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Tone and volume controls on double basses

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by JimmyM, Jun 22, 2005.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    How come uprights, or for that matter, pretty much any acoustic instrument in the viol family, don't have volume and tone controls on their pickups a la electric guitars or basses? Is it simply a matter of not wanting to drill holes and having no place to put pots? Or is there another reason? I imagine people who don't double on electric wouldn't care so much, but I do. I would think that life would be so much simpler if you could just reach down and goose a knob on the bass when something is ka-flooey rather than have to make the change on the amp where it affects the electric, too.

    I guess you can buy a preamp and tape it to the tailpiece, but I think there could be something a little more simple and less obtrusive. I'm just curious as to why it's not done.
     
  2. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I have ten volume and tone controls. One set of five on each hand.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Good one, Phil! You can't do all that stuff with technique. It's all in the knobs and switches and active electronics and effects and amps and preamps and stuff.

    No, but seriously, bearing in mind that tone comes from the player, there are still times when you need to flip a switch or hit a dial. And I'd like a way to do it within the bass itself so it doesn't affect my electric settings. I also don't want to have to add on a box to do it. But it doesn't look like that's an option.
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I find it entertaining that someone would rather alter his bass rather than carry a little 'ol box that would give him two channels.

    Not sure why this cracks me up -- it jes do.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just one more thing to plug in, stick a battery in, use up 2 outlets with an oversized wall wart, or lose.

    BTW, I don't want to modify my bass. I want my cake and eat it, too.
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Why not just get a two channel amp? Or, you could get a rack and put your amp and multi-channel preamp in there and have no extra things to plug in or feed batteries.
     
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    When you buy an acoustic instrument, you but it for what it sounds like, after you have it, the challenge is to make that sound your hear louder. A microphone does the best job of doing this.
     
  8. jtlownds

    jtlownds

    Oct 3, 2004
    LaBelle, FL
    I have an old Schaller magnetic pickup on one of my basses that has a built in volume control, also an old 1950s DeArmond pickup with one (it also sounds like dog sh*t). For a long time I also ran an Underwood thru an Ernie Ball volume pedal.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I've been trying to find a luthier that will install this bitchen Bigsby vibrato...
     
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Just use a drumstick through the strings between the tailpiece and bridge.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That would actually solve two problems...
     
  12. Yeah, with a honkin' big chromed whammy bar, with a ring on the end for you to stick yer little finger through. Or, instead of the ring, mebbe an eight ball shift knob. Or a shrunken head with long black hair.
     
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Hair color doesn't matter. Just as long as it was the singer.
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That would actually solve two problems...
     
  15. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I would like to have a volume knob on my bass, but only to control the volume of other obnoxious players. I'm sure MPM could do it.....
     
  16. You mean an Attitude Level knob.
    Or an Ego Boost/ Cut.
     
  17. Okay, got it.

    What a manufacturer needs to do is make a little infra-red remote like for your TV but that controls the amp. My hi-fi preamp has one - why doesn't somebody make a guitar or bass amp with one?

    And you could also use it to turn off the TV in the bar when they put the football on in the middle of your gig.

    Oops, shoulda patented that before posting it here...
     
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I think Smith and Wesson makes one...
     
  19. For TV's, not for bass amps. Apparently Elvis had that model.

    Sign seen in seedy bar years ago:

    "These premises protected by Smith and Wesson four days a week.
    You guess which four days."
     
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    A passive volume control on a piezo pickup is problematic. It would have to be very high resistance, and this would cause problems with frequency response, noise, and driving cables. You could insert an active buffer between the piezo and the volume control, but now you're hanging batteries on your bass.

    Magnetic pickups are low impedance, so it's easy to add a volume control. I have one on mine. It's handy.