Any MB4 players here?

bobbyf47

Squier Talker
Nov 7, 2022
7
Hotlanta
A couple days ago I scored a 2005 MB4 bass which appears to be mint, no noticeable fret wear, just some minor scratches & dings. The action was a mile high so I did a basic setup on it this afternoon which helped a lot but I discovered the master tone control does absolutely nothing! The pickup pan knob works OK, and the master volume works but is very touchy. I pulled the control cover & it looks unmolested in there. Does anybody have any clue what might be going on or know where I could find a schematic?
Thx
 

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The Butcher

Squier-Meister
Jan 6, 2021
150
AUS
Nice bass, never played one but looks sharp. Regarding the pots, no need for schematic if wiring is unmolested... You can test original pots with a multimeter if you want to be sure they are dead and if so, just solder in new pots of the same value.
 

Lanaka

AKA GhostGuitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2020
3,160
Honolulu, HI
On any new guitars, as part of the initial setup is to hit the pots & switch(es) with a cleaner like DeoxyIt if they even slightly feel or sound scratchy. Ye wouldn't believe the state some of my guitars came to me in! 😱😡

Some of the worst had to have multiple cleaner treatments. One was so bad I ended up swapping the frozen pots out for new ones before I could finish my OE assessment (which tells me what needs adjustments and/or replacements).
 

bobbyf47

Squier Talker
Nov 7, 2022
7
Hotlanta
On any new guitars, as part of the initial setup is to hit the pots & switch(es) with a cleaner like DeoxyIt if they even slightly feel or sound scratchy. Ye wouldn't believe the state some of my guitars came to me in! 😱😡

Some of the worst had to have multiple cleaner treatments. One was so bad I ended up swapping the frozen pots out for new ones before I could finish my OE assessment (which tells me what needs adjustments and/or replacements).
Nice bass, never played one but looks sharp. Regarding the pots, no need for schematic if wiring is unmolested... You can test original pots with a multimeter if you want to be sure they are dead and if so, just solder in new pots of the same value.
Thanks, I’ll definitely hit that pot with some DeOxit if it tests out good. The PU pan pot works a little weird also, the volume increases the further you turn it from the center detent spot. Or, maybe that’s normal for this pan setup?
 

Lanaka

AKA GhostGuitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2020
3,160
Honolulu, HI
Thanks, I’ll definitely hit that pot with some DeOxit if it tests out good. The PU pan pot works a little weird also, the volume increases the further you turn it from the center detent spot. Or, maybe that’s normal for this pan setup?
No probs, hope that clears the problem (pun intended)!

I'm not familiar with the MB4, but correct me if I'm wrong, you have master volume, master tone and a pot that changes the relative volumes of the P and J pups? If so I've been calling that pot a blender. Anyway, what's supposed to happen if it's anything like my 1998 Ibanez SR406-NT's blender/balance pot is that it changes the relative volume of the neck and bridge pups. The center detent is where both pup's volumes are equally balanced. Turn it one way increases volume of neck pup and decreases the bridge pup. When ye twist the balance knob the other way from the detent, it does the reverse, that is it decrease the neck and increase the bridge. The SR406-NT has a master volume, the blender/balance, bass EQ, mid EQ, and treble EQ. The master volume just sets the maximum volume output. The blender changes the output ratio of the 2 pots from 100:0 to 50:50 to 0:100 percent of the maximum volume set by the master volume. Because of the sophisticated controls, I've tuned this 6-string bass to a guitar-like B-Standard for bass arpeggio leads (altho I can use it for rhythm too).

Ibanez_SR406NT-FF-ZC-(1000x2000).jpg

Personally I prefer the simpler setup used by my 1980s Samick SOB-PJ-WH Shorty PJ-Bass:

Samick_Shorty_PJ-FF-AZCM(2000x4000).jpg

Three pots: P-Volume, J-Volume and master tone. Easy peasy uncomplicated. Set and forget. I use this little guy as a piccolo rhythm bass.

I use my 90s Crate P-Bass as my regular rhythm bass. It's controls are even more simpler: 1 volume and one tone.

Crate_PBass-ZC(1000x3000).jpg
 

bobbyf47

Squier Talker
Nov 7, 2022
7
Hotlanta
No probs, hope that clears the problem (pun intended)!

I'm not familiar with the MB4, but correct me if I'm wrong, you have master volume, master tone and a pot that changes the relative volumes of the P and J pups? If so I've been calling that pot a blender. Anyway, what's supposed to happen if it's anything like my 1998 Ibanez SR406-NT's blender/balance pot is that it changes the relative volume of the neck and bridge pups. The center detent is where both pup's volumes are equally balanced. Turn it one way increases volume of neck pup and decreases the bridge pup. When ye twist the balance knob the other way from the detent, it does the reverse, that is it decrease the neck and increase the bridge. The SR406-NT has a master volume, the blender/balance, bass EQ, mid EQ, and treble EQ. The master volume just sets the maximum volume output. The blender changes the output ratio of the 2 pots from 100:0 to 50:50 to 0:100 percent of the maximum volume set by the master volume. Because of the sophisticated controls, I've tuned this 6-string bass to a guitar-like B-Standard for bass arpeggio leads (altho I can use it for rhythm too).

