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Volume and tone for each pickup?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Oysterman, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I know as much about bass electronics as I do about building H-bombs, why my question might seem stupid to those who are familiar with the subject.

    Is it possible, in a passive bass, to have separate volume AND tone controls for each pickup? Say, in a Jazz bass you'd have 2 volume and 2 tone controls, without any battery-powered EQ involved. If so, wouldn't this be a cool idea? And if it is a cool idea, why am I yet to actually see a bass with that setup?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I think your idea is very cool, Oyster (if you put any value in the opinion of a tech-moron like me).

    But, I think the limitations are imposed by the companies who manufacture our pots. Even with Blend controls, the pots I know of seem to dictate more of an "either/or" mentality. Subtleties don't seem to be their forte'.

    From my very limited knowledge, I would think the volume controls wouldn't take an Einstein, but the tone controls could be problematic because "taste" enters into the equation so heavily.

    Nonetheless, I really like your thinking!
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I recently modded my old Carvin fretless in exactly that way. I put a volume and tone for each pickup (DiMarzio Model One in neck and a stacked Carvin jazz at bridge). It didn't work nearly as well as I thought it would. Each tone control works fine with just one pickup on, but when they are both on, they seem to interact; in other words, if I try to turn the treble down on the neck p.u. and leave the bridge up, it doesn't sound like you might think. It is muddy. I wouldn't do it again, but I will leave it for now.
    As for how to do it, I just followed an online diagram for a Les Paul without the switch.
  4. There is theoretically a volume for each pickup. They use a Dual Gang pot, eg 100kohm dual ganged pot is two pots of 100kohm joined together, rather than having 3 pins it has six.

    If you go to my thread in this forum "Damn volume!" my bass has a dual gang pot on it. So yeah rather than two separate pots it is easier to combine them, saves space and money.


  5. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    That's exactly what I had planned to do when I stuck a pair of
    DiMarzio Ultra-Jazz' in my yamaha bbn4f, using these here...


    Each pot is independent of the other; one can function as a
    volume, the other as a tone control. Little buggers ain't cheap
    though (~$22USD/pop at Stew-Mac).

    My bbn4f has 3 topside holes for controls (like a J) and a side-
    mounted output jack. I was gonna' put a 3-way, Les Paul type
    pup selector in the third hole :rolleyes:. Anyhoo...those plans fell through
    when I realized I needed pots with 3/4" bushings. Those dual pots
    have 3/8" bushings.

    I'm still gonna' give it a go whenever I get a Yammer RBX270F :).
    Hopefully, I won't need the "long shaft" pots. My first thought
    is to wire it like a mono Ric with 2 pups...


    Even on a bass with 2 holes available for control pots, it could be
    wired as if the 3-way switch was in the middle or "both" position.
  6. um, isn't the original 1960 Fender Jazz "stack-knob" design exactly that? ie. volume and tone for each pickup (using stacked pots)?

    Rickenbackers and some Gibsons also have 2volumes + 2tones.
  7. My Rick 4003 certainly has this configuration! It's pretty darn impressive for a passive system, as far as I'm concerned...

  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    gahhhh! :eek: That's it! I'm officially senile :p

    I was checkin' this out just the other day at Mr. Gearhead...

  9. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    :confused: I've seen lots of guitars and basses like this, i thought it was pretty common?

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