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Wow! what a difference

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rooster009, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    So I bought a couple of Douglas 6 strings a while back. Very good quality, necks are nice and fast, good fret work on the fretted and the fretless plays awesome, no dead spots. The pickups never sounded exactly right to me though, almost hollow sounding. Well I took a chance and bypassed the active EQ section on both of them and all I can say is Wow!
    The tone is so much better, fuller, louder, and brighter. The only controls used on them now is the pickup bias knob. no volume bass or treble, just pickups to selector pot to jack. I use my outboard pre amp for setting tone. What a difference wow!
  2. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I found the same thing, pots suck the tone right out of a bass. I do like a cap switch, but without pots.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    What brand are the electronics?
  4. I have an active bass that I am going to fit a preamp bypass switch on.

    But, Glenn, you've given me a great idea...I'm going to put two toggles on my passive P-bass:

    toggle #1: 2-position (volume pot / bypass volume pot)
    toggle #2: 3-position (tone pot / bypass tone pot / cap straight)

    that way, I can run conventional P-bass or wide-open and some other combinations, as well :)
  5. peakdesign


    Aug 25, 2008
    It might be possible to create a passive tone control using the existing pots, and still have it sound as good as what you describe, it's the active circuit that's not very good. I have a douglas WEB-846 Fretless and it's a marvelous instrument, but a bit noisy. I was thinking of shielding, but maybe it would make sense to rewire it as a passive while I'm at it? Can you illustrate what exactly you did? Do you have a schematic or diagram? Did you have hum before, and did it help?
  6. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    I cut and soldered the White and red wires that are connected to the output jack to the black and red wires on the pickup selection pot. Red to Red, White to black. then soldered the ground from the jack to the ground on the pickups. You can solder the wires from the volume pot to give yourself a volume control, but I tried it and the signal was alot cleaner and louder without it. I had some hum When I first bought it. If you are experiencing hum then you need to look under the bridge and fix the ground wire. I have no hum now and the ground wire from the bridge is not even in the circuit.
  7. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    It has A LOT more presence w/o pots.
  8. peakdesign


    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks for the info.

    Which model is yours specifically? the WEB or the WOB?

    My WEB-846 wiring has long shielded AND unshielded excess leads tied with tie wraps, the pot bodies have no grounding, I bet I can get the noise down even without a cavity shielding job, but I guess the most interesting is that you get adequate level without the pre-amp. It's important which model pickups you have, which model bass it is.

    I can imagine just putting a 250-500k pot in series with a .47 uF cap across the output jack and having a tone control, it depends if there's enough signal and a low enough impedance on the pickups that when the tone is wide open, having 250-500K + .47 uF in series accross the output won't choke it.
  9. Rooster009


    Feb 27, 2008
    I forget which model mine is but it is the one with the soapbar pickups instead of the jazz style single coils. Just try it like I have it and see if that works for you. If not you can always add pots and a cap later. let me know how it turns out.
  10. peakdesign


    Aug 25, 2008
    That's the WOB-826. The Jazz pickup one, that I have, is WEB-846. Very different pickups, might act different. I need to learn about the impedance/output of these pickups first, with an eye to low cost mods. I'm going to start with just cleaning up the wiring, I'll let you know as it progresses.
  11. Fretweld6


    Jan 18, 2014
    I'm thinking of simply removing the stock controls N pre-amp imitation and installing an EMG BTS or a Seymour Duncan Steve Bailey set up with the stock pickups N see what happens! Cause other than the anemic output its a pretty decent fretless!
  12. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I have to agree with this sort of thing. First my main 5er axes are G&L L2500s. And they have both passive and active switch positions. And like most owners I bet they spend about 80% of their time in passive. I've always thought that an active-passive switch is a thing to have just for battery emergencies even if it were not for tone.

    As for tone switches, I also agree there. I mod my tone controls with a 3-way mini toggle switch. It is SPDT but with an "off" position in the center. That "off" position completely takes the tone circuit out and is bright as the bass can go. The other two positions are a .047 cap and an .015 mfd cap. That gives you the "standard" tone sound plus a somewhat less rolled off, more mids sound as well. It's a simple mod but works really well! The beauty is you can flip the tone to bright and back to a pre-set tone without having to twiddle any knobs.

    And lastly I tend to run my volumes at max to give tone, but I also like to have just a bit of gain left for when you need it for a solo etc. And there is the problem highs rolling off when you turn volume down even to just 80% or so. So for that reason, instead of adding the vol bypass I've added the highs bleed cap on all the passive volume controls. It doesn't quite fix balance over the whole range of volume but works quite nicely over the upper end of volume where I usually play.
  13. Jaco Taco

    Jaco Taco

    Jul 30, 2012
    The whole active craze in basses is still a mystery to me. Basses sound so much better passive imo.
  14. If you've bypassed the pre and that's taken out the vol, then it means that the vol was wired at the output of the preamp. And that's fair enough, but it means that the volume pot that's in there is not suitable for passive wiring. So when you tried to add the pot back after bypassing the pre, the choked sound you get is completely normal due to using the wrong volume pot for the job. If you want a vol for passive wiring, you need a 250K or higher pot.

    A lot of preamps suck a lot of tone, and have a poor sound or response, for sure, but it's amazing how many people ditch the stock preamp for something boutique not realising that there's often many tweaks or different wiring options or simply better choices of pot or pickup configuration that can help them a lot.

    You can also get no-load tone pots that do this. The pot's track is cut right before it's wiper reaches full clockwise, so is effectively out of the circuit. You could easily make a no-load tone pot from a push-pull and have two different tone caps to switch between also.

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