Sorry I took so long to reply, but yes, the MB4 has the master volume, master tone, & what I read was a "pan" pot that changes the balance between the P & J pups. I guess the volume change is due to the relative difference in output between them. The overall output from this bass is not very high so I have to crank the volume up on the amp which is a Roland keyboard amp which I think is wanting more of a line level signal. The pups are about 5/16" from the strings which seems low, but they don't seem to be adjustable. Since this is my first bass I'm just experimenting with everything. I just got a set of flatwounds I'm going to try out & play with this weekend.
You have some interesting looking basses, that 6 string looks killer! I had to lookup what piccolo bass was & found a good video on YouTube. Very flashy!

Thanks
 

Lanaka

AKA GhostGuitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2020
3,160
Honolulu, HI
Sorry I took so long to reply, but yes, the MB4 has the master volume, master tone, & what I read was a "pan" pot that changes the balance between the P & J pups. I guess the volume change is due to the relative difference in output between them. The overall output from this bass is not very high so I have to crank the volume up on the amp which is a Roland keyboard amp which I think is wanting more of a line level signal. The pups are about 5/16" from the strings which seems low, but they don't seem to be adjustable. Since this is my first bass I'm just experimenting with everything. I just got a set of flatwounds I'm going to try out & play with this weekend.
You have some interesting looking basses, that 6 string looks killer! I had to lookup what piccolo bass was & found a good video on YouTube. Very flashy!

Thanks

No probs, everyone has this thing called IRL Life. Well, most everyone normal, LOL. 😆😁 So they do take up a substantial amount of time. 😉👍

Non-adjustable? I'd think most bases have their pups installed like other body mounted pups, meaning there's screws that hold down the pups and there's an elastic cushion behind the pups that pushes up and/or springs mounted behind the pups and the mounting screws goes thru the pup's screw hole and the springs into the body.

Hmm 5/16" is kinda bit on the low side, that's just over a quarter inch spread between pups and strings. You should be able to raise the pips or lower the string action, but remember, bass strings are extra heavy and the scale length are longer than most normal guitars so you want a bit more distance to avoid string strikes on the top of the pups themselves.

I LOVE flatwounds, while they provide a noticably mellower smoother tone, what I like most is that they're easier on my fingertips than the serrated feel of roundwounds. Also flatwounds does NOT have that irritating af scratchy squeals you get when ye slide yer fingers along the strings. The mellower tendencies is often well balanced by my preferred use of 500k pots, even on single-coiled guitars like the Strat and Teles which normally gets brighter with 500ks. Whatever excess brightness left after the flatwounds can be further dialed out by the tone pots, which us what they're there for. This gives me extra flexibility in having brighter sounds for metal all the way down to mellow tones for jazz or similar slow genres.

Yup, while one could get a dedicated purpose-built piccolo bass, I just simply retuned my shorty 4-stringer to the piccolo range. Using that in the loop along with my 6-stringer in B-Standard and sometimes my Crate as the standard 4-stringer bass seems to fulfill all my bass needs ...so far, LOL! 😆😁😉

I'm thinking of putting EMGs in the shorty and the 6-stringer eventually. The big-4 will remain passive, but paradoxically, I want to swap out the Quarter Pound P-Pups for something a bit more fully bassy and a touch more mellower. I think the Seymour Duncan Steve Harris Sig P-Bass set is what I'm looking for: 13κΩ A5 with an eq curve that's basically flat with a lower-mid boost that provides that little extra kick and more body in the tones while keeping the even upper-mids and highs that's crisp and yet not overwhelming in the mix. The perfect background rhythm bass.

The shorty Samick is going to get a full-set of the FB Set with the ceramic-steel P-pup combined with the alnico J-pup and comes with 2 volume and a tone control.

The 6-stringer will be packin an EMG too but I'm still figuring out which 4#-series soapbar will fit my Ibby. Next will be deciding on the control setup. Then I'll check the signature section to see whether there's a similar complete setup to what I have in mind available. I noticed that with EMG the sig sets are cheaper than when building an identical set from scratch which leaves ye ending up with lots of extra parts left over. That's the extra cost comes from: the duplicate pots, bus, battery holder, etc, that comes with each separate pups ye order.

