Tone control removal question

May 17th, 2009, 07:36 AM
If I were to remove the tone control from a tele to leave just a volume control and the 3 way switch, what tone would the guitar be set at when comparing the sound to when the tone control was fitted i.e full treble, full bass, or somewhere in the middle? I hope this makes sense...

Chet Johnson
May 17th, 2009, 07:57 AM
Basically, it would sound as is the tone control were on 10. You're eliminating the capacitor, which depending where you set it was bleeding off highs.

If I were removing the tone control, I'd rewire that to be a different control. For example, standard 3 way master volume, and a volume that lowers the neck pickup. You'll be able to very gradually blend it in to fatten up the bridge alone sound. Very cool for lead playing.

There are endless wiring options. This is a good place to look for ideas and make them materialize.

May 17th, 2009, 04:16 PM
If I read the question literally, you just want to yank the tone control out? If you did that the sound will be as if your tone knob was set at full treble (position 11 if you like :-)

Unless you mean to say to replace the tone pot with a 3 way switch?

Or are you asking whether neck pickup is like having bridge pickup with the tone at 9 o'clock? If this is the question - the answer is not really. Depends on what pickups you have, but the sound differences are more complex than just the frequency amplitude responce (i.e. tone control).

Freight Twang
May 17th, 2009, 04:25 PM
You will notice a difference in tone without the tone knob, slight but worth the trouble. There is still capacitance in the pot , which is a variable resistor. What if you what to have the option of having the tone knob, but have the option of using the tone knob. Well, you can disassemble the pot and scrap the trace off the C lug ( from the back side) and measure the outside lugs with a meter, the should be open, then put it back in the guitar, when the knob is at "10" no tone knob is in the circuit at all, rotate the tone knob slightly and it engages as normal. So this give you both functions, with no mods to the guitar and can be activated on the fly.

May 17th, 2009, 04:33 PM
There will be a difference in sound if you remove the tone pot. I have a switch to remove the tone pot from the circuit on my tele and what I noticed was increased treble, even more than full treble on the tone pot, and also slightly more volume when the tone pot is removed from the circuit.


May 17th, 2009, 05:02 PM
More treble, more volume. You can accomplish the same thing by replacing your stock tone control with a No-Load tone pot. With a No-Load pot the tone control is taken out of the circuit when you have it on 10, but you'll still have the option of using it if need be.

May 17th, 2009, 10:24 PM
A 500 Kohm tone pot with 22 nF capacitor at "10" (full open) is pretty close to no tone.

A 250 Kohm tone pot with 47 nF not so much. Removing it gives you more treble or makes you sound thinner, depending on where you start.

If all you want is get rid of the pot then you can just replace it with a resistor (in series with the same capacitor) and you get the same sound as with the pot at "10".

May 17th, 2009, 10:34 PM
I think it would help if you explained why you might want to remove the tone control. The sound would be similar (but not identical) to the sound with the tone control turned fully clockwise. Unless that is what you're after, I'm not sure why you'd want to do it.

May 18th, 2009, 04:30 AM
Maybe less knobs, less hassle?

But I have never understood that someone would need even more treble than tele bridge pup gives tone pot turned to max.

May 18th, 2009, 12:29 PM
i use no-loads on my teles. It gives you a nice little treble and output boost, i like it because it makes the guitar more touch sensative, even if you turn the treble down on your amp

May 18th, 2009, 07:35 PM
I use the 1meg "no load" tone pots on my guitars. It's about the same as no tone pot at all.
I also add a .068 cap to it... with a no load, your functional tone control is in the range of about 0 to 1 (in a range of turning it up to 10). It makes for an awesome 'wah' effect by turning the knob slightly. anything beyond 2 is just full open, like no tone pot at all.
If not for the 'wah' possibility, I wouldn't care to have a tone control at all. After all, that super trebly bridge position of a tele is what drew me to the guitar to begin with.

May 19th, 2009, 01:29 AM
It depends on a lot of factors

Volume pot resistance
Pickup inductance
Amplifier Input Impedance
Cable Capacitance

Here is a plot of the tone control response with the effect of a no-load pot added (same effect as you removing the tone pot and cap). I did the circuit analysis and I believe this was modeled with a standard Tele bridge pickup, 500K pots, a 0.05F tone cap, a 6ft cord, and a Fender Twin input impedance.


The numbers in BOLD are the knob positions 0 to 10. The other numbers are the tone pot resistance at these numbered positions. Of course the pot is audio tapered (not linear).

The tone pot is nothing more than a capacitively coupled load resistor that damps the resonance of the pickup inductance and cable/amp capacitance, until it is turned down near zero. At that point, it shifts the resonance to a low frequency hump.

To answer your question, if the tone network is removed, you will likely hear more high end than you have experienced with the tone network in place. The extent of which is determined by the other circuit values stated above.

May 19th, 2009, 11:32 PM
tdowns is very right about the effect being dependent on your pickups and pot values. my american standard with single coils and 250k pots doesn't sound much different with the tone pot bypassed, but a 72 deluxe i have with powerful humbuckers sounds obviously changed with the tone control out of the circuit. i always think my guitars sound their best with the tone bypassed; the sound is a little clearer and more open in addition to being brighter.

think about the qualities the tone pot adds when you turn it all the way down; it's not just a reduction of treble that you hear, there's also a reduction in clarity and detail. that muffling effect is still there to a small extent with regular tone pots even when turned up to 10. i think it's worthwhile to either bypass the tone control or install a no-load in order to stop any unnecessary loss of clarity. the no-load is a great option, still giving you a fully functioning tone control that's truly bypassed when turned all the way up, with no drawbacks whatsoever. as long as you're turning it up to 10, why not bypass it altogether?