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Author Topic: BB4 knobs, pickups, and intonation  (Read 3834 times)

Offline bentstavanger

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BB4 knobs, pickups, and intonation
« on: October 25, 2012, 05:33:50 AM »
Hi everyone,

I recently bought a "new" BB4 that had been sitting in the store for years. The guy who sold it to me, didn't know anything about basses, and there was no box or manual or anything. I couldn't find anything on this site either, and since I'm quite new to bass playing myself (this is my first bass, but I have been playing keyboard professionally for 30 years), I have a few questions:

1) How are the knobs used? This is what I figured out so far, but I would like to get it confirmed: the knob closest to the neck is master volume, the knob in the middle is the balance between the pickups, and the stacked knob, closer to the bridge, is for bass and treble, the larger for bass and the smaller for treble...?

2) The "rings" on the stacked knob are kind of askew. Can I loosen them myself with an Allen wrench to set them straight?

3) The guy in the store wasn't sure, if the pickups could operate in passive mode. He said maybe I could push or pull or something on the stacked knob, to change from active to passive. I tried fooling around with the knob, but nothing happened. I reckon he was probably thinking of the more expensive instruments from Washburn. Anyone has some idea what he was talking about?

4) On the back of the instrument it says Buzz Feiten Tuning System, but in the old Washburn catalogue it says the Bantams do NOT come with Buzz Feiten. I was under the impression, that Buzz Feiten were only used for guitars and other string instruments tuned in irregular intervals, and as such not applicable for basses. Am I mistaken?

It's a great sounding instrument. I bought it for only 150$ which is extremely cheap in my country. The normal price for an instrument of this quality would be around 500$. But by me the BB4 is good for stage use. Incredible! If I decide to go for 5 or 6 strings at a later time, or maybe even fretless, I'll have to buy another instrument, obviously. But if not, the only thing I'm going to change, is the strings on my BB4... :-D


Offline petebass

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Re: BB4 knobs, pickups, and intonation
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 11:08:01 AM »
Hi, Might be able to help.... I have the Buzz Feiten tuning system on my MTD it normally applies when you have a zero fret just in front of the nut ....see below for details

 These tuning instructions are only applicable to electronic tuners that include the Buzz Feiten Tuning System. Currently, this includes Peterson Tuners, starting with the VSI up to all current models; Planet Waves Tru-Strobe Tuners with Buzz Feiten
Tuning System; and Korg DT-7. With one of these tuners you can do the following:

When I string a bass or guitar with new strings, I usually stretch them for a bit before doing BFTS intonation… for about ½ hour or put them on and leave them overnight. Make sure the neck is set like you want and that the action is also set the way you like it. Tune the bass to pitch using the tuner.

Match the:

F string open at pitch against the F at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
C string open at pitch against the C at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
G string open at pitch against the G at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
D string open at pitch against the D at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
A string open at pitch against the A at the 12th fret 1 cent sharp
E string open at pitch against the B at the 7th fret 1 cent sharp
B string open at pitch against the F# at the 7th fret 1 cent sharp

If the note is sharp, that means the saddle is too close to the 12th fret, if it is flat then it is too far away.

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: BB4 knobs, pickups, and intonation
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 12:55:10 AM »
The Feiten setup is relatively new, not even patented until 1992. A decade or so ago, the ads said the system was incorporated to all U.S.-made Washies. While I can see where it might have some use in a guitar, I'm not at all convinced it'd make any noticeable difference in bass. (Its strength seems to be with open-tuned acoustic guitars.)

Most active basses don't have a passive option. Some allow the circuit to go to "passive mode" simply by turning the battery off -- there's some confusion between "active pickups" & "active circuitry," which are NOT the same thing, the latter being a preamp & the former a unit (sometimes with low-Z pickups that would barely get an amp's attention). Then again, as related elsewhere, I played an XB-400 where the battery was ~5% of full charge.

If the knobs have Allen screws, you won't do any damage by taking 'em off & trying to straighten the mess out. Just make sure you crank them down good when you're done!

Mostly, I think you got a good deal -- the low-end BB tend to go $200+ in good (90%) shape.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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