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Onboard control preference?


davio

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If you could have a custom bass made, what kind of controls would you put in it?

 

I'm not really concerned about who would make it, what it would be made out of or what it would look like...that's been covered before.

 

The three basses that I own:

1. Passive with volume, tone and a pup selector switch

2. Passive with front pup volume, back pup volume and tone

3. Active with volume, pup balance, mid boost/cut, mid shift, treble boost/cut and bass boost/cut

 

I'm trying to plan out a custom that I want to have built and I've not yet decided what controls to put on it. I think I want it passive and I know I want a master volume but that's where my certainties stop.

 

What are your ideals?

 

EDIT: I've seen plenty of "out there" stuff so I'm not too interested in looking at people that go overboard...I want to know what you prefer and find most practical.

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NONE! NOTHING!

I wouldn't have ANY controls at all. No volume knobs..no tone controls...nothing.

It would be a real relief to have the volume permanently maxxed out and the tone soldered forever at the midway point.

I do all my EQ'ing at the preamp stage (and even THAT is extreeeemely minimal) or I just let the soundman do his thing (he's going to anyway, right?)

 

I was happily suprised to read that Mike Dirnt is going to bypass all his bass controls. His live tone is KILLER. Maybe one day Fender will update the Dirnt P-bass to have no controls. I would buy that bass in a heartbeat.

"I don't play Bass..I play SONGS."
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My favorite is

 

Master Volume

PU selector

active bass on push/pull pot with passive tone control

active treble

 

Fretted Sadowsky 4 string Jazz with Sadowsky stainless steel 45 - 105 strings and Sadowsky hum cancelling pickups....

www.danielprine.com

 

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My favorite is pretty much volume and blend. It's pretty much all that I use on my warwick, although the bass and treble controls come in handy when I'm trying to show a song idea to other people, I write on guitar mostly, so I can cut all the bass and boost all the treble to get a VERY guitar like tone. A second, though not close, is volume, tone, and switch for pup selction.
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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Master volume knob, treble knob, bass knob, 3 way pickup selector switch, series/parallel switch, passive/active/active with treble boost switch.

 

That's what my G&L Tribute L2500 has. However, I do also wish it had a parametric mid knob too, like the Yamaha BB604/5.

 

I also wish the tone knobs had center detentes (sp?) to set the treble and bass at center more easily. My Schecter's tone knobs had (I just sold it)that center detente feature which was really helpful for a quick tone setup.

"All the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players..."

--Rush, "Limelight"

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OBP-3 with a passive option (when your bettery dies)
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Originally posted by Mr. Phil:

OBP-3 with a passive option (when your bettery dies)

So many different ways to wire on OBP-3 up! My personal preference is separate knobs for volume, bass, mid and treble; a 3-way mini-switch for the pickups, and two 2-way mini-switches for mid frequency and preamp bypass.

 

Alex

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All my basses have passive tone controls and they work just fine for me. Even when i did have active basses I rarely boosted anything, the only change that I seemed to make was cutting treble for certain things.

 

With that said, if I were to have a custom bass built, I would probably have two humbuckers with a series/single/parallel switch for each pickup, 2 volume cotrols, active 3 band eq with semi-parametric mid and an active/passive switch (just so I have the active option if I decide I want it).

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Blend, master volume, three band eq with switchable mid frequency (Bartolini) gives me the most versatility for a band that moves between styles, necessitating differing bass flavors. Don't use them a whole lot, and changes involve a little twitch here and there, or a swing away from the neck pickup towards the bridge for more clarity, etc...

 

If it was a straight blues band or something requiring a consistent bass sound, a passive bass would be cool as well.

 

Rather have more than I need that is there when I need it than not enough when it's necessary.

1000 Upright Bass Links, Luthier Directory, Teacher Directory - http://www.gollihurmusic.com/links.cfm

 

[highlight] - Life is too short for bad tone - [/highlight]

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I have a question for those who want/need/like having control knobs on your bass.

 

I don't for this to come out wrong but...do you guys actually USE these knobs all the time?! I mean... are you REALLY tweaking several times a night from song to song to song?

