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Problem with Squier Affinity Strat tone controls?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Lavochkin, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

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    So I've had this HSS strat for two years, my first and only electric guitar. I've been focused on learning just guitar playing (fretting, strumming, fret board knowledge etc) and have just recently played around with the tone controls. And I am confused as I hear no difference between when the knob is at 1 and at 10. I've tried every combination of the three pickups and the two tone pots. I do hear a difference in the three pickups, but the tone controls seem to have no effect. The tone controls aren't that subtle, are they? A difference between 1 and 10 should be evident, shouldn't it?

    Anyway, aside from the question of whether I should be hearing a difference, are there any common problems that would cause this? My amp, by the way, is a Champ Micro (no tone control on the amp).
     
  2. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Without tearing into the pots and seeing how they are wired up it is hard to tell from what you are describing.

    A typical strat will have one volume and a pair of tone knobs. Typically the tone knob closest to the volume will adjust the neck pickup only. The tone knob furthest away will adjust the middle pickup only and the bridge pickup has no tone control at all.

    With that said, I have seen strats with those tone knobs doing all sorts of other things, blend knobs, kill switch, and even one that was repurposed as a secondary volume control. So I would go with the normal use and see if that works, then after that you will need to crack open the pickguard to see what is happening.
     
  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    the tone knob nearest the volume should control the neck pickup, 2nd tone knob should control the middle pickup. When turned down to zero, the sound should turn to total mud, no treble. if it doesn't do that, it's probably got a wiring issue.
     
  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    If the guitar sounds bright enough but the tone knob does nothing to affect the sound (make it darker sounding as you roll off), either the capacitor on the tone control has gone open circuit/broken solder joint, or the tone pot is not grounded.

    It's also possible that if you got the guitar used, the previous owner poked around in there with a hot stick and messed things up a bit.
     
  5. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Preacher and nickmsmith. Neither tone has any effect I can hear, so I guess when I next change the strings I'll pull the pickguard and try to see what's going on.
     
  6. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

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    And thanks Peegoo. I did get the guitar used, but it didn't look like it had been used very much at all - the pickguard and the trem cover both still had a clear plastic on it and no scratches.
     
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  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Did you buy it used? If so, it sounds like a previous owner disconnected the tone controls to make the pickups brighter.
    Here's how to wire the switch and tone controls so you have tone control on all 3 pickups, with the 1st tone control on the neck and middle and the 2nd one on the bridge. If you want stock wiring with no tone on the bridge pickup, then don't use the jumper connecting the two bottom lugs on the switch, and connect the wire from the 2nd tone control to the 2nd lug on the bottom instead of the 3rd one. If you want the 2nd tone control on the middle and bridge, then connect the 2nd tone control to the 2nd or 3rd lug, and jumper those two together. Just remember that the bottom lug in the pic is the neck pickup, the 2nd from the bottom is the middle, and the 3rd from the bottom is the bridge, and then you can connect the tone controls however you want to.
    c843457d457e652fa9bd6ba68dd65c90.jpg
     
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  8. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

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    So I finally got around to opening it up (sort of a pain you can't get to the circuits without moving the strings). I pulled out the bridge rather than taking all the strings off. Anyway in DougM's diagram in the previous post the tone pots have input on the wiper of one pot and the end of the other. In my guitar both inputs (yellow and green wires in photo, with a portion of DougM's diagram alongside) are on the wiper. Could this result in the circuit not working? I tested both pots (around 240K and the value changed appropriately with wiper movement from 0 to 240K). I don't have a capacitance tester; it's value is .022u.

    TIA!
    closeup.jpg
     
  9. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Holic

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    If I'm understanding you correctly, I think you need to bite the bullet, get new strings or just undo the strings and take the pickguard all the way off and take a pic for people. I think that will be the best way to get help. If you haven't changed your strings in a while and you play alot, it's time for a string change anyways. :)
     
  10. Lavochkin

    Lavochkin TDPRI Member

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    Yes, that is what I did (see my previous post) The photo is of my guitar's tone set up, the diagram is what DougM posted as the what the wiring should be. My question now is that my guitar has the two inputs into tone (the yellow and green wires) both going to the wipers of the pots, whilst the diagram has one input going to the wiper of one tone pot and one input going to the end of the other pot. I don't know enough about how tone circuits work to tell if this difference is why my tone controls don't work, and since my soldering skills are not great, I didn't want to to just start changing things around unless I had a good idea it would be a productive move.
     
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