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Why on earth did they wire it like this?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by eukatheude, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. So I bought an used Rockbass Streamer. Fretless fiver, of recent production (W on the headstock). I was very satisfied with the playability but the sound just wasn't there. Really muddy and completely dead in the high end. I couldn't get an usable tone out of it, it was so unexpressive. Initially I blamed the two humbuckers, but then I took a closer look at the electronics. The tone pot was wired like this: p'up input on the center lug, output on the left lug. A cap was between the center lug and ground.

    I busted out my soldering iron and modified it to something more conventional (input and output on the center lug, cap between left lug and ground)... And the bass suddenly came alive. Crisp, sharp harmonics and it really sings on the upper register. A whole different bass. So I ask you, why would they wire it that way? I don't believe for a second it was a more "desirable" tone, the guy who sold me the bass also agreed with me after i told him this.
    I also noticed the bass has very low output... And it seems it's using 25K pots. For passive pickups. Shouldn't they be at least 250K or even 500K?

    By the way, increasing pot resistance gives more output alright, but how does it affect the tone? I'd put 250K's on it but I'm afraid they would muddy things up again. If, on the contrary, higher resistance means more highs, I might as well put 500k's on it.
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    25k pots are generally something only used in active electronics (in basses, anyway); my guess is a previous owner installed a preamp at some point. I can't imagine Warwick would do that for stock.

    Increasing pot resistance will result in more high end, and most companies will pair 500k pots with humbuckers. If they're too noisy or start to pick up radio stations, go to 250's.
  3. Nope, previous owner (and sole owner before me) said he doesn't know anything about electronics, so it should all be stock.
    I did notice that a ground wire was disconnected from the output jack, which caused a lot of noise, but it looked like it just detached itself due to BAD FACTORY SOLDERING.
    Good to know about higher resistance! I have some 250's laying around, I'll try installing them and maybe even putting the pups in series.
  4. RobbieK


    Jun 14, 2003
    It doesn't mean he didn't try... :D
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    aside from the tone cap being wired wrong, here's your problem, and i've seen it before on rockbasses.

    yes, you indeed want 500k pots to get the "life" back in that passive bass.

    you'll want linear volume and audio tone to get the smoothest sweep from each.

    if there's a pan pot, make sure it's at least 250k, and that it's "M/N"; i'd run it "ungrounded" to get the most juice out of the pickups and a slightly smoother sweep.
  6. It's VVT. I will try with the spare 250k's I already have. Rewiring the tone pot made a HUGE difference, can't wait to try it.
    Nice hint about the pan pot, didn't know about that. I don't remember if the ones installed are linear or audio, but they are very even and smooth.

    Nah I don't think so. Before I bought the bass, I asked if the pickups had more than two conductors. He answered "what's a conductor?". :D
  7. So I put 500K's in. Unfortunately the 500k i had chosen as tone pot had a short shaft and it didn't go far enough to go through the body, so as of now it's only wired with the two volumes. A LOT more high end content indeed, perhaps even too much! But I noticed no increase in output, maybe even a drop off. Could it be due to the missing tone pot?