Tried to bypass the tone pot on the neck pup - What did I do wrong?

Peteurre

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Hi all!

So, before opting to swap the neck pickup in my 1973 std. Tele, I wanted to try the mod where you bypass the tonepot on the neck pickup, as it supposedly leaves it more "open" and bright.

Step 1 was supposed to be: remove the short wire from the the vol pot lug to the tone pot lug.
Step 2: Attach new wire from the same tone pot lug and connect at the same switch lug where the bridge pup attaches.

Step one I didn't have to do, as the was no wire the. The cap i attached between the two, just like the diagram suggests that it should be. Be aware that, as fellow tdpri'ers have helped me establish in my thread in the vintage forum, this guitar already has had some work done by a previous owner, and the pots have been changed from 1meg to 250K.

I did step 2, and now the bridge and middle position are completly silent, and only the neck position works - and the tone control is still active. o_O Removed the wire, and everything was back to normal. Tried it again - maybe my rookie soldering skills were betrying me even more than I was expecting. Same problem: Only the neck pickup now works, and the tone pot is still active... So I removed the wire again, and the guitar is again back to normal. But what is wrong? I went over the wires, one by one, and everything is according to the diagram, except one thing: The ground wire (black) from the jack is not soldered to the top of the vol pot, as the diagram says, but it is soldered to that exact tone pot lug that I was trying to connect the new wire to. The lug is actually bend towards the pot, and there is so much solder, that it's had for me to se if the ground wire from the jack is touching the lug. Could this be the problem? I'm afraid to just try out stuff, as I basically have no idea what I'm doing what so ever. By only experience with anything in this department is this one time, in 2009, where I actually wired a strat pickguard from scratch, jack, pickups, everything, following a diagram. But I have absolutely no idea why this goes here and that goes there...

Can anyone offer some advice? Has some kind of mod been made, since there was no wire between the tone pot and the vol pot, and since the ground wire goes to the tone pot? Or is it simply a mistake someone made? Or maybe it doesn't matter?

This picture is from before I started messing with it. Above my thumb you can see where the ground wire is attached...To the left, where the yellow wire connects to the switch is where I connected the new wire - together with the yellow from the bridge pickup

437BA17F-E3E0-4972-8D11-849842B2DD25.jpeg
necktonebypass.jpg
 

sjtalon

Doctor of Teleocity
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Recheck your wires.

You have the output jack black (ground) on the tone pot.

Also, that terminal shouldn't be connected to the pot case as I see a lot of solder there (on black wire).

Something odd there..............you need to get it JUST like the diagram.
 
Last edited:

Steve Holt

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Hi all!

So, before opting to swap the neck pickup in my 1973 std. Tele, I wanted to try the mod where you bypass the tonepot on the neck pickup, as it supposedly leaves it more "open" and bright.

Step 1 was supposed to be: remove the short wire from the the vol pot lug to the tone pot lug.
Step 2: Attach new wire from the same tone pot lug and connect at the same switch lug where the bridge pup attaches.

Step one I didn't have to do, as the was no wire the. The cap i attached between the two, just like the diagram suggests that it should be. Be aware that, as fellow tdpri'ers have helped me establish in my thread in the vintage forum, this guitar already has had some work done by a previous owner, and the pots have been changed from 1meg to 250K.

I did step 2, and now the bridge and middle position are completly silent, and only the neck position works - and the tone control is still active. o_O Removed the wire, and everything was back to normal. Tried it again - maybe my rookie soldering skills were betrying me even more than I was expecting. Same problem: Only the neck pickup now works, and the tone pot is still active... So I removed the wire again, and the guitar is again back to normal. But what is wrong? I went over the wires, one by one, and everything is according to the diagram, except one thing: The ground wire (black) from the jack is not soldered to the top of the vol pot, as the diagram says, but it is soldered to that exact tone pot lug that I was trying to connect the new wire to. The lug is actually bend towards the pot, and there is so much solder, that it's had for me to se if the ground wire from the jack is touching the lug. Could this be the problem? I'm afraid to just try out stuff, as I basically have no idea what I'm doing what so ever. By only experience with anything in this department is this one time, in 2009, where I actually wired a strat pickguard from scratch, jack, pickups, everything, following a diagram. But I have absolutely no idea why this goes here and that goes there...

Can anyone offer some advice? Has some kind of mod been made, since there was no wire between the tone pot and the vol pot, and since the ground wire goes to the tone pot? Or is it simply a mistake someone made? Or maybe it doesn't matter?

This picture is from before I started messing with it. Above my thumb you can see where the ground wire is attached...To the left, where the yellow wire connects to the switch is where I connected the new wire - together with the yellow from the bridge pickup

View attachment 1052208 View attachment 1052209

Yeah, like @sjtalon said...

1668780609517.png


This is fishy. The ground is connected to the tone pot as it sits right there, so anything else connected to tone (bridge, and middle) will be grounded and therefore produce not sound.

1668780899361.png


I'm also not seeing this connecting (pink) in the picture you posted. More pictures would be helpful, but I think that grounded pot is the biggest issue.
 

AAT65

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Step 1 was supposed to be: remove the short wire from the the vol pot lug to the tone pot lug.
Step 2: Attach new wire from the same tone pot lug and connect at the same switch lug where the bridge pup attaches.

Step one I didn't have to do
A step you “didn’t have to do” should have been a red flag for you!!
There are many different ways to wire up a tone pot, and it sounds like yours was set up with the signal going through the capacitor to the pot and then to ground. The diagram you are referring to to had it the other way — signal to pot (through a piece of wire) and then through the capacitor to ground.
The modified arrangement has to be either pickup (at the switch) to cap to pot to ground, or pickup to pot to cap to ground.
Since you have a wiring diagram why not just copy that — but do not assume that what you have already matches or partly matches, check everything!
 

