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Questions On Fender Tone Pots

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Lef T, May 19, 2016.

  1. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Holic

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    I've got a 2016 American Standard Telecaster.
    When I roll the tone pot down to warm up the sound,it's a long way of travel to hit the sweet spot.
    A little too far and then I hit mud.
    My 1996 Stratocaster was the same way.
    Is this inherent to Fender tone pots or all guitar tone pots in general?
    I'd like to be able to roll off some high end in a more linear fashion.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  2. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    Find the sweet spot and measure the resistance of the pot, then replace the pot with one that has a taper with that value earlier on in the travel. you might want to get a custom taper pot.
     
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  3. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like you have a linear taper pot and you would like to have audio taper. If you have an ohmeter you could verify what kind you have. With the control halfway between its extremes, the resistance between the middle lug and either outer lug will be half the value between the outer lugs on a linear pot. The audio taper has more of its action at the full up (clockwise) position.
    If you already have an audio taper pot, you might want one with a lower resistance. If yours is 500k ohms, try 250k.
    Normally a tone pot has about four sounds:
    all the way up: clear
    a little down: noticeably different than all the way up
    all the way down: horribly muddy (or perfect for screaming lead on high notes)
    a little up: muddy but not so bad
    No telling what might come on any guitar, as real guitar designers can change the pots to go with certain pickups. Guitars made more carelessly might have whatever the factory can buy cheap.
     
  4. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply.
    I'm going to play the guitar in a live setting for a bit and see what I think.
    Haven't done that yet.
    If it's not to my liking,I'll get a hold of my guitar tech.
    I am totally non technical.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  5. rbbrnck

    rbbrnck TDPRI Member

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    ... may i humbly add that the picture's not complete until you factor in how the input stage of the first device after your guitar behaves (trying to speak non-technically)? is it an amp, and what kind/make/model, is it a preamp, a stompbox, or what?

    i fumble around with different pedals and outboard, and often see the exact behaviour you're describing when that guitar feeds into that device, but it behaves totally different when the next device is a different one.

    it only means, in my humble experience, consider your whole signal chain before blaming one single component on your guitar (or any of your effects).

    the only guitars that are not as severely affected by the effect you describe are guitars with active pickups and/or electronics, which most of guitar players in love of traditional models tend to despise like plague.

    a tool i found great solace with, for changing where exactly the pot starts to change your tone is the 1/4" plug made by swiss maker neutrik that goes under the name of timbrePLUG installed at the guitar side of your signal cable.

    those who tried it expecting the functionality of a tone pot are of course misled in their expectation, as its switch inserts different capacitors on the signal path, but no resistor (i.e. it does not have a potentiometer).

    but, while it changes the tonal response of your guitar in not as drastic way as a tone pot, your volume pot behaves indeed differently at different settings of the timbrePLUG. which might lead you to a wider choice of tones, without having to tamper with the guitar pots.

    and the day you've had enough and feel, probably with your next amp, or another box as the first on your 'board, you take it all back by reverting to using plain, silly, standard cables.

    oh, did i say that there's even an ultimatePLUG that includes on board BOTH the 4-step capacitor switch AND a click-less, noiseless, auto switch to mute your output before you plug it into a guitar with your amp full open?

    in europe it sells for about 25 euros, and your tech might use 10' of his or her time to install it on your preferred cable.

    again, depending on impedance and capacity of your signal chain (cable INCLUDED), your mileage may vary. but as its changes to your tone won't alter any of your instruments, maybe you'll see sense in trying to find your tonal balance by simply replacing the plug on your cable.

    in my experience, some amps/guitars had different tonal response depending on which side the timbrePLUG is located, amp- or guitar-. so before you ditch it as senseless, maybe, try to plug it the other way 'round first, and notice not its overall impact on tone only, but how the run of your pots is affected.
     
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  6. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the reply rbbrnck.
    I play the Telecaster directly into a Mesa Mark V.
    No pedals.
    Tonight,I will get to jam with some friends and will get to wind the Tele out.
    I will report back on using the tone control at higher volume levels.
     
  7. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    From what I've read, the American Standard has a 250k no-load tone pot. Is that what's actually in there?
    No. Linear pots behave that way, though.
     
  8. Lef T

    Lef T Tele-Holic

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    I'm not sure if it's a no load tone pot.
    I read up on it just now and it seems you should feel a slight detent when rolling up your tone control to max.
    I don't feel that.
    I'll have to do some more investigating.
     
  9. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, lift the control plate and see what's under there. Either describe the electronics or post photos, and somebody here will be able to help you figure this out.
     
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