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Series wiring w/Obsidian Jazz Harness?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Hoyt, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. 45AB4C26-66D4-4F07-8851-28505EEB5AC7. I have a FrankenSquier bass project I’m currently working on. I’m getting a Classic Vibe Precision Neck (with the blocks) for it today, and the body started out its life as a Squier VM fretless Jazz. I painted it a color I liked and added a pick guard. Also dropped in some DiMarzio Area J’s and added an Audere JZ3 preamp.

    The Audere preamp is great, but I really need to route the cavity more to get the plate to sit right over the battery. Also, this is basically a backup bass to my MIM P bass, so I was thinking battery dependency might be silly.

    To that end, I purchased an Obsidian Jazz Bass harness with 500k pots (recommended by DiMarzio for the Area J’s). I don’t mind soldering, but I also don’t mind ease of installation either.

    I’m mainly a P bass fan and won’t be recording with this bass, so I wanted to wire the Area J’s permanently in series.

    I emailed Obsidian and Mathew Goodall was kind enough to reply. However, he stated that “Unfortunately this cannot be done.”

    I’m somewhat confused as to why this couldn’t be done with their harness if their quick-connect simply runs the wires to the correct pots.

    I won’t be heartbroken if I can’t wire it in series, but I’m just confused as to why I couldn’t with this harness.

    Any thoughts?

    Attached Files:

  2. You don't need 500,000 pots to make this work.
    You only need 3, and the unit of measure is Ohms.

    >>permanent series wiring<<
    If the Obsidian kit doesn't already have them, get:

    two 500k Ohm Linear taper volume pots
    one 500k Ohm Audio taper treble-cut pot

    If Obsidian's little grey box won't do the job, toss it & start putting together a soldering kit.
    I'll bet the Obsidian kit comes with one of those gigantic capacitors rated for hundreds of Volts, as well.

    You don't actually need that, a Chiclet-sized cap of 22 nanoFarads will work just fine:


    photo for SIZE example, not the value printed on it
    Hoyt likes this.
  3. 2561C6C1-D3C2-4519-8B7E-5F6AA6CFCEC5. 131FDE37-EAD2-4110-A183-87158332B636. Here’s a couple pics of the harness I found online if that helps (hasn’t been delivered yet).
  4. I didn’t feel the need to write OHM after listing the potentiometer value as it’s fairly obvious what value is being referenced, but thank you for that observation.

    I also already attached the Walter W diagram you referenced.
    Guzzi Toad likes this.
  5. You seem extra gracious, Good Luck!
    (that diagram you attached was frighteningly tiny)
  6. Seems like with the quick connect, I should just be able to run a jumper wire from the neck ground to the bridge positive, leaving the Neck and Bridge wires in the correct slots?
  7. And you seem EXTRA helpful, so thank you for that.

    I actually grabbed it from one of your earlier posts on the subject.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  8. Customarily, hitting the Like button is for thanking someone for a useful post.
    Jumpering that little grey box won't work, BTW.
    Toss that whole thing & create your own "wiring harness".
  9. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    Jumpering from the quick connect block won't work because the block terminals are still connected to the pots via the PCB.

    I'd say if you've already ordered the Obsidian Wire harness, just set it up the way it's meant to be and see if that works for you. If you want a fatter tone, try raising the neck pickup and/or lowering the bridge pickup to change the relative balance. If you don't like it, buy yourself some pots and wire it up in series yourself.

    FWIW, I like a series jazz config, but it still is going to sound primarily like a Jazz bass. It's closer to a P in that it has a much fatter low end, but it's definitely NOT a P bass. You may get more convincing results by soloing the neck pickup than by putting both pickups in series.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019

  10. That thought about mimicking a P by soloing the neck p’up had occurred to me, especially since the Area J’s are humbuckers.

    I would think if there aren’t any diodes, jumpering at the connection block and soldering the ground of the bridge pickup to the middle pot would work.

    I’m a mechanic by trade so I deal with various electronic circuits, but I don’t ever deal with printed circuit boards at all.
  11. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    *shrug* I typically ask @Killed_by_Death for wiring advice. :p

    There are still internal connections between the connection block and the pots. You would need to break those connections and rewire the whole thing, at which point you'd be better off selling the expensive pre-built harness without modifying it and just buying new pots and wiring it yourself,

    I think you need to try it first and see if you still feel the need to change it after a few weeks of putting it through paces.
    MVE, Hoyt and Killed_by_Death like this.
  12. You may be right.
    Between the Audere and the Obsidian (wether I can figure out how to make it work in series or not) I have options if it doesn’t float my boat.

    Still, I’d like to figure it out if it’s possible, if not for me, maybe for the next player down the line thinking about it. Might be worth taking my Fluke home.
    NKBassman likes this.
  13. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I think I asked the OW guys about series switching a long time ago (if I could custom order one with push-pull series/parallel switching, not modify an existing), and the answer was still "No". I took them at their word and didn't order the Jazz harness. I have their P Bass harness though, and it's quality.

    If you're cool experimenting, and possibly ruining, a very expensive pre-built wiring harness, then have at it. I personally wouldn't waste my time, effort, and/or money after getting the answer straight from the source. After all, as I said earlier, a series Jazz bass is still a Jazz bass.
    Hoyt likes this.
  14. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    If you're hell-bent on modifying things chasing a P bass tone, why don't you keep the VVT harness and route for a P bass neck pickup instead.
    thetragichero and Hoyt like this.

  15. I painted a perfectly fine VM fretless and added a pickguard where there was none, so I think that I’ve established already that I don’t mind ruining things, lol....
    DJ Bebop and NKBassman like this.

  16. That’s my last resort. Besides, I might end up enjoying the jazz more once I finally have a P neck on it. Only time will tell.
    NKBassman likes this.
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    FWIW I tried an Obsidian harness on a PB and didn’t care for it. Possibly because I don’t like their treble bleed mod. But for whatever reason, it didn’t sound quite the way I prefer my PBs to sound. So I pulled it (it’s still sitting on my parts rack somewhere. I only kept it so I can use it as a pickup test harness.) and wired up my own harness from scratch which I’m much happier with.

    Obsidian makes a quality product. And you can’t beat the convenience of their drop/in no soldering harnesses. But it turned out to not really be my cuppa. YMMV.
    Hoyt and NKBassman like this.
  18. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    It looks to me like the work required to modify that harness for series wiring is far more than the work required to just follow the diagram you posted for series wiring.
    There's no access to the internal lines within the harness, so you'd have to pop it open, then find a way to reseal the harness when you're done.
    This isn't about ruining something or not (as you said about repainting the bass in question), it's about doing waaaay more work than is necessary simply to accommodate a piece of kit that isn't at all made to do what you are asking of it.
    thetragichero, Hoyt and NKBassman like this.
  19. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Considering jazz basses have fairly simple wiring, you could always just wire it up normally with an s-1 style switch and get the best of both worlds. FWIW, I agree with what's already been stated in that a series jazz...still sounds like a jazz. The Area J neck pickup soloed is a pretty fat sound in series (with itself). I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how "P like" it can get, especially with some EQ.

    I didn't really dig into the diagrams posted above but I'm sure @Killed_by_Death alluded to the series diagram. If not, I'm positive there's one floating around in the search engine.
    Hoyt and NKBassman like this.
  20. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I never like the sound of two J pickups in series. It sounds like a poor, wimpy P to me.
    Hoyt likes this.

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