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Gibson's dual control setup vs Fender's single vol/single tone pot

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by DHart, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I generally prefer Fender guitars, but one aspect of most Gibsons that I love is the dual volume controls, allowing a unique blending of the neck and bridge pickups that the single volume pot on most Teles and Strats does not.

    I find a great tone playing these dual volume pot guitars with both pickups selected together, with neck volume pot on about "8" and bridge volume pot on "10".

    There is a precise point when dialing the neck volume pot down from '10' where a significant shift in tone occurs. In that spot, you retain much of the neck pickup's fullness, but a tonal sparkle emerges in the change of balance between the two pickups. Wonderful, sparkly and full tonal character, in this way.

    Fender's Deluxe '70s guitars, with the dual, Gibson-style, volume and tone controls is nice, among other Fender models, in this regard.

    Anyone else enjoying this particular feature of tone control?
     
  2. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Too many knobs too many decisions!

    So you adjust the 2 vols and then adjust the 2 tones then you decide 1 of the vols needs a tweak, then the other tone isn't quite right, then....... ad infenitum.... till you just give up.

    I hate choices!

    1 vol, 1 pickup nothing else to do but to play.
    .
     
  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I don't give one hoot about parallel blended tones in any combination; I almost never use 'em.

    I prefer my instruments to have a master volume (but a tone control for each pickup).

    Fender gets it part right and Gibson gets it part right. Fender gives you the master volume, but Gibson gives you individual tone controls.

    But in the end, the Gibson controls are better. I have a tone for each pickup, and I can easily ignore the fact that there are two volumes instead of a master. Ignoring a volume knob I don't need is better than needing a tone knob I don't have.

    I have even wired Teles T/T, with no volume knob. I liked it a lot, but I missed being able to shut off the guitar when setting it down. It would be fine on one that wasn't vintage style, though. Then I would have no problem adding an on/off switch between the two tone knobs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  4. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I hate the dual volumes! In theory they work great - roll one down and one up and use the louder one for soloing - but a pedal can do the same thing more easily. I can't play, sing, hit pedals, and also keep track of which pickup I'm on and therefore which volume to control. Hats off to guys who can.
     
  5. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm with Dhart, I like the dual control set too, and finding those sweet spots. They can be more than a set-and-forget tone shaping tool. Setting up only for pickup switching just scratches the surface, IMO.

    It's interesting watching a lot of "the greats" play, how often they tweak tone or volume. Like most mere mortals I'm lucky to just get the notes down, much less sculpt my tone in real time!

    I've pondered creating a dual-concentric wiring scheme for a Tele but haven't gone past the thinking stage, mostly because I haven't found knobs that I like.
     
  6. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I no longer own a strat, but I made up a pick guard full of Van Zandt pickups, quality pots and switches and a Fralin blender pot forthe last one that I did.
    It changed the knobs to Master volume, master tone, blender.
    Here was the deal with the switch positions;
    1) Neck pickup only the blender would slowly dial in as much bridge as you want. Kind of like a tele in the middle.
    2) neck and middle, blend in bridge
    3) middle
    4) middle and bridge, blend in neck
    5) bridge, blend in neck.

    Position 5 was my fave. All bridge and about 3/4 neck.

    Sold all my strats, but I still have that loaded guard. One day I’ll put it back on something.
     
  7. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    I love the Gibson four-knob setup. When I started, forty years ago, I was an "everything on 10" kind of guy, but I learned to coax out the voice of the instrument via the combination of balancing the pickups physically and electronically. It starts with getting a good balance with the pickups. I set the bridge pickup for a good tonal balance and then get the neck pickup balanced for level as much as possible so that the middle position gives me that "ping" sound. When set up like that, the bridge pickup will be far too bright to match or even get in the neighborhood of the neck pickup, so I end up pulling back the treble on it so that I can hop back and forth with only a change in timbre, not in volume and with no big spikey frequency jump. Of course, that kills the pingy middle position sound so you have to learn to roll the treble back in when you want that.

