Oscartone - the passive outboard tone control for passive bass guitars

What is Oscartone?

Oscartone is a 100% passive outboard tone circuit for use with passive bass guitars. Note that Oscartone only works with passive signals (no battery powered preamps) and should be inserted before any buffered tuners or effect pedals, preamps, etc.  Oscartone has been developed and optimized for use with the bass guitar tonal range. No battery or external power is necessary and you can plug into either jack. A minimalist signal path is employed for maximum tonal integrity.

Oscartone works just like your basses onboard tone control but with more tonal possibilities! For best results, try Oscartone with your instruments tone control all the way open (brightest sound).

The large left hand dial labeled 1-5 actually has 6 settings. The “0” setting bypasses the tone circuit altogether, just turn one click past “1”

Settings "1 - 5" on the dial increase capacitor values with the accompanying resonant peaks.

"1" slightly nasal mid-cutting sound (a little Stone Temple Pilots sounding)
"2" burpy jaco-esque tone even from a neck pickup- burp and bottom!
"3" works great for subtly rolling off brand new string sheen or slap sounds    with the inductor engaged (see below)
"4" typical passive bass tone control value, Motown vibe or blend back slightly when using a pick
"5" deep DUB tones! Retains low-mid punch, but takes you quickly to Kingston, Jamaica

The small, right hand knob is traditional tone pot which blends out the effect as you turn it clockwise (works particularly well with #3 above but works perfectly with all setting positions). The full range of the knob is effective with the darkest tones counterclockwise and the brightest & most transparent sounds as you turn the knob clockwise.

HERE's THE KICKER: pulling up on the tone knob selects a mini transformer/induction circuit on all settings. This does what your P-Basses tone knob cannot: it passes the ultra-high 'presence' frequencies while still offering the tone roll off in the upper midrange and lower treble range (essentially becoming a mid-notch filter). This works awesome for slapping/popping as well as preserving some attack for using a pick or aggressive finger definition. Old-skool-meets-nu skool!


The video above gives you an idea of how Oscartone modifies your tone. It's subtle at times, but as any seasoned studio pro will tell you, it's these subtleties that make a world of difference in a track!

What are other Oscartone users saying?
I'm proud to have had 2 of Nashville's most prolific bassists using the Oscartone over the last few months. Here's what they have to say!

"Whether I’m using a full rig, or just a bass and a DI, I’m always armed with my Oscartone. Thanks Justin! I can make subtle eq choices that really make a difference in a track, and root beer is my favorite color. What is not to love?" 
Steve Mackey  (Nashville session bassist)

"The OscarTone has quickly become a primary part of my signal chain. I've used it on everything from artist masters to film scores and the diversity is awesome. It'll also bring a new life to your favorite passive axe. Highly recommend."
Sean O'Bryan Smith  (solo bass artist, producer, film composer)

How do I get one?

Great question! ;-)  If you are interested in purchasing an Oscartone, please contact me in the form linked below. I make these in small batches in my home studio and will accept payment for an order only if I have a unit ready to ship! Cost is only $125 shipped to the continental U.S.  For orders elsewhere please contact me for a quote!

 ***Oscartone currently unavailable as I am working on a re-design***


Important Notes:

Oscartone is designed only to work with passive basses. An active bass with a preamp or putting Oscartone after a preamp or buffered pedal will negate its effect!

Minimal high-quality components are used and every unit is hand assembled by me and only me! If you ever have a problem with your Oscartone just ship it back to me for Service!

Due to the minimal components in the audio path, there can be a small audible noise when changing the rotary switch positions. This noise is similar to studio-grade preamp gain stages and only occurs when you rotate the dial. Oscartone is designed for studio use where this is generally never a problem but is worth noting!

At higher dial settings and with high output pickups (like an old Vintage Gibson neck pickup), some pleasant soft clipping is possible. In my opinion it is very musical and adds to the character of the device!

While not designed for 6-string electric guitar, Oscartone will work with any passive electric! The tones get very deep and jazzy & you still get that great pick attack when using the inductor. 

It doesn't matter which jack you plug into - Oscartone is bi-directional.

If you want the dial labeled with the jacks oriented in a different position, just let me know at time of ordering. Jacks can be located in either of 4 directions.