G&L SB-2 attenuation

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G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby Waubain » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:21 am

Twice a year, a local guitar teacher has a recital for all his students on a Sunday afternoon at a local bar that has a separate room with a stage. A few musicians help out so the students have the opportunity to play with a band. I trade off bass duties with another bassist. He plays a G&L L-2000 and I play a G&L SB-2. Since we may trade off back and forth on every song, we are constantly adjusting the volume on the amp or basses to account for the different outputs in the pickups (my SB-2 having a higher output).

This works mostly, so this question is somewhat hypothetical, but potentially practical. I was considering wiring in an L-pad attenuator to a mini switch on my SB-2 (not permanent).

Any one familiar with the difference in output from these 2 basses? I am uncertain of how much attenuation I would need and resistor sizes? Getting together with the other bassist for a breadboard experiment is just not feasible.
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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby Ken Baker » Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:08 am

Rather than modify your bass, try a volume pedal. Boss, Dunlop, etc. Just be sure that it's a volume pedal and not just an expression pedal.

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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby TDR1138 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:03 am

If you're open to pedals and you want the "set it and forget it" version, there's always this: https://www.ehx.com/products/signal-pad
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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby Waubain » Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:57 pm

I have a volume pedal, but I don't want to mess with any pedals.

I like the idea of the EH Signal Pad, but don't want a pedal or variable attenuation, once I know how much attenuation I need.

Thanks.
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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby Ken Baker » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:34 pm

Waubain wrote:I was considering wiring in an L-pad attenuator to a mini switch on my SB-2 (not permanent).


An L-Pad is typically used in/with speakers to sink off output yet maintain a given impedance seen by an amplifier's output stages. I've not heard of them being used in reverse, though I can't see one being kind to your tone.

Any one familiar with the difference in output from these 2 basses? I am uncertain of how much attenuation I would need and resistor sizes? Getting together with the other bassist for a breadboard experiment is just not feasible.


Yes, we're familiar with both basses. Typically, the L Series will be louder than the SB-2 with both basses passive & dimed. Typically. For most G&L basses with MFD pickups, even the passive SB-2, it's generally recommended to back off the volume some just to improve playability and get an even tone. I'm guessing that the L-2000 player is doing that and you're running dimed which is why you're louder.

There is really no way of knowing how much attenuation you may need, either in db or how much resistance to add to your circuit to get to a given output, which is why pedals were/are recommended. It's an easy no-mod method that can give you what you're after.

You're really left experimenting with a master volume pot. Get the level you want, remove it from the circuit and measure its resistance. Buy a switch and resistor of a value as close as possible to what you measured, then build a switching circuit to add or cut the resistor to/from the circuit. Remember that whatever method you use will probably have an effect on your tone to one degree or another because you'll be changing the output impedance of the bass, if only a little. You'll also need to locate the switch into a fairly busy control cavity and pickguard. If you can find one that will fit, a 250KA pot with a push-pull switch may save some hassle.

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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby TDR1138 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:15 am

Ken Baker wrote:Typically, the L Series will be louder than the SB-2 with both basses passive & dimed. Typically. For most G&L basses with MFD pickups, even the passive SB-2, it's generally recommended to back off the volume some just to improve playability and get an even tone. I'm guessing that the L-2000 player is doing that and you're running dimed which is why you're louder.


For what it's worth, when I had an SB-2 (Tribute) and an L-2000 at the same time, my SB-2 was louder with everything wide open on both basses (though passive on the L-2000). They weren't extreme in their differences, but the SB-2 was definitely louder.

Pickup height might come into play here, too. Not sure if you or the L-2000 owner would be open to seeing if you could tweak pickup heights to even out the volumes.
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Re: G&L SB-2 attenuation

Postby Waubain » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:30 pm

Thanks everyone for their input and suggestions. I run my volumes about 70% on the P pickup and 50% more or less on the J pickup depending on the song. Not sure of the other bassist.

I purchased a JHS Little Black Amp Box Signal Converter. I will go from there once I find the right amount of attenuation and if I still like the tone. Since it is only twice a year, I will rig up something to attach it to my belt.
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