    But each LP or ES-335 has its own needs on the volume and tone controls. And then, you can adjust the urgency of the sound with the volume controls, can't you? And we haven't even talked about blending between pickups yet, have we?

    I feel like a one-armed picture hanger trying to put that off on the Tele. But of course, the Tele's sweetest sounds seem to come from the bridge pickup with the volume pulled back just a smidge and the tone control pulled back until the sweetness happens, don't they?

    Bob
     
  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    There is no best for the masses. There is, however, best for the individual player. It generally tends to fall along the lines of the guitar a player started out with and stuck with.

    Each type of control circuit has its plusses and minuses. How a guitar responds to its controls also a lot to do with playing technique and the amp it is plugged into.

    I like simple more than complex (Esquire, Junior, etc.), but I have some nice Gibsons and others that have multiple knobbers and switches because they sound so dang good.

    Here's one of the "etc." referenced above.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Injam

    Injam Tele-Meister

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    That’s why you need both.
     
  10. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Personally, I prefer the tele setup of 1 volume 1 tone.
    You miss out on the cool blended sounds, but I've found that the Gibson setup can lead to confusion on stage (especially if you're doing lead guitar AND lead vocals).

    I've had moments with a Les Paul where I switched from one pickup to another, but I'd forgotten where I had set the volume, and suddenly I had either way too much or way too little volume...
     
  11. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like the G&L Strat system: a separate bass and treble control. When I made my own partscaster, that's how I wired it.
     
  12. Fuelish

    Fuelish Tele-Holic

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    I like having the 2+2 ... on my dual pickup guitars, I usually just leave the 3 way in the middle position and adjust knobs to my liking....except on my Tele, which doesn't have enough knobs ;)
     
  13. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    Sounds like you would like the blender mod.
     
  14. '64 Tele

    '64 Tele Tele-Holic

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    With Fender type guitars (Tele and Strat), I don't seem to ever miss having two volume controls.
    Tele's were my main guitars for 20 plus years.
    On a Gibson type guitar (including PRS in this discussion), I prefer having two volumes to blend the pickups on these.
    I've got several PRS with two controls (one volume/one tone) and feel like I'd like to have individual volumes.
    On the one PRS I have with two volume/two tone, I've got more Gibson type options to blend.
    The PRS that is kind of in between Fender and Gibson is the DGT (two volumes/one tone). That one (DGT) seems to check the boxes.
     
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  15. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    If I had to choose, I'd go for a more Fender-like set-up, but a Gibson's dual-volume layout can be useful.

    One thing I don't really have a use for is two tone (i.e. treble-cut) controls on the same guitar, to the point that I modded my Strat to have one master treble-cut and one master bass-cut in addition to the volume control. My Reverend came that way stock, and I'll likely do the same with my Les Paul.

    My Tele, Esquire and Jazzmaster have only the treble-cut, but I don't see myself wanting to remove any bass from them. I am considering a no-load tone control for the Tele.
     
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  16. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to, Spuds, Tubers, Taters.

    I’ll use whatever’s on the guitar.

    I prefer the basic Tele setup—master volume, master tone, switch.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  17. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    I prefer simplicity. I never touch the tone knob, and I find these days I prefer to use picking dynamics versus riding the volume knob.

    I just go with guitars that sound good to me how I’d use them at full volume and rigs that sound good with varied picking dynamics.
     
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  18. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

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    The older I get, the more I appreciate Gibson's. I am enjoying the short scale, the humbuckers, and the dual tone/volume controls.
     
  19. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    The best example I've heard of using Gibson's 2 volume controls was a Phil X video on YT. He was ready to play Lagrange by ZZ Top and said, basically, 'this is how you do it.'

    He was playing through an Evil Robot combo and some kind of overdrive pedal. The neck volume was rolled down to get that articulate, woody tone for the breaks and the bridge volume was up to get that fat grind of the verses. He played the song and absolutely nailed those tones just by switching between the 2 pickups.
     
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  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    The 4 control type are useful as mentioned, but really, I like it simple and that's what I end up using and preferring.
     
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