Parallel/series switch on a SF w/ BS

Mungi

Junior Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
59
Reaction score
22
Is it worth the hassle of rewiring?
 

mellowgerman

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
3,758
Reaction score
860
Location
Orlando, FL
What does having a parallel vs. series switch allow you to do?

Parallel is the "usual" way for a bass with two single coils to be wired and will always result in a mid-scoop sound. Being able to switch to series will give you a noticeable boost in volume, but more importantly, a completely different tone character, with a powerful mid boost and a bit darker in the highs. It's an easy switch to wire up (as long as your pickups have at least separate +, -, and neutral leads) and if you don't want to drill a hole for a new control or sacrifice one of your existing controls, you can always get a push-pull switching potentiometer. At some point around/roughly 2005-2010 USA Fenders had "S-1" switching, which is just the addition of a series/parallel switch in the form of a press-button on top of the volume pot. Those are my favorite recent jazz basses.

Another thing I love about series mode, since you do get a natural volume boost, there's all sorts of fun tone manipulation possible with passive bass contour and mid notch filtering (playing around with capacitors, resistors, and inductors). I hope to get around to recording another demo of my sunburst Starfire this weekend, in which I'll go through some of the different series possibilities.
 

RVBASS

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2020
Messages
110
Reaction score
125
Location
Massachusetts
Guild Total
2
Thanks for the explanation, sounds like a nice option to have. It would be great to hear a recording of your bass that has this feature. Is the push/pull feature on a Novak BS/DS the same parallel/series wiring?
 

mellowgerman

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
3,758
Reaction score
860
Location
Orlando, FL
Thanks for the explanation, sounds like a nice option to have. It would be great to hear a recording of your bass that has this feature. Is the push/pull feature on a Novak BS/DS the same parallel/series wiring?

I'm still fine-tuning the electronics in that Starfire, since installing Nordstrand Big Singles, but as soon as I have everything working optimally, I'll be happy to share some more samples!

The Novak BS/DS push/pull is different. In that case, it is all one full Bisonic spec coil. The Dark Star spec coil is the same but with less windings, so the push/pull in this case allows you to essentially bypass a portion of the Bisonic spec coil, resulting in the Dark Star spec mode (less windings on coil). So in both BS and DS modes, the Novak is still a single coil.

Series/Parallel requires at least two separate coils, each with their own set of magnetic poles.

For now, until I get to some more recording, here's a jazz bass with S1 switch comparison. Admittedly not the best as I think he's got some compression running (which can minimalize the contrast between modes), but at least he's not just beating the heck out of it with a rapidfire thumb like most demos these days:

And here's a visual:
1663864139443.png
 
Last edited:

fronobulax

Bassist, GAD and the Hot Mess Mods
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
22,411
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Central Virginia, USA
Guild Total
5
The Novak BS/DS push/pull is different. In that case, it is all one full Bisonic spec coil. The Dark Star spec coil is the same but with less windings, so the push/pull in this case allows you to essentially bypass a portion of the Bisonic spec coil, resulting in the Dark Star spec mode (less windings on coil). So in both BS and DS modes, the Novak is still a single coil.

Oh. I would have said that the BSDS was a single coil with an optional coil tap. My mental image comes from a crystal radio where you had a coil and a "pointer/slider" type thingie that moved along the coil to change frequency. So I imagine the BSDS as having two wires at fixed locations instead of a slider and the toggle connected one of those to the output.
 

mellowgerman

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
3,758
Reaction score
860
Location
Orlando, FL
Oh. I would have said that the BSDS was a single coil with an optional coil tap. My mental image comes from a crystal radio where you had a coil and a "pointer/slider" type thingie that moved along the coil to change frequency. So I imagine the BSDS as having two wires at fixed locations instead of a slider and the toggle connected one of those to the output.

I think we might actually be saying the same thing, Frono. Maybe "bypass" was a confusing choice of words on my part. I just meant to say that it's all the same coil, just that Dark Star mode only utilizes a portion of the full coil, via it's own wire at the particular fixed point along the coil that matches a Dark Star resistance, thereby bypassing a portion of the coil.

Hopefully that helps clarify!
 

fronobulax

Bassist, GAD and the Hot Mess Mods
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
22,411
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Central Virginia, USA
Guild Total
5
I think we might actually be saying the same thing, Frono. Maybe "bypass" was a confusing choice of words on my part. I just meant to say that it's all the same coil, just that Dark Star mode only utilizes a portion of the full coil, via it's own wire at the particular fixed point along the coil that matches a Dark Star resistance, thereby bypassing a portion of the coil.

Hopefully that helps clarify!
We're good. You referred to a Dark Star coil and a Bisonic coil which sounded like there were two coils. There aren't and we agree how things work.
 

Happy Face

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
846
Reaction score
129
Wild stuff! I do admire the Mellow One's inquisitive nature and willingness to experiment.

I rewired my M-85 to straight parallel and have been happy with the sonic results. Plus I find it easier to make tonal changes on the fly.

This all brings up the question of how many listeners will discern any difference, especially live when some guitarist running the FOH Mixes the bass to a dull, inarticulate thump.

But as long as no animal or human lives are damaged, why not tinker? It's better than an Oxy habit or something!
 

mavuser

Senior Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
7,041
Reaction score
1,526
Location
New York
I am actually in the process of finding out if a parellel/series switch can be used with (2) Novak Bisoncs, both with the BS/DS coil tap. stay tuned
 

fronobulax

Bassist, GAD and the Hot Mess Mods
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
22,411
Reaction score
5,575
Location
Central Virginia, USA
Guild Total
5
I am actually in the process of finding out if a parellel/series switch can be used with (2) Novak Bisoncs, both with the BS/DS coil tap. stay tuned

I expect you to report success. Wiring two single coils with a parallel/series option is easy. Wiring a single coil with two taps is easy. You have basically six combinations and the hard question is whether you use a series of switches, a six position rotary or some other combination. The interesting question will be which of the combinations are actually interesting enough to be useful.
 

mellowgerman

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
3,758
Reaction score
860
Location
Orlando, FL
This all brings up the question of how many listeners will discern any difference, especially live when some guitarist running the FOH Mixes the bass to a dull, inarticulate thump.

Live mixes are certainly an unpredictable and sometimes untameable beast. For me it's mostly a selfish endeavor. Being able to dial in a wide variety of unique and useable sounds makes writing, practice, and jam sessions twice as fun and inspiring. Kind of like trying new beers regularly or playing around with different pizza toppings, herbs, and cheeses each time a pie gets pied. Then for recording I can revisit my favorites.
Live almost doesn't even come into consideration when I'm doing this stuff, beyond having the advantage to adjust tone for the room, when playing without a proper soundman.
 

Nuuska

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
6,128
Reaction score
3,337
Location
Finland
Guild Total
9
I am actually in the process of finding out if a parellel/series switch can be used with (2) Novak Bisoncs, both with the BS/DS coil tap. stay tuned

Wired like this ??

IMG_5559.jpg
 

mavuser

Senior Member
Gold Supporting
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
7,041
Reaction score
1,526
Location
New York
I expect you to report success. Wiring two single coils with a parallel/series option is easy. Wiring a single coil with two taps is easy. You have basically six combinations and the hard question is whether you use a series of switches, a six position rotary or some other combination. The interesting question will be which of the combinations are actually interesting enough to be useful.

sounds like i should have sent it to you!
 
Top