18, 2021
    I recently learned TRS stereo allows you to “isolate” the pickups, their controls, and finally any interaction between the volume without using any resistors.
    Jinobass1 likes this.
  20. Jinobass1


    Oct 30, 2013
    That’s why Jaco changed his bass to VVT
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