Do you have amps/preamps? Do you use the EQ sections on those? Why and in what capacity?

 

Again...I am NOT trying to sound smarmy. I am asking a legitimate question.

"I don't play Bass..I play SONGS."
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I'm more than happy with the J-Retro set up - vol, blend, stacked mid sweep/mid cut 'n' boost and stacked bass/treble, with a treble boost pull on the treble pot, and an active/passive switch.

 

the only thing I'd add is a Q push/pull on the mid range, to narrow it right down... :)

 

Steve

www.stevelawson.net

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None, nothing

I agree, if I ever got a bass made for me I think I would specify this.

 

You say tone control wired at mid point. But what would happen if you took the tone control (the capaciter and potentiometer) completely? Would this sound like a bass with tone full up ot completely off? Or neither?

Bog visoko, a Rusija daleko
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I think there's a lot of misunderstanding around what the onboard bass controls are for. IMHO, they're to modify an existing sound coming from the preamp/mixer/FX/DI/amp chain that has far more tone options than you can find on an instrument, and that's where they belong - on the pedalboard or the amp, not on the bass.

 

What I use my onboard controls are to modify a signal once I start playing. For instance, I'll play with my onboard volume control set to 6-7 and the EQ flat. If in the middle of a song I feel the need to step up a little treble or raise my volume a bit to be heard over the two Marshalls in the room, then I just have to move my pinky instead of walking back to the amp or playing foot-typist onstage.

 

You can do away with ALL the onboard controls if you want - in fact, I think back to what a lot of acoustic players did with just a Barcus-Berry pickup dot - but if you are suddenly set with a sound issue in the middle of a song, would you rather turn your back to the audience and play roadie or just flick a finger and keep playing?

 

In a recording situation, I set everything flat, volume to max, and work out the details with the engineer. YMMV. :wave:

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A wide variety of answers...what I expected from this group :D

 

It seems that a few people share the ideal of having no controls and/or keeping them all zeroed. A while ago I started doing this and I've loved the sounds that have come out of my bass ever since. I do agree, however, with Fred's point. I like to have plenty of control at my fingertips so that I'll be able to cope with whatever is thrown at me mid-song.

 

I've also found that I can change my tone more drastically via my onboard controls than my head's mix. Maybe that's just my bass, maybe it's just my head, maybe it's just my lack of fx and such gadgets. Has anybody else found this to be true?

 

Dr. Dub, in my case there will be two pickups. I have not yet decided which kind yet. I'm teetering between Bartolini or EMG soapbars. It will be a fretted 5-string and the more I think about it, the more I want to make it active with a bypass switch.

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I have a Hagstrom Big Swede bass which is a sort of Les Paul copy. It's passive, but has interesting controls that I kind of like, maybe because I got so used to them from playing it for so long. It has V/V/T/T plus a three way PU toggle and then another 3-way toggle that I assume puts a different resistor on the tone pots.
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Originally posted by Father Gino:

It has V/V/T/T plus a three way PU toggle and then another 3-way toggle that I assume puts a different resistor on the tone pots.

Interesting...I never thought about doing something like that with different resistors or capacitors wired through a switch. Hmmm...
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Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Originally posted by bassdrummer:

I also wish the tone knobs had center detentes (sp?) to set the treble and bass at center more easily.

Aren't the G&L's controls cut only, so the 'flat' sound is with both tone controls at max? Hence no centre detents, IIRC...

 

Alex

That may very well be! I'm glad you brought that up, Alex, I'll have to check into it. Thanks. :thu:

"All the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players..."

--Rush, "Limelight"

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Originally posted by tucker71:

I don't for this to come out wrong but...do you guys actually USE these knobs all the time?! I mean... are you REALLY tweaking several times a night from song to song to song?

Do you have amps/preamps? Do you use the EQ sections on those? Why and in what capacity?

