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Removing a blue capacitor from Musicmaster bass

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by black57, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. black57


    Jul 12, 2008
    I heard this was an easy mod for 70's Musicmasters to give it a fuller sound. How do I do it and what do I need. Thanks
  2. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    I think this is a general mod your talking about. Personally (this is only my taste) I have the following combination:

    Volume - 500k audio
    Volume - 500k audio
    Tone - 250k Audio
    Capacitor - 0.047uF Orange Drop

    I then blend the neck and bridge to my liking

    I don't know if it is all in my mind, but vintage wire seems to sound smoother:
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Only one volume and one tone on a Musicmaster... But, the cap you have listed works well... Yeah, the original controls on my '78 Musicmaster were a tone-sucking combination!

    black57, you might try bypassing the controls entirely and running the pickup directly to the output jack... You may be amazed at how 'alive' these basses can sound! Love 'em!!

  4. kyral210


    Sep 14, 2007
    I am running a parallel thread on Orange Drop Capacitors. To cut a long story short I replaced a stock EMG capacitor (came with pickups) with an Orange Drop 0.047. Wow! The sound is definitely more alive! I strongly recommend using these on every bass you own!
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It is (all in your mind).
    agedhorse likes this.
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Same mod as the P bass. There is only one capacitor in the Musicmaster and it provides the treble cut. By removing it you disable the tone control and allow a little more treble.

    The extra treble is very subtle and would not be noticed live.
  7. There are 2 caps in the Musicmaster bass tone circuit.

    looking at the pot from the back, the left lug is connected to the volume control, and has a .02 cap to ground and the center lug has a.05 cap to ground.

    I'm guessing the extra capasitance at full roll of was to compensate for the frequency response of the guitar pickup.

  8. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    That sounds like the 0.02 cap is always directly across the pickup. That is like having a smaller value tone cap at 100% treble cut there all the time. I personnally thing that would be too dark sounding for a lot of stuff. And then it can be made darker by rolling off the tone control and letting the 0.05 cap grab whatever highs are left.
  9. EddieN


    Mar 21, 2007
    In the original wiring of Musicmasters, I believe that one of those was actually a resistor. Remove that & what you've got is the same wiring found in single coil Precisions. Purpose of the resistor? Who knows?
  10. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but a friend of mine sent me his Musicmaster Bass to fix. The problem, after checking all the usual suspects, appears to be a crapped out tone pot. When I opened it up, it had the stock two capacitors: the .05 "conventional" cap, and the .02 "helper" cap. He bought it new. It's never been touched except for string changes (if you saw the setup, you'd definitely agree) and it's very obvious that the solder joints have never been touched. Now to find an appropriate tone pot to keep it in some semblance of as close to original condition as possible.
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    If you contact Fender support, they should be able to give you the correct value.
  12. In the '71 I did a setup on lastly, it was a value of 0.022µF.
  13. garedot


    Jan 22, 2013
    Dallas Texas
    I made this mod on my 1978 Musicmaster bass by accident and works very good! When i opened my bass for the first time i saw this two capacitors, i was thinking someone made a mod to this bass in the past, because is not common to have two capacitors in a bass tone pot, one is the traditional 70's light brown color with circular shape, the other one is dark blue with square shape. Then i decided to take off the blue one because i was trying to install the second one in a Jazz bass 1963 that found later without pots. Anyway... when i went back to my ugly Musicmaster bass and played it, i found the sound was better than before, now it is very punchy sounding, then i found that this mod is too common! By the way my Fender Jazz Bass 1963 sounds terrific with the dark-blue capacitor! i will upload some pics of the Musicmaster mod!
  14. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Right the blue cap bleeds off more treble from the guitar pup. I took out all the guts in my 74' MM since the pots were trash and installed a 78' P bass wiring harness with one cap. The bass sounds great now with good lows and mids almost as good as a P bass with a bit of upright tones.
  15. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

    Anyone try one of these harnesses (with both caps) in a Precision? Is that essentially the same as a Highway One/1?
  16. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    The original MusiMaster wiring has two capacitors.

    One is soldered to the middle contact of the tone pot and goes to GND (housing).

    The other one is soldered to the conatct where the wire from the volume pot goes to and the other side is soldered to GND, too. This second (.02µF) capacitor is therefore always on. It shall give the PU a "more bass like" tone.

    Gibson also used this wiring with one controllable and one non-controllable capacitors in the 60s/70s.

    If you want a brighter tone, you can remove the capacitor which is soldered between GND (housing) and the contact with the wire to the volume pot.

    The original wiring scheme is also in my wiring compendium. I only didn't know the correct value of the second capacitor. But the WYSIWYG and the schematic are to be found there.
  17. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    Right first time! It is all in your head.

    Same with your Orange Drop capacitors.

    0.047 uF capacitors should all sound the same if they have close tolerances. Saying that the bass sounds more "alive" doesn't mean anything. Give us actual meaningful descriptions such as "more treble" or "pronounced mids"... stuff that actually means something.
  18. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Additional to my last post ...

    During the mid 70s Fender used blue 0.022µF capacitors for the Jazz bass and flat brown 0.05µF capacitors for the Precision bass.

    That's why the MusicMaster Bass has had a blue and a brown capacitor for some years.
    They were taken from the other basses.

    Okay; as the parallel capacitors "kills" high frequencies you can say that the sound is more alive at less frequencies being killed ...
  19. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    That figures. I have a fretless bass I wired a 0.001 uF capacitor over the output jack of purely to cut a tiny bit of 'fluff' from the tone of the bass. Seems to iron out transient peaks, though I doubt that is actually what it does.
  20. bogmummy


    Nov 6, 2013
    Once again resurrecting this thread...
    So, to get this straight, the Brown(.05) cap is replaced with the Orange(.047) cap, and the general consensus is to remove the Blue(.02) capacitor completely [in addition to swapping the brown with orange]?

    Also: 500k pot for volume and 250k pot for tone? Or should both be 250k?


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