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Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

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  • Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

    I'm not sure I've ever seen a 2-pup bass with a 3-way. And you don't see a guitar with a blend very often. (If ever.) I wonder why they're done that way. Would it be weird to do a 3-way on a bass?

  • #2
    Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

    Guitar is a rhythm and lead instrument. There's often call to quickly switch between very different sounds in a tune. Bass tends to be largely a rhythm instrument, and there isn't as much call for switching between particular sounds in a song.
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    • #3
      Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

      Middle position on Les Paul I'm sure everyone is familiar with blending the neck and bridge pickups?
      I guess there's guys who just leave everything on ten and say "that's the middle position tone, there's only one."

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      • #4
        Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

        Originally posted by FuseG4 View Post
        Middle position on Les Paul I'm sure everyone is familiar with blending the neck and bridge pickups?
        I guess there's guys who just leave everything on ten and say "that's the middle position tone, there's only one."
        Yeah, I get that. I was thinking more in terms of "fading" from one position to the other, rather than "snapping" from one to the other. And yes, an LP will allow some degree of that if the volumes are wired properly.

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        • #5
          Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

          It's because Fender-based basses are by far the norm, and the Jazz Bass doesn't have a switch. People learned to use those sorts of controls on bass, because it's what was out there all over the place, due to Fender Js and other basses based off of them.

          Gibson-style basses do traditionally use switches.

          The Fender Tony Franklin signature P/J has a switch; it's one of his signature mods.

          The extremely popular Fender Mustang PJ Bass has always had a switch instead of a Jazz Bass style VVT setup.

          Mid scooping the tone (what happens when you blend in parallel) is something that is much more likely to be desired by a bassist than by a guitarist, so it tends to stick around on basses, while rarely being used on guitars.

          Some early Teles had a blend knob, but it was extremely unpopular with players, so it was ditched.
          Originally posted by LesStrat
          Yogi Berra was correct.
          Originally posted by JOLLY
          I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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          • #6
            Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

            Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
            I'm not sure I've ever seen a 2-pup bass with a 3-way. And you don't see a guitar with a blend very often. (If ever.) I wonder why they're done that way. Would it be weird to do a 3-way on a bass?
            My '76 Rick 4001S and '84 MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special both had 3-ways. I replaced them with a blend in both cases.
            '69 Fender Mustang bass
            '69 Gibson EB-1
            '76 Rickenbacker 4001 w/SD for Rick N & B
            '76 Fender Precision w/Dimarzio Model P
            '84 MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special w/SD Hot for P neck & Dimarzio Model J for bridge [BEAD tuning]
            '99 Fretless MIJ Fender Precision/'87 MIJ Fender Squier Jazz hybrid w/SD QP for Jazz
            '12 MIM Fender Jazz w/Dimarzio Model J
            '14 Fretless Warmoth Custom T w/ SDCS Stack for SCPB N & B

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            • #7
              Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

              Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
              It's because Fender-based basses are by far the norm, and the Jazz Bass doesn't have a switch. People learned to use those sorts of controls on bass, because it's what was out there all over the place, due to Fender Js and other basses based off of them.

              Gibson-style basses do traditionally use switches.

              The Fender Tony Franklin signature P/J has a switch; it's one of his signature mods.

              The extremely popular Fender Mustang PJ Bass has always had a switch instead of a Jazz Bass style VVT setup.

              Mid scooping the tone (what happens when you blend in parallel) is something that is much more likely to be desired by a bassist than by a guitarist, so it tends to stick around on basses, while rarely being used on guitars.

              Some early Teles had a blend knob, but it was extremely unpopular with players, so it was ditched.
              Great info. Once again, learned something new here. Thanks.

              Originally posted by dg27 View Post
              My '76 Rick 4001S and '84 MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special both had 3-ways. I replaced them with a blend in both cases.
              I was toying with the idea of replacing the blend on my Jazz with a switch. Now I'm rethinking that.