The sig set usually have just the enough parts to get the job done...which means no extra parts to pay for that doesn't get used. The flip side is that if ye screw up an install of a sig set, yer gonna have to order that one/few part(s). While the piecemeal method ensures that ye have an excess of parts for screwups and/or parts failures (which usually happens years down the road, EMG are normally quite reliable...once put together correctly).
 

bobbyf47

Squier Talker
Nov 7, 2022
7
Hotlanta
No probs, everyone has this thing called IRL Life. Well, most everyone normal, LOL. 😆😁 So they do take up a substantial amount of time. 😉👍

Non-adjustable? I'd think most bases have their pups installed like other body mounted pups, meaning there's screws that hold down the pups and there's an elastic cushion behind the pups that pushes up and/or springs mounted behind the pups and the mounting screws goes thru the pup's screw hole and the springs into the body.

Hmm 5/16" is kinda bit on the low side, that's just over a quarter inch spread between pups and strings. You should be able to raise the pips or lower the string action, but remember, bass strings are extra heavy and the scale length are longer than most normal guitars so you want a bit more distance to avoid string strikes on the top of the pups themselves.

I LOVE flatwounds, while they provide a noticably mellower smoother tone, what I like most is that they're easier on my fingertips than the serrated feel of roundwounds. Also flatwounds does NOT have that irritating af scratchy squeals you get when ye slide yer fingers along the strings. The mellower tendencies is often well balanced by my preferred use of 500k pots, even on single-coiled guitars like the Strat and Teles which normally gets brighter with 500ks. Whatever excess brightness left after the flatwounds can be further dialed out by the tone pots, which us what they're there for. This gives me extra flexibility in having brighter sounds for metal all the way down to mellow tones for jazz or similar slow genres.

Just to catch you up, I have resolved all the issues I had with this Squire MB4 bass, and I'm very pleased with the result. The non-working tone control turned out to be a disconnected capacitor. It looks like someone just clipped one leg & left the other end soldered on. It was too short to re-attach so I replaced it with a 22mF that I had on hand. It works now, but is fairly subtle. The clipped one was a 68uF and maybe that would give a wider range but I didn't have a mica cap that large. The pickups that didn't seem to want to adjust turned out to be sloppy workmanship. The paint on this guitar was really laid on thick, so thick that is prevented the pickups from moving freely in the pickup routes. They were essentially wedged in the body. I used my Dremel to remove enough paint & wood so the the pups now have a free range of motion. I also had to add some more foam to get the pups high enough, but now they're where they should be. I cleaned up the neck, polished the frets, & oiled the fingerboard. I strung it with Fender 45 flatwounds, then readjusted action & intonation. Now I'm a total newbie on bass, but this seems to play quite nicely & has a pretty good range of tones. I'm sure it would be even better through a proper bass amp, but honestly I'm going to have it plugged into my Focusrite Scarlett USB interface if I'm recording a track. I don't play out. Here it is hanging out with boys! ;-)

Bobby's music cave.jpg
 

Lanaka

AKA GhostGuitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2020
3,160
Honolulu, HI
Just to catch you up, I have resolved all the issues I had with this Squire MB4 bass, and I'm very pleased with the result. The non-working tone control turned out to be a disconnected capacitor. It looks like someone just clipped one leg & left the other end soldered on. It was too short to re-attach so I replaced it with a 22mF that I had on hand. It works now, but is fairly subtle. The clipped one was a 68uF and maybe that would give a wider range but I didn't have a mica cap that large. The pickups that didn't seem to want to adjust turned out to be sloppy workmanship. The paint on this guitar was really laid on thick, so thick that is prevented the pickups from moving freely in the pickup routes. They were essentially wedged in the body. I used my Dremel to remove enough paint & wood so the the pups now have a free range of motion. I also had to add some more foam to get the pups high enough, but now they're where they should be. I cleaned up the neck, polished the frets, & oiled the fingerboard. I strung it with Fender 45 flatwounds, then readjusted action & intonation. Now I'm a total newbie on bass, but this seems to play quite nicely & has a pretty good range of tones. I'm sure it would be even better through a proper bass amp, but honestly I'm going to have it plugged into my Focusrite Scarlett USB interface if I'm recording a track. I don't play out. Here it is hanging out with boys! ;-)

View attachment 246001

NIIICE set of guitars ye have there! Glad to hear ye've sorted out the issues on the bass!

Love those Yammies, didnt know Yamaha had a T-Type Pacifica! That's a gorgeous Washburn! I had a pair of Yamahas, an EG-112 and a EGC-112J, but they were stolen. :( Still have my Washburn Pro X12 QVS with a set of SD Distortion/59 humbuckers and 2 CTS Pro 500k p/p pots that UNsplits the humbuckers. The master volume unsplits the neck 59 whilst the master tone unsplits the bridge Distortion. Accidentally crossed some wires, but happily I liked the single coil sounds and now consider the Washburn to be a SS that can unsplit into a HH when more girth and power are needed. Can also get SH & HS too, my fave is SS. Needless to say the error will remain as is!
 


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