Replacing blend pot with 3-way switch

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by berklee46, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I'm looking to replace the blend control on a passive P/J bass to a simple 3-way pickup selector.

    The M/N 500k pot in there now doesn't blend much and is essentially a pickup selector. It is, however, an improvement over the stock blend control that dropped the volume significantly when centered.

    Are there any specific specs I should look for in the switch, or does any one have a suggestion for one they are happy with?

    If it makes a difference, the bass Is passive, has a P/J setup with a single volume control, blend control, and each pickup has its own tone control with a push/pull for series/parallel.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Get one of those big clunky switches, not the mini-switches. Those big clunky ones last longer & you can clean them. Mini-switches are too small for the hole & if they fail you just have to throw them out.


    and make sure it's a on/on/on switch
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  3. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Thanks. I was figuring it would be like that - one of the big switches like on the old Yamaha BB2000 basses.

    Are there different values for switches like the blend pots, or just on/on/on?
  4. Blend pots rarely work well on PJ basses, so it's a good call to choose a pickup selector, instead.

    As mentioned, what you want is a standard Gibson style toggle switch. They are very common, and are sold by most musical instrument retailers.
  5. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

  6. getbent


    Aug 20, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    I second the standard Gibson style toggle switch, that's what I've installed in all my Jazz basses. I got tired of V/V/T since there was no blend to be had with varying amounts of pickup, it just meant I had two volume knobs that had to be turned up or down. Master volume, pick up switch, master tone, works like a charm!
    tlc1976 and Killed_by_Death like this.
  7. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Thanks, I appreciate the help.
    Is the wiring pretty straightforward? This blend pot has all 6 lugs wired, bit since I just copied the wiring from the original, it was easy...
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  8. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Did you see the drawing I posted?
  9. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Just did, thank you. I hadn't refreshed the page when I replied to line6man.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  10. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I realize this is basic for many, but I'm still learning this stuff.

    To simplify things I'd like to just have a basic volume/3-way switch/tone setup.

    It's all apart now and ready to wire up.
    But each pickup has 4 wires: White, Brown, Green, and Yellow. I'm not quite sure how to use all four of these wires.

    Here's what I've learned so far, going directly to the jack:
    White wire to white wire on jack, green wire to black on jack gives me output from half the pickup; then swapping the green for the yellow gives me the other half. I'd assume I need to keep the yellow and green together...

    The tone control has 3 lugs on it, then 6 more on the small box on the bottom of it.

    This doesn't seem to match any of the schematics I've come across so, I'm not sure where to go from here.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  11. devnulljp


    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    I just put in a telecaster 3-way switch and wired it exactly like a Tele.
  12. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    That pot is a push/pull pot, wherein the up position activated the treble cut (tone) control & down deactivated it.

    Do you have any plans for the 4th hole?
    A bass cut knob would work.

    What brand are the pickups?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  13. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Of course if you want a switch get a switch, but IME the selector switch is a bad idea on a P/J. This is because, IME (and YMMV) the centre position with both pickups fully on rarely yields the most useful blend and with a simple switch there is nothing you can do about it. IMHO the blend is a better solution but is still a compromise over VVT, which enables any blend imaginable to be achieved.
  14. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    The original blend knob was one that dropped the volume to 50% when centered and 100% at either end.
    I replaced it with an M/N taper blend and while it corrected the volume drop, it essentially worked as a 3-way switch, killing the opposite pickup when turned.

    This is an "extra" bass for me to keep around the house and also work on my DIY skills, so I'm ok with a simple switch for this one.
  15. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    The pickups are Schallers in a Kawai KRB-105 bass. I believe they are the PBX pickups, pretty much a Dimarzio clone.

    The push/pull on these is a series/parallel switch. It makes more sense to me to have a single tone control covering both pickups than the separate ones for each pickup. Not sure if I need a new tone pot, just bypass the push/pull, or if they'll work with both pickups into one.

    No plans yet for the 4th hole. If a bass cut knob is easy to work in, that could be an option.

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  16. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Are you planning on having switches for each pickup to make them series/parallel or just want them wired as series or parallel?
    If this helps, I found it on Stewmac...
  17. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    I'd be fine having them both in series without any switching. I would like to be able to use one of the tone pots I already have if that's possible.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  18. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    You can use the treble cut (tone) pot as is, but for it to actually function you need to leave it pulled out. Pushing it in deactivates it.

    Here are a couple of examples: