Monday, February 2, 2015

LeSpork Bass Prototype - Unchained

No, I don't ask for permission
This is my chance to fly
Maybe enough ain't enough for you
But it's my turn to try

While researching the two-band passive tone control circuit I put in this bass guitar, I also came across a few articles on Les Paul Vintage wiring.  In short, the idea is to put the volume control before tone control the way Gibson used to do it on some of their early Les Pauls:

There's plenty written on the subject of "vintage" vs. "modern" wiring on many discussion forum sites, including this one:

and even more on other sites, like this one:

I had two reasons for going with a volume-before-tone wiring scheme on this project.  First is that is how it is done in the P-bass stock wiring

Second was convenience, based on the length of the pickup lead wire and the layout of the controls.  So, here is the diagram I ended up using:

After an hour or so with the soldering iron, I had the jack, pickup, and bridge connected to all of the pots, with two pairs of test clips in place of the capacitors C1 and C2.

To make it easier to differentiate between the two tone controls, I used a Fender-type knob for the treble bleed control and a pointer-type knob for the other bass cut control.  After another hour or so, I had the rest of the bass assembled, strung up and tuned, ready for testing.

With the help of my son, we tried playing with it, mixing and matching the caps: 0.0047, 0.0033 and 0.0022uF in the bass control, and 0.047, 0.033 and 0.022uF in the treble control.  We found the 0.0047 did very little that we could hear in the bass control, noticed some effect with the 0.0033, and more of a tonal range with the 0.0022uF.  We heard lots of tonal range with all three choices in the treble control and found the 0.022uF afforded the most amount of brightness.  There's some interesting interaction between the two controls as well.


The guitar amp we played through was likely a limitation to what we can do with this bass.  It will be interesting to hear it through a bass amp, hopefully sometime soon.  My trip to our local Guitar Center and Sam Ash stores in search of a suitable used practice bass amp over the weekend turned up nothing.  We'll see what turns up on Craigslist in my price range.   Now it's time to make her look as good as she sounds.  Next up for this project includes a new color scheme on all of the exposed surfaces, grounding and tidying up all of the wiring in the control cavity, and a custom pick guard. 

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