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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    Thank you. I didn't see an explanation in the mentioned post. Only a graph with frequencies in kHz and dB and the mention of "high resonance." I could see how "high resonance" might correspond to what I call "presence," but does this also entail what I call "openness"?
     
  2. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    I modded a tele into a 4 position Esquire.

    1) straight to jack
    2) volume only
    3) volume/tone
    4) Eldred

    2 is where it’s at, though three gets a lot of use for parts that need a little mellow.
     
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  3. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    The Skin Effect is not a significant factor in any practical guitar circuit, as the skin depth for copper is about 1mm at 10kHz, which means that for the most part, all portions of the wires and parts are fully conductive:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  4. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes. "Openness" is just another name for the presence of higher harmonics. Those are accentuated by greater treble.
     
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  5. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I took the no-load off the bridge of my strat... just too much top end.

    I’d consider it at the neck but 90% of the time I have tone dialed down a little bit with single coils, so it’s not high on the mod list.

    Might try it in my Les Paul sometime.
     
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  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had various discussions about this ( with me it was in reference to having Tone Control vs. no Tone/wide open on a Stratocaster bridge PU) with various guitar and amp tech pros, for my own curiosity...

    A few seem to thing that since a Tone control doesn't ' add' ( is only subtractive) that turning it all the way UP ( btw, my Strat bridge PU does have a Tone control) therefore takes Tone control out of the circuit- same as hard wiring PU to output jack- you can't hear the difference?
    True or False? I always thought stock ( no Control on bridge PU) was rawer/hotter?
    Thanks for input!
     
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  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Are you saying you think maybe no tone on bridge sounds different than a dimed no load?

    Audio memory is very fleeting, for me anyway. I wonder if you'd still hear that in a careful recording...

    Because fact is, a correctly made no load truly is gone, completely out of the circuit.
     
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  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For future, it's easy to make your own no load from a standard CTS pot. Bend the four tabs back, open it up. Scrape a line in the carbon track, completely across. Done.

    The trick is where to scrape it. I turn the pot, watching a meter, and peeking at the wiper through the opening. Plan to mess up the first one, but it's not that difficult to get the hang of it.

    Scraping the track on a push pull Alpha is much harder. But possible! :D
     
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  9. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    If you look at the bode plots / impedance graphs of pickup responses, which are created by subjecting a pickup to a frequency sweep, from around 100Hz to up to 20kHz, it literally plots out the voltage output of the pickup by frequency, so when you look at these curves:

    [​IMG]

    They're literally drawing out an EQ curve. If a pickup has a high Q factor, it has a plot that looks like a steep mountain, if it has a low Q is has a curve that looks like a little hill, or like gradual "roll off".

    If you've spent time messing with a graphic equalizer, you will have heard the effect of a high Q if you ever pushed one particular treble fader up to the max amount, and it results in a shrill treble, similar to the sound you hear when you put empty tin cans over your ears. And it's not a coincidence that it sounds like tin cans over your ears, because the small space and reflective surfaces of the inside of a can causes resonance too, but of air pressure, rather than electrical reactance.

    So, suppose suppose you had a "flat" input signal from a guitar (like from a piezo pickup, or a low impedance pickup), if you took that audio signal and applied a graphic EQ that simply matches the impedence curve of a vintage style pickup like this:

    [​IMG]


    It would make the flat signal sound more like a vintage style guitar, especially a Fender guitar, because their pickups are known for having a high Q factor. And this is, in fact, how Fishman Fluence pickups work; they take a low impedance input and apply an EQ filter to fake the sound of a high impedance pickup, and the fact that they work pretty good goes to show the extent to which this is really all a guitar pickup is, and is all that makes it special.

    The example above would approximate wiring the pickup straight to the output jack of a guitar, which is not really a desirable sound, it's too bright and shrill. After having put a volume and tone in parallel with the pickup, the impedance can never reach such a zenith, because whenever you put resistors in parallel, the voltage across them drops.
     
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  10. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    Typical guitar electronics are passive, and as such do not add anything. They only take away more or less (depending on the setting) of this or that (overall signal in a volume control, high frequencies in your typical tone control, etc.). So if you want to think of it in the same terms, a no-load control turned all the way up (so effectively out of the circuit) doesn't "add" anything, but rather gives it back, or doesn't take it away in the first place.

    I suppose it depends on how the particular pot is constructed, what capacitor is on it, what pickup(s) it affects, etc., but on my Strat I don't hear a huge "jump" from, say, 9 on the tone control to 10 (the "no-load" setting); it's pretty continuous sounding, which I like.
     
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  11. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    A caveat to this is that the resonance of a pickup might be outside of the optimal response range of the guitar amp and speakers. For example, a low-wind Strat pickup used with a short guitar cable might have a resonance above 5kHz, but the amp and speaker's response might peak out at 4kHz. Putting a 1nF cap across the pickup would lower the peak down to ~3kHz. Since the peak has been moved into the more efficient band of the guitar rig, it will sound as though you're getting more juice out of the pickup. Sometimes with Strats or Teles in particular, turning the tone control all the way to zero creates the impression of a slightly increased output.
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    True.. but neither is about 99.9% of the other stuff guys get in a huff about regarding the overall voice of a guitar... so??

    the term "significant factor" infers that it IS a factor though... to the extent it does anything relative to the overall voice of a guitar is entirely between the guitarist that owns the guitar and his ears.. But my point was not that the skin effect is the reason for the difference in the overall sound, sans "stuff" in the path to the amp... just that it is present...

    r
     
  13. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

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    I have recently started using no load pots, and I think it’s the best compromise between no tone pot and tone when you need it. In fact, I can’t tell the difference between no roll off and no tone control present.
     
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  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Because when a noload is not rolled off, it's mechanically out of the circuit. Any tone difference would be down to comparing pots of different actual values.
     
  15. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I tried it out on my Tele while playing around with an Esquire conversion. vintage wind pickup and a conventional 250K tone pot. I set one switch position for tone in the circuit, one position with no tone. There Was a definite slight increase in brightness with the tone out.
     
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  16. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can't really answer whether I hear a difference but I've always been curious that if a tone control turned all the way up sounds the same as not having a tone control at all then why didn't Fender just have a tone control on the bridge pickup to begin with
     
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  17. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    On the two of my guitars that have tone controls, I have greasebucket style controls built into a pull switch pot wired only to the bridge pickup. And yes when you disengage the tone control you can hear a noticeable difference.
     
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  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Having a LOAD aka normal tone pot, dimed, will will still load the pickup. Most people can hear the difference between no tone circuit, and a dimed tone circuit. How the 'no tone circuit' is implemented - no load pot, or simply pulling out the wires - is immaterial.
     
  19. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    A Fender TBX is basically a new and improved no load pot. I'd recommend that over an actual no load pot.
     
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  20. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    could it be that the older you get, the more we lost on perceiving high/bright tones, the more we appreciate no load pots?
    we have a device in the garden that will scare off cats, rats etc with a ultrahigh sound that we should not hear.
    (you can switch it that we humans can hear a nasty sound to)
    but in 'silent mode' and we, the grandparents , don't hear a thing, our grandchildren go nuts because off the high sound they hear.

    so maybe for guitarist.
    old = no load :lol::rolleyes::lol::D
     
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