JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

We are fortunate to count Paul Gagon as a member here, so it seemed natural to give him a home to stretch out in and relax a little. Maybe exercise the grey matter and present a little history of the guitar and bass (amps too!) from his perspective as one of the eminent designers of our time.

Got questions? Great! Good questions might be, "What are the EQ mappings for the M Series preamps?" Or, "What was the thought process behind the MJ-4?" Troubleshooting questions should remain in the regular forums (he reads those too). Finally, please be mindful of how I feel about tech questions via PM or email.

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JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby PhinDog » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:32 am

Hello,
I'm new to the board. Thanks for the add Ken!

I have a USA JB with V/V/T. I recently went to the GC and they had a Fender American Ultra Jazz there with a blend knob to blend the neck and bridge pickups. Coming from a pbass primarily it was so sweet to set the tone with the pickups and have a master volume. I understand this an active/passive bass that I had in passive but would love this on my jb.

I have scoured the Talkbass site and it seems some think it works great if you get the right pots and some think it isn't as good because you may loose tone (which I don't want to do) due to adding an extra pot. Others think that more options come from the V/V/T and no loss of output or tone. To be honest I don't exactly understand how the V/V/T works, it seems that if I turn down either pickup the level of my bass goes down and I will need to turn up my amp in mid song, - confused. Probably not that confusing.

My second thought is, is it possible to add a stacked V/V knob (in the place of the bridge V) with both original pickup volumes to act as a blender knob and then use the neck volume spot for a master volume? Would this accomplish no loss of combinations or loss of output (level and tone)? Kinda of see that I am still adding an extra pot that may effect things. But then there is the 500k vs 250k thing.

I am so confused...any help is much appreciated.

Thanks, Phin
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby jglunt2112 » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:38 pm

I can only state my opinion, but I'm partial to a master volume/blend/tone setup. I just prefer basses with only one volume control because when you change volume up or down, you're still approximately getting the blend you want. (I know it might vary slightly, but...). Of course, I don't play through an amp. I have a Trace Elliot Transit B floor unit that I run through, using it as a preamp/DI to go into the sound board. That works really well, and my in-ear monitors help me get the levels I want on stage. Of course, I can bend over and adjust the volume on the Trace Elliot, but I've reached the age where getting back up after bending over to do that is not guaranteed. Normally, I don't adjust volume on the bass very much during a gig, but when I do I like to do it with one pot and know I'm not changing the tone of the bass much if at all. If you always play through an amp you can reach back and tweak, it might not make a difference. ..Jim
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby Ken Baker » Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:39 pm

PhinDog wrote:I have a USA JB with V/V/T. I recently went to the GC and they had a Fender American Ultra Jazz there with a blend knob to blend the neck and bridge pickups. Coming from a pbass primarily it was so sweet to set the tone with the pickups and have a master volume. I understand this an active/passive bass that I had in passive but would love this on my jb.


There are any number of third party preamp assemblies that are designed for generic Jazz-style basses. John East preamps have a good reputation. To set up a master volume on a passive bass, in addition to what is already on it, might create unintended side effects. Of course, it could be set up in a non-permanent fashion for testing.

I have scoured the Talkbass site and it seems some think it works great if you get the right pots and some think it isn't as good because you may loose tone (which I don't want to do) due to adding an extra pot. Others think that more options come from the V/V/T and no loss of output or tone. To be honest I don't exactly understand how the V/V/T works, it seems that if I turn down either pickup the level of my bass goes down and I will need to turn up my amp in mid song, - confused. Probably not that confusing.


Being a pretty much bog-standard Jazz circuit, there will be a little bit of interaction between controls. It shouldn't be all that marked. You might make sure that the parts in use are correct and are wired correctly. Wiring diagram for the JB and JB-2 is here.

My second thought is, is it possible to add a stacked V/V knob (in the place of the bridge V) with both original pickup volumes to act as a blender knob and then use the neck volume spot for a master volume? Would this accomplish no loss of combinations or loss of output (level and tone)? Kinda of see that I am still adding an extra pot that may effect things. But then there is the 500k vs 250k thing.


