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Two volume pots for the birds?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hhenry, May 20, 2011.

  1. hhenry


    Feb 17, 2011
    NFLD, Canada
    Does anyone else agree that the two volume pot arrangement (which i assume originated with the Fender Jazz) is completely impractical? Sure, you can dial in a unique mix, but once you have to try to adjust your volume on stage, it's lost. A single volume control and a pickup selector is a much more sensible arrangement. Select one P/U or the other or both, adjust your EQ on your amp and your good to go. Level adjustments are simple and quick. I'm hauling out a pot and installing a switch on all my Jazz's. Resale value be damned. Who agrees or disagrees? I may start a petition to get Fender to start making them this way.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Yeah! See if you can get them to make them without those darn dead spots too! :bag:
  3. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    At least on a jazz, that would eliminate a lot of tonal possibilities you get by mixing the two. I would prefer master - blend - tone. I also like the dual concentric stack pots on the Am Vintage 62 Jazz.
  4. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    Ooh! Even better yet: master - blend - concentric stack tone (again this is for jazz). And in all but the master volume, detented pots that would be harder to accidentally change once your tone is dialed in.
  5. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    Sorry, but I find separate volume pots to offer a hair more versatility than a blend knob arrangement. I've had J-Basses with both, and I'll go for the trad 3 knob or stack knob arrangement over any modern wiring scheme using a blend knob for the pickups. Each to their own tho.
  6. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    I agree for the most part, but I also agree with the OP's point was about how versatility can be a distraction when playing live and simply needing to increase or decrease volume without affecting tone.
  7. hhenry


    Feb 17, 2011
    NFLD, Canada
    My point exactly. Yes you have the advantage of increased tonal variation. But you can't adjust your level on the fly without changing the P/U mix. You would need to be pretty dextrous to adjust both pots "equally" so as not to change your signature mix and still not miss a measure or so!!
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I changed mine. I do NOT get along well with the two-volume setup. ESPECIALLY when both vol's on ten is less output than is one pot is rolled back to 8. Crappy electronic design, IMO.

    Master vol... series/parallel switch... tone.
  9. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I agree, the Jazz Bass style volume control fails as a volume control. I can't find the thread, but someone on here created some frequency response plots of a J style volume control versus the volume rotation.

    The executive summary: J style volume control acts as much as a treble roll off as a volume control. I don't think I've ever seen any passive blend circuit that works especially well at blending, though at least a pan pot + master volume gives you a more functional volume control.

    I think Leo Fender eventually saw the light, as the G&L basses have pickup selector switches.
  10. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    I think I have an equal appreciation for both setups. My passive J-bass works fine for me with vol-vol-tone, but my active MM Sabre with its master volume is pretty easy to dial in, too.

    I don't run the pickups on my Jazz at partial volume, but I'd probably want a master/blend layout if I did. When I play live, the tone subtleties are... well, too subtle and I run that bass with both pu's full open or maybe just solo the neck.

    My MM's shortcoming is that it has a 3-position switch for the pickups instead of a blend knob. The master volume control there is handy because when I solo the bridge pu, I need to boost the on-board bass output to get some fullness. At the same time, I need to turn down a notch or the overall output is just too much compared with the other two settings.

    As ferocious as that MM bass is, I'm sure that there would be plenty of action with the capability to blend toward one pu or the other. I guess that most active basses I've used have included a blend knob with the preamp controls, so I just expect to find it with that layout more than in a passive bass like a Jazz.
  11. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    I just had my Lull Jazz modded from volume volume to volume blend for the same reasons. This is how his bases are wired now, mine was an older model.

    I like it much better, because I like to have my volume at about three quarters and have room to raise it on the fly if I like.

    But all the detractors are correct too. The blend pot is no where near as versatile as the two volumes, it's almost like a three way switch. Which is OK for me, I usually have both pups on and the blend is center detented.

    I think the "best" system would be master volume with two individual volumes, but I don't know enough about electronics to know if this is a viable idea.
  12. maniac mikej

    maniac mikej

    Oct 28, 2010
    Mayfield, PA
    I personally love the control layout on my T-40. I wish I understood the science behind how the tone knobs split the humbuckers. But in any case, it has 2 volumes, 2 tones w/ coil splitting, and a selector switch. Seems like the best of both worlds to me.
  13. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The tone controls work much like a regular tone control from 0 (maximum cut) to about 8, with both coils on. At about 8 or so, it starts to roll short the second coil to ground, effectively creating a single coil. It's a circuit designed by the pedal steel player Red Rhodes back in the '60s which Peavey used with Rhodes' permission. Pretty cool idea...

    Being a long-time Precision and StingRay player I've always found two volume controls on a bass to be a poor choice. I've wound up using blend pots even though I understand the problems (extra pickup loading due to having essentially three volume controls instead of two, finding a blend pot with a smooth taper so it works as a blend and not a switch, etc.). The subtleties of having one PUP at 8 and one at 7 are totally lost on stage.

  14. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    Perhaps you just need a P!


    But I think for the Jazz I want to get another control plate and a concentric stack pot and trying out the master - blend - tone / tone idea.

    Oh and by blend, I think I really mean a pan pot.

    I have no clue how I'll wire it; I'm no genius at that, but I am a total DIY freak.
  15. jimbilly


    Apr 19, 2006
    My Hamer 'Jazz 5' (Cruise V) w/ EMGs is vol/blend/stacked bass-treble, I think it's just right.
    On a Jazz w/ passive pickups and vol/vol/tone, it always seems to me like any cut on either of the 2 volumes = hum. Yeah, if I were to have a jazz 4 built, it would be a single volume and a blend control.
  16. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Seymour Duncan wiring diagrams to the rescue!
    Wiring Diagram
  17. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    Volume? on or off (but I have a blend knob for the pickups, so I'm cheating).
  18. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    Well aint that The Cats pajamas :ninja: Thanks, that'll sure come in handy man!
  19. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    I understand your point but my personal preference is a volume, volume setup. I like having the individual control for each pickup. I only adjust volume between songs and rarely at all...I rely on my hands to adjust my dynamics. I will do more with my tone control (70's Fender Jazz RI) than volume controls.
  20. Gomeztool

    Gomeztool Banned

    Dec 10, 2010
    It's impossible for me to fade out with VVT. I have to use a volume pedal.

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