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

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

  1. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,430
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    That's what I thought. So my amp tech buddy may be wrong?
    He told me that " you can see a difference on a scope, but you can't hear it .."

    ( BTW NOTE:
    this all comes from my listening to '72-era Jerry Garcia, where he wasn't afraid at all to do his Country picking on a Strat bridge PU, and I love that raw tone- my Strat OTOH has the 2nd Tone control wired to BOTH middle and bridge PU's - so I feel my bridge PU with Tone all the way up, is a little 'polite!')
     
    theprofessor likes this.
  2. Jonburst

    Jonburst TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    28
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Location:
    South Africa
    I'm not really fond of my no-load tone pot at the moment.
    the resonant peak of the bridge pickup gets a bit high and has a bit too much nasal quack to it.
    If I take the pot down a hair past the click, it flattens out, sounds right.
    I use the tone pot a lot, so I want something that gives me my preferred range.
    I don't want to have to worry about that click at the top.
     
    theprofessor likes this.
  3. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    712
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Location:
    Australia
    You can get 'no loads pots' with no click. In fact they are easier to find than the clicking ones. Just FYI.
    .
     
    theprofessor and Jonburst like this.
  4. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,847
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    A hair past the click would be a regular tone pot.
     
    Jonburst likes this.
  5. Jonburst

    Jonburst TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    28
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Location:
    South Africa
    Yup, it sure is. I'll pop in a normal one when I swap my neck pickup and do some other wiring stuff.
     
  6. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    2,989
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This has got to depend on so many things... what your pickups sound like, the inherent tone of your particular guitar, how bright & how much presence your amp has.

    There are a lot of settings/setups on my amp with my guitar where not having the tone pot would be a disaster. My guitar will ice pick with the best of them. You want to play Roy Buchanan stuff and stab everyone with treble? My guitar & amp would be right there ready to go, so quite a lot of the time I have the tone rolled down. I have Lollar pickups and I did all the work myself, my solder joints must not be robbing much if any treble.

    A no load pot might be a good compromise.. but that sounds like it would just give me even more available and I honestly don't think I need it.

    Rhythm sounds on the bridge pickup for me.. way better with the tone rolled down a bit.
     
    theprofessor and Ricky D. like this.
  7. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,356
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    The problem with a sharp resonance is how uneven it is. Because some notes will have harmonic content closer to the resonance peak than others, you can have it sound completely normal on some notes, and feel like your ears are getting stabbed on others.

    There's a high chance it works fine with ex a P90, especially if you're just taking off the tone and leaving a 250k volume, but doing the same or "straight to jack" wirings with Strat or Tele pickups can easily create more problems than it fixes. It's nothing close to the cure-all some people think. It makes the resonance sharper and does not extend highend generally.
     
  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    17,112
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Sounds like your amp tech buddy is referring to a regular tone pot, dimed. On '10', it's still in the circuit, even though the effect is small.

    Imagine three test scenarios. One is no tone circuit at all. Two is a tone circuit using a no-load pot. Three is a regular tone pot.

    For the two scenarios with a pot, the pot is dimed.

    On a scope, you'd see that #1 and #2 are identical. #3 would show a small effect of the tone pot loading, even though it's 'wide open'. Also, if you roll the no-load pot in #2 back just a very small amount, until the tone circuit is brought back in, then it would show same as #3 on the scope.

    Many no-loads have a little detent or speedbump on the pot. It's just mechanical, so you have some feedback that you are going in and out of having a tone circuit. But when 'out', it's electrically the same as having nothing. It's just not there.


    Whether you can ONLY see it on a scope, or hear it too, is subjective. I play at home, and I hear the difference, but it's subtle. But in general, I think it's so easy to do, and a good idea to not have the circuit loading my tone, unless I wish it.

    Where I really hear the difference is when I remove both tone and volume pots from the circuit. Often it's wired as a 'blower' switch, overriding all other settings, and delivering the bridge pickup, straight to the jack, with no tone or volume control (truly wide open). Because even on '10', the volume pot also loads the signal a bit. Combined with the tone pot loading, yeah, it's quite audible in my experience.

    I wire many of my guitars with a version of a blower where it bypasses tone and volume, but doesn't override the pickup selector. So, I can play neck, or middle, wide open, without any pot loading. So, with the no-load tone, I can remove just that, or with the 'blower', I can remove both. And no, you can't use a no-load pot for a volume control. Volume pots are wired as voltage dividers (three lugs), and tone pots are wired as rheostats (two lugs). Going no-load on a volume pot would kill the sound.

