Free the tone! Skip the tone control! Comments and Experiences

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by theprofessor, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    I recently built a Cuban Mahogany Telecaster (see here: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/new-tele-builds-cuban-mahogany-and-guanacaste-parota.973043/) and decided to put a Tyson Tone 53 Wraptail 50's low-wind P-90 in the neck position. I also decided to wire it so as to skip the tone control in positions 3 (neck only) and 2 (neck + bridge).

    Like so:
    T bridge only tone.jpg

    I expected the change to be fairly drastic, but it isn't. However, this does bring about some important changes that I don't think one can get when the neck pickup is wired to the tone circuit:
    (1) a bit more openness
    (2) a bit more touch-sensitivity
    (3) a bit more presence (and therefore also a bit more treble)

    I think "presence" really covers it all, in a way, and I'm a big fan. It's a nuance, but it's one that I really like (I've also learned that I really like "presence" controls on amps). So then I went back and wired one of my other Teles this way, and it opened the whole thing up a bit. Just more lively.

    For those of you who either wire the pickup(s) so that they don't interact with the tone circuit or those of you who use no-load tone pots, I wonder what your experiences are with this. How would you describe the effects?
     
  2. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    My experience was just like yours. For me, too subtle to be worth the effort. I like my tone control sometimes.
     
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  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never tried it, but from a practical standpoint, too many times on a gig I have to tweak my tone on the fly, in the middle of a song. Even if it (bypassing tone control) did result in a slightly different sound, I just don't think I would want to do this. To each his/her own.
     
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  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a no-load that came stock in my American Deluxe Strat. It controls the middle and bridge pickups. I like it because it's one more option without complicating the issue with more wires, switches etc. I like the extra little sparkle it adds (or doesn't take away, as it were), especially on the bridge pickup.

    I have an idea to make the no-load pot the master treble-cut pot on my Strat, and to make the other spot a master bass-cut. That along with the S-1 switching options will make for a lot of versatility.

    I probably wouldn't use a no-load pot on my Tele of Jazzmaster, just because I don't see them needing any more treble. But again, it's a cheap, simple mod, so I may go for it, anyway.

    I recently got a Squier Tele that I'm converting to an Esquire, and that will include a no-load tone control.
     
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  5. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted

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    Did it in my esquire build, sounds great I think.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  6. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    I've got a no-load on my American Standard Tele. You open it up until it drops into a detent. It is fine, if a little bright. The more interesting variation I've experienced is the blower pull knob switch on my recent Les Paul Standard seen in my avatar. That switch blows past both volume and tone control and squirts the neck pickup right out the jack. What does that buy you? You can set up a sound using volume and tone controls and either pickup for rhythm and just pull up the tone knob to jump out to full volume from the bridge pickup. It is brighter and louder than the bridge when it goes through the controls and you can demonstrated that by spinning up both controls, selecting the bridge, playing, and then pulling up the blower switch. WHAP!!! Of course, this is only a serving suggestion: you could easily wire it to bypass just the volume or just the tone knob if you like. Since you are building your own, it is your choice!

    Bob
     
  7. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Every guitar of mine has a no-load tone control.
     
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  8. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Do your ears suggest that my descriptions above capture the effect when it's no-load, or do you have another perspective on what is happening sonically?
     
  9. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    No mega-change that blows your socks off, but of the 3 points you note, I wholeheartedly agree with #s 3 and 1 (in that rank order).
     
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  10. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    Most P90s are high inductance and have various sources of eddy current loss, so changing the load from two 250k pots to one is a pretty good idea. It doesn't extend the highend, but the resonance will have just a bit more emphasis that you need because of those losses that diminish the resonance. I just don't think, besides for the general load, that it has anything to do with not having a tone. For a variant on traditional Tele wiring, I usually add a resistor to the bridge position to give more balance between positions.
     
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  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use my tone control, especially on Teles, and find them almost too bright as it is, so last thing I would do is "open it up" even more.
    I could see doing it if I went from current Broadcaster pickups to something stronger such as PAFs. But as others have said one of the beauties
    of learning how to do wiring is you can wire it however you like. Also, changing up wiring schemes is way cheaper than changing pickups. For example,
    on Strats I always wire to give me N+B as an option. I usually do this by setting it up with normal 5-way, but with master volume and master tone (giving me a tone control
    on the bridge pickup, which I think is key to making it useful), and then using the extra tone control to dial up the neck for N+B or even N+M+B if I want it.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My feeling after decades of experimental partscater building is that there simply is no passive shunting to ground of portions of the delicate output from the pickup that is better enough to be worth losing any more of that signal than absolutely necessary.

    I do still have one Esquire with a three way offering no tone control plus two tone cap values, and yeah, the no tone control setting has a perceptibly tiny bit more upper frequency content, which is possibly my favorite part of the electric guitar signal, thus one which I choose to not throw away before it even gets to the amp.
    I just love love love all the air around the electric guitar sound, particularly the harmonics associated with the low strings.
    That stuff is hard to even get to the amp through a guitar cable.
    Give it access to a cap to leak through and it's gone gone gone.

    At the amp is where I prefer to alter the signal content, after sending all of it there as perfectly as possibly.

    Of course the YMMV factor is huge, and many players simply cannot do their multiple tasks in music without use of some version of a passive shunt to ground at the guitar.

    If not dealing with multiple jobs in live performance though, I feel that we lose stuff we could have made better use of later in the chain when we sit in our home studio and dump all those upper frequencies to ground before they get to the amp where the first preamp stage saves them for better processing later.
    Stage needs push guitar wiring convention though.

    Back to YMMV!
     
  13. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I need the tone control to dial back and get some jazzy cleans, at times. I don't use it much, but I would miss it. I typically use 500K pots instead of 250K and I do have a couple of guitars with the no-load pots as well. These are nice as it gives you the best of both worlds.
     
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  14. tvas22

    tvas22 Tele-Meister

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    I agree about the subtlety. I could barely hear a difference on my strat (copy). However, I'd wired it to a SPST switch - I enjoy rolling the tone to a certain place and then being able to switch that in and out. Especially on the bridge.
     
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  15. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    On my Esquire I love the 1st position, with the pickup skipping the tone pot. It is indeed brighter, but also louder.
    But IMO it’s not really different than adding a bit more treble on your amp settings.
    I love it because I still have the ability to have the tone control on position 2, which gives me instant access to two different presets with one pickup.
     
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  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can bypass the tone circuit in my Avatar Guitar and it has a noticeable change in tone(More Treble). That can make a difference on how we perceive a change in volume and a change in pickup performance.
    I use it that way often.
     
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  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting! So with this P-90 it doesn't necessarily have anything to do not having tone; it has more to do with only a one-potentiometer load? Is that what you're driving at?

    And I also use a 200k resistor from the bridge position on the switch to ground. I think that makes the bright bridge tone "just right" (like the Three Little Bears's porridge).

    So you're saying that you like to keep all the signal at the guitar (or as much as possible) and adjust later. Am I reading you correctly? I think I'm starting to think that way, too.
     
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  18. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    That's a cool idea! It's amazing how many useful wiring variations there are!
     
  19. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I play mostly metal. I don't need a tone control. I had 4 guitars that skips the tone control system and I like it that way. Two of them had a no-load tone pot and one of them was my Tele CV50. It enables me to bypass the tone circuit but is still there if needed.

     
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  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I have no load pots in all my Fenders.
    For some reason they are always full on (so practically the pickup only sees the output jack),they sound better to my ears.
    I never use the volume or tone pots anyhow....
     
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