Updating electronics on an old DDR bass.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Aussieinberlin, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013
    Hi there - I'm new here so please go easy. I live in Berlin, Germany and just bought on ebay an old 1960's electric bass built by Meinel & Herold in the former East Germany (DDR). This thing looks as cool as can be and sounds pretty good in one of the pick-up selector switch positions.

    I would like to keep the (two) original pick ups and replace the balance of the electrics. There is a strange 4 way pick-up selection switch that doesn't work and I think the pots are too old to save. This is not and expensive or high quality instrument so I don't care about replacing original parts. All I want is a reliable hum and buzz free retro bass that hopefully retains some of that 60's tone.

    Can anyone out there give me some sugestions on how to proceed? I would be happy with a simple three way selector and two volumes - which potentiometers with old pick-ups???

    Any help would be much appprectiated.

  2. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Hallo Aussie,

    Dortmund Germany calling ...

    Here is a link to my "Bassschaltungssammlung" with more than 400 pages in German:

    I don't know which switch you have - but maybe the same as in Jolana basses???

    If the pickups are alive, the rest is no problem.
    500k pots (Potentiometer) or 250k pots is a matter of taste.
    But I think your bass has SingleCoil pickups (just because this was standard on GDR/DDR basses). So, I would first recommend 250k pots. Take 250k linear pots for the volume and 250k log. pots for the tone pot(s). Maybe something around 47nF capacitor (Kondensator) for the tone pot.

    Photos would help to tell you more ...

    Have a look at my PDF file ...
    I can answer in German if you have a question via PM - or send me an email.

    I am NO expert for DDR basses! I raised up in the western West of Germany (North of Mönchengladbach - 10 km from the Dutch border). Everything at the right side of the river Rhine is "East Germany" to me ...
  3. Photos - we need Photos!

  4. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013
    Here are a few photos. I am familiar with guitar neck surgery - so I can handle that. I can also solder quite well, but I don't even know the difference between 250k and 500k pots. I'm 99.9% sure these are relatively low output single coil pickups. As you will see this only one toggle and two pots is it master volume and master tone???? Anyway, I really appreciate your help - this **** is great fun isn't it!!!

    Cheers, Aussie.


    Attached Files:

  5. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013
    Two more pics.

    Attached Files:

  6. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013
    ..and two more.

    Attached Files:

  7. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013

    Attached Files:

  8. Aussieinberlin


    Feb 24, 2013
    ..and finally.

    Attached Files:

  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    My guess - the first pot is master volume - that one's pretty easy.

    The other two things are a pot and a rotary switch. It looks like the rotary switch is used as both a pickup selector switch and a varitone of sorts, with the pot controlling the amount of signal going through the varitone.

    Now the experts can chime in and let me know how far off base I am! :)

    Edit: As far as upgrades, I would go with a standard master volume, master tone, three-way pickup selector switch. I like 500k pots, but 250k will work also.
  10. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    AH! I have this wiring scheme in my compilation!

    Look at the wiring 1.4.95!
    (link in my post above)

    This seems to be 100% the same wiring as the Musima Migma Bass (also made in GDR)!

    The switch is
    1. Bridge
    2. Neck + Bridge
    3. Neck + Capacitor
    4. Neck + Capacitor

    The lower pot is NO tone pot but the Master Volume pot!
    The upper (middle) pot only works in position 1, when the bridge PU is on alone.

    Do all positions of the switch not work? Or are just some positions?

    I can't imagine the switch doesn't work anymore.
    At least cleaning with WD40 or something similar should help.
    As it is an open switch, you should see if if works (and varify with a multimeter) ...

    The original pots are 1M pots - but 500k (or maybe better 250k) will do their work.

    Now it depends on what you want for the bass!
    Everything is possible ...

    Viele Grüße