    Hope this clears up a few things.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.
  9. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,430
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    Thanks I'm a guitar player that really is not a technical person but I do listen and try to pay attention to this stuff and try to learn so I've always been curious about the bridge pickup tone control or not on a Stratocaster thank you
     
    moosie likes this.
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    17,112
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    If it's about whether or not to have a tone pot on a Strat bridge, I wonder if many players who choose that would actually welcome the little bit darker tone of a 'load' tone pot.

    I hardly ever play bridge alone, but I do like position 2 (and 4). I usually wire mine with either middle and bridge on the second tone pot (ala Eric Johnson), or just bridge, leaving middle with no tone pot. The latter solution has the benefit of not double-loading in position 4, where normally you get the load of both neck and middle tone pots.
     
  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,430
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    My wonderful ( but stolen a long time ago) Jimmie Vaughan Strat ( 2- Tone SB, BIG V neck) had that latter option, Middle PU wide open ( great rhythm AND blues/ rockabilly lead option) and Tone wired to bridge PU.
     
    theprofessor and moosie like this.
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    17,112
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Love the JV necks!
     
  13. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,066
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Update: I now have a no-load tone pot on all my Telecasters. The Fender part is a CTS no-load, so I just get them from Amazon.com
     
  14. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,847
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    What kind of amp do you use? If I play through something like a Twin Reverb with the bright switch on, or similarly bright amps, going for the highest Q factor possible from the pickups does my ears no favors.
     
  15. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,066
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Mostly a '76 Deluxe Reverb into the bright channel with the bright cap clipped. Yes, there can be a peaky resonance, depending on the pickups and the amp, for sure. So I sometimes have to adjust accordingly.

    But I use the no-load only on the neck pickup, really. It is very easily too much for the other positions. But with neck pickups, it really opens them up in a way that nothing else I've done does. It's like a "presence control" for the neck pickup.
     
  16. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    1,071
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Paris, France
    It is interesting that the classic Esquire and Stratocaster wirings both include a « no tone » option for the bridge pickup. That’s a lot of highs.
     
    theprofessor likes this.
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    17,112
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    You might like to try a blower switch, which bypasses both tone and volume, but (in my implementation) retains pickup selection. Presence x 2!

    It's an easy add, just requires a DPDT switch (mini toggle, push-pull, or even half an S-1).
     
    theprofessor likes this.
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    11,890
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    I wouldn't argue that for a moment... but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.. thus there does exist complicated monotonous soliloquies replete with "sound-bites" that can be extracted from a complete understanding and intentionally exploited with a misdirected "understanding" in marketing to sell those that reject the wisdom in two little words, Caveat Emptor.

    I just mention it here to "forewarn" those in the endless "tone quest". The phrase "Skin Effect" is looming in the future.. and it WILL surface sooner or later in an attempt to tout the superiority of something that is as unremarkable as day old cornflakes served in a new bowl with eloquent, seemingly well founded in science, dialogue that still is only defining a bowl of old cornflakes with a string of fifty cent words.

    the same kind of exploitation has been exploited and presented as applicable to the many other meaningless facets of the guitar in attempts to get "you" to buy some "revolutionary" rehash of the same old technology. An example is quarter sawn lumber... it has no advantage over flat sawn other than what a cognitive bias generates in the mind, and an argument can be made that the more pedestrian flat sawn is technically the better choice. However the phrase "more stable" has been lifted from the journals discussing the cuts of lumber, without an explanation of how "more stable" is applicable to the information presented vs the information used to promote a guitar neck. They are in fact, substantially different..

    The "rehash" doesn't mean the "new" application is definitively superior... it cannot be, since in any situation it can only be experienced when "singing" in concert with the litany of other "new and revolutionary" parts the guitar is made of... As in any chorus, change one voice and not much if anything happens. It is analogous to a cook changing the salt from some esoteric sea salt to plain old Morton's Iodized table salt in a stew.. Who knew? Who Cares? No one..

    I'm wondering if "y'all" will ever realize a guitar is NOT a cacophony of random voices squawking... it is a singular unit that has but one voice.

    Oh. . . and yeah.. in my experience, the finest sounding guitars I have made are those with no or minimum controls in the signal's path. The more cack ya got to deal with in the signal's path the more likely it is to step in it somewhere along the way..

    rk
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
    hopdybob likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.