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quick question for those passive players who bypass their pots

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Squidfinger, Aug 9, 2005.


  1. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    How big is the difference between bypassing the p/u directly to the output jack and leaving the volume and tone knobs wide open?


    :help:
     
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Depends on the pots. With some pots, it's barely noticable, with others it's night and day. Also depends on your strings, pickups, amp, and ears.
     
  3. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I did it with a couple of Fenders. The difference was...noticeable.

    I did it with a TobyPro 5 and the difference was staggering.
     
  4. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA

    Staggering in a good or bad way?
     
  5. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    The difference was much more noticable, was how I interpreted it.
     
  6. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    Sooooo......if I want to bypass the pots on my P-bass I connect the white wire to the jack and the black wire to the contact on the jack that is connected to ground????????
     
  7. The ring of the jack is ground (earth), so you connect one wire of the pickup to the tip of the jack, and the other to earth...

    polarity is not important, however, for simplicity, keep the grounded pickup wire (black?) on the earth...
     
  8. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA

    The contact on the jack I was talking about connecting the black wire to has a grounding wire connected to the bridge.
     

  9. there ya go. that's the ring of the jack. then your other wire (the white one in your case) would connect to the tip.

    If you're so inclined, you can wire this through a SPDT switch so that you can switch between the knobs and bypass.
     
  10. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    True, but most of the pots in instruments are crap.
     
  11. A9X

    A9X

    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    Few are sealed which allows moisture and dust to ingress, they aren't well made, using cheap materials, construction and poor tolerances. Some are even microphonic due to the loose tolerances, weak construction and poorly made wipers that vibrate. Log (audio taper) pots are harder to make and are usually the sloppiest. There are sometimes some quite obvious sonic differences between brands/constructions too; not so easy to hear in the instrument but easy in quality hifi and studio gear*.

    Check out Bourns, Spectrol, Vishay for examples of good design and construction, but these are seldom seen as it's a $2+ wholesale cost rather than 20c. Best I've seen so far is a Clarostat in my Series one, and I've been told by others that some brands at the higher end of the market use likewise quality gear, but I haven't seen them myself.
    I've been building gear for a long time (I'm an EE with RF/TV background) and pots are one of the hardest parts to build well, and one of the first to give trouble. In nearly every bass and guitar I've seen, even some expensive stuff, the pots or the cheap open frame sockets are the first to go and can give some strange sonic anomalies. After replacing heaps of them in lots of instruments (and lots of other gear from scopes to spectrum analysers to hifi gear) over the years I've come to form a strong opinion on the subject.

    * I know the strong differences in opinion that the subjective/objective audio debate can bring, and I don't want to go into it here. Just expressing my opinion based upon years of trying just about everything and coming to my own conclusions. I'm also a cheap bastard, so I'd rather do a job for less $, but you usually get what you pay for.
     
  12. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA

    Could I ass-ume that my Lakland Skyline Glaub has high quality pots (I can't see Dan skimping out on the pots)?

    Yesterday, after playing with my tone knob in the 0-30% for atleast a couple years I turned the knob wide open. The results:

    1) My tone is no longer muddy and distorted when the volume knob is at 100%. Hence, I have more output.

    2) With more output I now play even softer. I lowered my action to insanely low and have no problem with buzz.

    3) I've had to adjust my fretting hand technique slighty so I don't slam the string down on the fret as hard because it picks this up more. What does this mean for me? Better technique :smug: .

    4) I was jamming to some songs I already knew just to give the new settings a trial run. The slight bit of extra noise that comes with having the tone knob wide open disappears behind the music. I also heard something I've never heard from my GK rig before, clean punch :hyper: . It was beautiful. I'm used to mud.



    So today I'm going up to school to get my soldering iron and tools so I can do the deed.

    One last time just so I'm sure. Is this right?????-->

    1) Disconnect pots from everything.

    2) Connect white wire to the ring on the jack the pots used to go to.

    3) Connect the black wire to the ring on the jack that is also connected to the chassis ground on the bridge.
     
  13. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Must be missing something but don't see where the pots being wide open is a factor if you're by-passing them by going straight to the jack - unless you're talking about no-loads.

    Anyway, as has been addressed, depends. Skipping a harness altogether and running the pups straight to seperate jacks, I've found considerably variation in pups alone with all other factors constant. Ballpark I'd say from some 75 plus different pups that about 25% it's major and critical to tone; 50% blatantly different but not major tonewise; and 25% not definitively notieceable or pup tone actually improve through a preamp and/or harness.
     
  14. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    When I was rewiring my MIM P bass I did not bother wiring back in the tone pot. Partly because this was my rock bass and I always left it wide open anyway. Partly because the pots where cheap and I only had one good quality pot on hand. Partly because I tend towards minimalism. And partly because I am lazy ;)

    There was more treble, but it was very subtle. You would *never* notice it on stage. Bypassing both pots and running the PU straight to the jack would probably make more difference, but I need the volume control. And I am not convinced that it would make any difference in a band situation.

    I will probably wire the tone control back in sooner or later.
     
  15. trainyourhuman

    trainyourhuman Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2000
    MI
    Old thread, but I still have questions... Can I wire up a bass that has no volume control? I want it set up this way, PU to the tone pot to the jack.
     
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Can't say I've ever done it to know. What is it you're trying to accomplish? Volume quit on you I'm guessing?

    Just wire the pup lead from the volume to the lug where the volume lead ran to the tone, couple minutes. You won't have to mess with the ground unless you pull the volume pot, which wouldn't be necessary to see if it's something you want to do. See what happens.
     
  17. BassChuck

    BassChuck

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    From looking at the pics of Anthony Jackson's bass, it looks like there are no knobs at all... just the output jack.

    Not a cheap bass either and clearly Mr. Jackson can have what he wants. So....... I'm thinking that the PU to outjack is a strong choice.

    I'm assuming that if one is to do this re-wiring and have no pots that any tone control can be done on the amp.

    One last note.... in Carol Kayes books she says just to have all the pots wide open and control at the amp. But this is for passive curcuits.
     
  18. yes, with the "pickups straight to the amp" approach controls are done either at the amp, or through an external preamp or some other piece of outboard gear.

    Carol Kaye's comment about running with all the pots wide open IS definitely refering to passive circuits...in effect, that's running a bass a la Anthony Jackson with about 100K load in parallel to the pickups (not much considering the pickups parallels are about 5k).

    Is there a difference? Yeah, sure there is...can 95% of the population tell the difference? Probably not.
     
  19. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I was having buzzing problems in a P bass and I ran the pickup straight to the jack to see if that would solve it. It didn't, I ended up shielding the bass.

    I had one practice before I had time to solder the pots back in. I found the tone was noticably better with the pots out. But I doubt anybody else would notice.

    So I soldered the volume pot back in since I like having control over the volume at the bass. For me, the difference at a gig would be nil and you lose a lot of convenience, unless you like to use a volume pedal.