Adding a control will alter the volume and possibly the tone (a little). How much will, obviously, vary with settings. Note that what you have now, or a stacked dual volume, or a blend normally would give you about the same functionality, though V-V will offer a little more flexibility than a blend.

All the pots on the JB should be 250KA. 500KA will work, but will render more treble than the 250KA. In a Jazz-style bass with classic Jazz-style pickups, 250KA is generally considered to be the way to go.

Also remember that this is a passive bass that reflects a relatively high impedance to your amp compared to an active bass. This means that you should avoid cable lengths longer than 12 feet between your bass and amp to avoid losses and tone suck.

Ken...
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby PhinDog » Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:44 am

Thank you guys!
I think I mentioned this, I am new to the Jazz bass thing. I'll play around with the V/V/T thing and if I start to get frustrated I'll try the blend.
I am also toying with a tone pot on my SB-2 trib. Any thoughts on that? LOL! Tone or output loss with this? I'd like to stack the volumes and have a separate tone knob.
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby Ken Baker » Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:17 am

PhinDog wrote:I am also toying with a tone pot on my SB-2 trib. Any thoughts on that? LOL! Tone or output loss with this? I'd like to stack the volumes and have a separate tone knob.


Been there, done that, back to V-V on my SB-2. I found that the only thing the mod provided me was the ability to dial back the zing in new strings. OTOH, I tend to prefer a more full-range sound so the tone pot generally stayed set to full treble (no cut).

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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby deltafred » Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:24 am

PhinDog wrote:Thank you guys!
I think I mentioned this, I am new to the Jazz bass thing. I'll play around with the V/V/T thing and if I start to get frustrated I'll try the blend.
I am also toying with a tone pot on my SB-2 trib. Any thoughts on that? LOL! Tone or output loss with this? I'd like to stack the volumes and have a separate tone knob.

(When we're eventually are allowed to gig again) I do a lot of singing plus I played a P bass for 35 years so am very much a set and forget player. I do own a Jazz (fretless, that I played for a few months in a blues band) but never really felt comfortable with VVT. With that it was definitely a case of get a good sound then leave the controls alone.

On my SB-2 I added a tone pot, there was no way I could manage without one (YMMV of course).
I was going to drill the body for a side jack and have 3 separate pots. I ordered the extra pot but was keen to gig it so temporarily wired it as an SB-1 with the intention of adding the side jack and J pickup volume pot later. 4 years have gone by and I'm enjoying it so much as an SB-1 that I cannot see me ever modifying it!
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby TDR1138 » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:05 am

PhinDog wrote:My second thought is, is it possible to add a stacked V/V knob (in the place of the bridge V) with both original pickup volumes to act as a blender knob and then use the neck volume spot for a master volume? Would this accomplish no loss of combinations or loss of output (level and tone)? Kinda of see that I am still adding an extra pot that may effect things. But then there is the 500k vs 250k thing.


If you're still curious about going down this route, Gretsch has been doing this on their guitars for years. When you see an isolated knob on the lower horn, that's usually the master volume knob. Then they'll have two more volume knobs (one per pickup) in the more traditional locations, then potentially a tone knob. Usually they'll also have a 3-way pickup selector switch as well. It can be a lot to keep track of. I have a Gretsch guitar and I really only use the master volume and pickup selector.

For a bass, personally, I'd just prefer V/B/T.

PhinDog wrote:I am also toying with a tone pot on my SB-2 trib. Any thoughts on that? LOL! Tone or output loss with this? I'd like to stack the volumes and have a separate tone knob.


I did have an SB-2 at one point, and I modified mine to have master volume, master tone, and an on/off for the bridge pickup. The split coil was always in the circuit (basically SB-1 wiring) and the bridge pickup could be switched in or out. Similar to deltafred, I used it as an SB-1 almost exclusively.
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Re: JB with MV/B/T or MV/V/V/T??

Postby bigtone23 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:35 pm

After years with VVT and VBT, I prefer VBT. It's just easier to get your preferred blended mix and then roll the volume up and down. I usually have my volume on 10 or 0, with rare moments around 8 or 9.
As far as adding a master volume, to keep loading down, you may want to switch out a couple of the pots for 500K. I would start with the master volume and tone control at 500K.
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