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Retro and Simple

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tactician, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. I've been putting together a simple contra-engineered Precision. I've taken out the volume control (you can't really adjust this on the fly as you mess up the mix and stall your playing). I've taken out the tone (never really got on with a tone circuit anyway). I'm focussing on getting one good PU and connecting it to the jack socket. If I could get an amp with just a volume control I'd be there! Or how about no volume control and go for a foot volume control?

    Am I alone in wanting to get back to the basics or just getting jaded with too much sophisticated kit. I just want to play - hell I could end up playing an acoustic double bass if this goes on! Would you just love to buy a bass that had one good sound, one PU, no frills. Does this bass already exist out there somewhere?
  2. FWIW, my buddy has a Fodera AJ Contrabass with no volume or tone controls, and as nice as that bass was, it was a real pain in the but having to use footpedals to control volume and eq. I admire the simplicity, but I think a volume and a tone knob is not all overboard and worth have at the very least.
  3. I think the minimalist approach without tone and vol. is proving to be just as you both describe - need it but can switch it out. Errrr....Plan 2....... install switch for direct out, but keep the vol/tone circuit for times when I need it.
  4. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    I am with you on your drive for simplicity. Nixing the volume control seems a bit extreme, though. :)
  5. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Waiting for Stew, the knobless bassist to chime in hehe. (err, that doesnt sound quite right, but Im sure you know what I meant lol)
  6. Knobless bassist?

    OUCH! :eek:
  7. I've been thinking about a completly knobless bass as well lately. All I'd want on it would be a mute switch and if it's a 2 pick up bass a bridge/both/neck pup switch. All the other controls would be in an outboard pre.
    I think especially with basses that have a beautiful top it would be great. Just imagine an Alembic Series 2 without any knobs to break up a that buckeye burl top.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    A bass without controls would be ideal for me. I run all my passive basses with the volumes and tones wide open. Amazingly, I can still control the volume and tone - with my hands. :)

    I don't know of any production basses that have no controls, though the Carvin Timothy Schmidt Sig. bass has only a volume control.

    Tony Levin and Gary Willis own custom basses (Musicman and Ibanez respectively) with no knobs.
  9. sjoakes


    Nov 25, 2002
    saint paul, mn
  10. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    How 'bout one of these?

  12. The Gibson Blackbird (Nikki Sixx signature bass) only has has an on/off switch.
  13. mr.redpants


    Feb 6, 2002
    a hoppus.
  14. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Fender Jr. Pbass only has a vol knob. I may be mistaken tho.
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    The biggest reason I got rid of it. The killswitch was nice, but I would've liked a volume control too.
  16. LOL

    wow, now I'm the "knobless bassist"... my wife may be displeased to hear that!

    somewhere I wrote a long diatribe about why I went full passive and control free. essentially I am a fan of simplicity, I like the weight savings and the challenge of being the solo tone generator is pretty hip. as has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, I snagged the idea frin Gary Willis. I got it when I studied with him back in '88 - '89. it took forever to get a luthier to go for it!

    from the lows,


    ps - should I include pics of the basses?
  17. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    I'm not a big fan of Carvin basses, but damn do they use some nice looking woods!!
  18. When I started this I was thinking of what Mo Foster had said in a meeting I had with him (look at his website at www.mofoster.com to find out where this guy has played - Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, you name them and he's played with them). He said that if he could find an amp with just a volume control he'd go for it. He just played with flat EQ on a Jazz fretless or another Jazz with frets. Both had active EMG PU's.

    I later thought that Acoustic Bass players also have no EQ or volume - they just play harder or softer or change where they are playing on the strings. I guess some of you read that with the Gary Willis book.

    It seems to make sense to me - take out the tone changing pots, control the volume on the amp/fingers and stay away form EQ'ing at every gig. The real challeneg in all this is to get that one killer tone in the first place.

    Maybe Mo Foster has the answer in his set up - active EMG's, flat EQ on the amp, RotoSound mediums on the bass.
  19. i have a fretless p bass fvrom yamaha with no controls whatsoever. and i am in love.
  20. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    Thread Resurrection!!!!!

    OK OK. So can somebody tell me what the tone will be like If I take out the knobs on my P-bass. Right now the sound is muddy and distorted if I have the volume all the way up. I have to put it at like 80%. Also the sound is very harsh and brittle if the tone knob is wide open. I usually leave it at about 20%.

    Would it sound better direct to the jack or even more muddier and brittle?