Sludgy Tone Knob

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by tele advocate, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Just picked up a mim fsr bsb tele. The tone knob doesn't seem to be moving right and i don't believe it's related to a tone no load circuit or a detent. I took the tone knob off and there are still a couple different places where it sticks as you go from min to max with the shaft. I also noticed if i switch to just the bridge pickup, and turn the tone knob to a certain point, there is almost no sound coming from the bridge pickup, and if i switch to both pickups or just the neck it's really loud.

    Attaching pics in hopes someone can spot obvious tinkering or something that doesn't look right.

    20170127_142235.jpg 20170127_142214.jpg 20170127_141416.jpg
    20170127_141438.jpg 20170127_141521.jpg
     
  2. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Well, i screwed the control plate back on and i don't notice the sludginess as much..maybe was screwed on too tight? It does seem like its scratching along where the knob meets the control plate...maybe because they removed the washer from under the nut?

    Back to the bridge pickup, excuse me if I'm so ignorant about teles, but if I have the switch all the way back for the bridge pickup, and turn the tone to bass there's no sound from the bridge...it's like the tone knob is a combo volume/tone knob for the bridge pickup?
     
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    That volume/tone interaction ... is probably due to what looks like "50's wiring" in there. I never want the tone knob to alter the volume so I use modern wiring. Some players really like the 50's style.

    50's style has that capacitor go from the tone pot to the volume pot. Modern has the tone cap go to ground on the tone pot. Your's could be modern and the lead on the cap is touching the volume pot, unclear from the pictures.

    .
     
  4. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Thank you that's some good info i wasn't aware of. I'll have to see if anyone can make sense of the wiring and open it up again.

    The way this is wired pretty much forces you to use both pickups or just the neck...still sounds great and plays effortlessly.
     
  5. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Pull up a "Standard Tele" wiring diagram off the net. Get out your soldering iron and rewire it. No better time than now to learn some basic guitar repair.

    If that's something you can't do yourself. Find a friend who can.

    If your from Portland, Or. Does the 12th Fret still exist?
     
  6. Tacotuesday

    Tacotuesday Tele-Meister

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    Or go talk to the nice folks at Old Town Music: http://www.oldtownmusicportland.com. They've always treated me well.
     
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  7. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Plus right in the area of Esparanza's(if it's still there) for some good Tex-Mex and a shot of tequilia.

    By the time he gets back, his guitar should be fixed.
     
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  8. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    I came across the following. I'm not sure if the comment about the bridge alone requiring overdrive to cut through the mix is what I'm describing, but it's about the only thing I've found online. I lowered both pickups a bit to make them even, but that hasn't made much difference...anyway here's the quote....

    The FSR with Vintage Noiseless pups is a very nice tele (I had one, the BSB finish). Those Vintage Noiseless pups are good - neck is woody, with clarity and the middle position is open and chimey. The bridge alone needs a little overdrive to push it into the mix. They are a very hi-fi sounding set of pups.
     
  9. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Opened up the plate for more photos...adding and will see if i can make sense of the wiring, but hoping someone familiar with wiring notices anything unusual. Last pic almost looks like a washer under the control plate...or is that a star washer..or both?

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  10. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

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    An uneducated guess: your tone capacitor may be getting pushed around by the wires surrounding it, causing the cap's legs to touch something they shouldn't.

    Regarding the pot's sticking, there may also be some kind of debris inside your tone pot, causing the wiper to stick.
     
  11. Peter Rabbit

    Peter Rabbit Tele-Holic

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    Have you tried canned air to clean the tone pot?
     
  12. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    I haven't tried canned air. I suppose I should put some de-oxit in there too.

    There sure is a bunch of wires to stuff under the plate...I'll try organizing those with a tie or something...

    Some more pics..
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  13. tap4154

    tap4154 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Tone cap wire looks like it's touching the middle lug on the volume pot.
     
  14. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Well now i know what a tone cap is... Looks like it says 503 100v. I opened the control plate again and can see the cap wire goes by the soldering on the middle volume pot tab but it is actually not touching it. It does kinda look like there is a dab of solder stuck on the cap wire, but i can slide a medium pick in between.

    20170204_113518.jpg

    To educate me on the pickup wires...what are the yellow and black wires coming from neck pickup, and what are the yellow, red, and black wires coming from the bridge pickup?

    Since the title of this thread is not the biggest issue, I'll re-state that the bigger issue is that with the volume knob maxed, if i switch to the bridge pickup and turn the tone knob to all bass, i get no volume at all. Reminder these are noiseless pickups (insert joke here).

    I'm going to spray each pot with a little deoxit to see if that helps with the movement of the tone knob.
     
  15. tap4154

    tap4154 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A .05uf tone cap (which is what you have) will cut the volume quite a bit when rolled all the way off. That's just normal. Why are you rolling it all the way off? Most folks just back off a bit, or 50% at the most, unless you're going for a really muted jazzy tone, which requires upping the volume.

    I'd also move that cap wire further away from the middle lug. Even though it's not touching now, when the control plate is installed other wires could push it into contact with the lug.

    BTW, by the slightly sloppy soldering in there, perhaps a tiny bit of solder or snip of wire braid got into that pot and is causing the "sludgy" issue?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  16. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    Thanks tap, I think I read somewhere that 503 equals a .05uf cap. The only reason I was rolling it all the way off was to make sure this guitar is working correctly. Maybe it is and it's just my newness to a three-way switch, single volume, and single tone knob guitar. Up until now it's been double humbuckers typically with two tone and two volume controls.

    You mentioned if I was going for a bassy/muted tone it requires upping the volume. Well the volume is maxed. I guess it just seems odd to me to have a guitar that goes quiet when the bridge pickup is selected, your volume is maxed, and you turn your tone knob to all Bass. I just didn't think a guitar would be wired so you lose all sound from the bridge pickup even if the volume is maxed.

    Also since I haven't touched the wiring I'm fine with any comments commenting about how awful the soldering is....no need to be nice, especially if it confirms someone did mess with the wiring. Or is it possible Fender would have butchered it this badly. Or is the soldering ok? I'm not an expert, more of a novice.

    Well, I guess at this point I'll just figure out if it's wired like it would have been from the factory or at least help educate myself by drawing up a diagram of how I see that it's wired.

    In the meantime it sounds great if i use both pickups, and keep the tone knob between 5 and 10. Anybody want to weigh in on pickup height recommendations? I used this guide i found online cf87443a-622f-4a0c-8330-d964fc6324ed.JPG
     
  17. tap4154

    tap4154 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Tele Advocate, I assumed you didn't do the wiring, and I'd say 100% that's not a factory job. Also, I don't get why a red wire is soldered to a pot case. Usually only black wires go to ground. Other than that, very hard to tell what's going on there but something is amiss IMO. In fact many of those solder joints looks suspect (cold) including on the switch. I'd reflow them all, or better, just take it apart and do it again from scratch to a correct schematic.

    Pickup heights are very subjective. You can use Fender specs as a beginning point, then raise or lower them by listening. Too close to strings and the magnets will make them sound funny because of the magnetic effect. Too far away, it gets thinner. Just play then adjust a half turn, play some more and listen etc etc. May take a while to find the sweet spot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  18. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    Usually pots that don't turn smoothly are because the knob is dragging. Loosen the setscrew and raise the knob a bit. If that doesn't work try blowing out the pot with compressed air. A metal chip could be in there causing the other problem also. If that doesn't work, buy a new pot.
     
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