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More Volume control Tone

10/31/1997 10:55 AM
More Volume control Tone
Great Discussion on the Volume control Tone post! Can any one help me with a related topic? Ive got a 1987 Rickenbacker 360 (two pickup, stereo/mono configuration). The conrols are treble volume and tone, bass volume and tone and a "mix" knob (which, I think, allows you to "favor" one or the other pickup when both are selected). The way I play the guitar now is with the 3-way selector switch in the mid position, the volume and tone knobs fully "on" (that is, rotated cw) and the mix knob fully ccw. My problem is that no matter how I adjust the knob positions I can't find a setting that will allow me to change the selector switch without readjusting the amp settings. In the neck-pickup-only position the tone is too bassy/muted and in the bridge position it's too thin. The guitar has not been modified and I play through either a reissue Vibroverb or a Vibro-King. I would prefer a passive approach if that is possble and I also would rather not add any more knobs or switches. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
11/3/1997 7:26 AM
J Epstein

I had one of those and even with the schematic I never did figure out what was going on there - I think all the controls are interdependent to a degree, the balance affects volume, each tone affects the other pickup, etc.  
11/3/1997 7:28 AM
J epstein
Is yours black with a small finish chip from a cracked-headstock repair?  
'Dja buy it from Chris @ mojo in the East Village?  
11/3/1997 10:53 AM

Maybe your right, I guess it might be too much to ask for a guitar to have more than one good sound. By the way it is black and I bought it brand new in Providence. Any other thoughts? I'll repost if I find a good solution.
11/3/1997 12:11 PM
J Epstein
I think Ric will send you a schematic if you ask - Like I said, it didn't help me much but you might be able to suss it out.  
It was a nice guitar, though.  
11/4/1997 10:26 AM

For Rickenbacker schematics, go directly to:  
This site has all the Ric wiring diagrams.  
11/6/1997 1:03 AM
Steve Ahola

. After looking at the schematic from the RIC site, I did have a few questions. It looks like the blend control would kill the volume entirely if set to one of the two extremes, but you seem to indicate otherwise. Can you clarify this?  
. It sure looks like there are 2 cascaded bass pickup volume controls, rather than a true blend control which would allow a smooth transition from one pickup to the other for a fuller range of tones. All Parts out of Texas makes a two-ganged blend pot with a special 250K audio taper (Cat# EP386); Torres Engineering had one in stock last Saturday. I didn't take it out of the blister wrap to confirm this with a DMM, but supposedly there is a center detent position in which neither section of the pot bleeds the signal to ground. As you turn it either direction, it gradually grounds out the signal of the corresponding section. You would probably need to hook up the output from the selector switch to the wipers of the blend pot so that you don't lose all of your signal when it is set to one extreme or the other. Bartolini makes a similar control, but I understand it is hard to get parts from them.  
. If the bass pickup is too muddy, I'd try replacing the .047uf cap with a .033 or even .022. I've been using the "Eric Clapton Woman Tone" cap (.015uf/630v) on most of my guitars- you can turn it down to 0 without losing all of the definition of your sound (and incidentally it sounds just like "Sunshine of Your Love" when you kick in the overdrive!) The point Matt Griblin and Dan Torres makes is this: most guitarists do nothing with their tone controls except making sure they are set to 10! With a .015 cap, you have much better control over your tone and can set it to 7, 5 or 3 for a variety of usable guitar tones.  
. With both pickups on, is the guitar hum-cancelling, or does the hum get twice as loud? I've never taken apart a Rickenbacker pickup so I don't know if this is feasible, but you may be able to reverse the magnet and switch the two pickup leads to make the guitar hum-cancelling with both pickups on. (I'm looking at a picture of their bass pickup in Donald Brosnac's "Guitar Electronics" book; it has a rubberized magnet glued to the bottom of the pickup which might not be that easy to remove without damaging something. I've done this trick with Gibson P-90's to eliminate hum with both pickups on.)  
. I may be reading the schematic wrong, but it looks like all 3 volume pots are in the circuit regardless of the selector switch setting. In mono mode, this interaction between all 3 pots would drive me crazy. I would reroute the wiring so it would be more like a LP, with both the volume and tone controls taken out of the circuit when the other pickup is selected.  
. It looks like all of the controls are mounted on a plastic plate, which would allow you to experiment around with alternate linkages. For the heck of it, I'd try hooking the two pickups up in series to see if it would create a usable tone. Even if the pickups use single conductor cable you can *test* a series linkage; it'll hum like heck if you turn on your monitor or tv, but you will get some idea if it would be worth pursuing (in which case you'd have to rewire one of the pickups with 2 conductor shielded cable).  
. One other idea would be to replace the stock blend pot with a 4 pole/2-6 position non-shorting rotary selector switch which could kick in series linkages, or just choose between tone caps of different values for the 2 different pickups. (But I do like the idea of a true blend pot better!)  
Good luck!  
Steve Ahola
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