Tucker, it depends on the situation and the bass. If I'm going to the PA with a DI box I'll keep the volume control on my bass all the way up and make stage volume adjustments with my amp: that way the changes I make won't affect the signal level going to the mixing board (and I won't drive the soundman crazy with fluctuating levels). For smaller gigs where I'm using only my amp I set the amp volume slightly higher than needed and then turn down the bass volume knob to 60-70%, which gives me room to adjust my volume in either direction straight from my bass.

 

On my Precision I keep the tone knob at 50-60% as I like a big, fat trad tone and have little need for highs. It's a bass, after all. :D

I used to have a Carvin LB76 which had volume, pickup blend, bass and treble controls, but I never used the bass and treble knobs, just the volume and blend. If I need to change my tone mid-song I use my hands: playing closer to the bridge or the neck, slightly damping the strings or playing with my thumb (not slapping, but sort of like Sting plays).

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I keep my bass and treble boost flat, master volume at 75% and blend at mostly bridge.

 

I will move to neck pickup for a ballad. I will boost bass or treble in much the same way as Fred does.

 

Then, I always return to the "standard" setup. But I like a 4 knob bass, center detents. NO TOGGLES; a push/pull for passive.

 

But I would specify that I'd want the electronics to work in a completely passive mode. And I'd consider a fifth knob for passive mode with a capacitor tone control. I'd have to be sold on that.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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Davio - I have a 3-band onboard pre, so it's V/B/Tr/Mid/Bs. I also have a J at the neck and soap at the bridge. A coil switch is there so I can choose the forward coil, both coils, rear coil. I always leave this in the "both" position.

 

Sometimes I think I'd like a passive ability, but I haven't missed it much.

 

Tucker - no knobs? Hmmmm.

I have played with PA support once. I'm often too far away from my amp to make subtle changes. And in church I often share a Roland KC500 with a guitar or violin, so it would be incorrect to do tone changes on the amp. So I do use the tone controls for different circumstances. Frequently? No. But it would be a problem if they weren't there.

 

Having spent Saturday recording, I couldn't get by without some type of "off" switch. I didn't want to keep going back to the amp just so I could put my bass down.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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The only adjustment I ever seem to make is with the balance knob and those changes are usually me "just trying stuff". Leaving it right down the center gives me a great tone, you think that I would learn to leave it alone. But the pots are there, shouldn't I occaisionally turn one of them??? Every once in a great while, I'll turn the preamp on just as a volume/bass/treble boost - perfect for slapping.

 

Maybe I could go with a preamp off/on switch. Maybe the preamp could be adjusted from inside the bass? That would keep the temptation to re-invent the wheel to a minimum.

 

The changes in tone on my Lakland fretless are even more subtle. The 3 position switch is all that changes. Position 1 for grooving. Position 3 for soloing. I have a suspicion that if the tone controls didn't get move EVERY TIME I put my bass in in the gig bag, I wouldn't need them at all.

 

No volume, no balance, no treble, no bass, no knobs to be accidentaly changed - sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet! Must give this more thought.

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I have a ~'72 Gibson Grabber that I got as my first bass back in 9th grade. I picked it up as basically scrap and learned a lot about istruments in the next few months making it playable again.

 

Since I now have two other basses to use regularly, it sits and collects dust. I'm planning on filling the body cavity with wood that I can cut to fit and painting it. I'm replacing everything but the body (it came with a replaced neck and pretty much everything else is crapped out). What I want to do is drop in some kind of passive MM-style pup at the bridge and leave it knobless as an experiment (I can always add controls if it sucks). It'll happen at some point this Summer...I'm just not sure when.

 

Any advice/pointers? The woodwork and wiring are no problem as I have the tools and some experience as well as family that has plenty of experience in both fields. Any words of wisedom from those more experienced in istrument building/overhauling?

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  • 6 months later...

A question close to my heart. I'm going round in circles with this...

 

Three questions for y'all:

 

1. For those with passive basses, do you notice much loss of highs by not running the onboard volume all the way up?

 

2. What value capacitor is on your tone control?

 

3. For those with passive tone and active EQ - how often do you actually use the EQ?

 

Alex

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