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Series v.s. Parallel

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Arkazail, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Arkazail


    Mar 1, 2014
    buffalo, ny
    So, I recently acquired a MIM FSR Jazz Bass body that i'm going to use for my Warmoth/fender parts bass. It came fully wired and everything, and on one of the volume knobs it has a push/pull switch that switches the pickups from running in either series or parallel. I'm.... really unsure as to what this means to be honest. Are there tonal differences between series and parallel? I'd try to test this out myself but I currently don't have a neck for it yet, so i figured you guys would be the best resource.

    Also I'm hoping to achieve a big, biting midrange with this bass so any idea if one of those settings will fit that tonal idea i have in mind than the other?
    Mark Dye likes this.
  2. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
  3. My passive Fretless jazz is wired this way with SCN pickups . In series this bass sounds more p like . I like this mod for more tonal options .
  4. Parallel is standard Jazz bass wiring. Series gives a higher output with a stronger midrange.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  5. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Actually most J bass pickups are single coil.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Kinda right! Parallel is standard Jazz bass wiring, but SERIES is higher output with more midrange. Parallel is thinner, brighter, and about half the output as series.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  7. Two single coil pickups wired in parallel, which allows separate volume controls for the two pickups.

    Once the two pickups are wired in series, it becomes one unit with one volume control for both together, just like the two halves of the split single-coil Precision pickup.
  8. Yes. And series/parallel switching has nothing to do with that.
  9. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    In my opinion, every J bass should have a series./parallel switch.

    It makes the bass much more versatile.
  10. Pre-2008 American Series J and P came with this thing called "S-1 Switch", which does exactly what we're talking about. If I had a second Jazz bass, I would have it re-wired so I can run it in series all the time. Or, find one with the S-1 switch.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  11. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Not sure if the series selection will give you "big biting midrange" you seek, but there's no doubt it will give you more mid than selecting parallel. Sounds like you might be looking for the solo bridge pup sound. Either way, you will have about as much tonal flexibility as any passive bass. Add a rotary cap selector e.g. Tonestyler, or the poor man's version; http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-POSITION-...ob-Wiring-Kit-Jazz-P-Bass-More-/291153132032? and you will have about every passive tone a Jazz can produce.
  12. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Whilst there is a tonal difference, there is also significant output increase, up to 6dB in series, which may affect the signal and audio chain's ability to produce any expected tonal quality, particularly as it relates to gain structure, signal overload, and audio reproduction limits.
  13. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I don't have that option on a bass, but I have two guitars with humbuckers with coils that can be set as series or parallel--it's a nice option to have.
  14. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Series helps you in the direction of more midrange, but can also take out some of the bite. (depending on what you mean by bite). An extra interesting option can be a scalable series wiring with a push/pull pot. It is basically a single pickup setting, where you garadually dial in one of the pickups in series. The usual way to do this is with the neck pu on and dialing in the bridge, but it sounds like you'd maybe like it the other way round: with the bridge fully on an dialing in a bit of series midrange with the neck pu.
  15. Arkazail


    Mar 1, 2014
    buffalo, ny
    That sounds like a really interesting idea, it might be something to look into, i mean I will be putting a decent amount of custom work into this already, and the body already has a push/pull so i could see if i can have this wiring situation done. Would it leave me with just one pickup volume and some kinda of toggle pot, or am i understanding this wrong?
  16. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    I'm sorry it took me some time to revisit this thread. No you won't need an extra toggle switch. You can use the push pull pot, but you need one extra pot. In parallel mode you'd have 2 standard vol pots and in series youd have one extra pot to control the series blend, and the normal vol pot for one of the pu's is not working. I've got a stacked vol/vol pot and a series/parallel push pull pot.

    That's the easiest way to wire. There's another option where you get to keep two vol pots that both work as a blend in series mode and as a vol in parallel. You'd need a extra toggle switch then, that can not be incorporated in a push pull pot . If you want I can post the schematics.

    Anyway maybe yoy should first wire you bass with a standard series switch and see how you like that. IME I only use the blend in recording, on stage it's just full series or parallel
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    ehh, i could take it or leave it on a regular J (as could everybody else apparently, which is why it went away) but on the passive J 5-string it was awesome! series fixed the anemic B and made the whole thing just much more solid and beefy sounding.

    +1 to the significant level difference making the switch kinda dicey live; you'd probably want to choose which way you preferred and leave it there on gigs.
  18. JB820


    Jul 13, 2015
    I may shoot an email out to Nash and see if they can incorporate this on the jazz bass that I ordered!

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