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Stepped Volume Pot

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim C, Mar 23, 2009.


  1. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I'm thinking that I, like many of you, play a Jazz with either both pups on, or the neck rolled off a bit for the bridge tone.

    Needless to say, the taper of the stock pots is super sensitive and getting to that ultimate sweet spot is nearly impossible between songs without making a sound.
    If one could count the number of clicks from full on to the sweet spot, repeatability could be mine!

    Anybody try a stepped pot and will it fit in the cavity?
    Of course, we will need to know from who and how much.

    BTW, tried the search function with no luck on this topic.
    As Mr. Welk would say; "thank, you boys"
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I've been wondering this very thing. Subscribed!
     
  3. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Mmm... How about replacing one of your J's volume pots with a blend pot?
     
  4. I don't play a jazz anymore but when I did, I would find the "sweet spot" based on the level of hum that would swell when I rolled off one of the pickups.
     
  5. +1 And, since that can change a bit from bass to bass and room to room, I would think it would be difficult to find a constant, fixed spot. However, if someone came out with a detent that the user could easily set (maybe this exists already), that might be cool.

    I really don't have any trouble finding that sweet spot on the gig, even in mid song though. After a while, turning down that neck pickup in a VV set-up, or blending slightly to the bridge pickup becomes second nature. IMO and IME.
     
  6. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Agreed that the detent may not be at the exact sweet spot, but then again it might.
    My basses with Dimarzio's and Lace Sensors hum a lot less than the normal din in a club, so not a great alternative for me.
    So much high end audio gear uses pots with detents but have never seen one used on a guitar.
    If a pot is a variable resistor, could a fixed resistor (that represents the sweet spot resitance) be wired in series with the appropriate volume pot with a switch, so that when the switch is turned on, this fixed resistor comes into play? Obviously, this would be used with the pot full on.

    Did a 15 minute web search and couldn't find a 250K stepped, audio taper pot
     
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I wouldn't combine a fixed resistor with a volume pot (though it could be made to work), I would just wire a 3-way switch "full on", "full off", and the one fixed sweet spot value you like. No resistors on the on/off settings, one resistor for the sweet spot.
     
  8. You know, that could work. I was thinking of one of those ToneStyler type controls, but your idea could work, too.
     
  9. That's the way I was thinking about it. The whole issue to me is if you could identify the 'sweet spot' accurately enough to mimic how many of us use the blend or VV control. It would be pretty hard, since in rooms with less inherent 'noise', you could blend a bit more extreme without getting much hum.

    Also, I would think the three way level would be 'both full on, sweet spot toward the neck and sweet spot toward the bridge', since the whole point of the 'sweet spot' with single coils is to mimic a 'one pickup off one full on' with the minimum of hum.
     
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    And to take this idea a step further, the resistor could be a small trim pot that could be stuffed in the control plate cavity allowing one to make fine adjustments to the sweet spot.

    Thanks for all the input, but it would be a whole lot simpler to buy a stepped log pot for volume; can't find one though (digi-key, Newark, normal guitar supply shops, etc.)
     
  11. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Or get a knob with numbers on that you can visually line up with a 'landmark' on the body. Like a screw on the scratch plate or something.
     
  12. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    If I were going to do this, I'd swap out the neck volume pot for a 250K with a push-pull switch. I'd wire the switch so that the down position was normal jazz bass controls. Pull up on the switch, and the neck volume pot is bypassed in favor of an internal trim pot. That way, I have a normal Jazz bass with a fine-tuned preset.

    I like this idea. I might do it to my jazz, but I'd have to add the push pull to the tone knob. My neck volume is already push/pull for series/parallel and the bridge volume is push/pull for in/out of phase. The phase is tricky to use correctly, but with the proper pickup mix, it adds extra "bark" without sacrificing too much low end.
     
  13. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    DUH,
    Of course, leave it to a bass player to make a train wreck out of a skate board.
    Could use a crayon on the control plate; think I'll go exotic and use a Sharpie at rehearsal tomorrow night.
    Thanks for talking me off the ledge boys; better go lie down before I hurt myself.
     

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