Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups darrenriley.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Does it matter which lug a cap is wired to on a tone pot?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by AWTele, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. AWTele

    AWTele TDPRI Member

    Age:
    55
    8
    May 16, 2017
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Hi,

    Question concerning guitar wiring. When setting up a tone pot, does it matter which lug the capacitor is connected to? I've bought guitars with variations on this. Some have the cap on the middle lug, some have it on an outer lug. In all cases, the middle lug is in play, either connected to the cap or grounded to the pot shell. Is there any functional difference in these methods, e.g. the pot would work in reverse, the tone would change, etc. I'm wiring a no-name strat up with a 3-way switch blend wiring and am trying to decide on the best wiring arrangement to reduce wire clutter around the pots. I'm trying to resurrect a beater ST-style guitar donated to my church so that it can be used by church members who don't own on or want to learn.

    No, I'm not a Strat guy. I love Tele. I have my Affinity Tele which is my test bench for learning mods, and I am finalizing my first DIY Tele (Oak-Grigsby, CTS, Switchcraft jack, Tusq nut, Pribora Tele pickups).

    Thanks in advance. Have learned much on TDPRI in the last two years!
     

  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    Either Lug 1 or 2, with the volume pot connected to 2 or 1. I think using Lug 3 would reverse the pot; I've never done it.
     
    AWTele likes this.

  3. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    I'm always confused by some 50's wiring schematics that seem to have a difference there, but it's meaningless which lug is used on the tone pot so long as it's a variable resistor through the cap to ground. The cap determines which band of high frequencies will get shunted through the tone control to ground. With the knob turned fully counterclockwise, there's not much resistance in the pot circuit so it dumps a lot of trebles to ground. As you turn it up, there's more and more resistance so some of the trebles would prefer to go on their happy way to your amp. Turned fully up you get the maximum amount of resistance from the pot and fewer trebles get sent to earth. On a full-pass or no-load pot when you turn up fully clockwise, it disconnects the wiper so there's nothing at all being shunted to ground.

    it shouldn't matter if the capacitor is before or after the connection from the tone pot to ground, on some guitars it's convenient physically to use the cap legs as the connection between the volume pot to the treble pot without the need for a separate wire jumper.

    It makes a tremendous difference where you come off of the volume pot, however. Modern wiring runs from the outer lug of the volume pot, the same place that the pickup signal comes in to the volume pot. "Fifties" wiring runs from the middle lug of the volume pot to the tone pot; technically it puts the tone pot "after the voltage follower" (I can't explain that) but practically it helps combat the tendency for trebles to be lost as you roll back the volume knob.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018

  4. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    +1 on this:
     

  5. AWTele

    AWTele TDPRI Member

    Age:
    55
    8
    May 16, 2017
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Thanks for all the responses! I have a basic grasp of electronics and guitar wiring... and then I don't when I try to decipher the next wiring diagram that I study. I did 50's wiring on my Tele, which I liked cause then I didn't have to fiddle around trying to get a treble bleed in there. My older fumble fingers no like working in those small spaces.
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.