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              • #8
                Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                Mid scooping the tone (what happens when you blend in parallel) is something that is much more likely to be desired by a bassist than by a guitarist, so it tends to stick around on basses, while rarely being used on guitars.
                This was my immediate reaction to Artieís question - I use the blend control on my Fender P Deluxe all the time for this factor.

                And, Artie, to answer your question on another thread, Iíve certainly modded my bass - I ripped out the active circuitry that came stock on the P, and replaced it with a passive Volume/Blend/Tone/Bass Contour (a la Reverend, G&L, etc.) configuration. All in all, itís got everything I could want from a long-scale bass!


                Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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                • #9
                  Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                  Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
                  I was toying with the idea of replacing the blend on my Jazz with a switch. Now I'm rethinking that.
                  Both of Jazz basses and my Warmoth are set up with V/V/T. The T is a DPDT series-parallel switch. I usually leave the DPDT in the 'up' position, so that the top (neck) V is an "uber-volume." The bridge V is bypassed.

                  I didn't like the switch on either my Rick or my JBS because in both cases the bridge position was useless and the middle position never gave me enough of the neck pickup (not enough low end).

                  The V/V/T-DPDT gives me more control.

                  Here's the wiring diagram:

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Last edited by dg27; 03-04-2020, 03:28 PM. Reason: corrected error; added image
                  '69 Fender Mustang bass
                  '69 Gibson EB-1
                  '76 Rickenbacker 4001 w/SD for Rick N & B
                  '76 Fender Precision w/Dimarzio Model P
                  '84 MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special w/SD Hot for P neck & Dimarzio Model J for bridge [BEAD tuning]
                  '99 Fretless MIJ Fender Precision/'87 MIJ Fender Squier Jazz hybrid w/SD QP for Jazz
                  '12 MIM Fender Jazz w/Dimarzio Model J
                  '14 Fretless Warmoth Custom T w/ SDCS Stack for SCPB N & B

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                    That's interesting. It actually does ser/par. How does she sound in series?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                      Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
                      That's interesting. It actually does ser/par. How does she sound in series?
                      When it's in series ("up" position) it behaves like one massive pickup (I believe it sums the gain, but don't quote me on that). It sounds more Precision like, with lots of bottom, which I always prefer.

                      In parallel it's like a standard Jazz, with all the growl if you want it.
                      '69 Fender Mustang bass
                      '69 Gibson EB-1
                      '76 Rickenbacker 4001 w/SD for Rick N & B
                      '76 Fender Precision w/Dimarzio Model P
                      '84 MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special w/SD Hot for P neck & Dimarzio Model J for bridge [BEAD tuning]
                      '99 Fretless MIJ Fender Precision/'87 MIJ Fender Squier Jazz hybrid w/SD QP for Jazz
                      '12 MIM Fender Jazz w/Dimarzio Model J
                      '14 Fretless Warmoth Custom T w/ SDCS Stack for SCPB N & B

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                        I had a series/parallel switch on my Yamaha PJ. Series is pretty beefy, but I ended up preferring parallel.

                        My Warwick has jazz pickups and volume, tone, and blend. I usually either have it in the middle, a little to either side of middle, and very occasionally all the way in either direction. It's a great setup for easily tweaking all sorts of sounds.

                        I'm thinking about putting a 3-way on my Yamaha, but leaving the V-V-T setup, so I can leave the switch in the middle and still have normal controls.
                        "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                          I may try a temporary switch in the back cavity just so I can hear what it sounds like, without making any permanent change to the bass. A couple days ago, I ordered the Apollo Set. Should be here by the weekend.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                            Cool, looking forward to hearing your opinions of those.

                            Funny you mention the inside switch. I'm thinking of doing the same with a mini-switch I have around here to put my Warwick's neck pickup in parallel.
                            "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why do you suppose bass's use "blends", while guitars use switches?

                              I was thinking of something similar. While the Apollo's are technically a 2-wire pup, all four wires are easily accessible on the bottom. Looks like an easy job to make them 4-wire.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Last edited by ArtieToo; 03-04-2020, 07:26 PM.

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