Older Teles and Broadcasters - Subtle Tone Roll?


TDPRI Member
Sep 17, 2022
Central New York
I hope I can describe this appropriately: Something I'm noticing on my CS Esquire and 50s reissue Teles and Broadcasters. The tone knob, when engaged, barely alters the sound when rolled down as compared to say, a modern tele, where the roll off sounds a lot different in the 0 position to the 10 position.

I'm the first to admit I know very little about 50s and 60s guitars. And I've never had the privlege to play a historic one. So, I wonder: were the tone circuits just a lot more subtle back then?


Dec 2, 2018
Portland, Maine
The 50’s circuit in Broadcasters and old Telecasters has no tone pot. Front knob is volume, back knob is a blend. Back switch position is bridge pickup and you can blend in the neck pickup with the back knob. Middle switch position is the neck pickup. Front switch position is mud, neck pickup with fixed dark capacitor.
The modern wiring with regular three way switch, volume, and tone control didn’t come around until the late 60s.

Esquire wiring has a tone knob, but it only works with the switch in the middle. Back switch position is pickup wide open with volume control, middle switch position engages the tone control, front position is mud tone position with fixed dark capacitor.
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