Peteurre

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A step you “didn’t have to do” should have been a red flag for you!!
There are many different ways to wire up a tone pot, and it sounds like yours was set up with the signal going through the capacitor to the pot and then to ground. The diagram you are referring to to had it the other way — signal to pot (through a piece of wire) and then through the capacitor to ground.
The modified arrangement has to be either pickup (at the switch) to cap to pot to ground, or pickup to pot to cap to ground.
Since you have a wiring diagram why not just copy that — but do not assume that what you have already matches or partly matches, check everything!
I did check everything, and to me it looked like step 1 was already done. Like, there was no wire, but instead the cap was connected like the diagram, so of course I skipped to step 2. But as I mentioned, I really have no idea why the wires in ANY diagram are connected the way, they are, so this might be some other mod i dont know
 

Peteurre

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Yeah, like @sjtalon said...

View attachment 1052222

This is fishy. The ground is connected to the tone pot as it sits right there, so anything else connected to tone (bridge, and middle) will be grounded and therefore produce not sound.

View attachment 1052224

I'm also not seeing this connecting (pink) in the picture you posted. More pictures would be helpful, but I think that grounded pot is the biggest issue.
Yes, the picture is from before I even fired up the soldering iron. The picture is how the guitar has been for at least the 15 years I’ve owned it, Where everything is working like a ‘modern’ Tele. The wire you highlighted with pink is exactly what I did, which killed the sound of the bridge and middle positions
 

AAT65

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I did check everything, and to me it looked like step 1 was already done. Like, there was no wire, but instead the cap was connected like the diagram, so of course I skipped to step 2. But as I mentioned, I really have no idea why the wires in ANY diagram are connected the way, they are, so this might be some other mod i dont know
The wires were not connected like your instructions apparently assumed so you just charged in anyway and did Step 2 without working out why you “didn’t need” to do Step 1.
The cap is not connected like the diagram. Your cap appears to go from the volume pot middle lug (also connected to the output — this is sometimes called “50s wiring”) to the middle lug of the tone pot. Neither end of the cap is grounded. Your diagram shows the cap going from the middle lug of the tone pot to the grounded lug of the volume pot, so one end is grounded. Not the same!
Your tone pot has one lug grounded (to the case of the pot, which is grounded via the control plate). The diagram shows no ground to any lug of the tone pot. Not the same!
(This tone pot difference is why your extra wire mutes the output: that lug is grounded so connecting it to the bridge pickup grounds the output whenever the bridge pickup is selected.)
Check it connection by connection and make your look like the wiring diagram. And get a multimeter so you can check your connections are good.
Take it slow and careful and you will get there, but you need to do some unpicking before you start adding on extra wires.
 

Steve Holt

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Yes, the picture is from before I even fired up the soldering iron. The picture is how the guitar has been for at least the 15 years I’ve owned it, Where everything is working like a ‘modern’ Tele. The wire you highlighted with pink is exactly what I did, which killed the sound of the bridge and middle positions

Ah yes. I see now where you said that in your first post and I completely overlooked it. :oops:

Try this...

1668785641271.png


Remove the wire that you added and run it to the middle lug on the tone pot instead.

You have this kind of thing going on (similar but not exactly)

1668785680629.png


Where the first lug on the tone pot is attached to the casing. A perfectly fine way to wire a tone pot, but you just have to be aware when you're modding.

Most tone circuits have the capacitor going to ground on one side. I'm guessing from the picture you posted that your capacitor runs from the middle lug of tone, to the middle lug of volume? If so then I'm hoping the purple line I drew on this post will fix it for you.

But there could still be a problem with that. Because the capacitor is connected to the OUTPUT of the volume pot, it will likely still be in the circuit when the neck pickup is on.

You really need to wire it up like the diagram you have to get it working the way you want. If you just move the wire over like I said, your pickups will work again, but neck will still be connected to tone.
 

Peteurre

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Jeez, I think I did it... Like ya'll pointed out, a lot of small things were not exactly like the diagram. It sure would be easier to trouble shoot, if one had even the slightest idea what the different wires did o_O

I managed to break the leg of the cap, trying to connect it to the right lug on the vol pot, but then, luckily I remembered haven seen the diagram offered by Ask Zac, on the same mod, where the cap is connected to the lug of the tone pot and ground on the top of said pot. Who cares if one of the legs are a little too short, we're not going skiing! 😁

Then I double checked every wire, and it's now setup exactly like the diagram from Ask Zac, and lo and behold, all positions are playing, tone control works on bridge and middle, but not on neck, just as intended 🥳 Thank you guys for kicking me in the ass, to go over it one more time, more meticulously than I had done.

Now, do I hear a difference on the neck pickup, with the tone bypassed..? Yeah, maybe a bit... But time will tell if it's enough, or if I will try another neck pickup to get more clarity..

Diagram from Ask Zac:
5ee13dda71c3c0872facc233_Tele-Wiring-AZ2.jpg
 
Last edited:

AustinPaul

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FWIW, I love the mod and do it 100% of the time on my Teles, but my motivation wasn't to brighten the neck pickup, but simply to be able to keep some highs rolled-off when I flip to the bridge pickup and not have to fiddle with both vol and tone mid-song.
 

AAT65

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Jeez, I think I did it... Like ya'll pointed out, a lot of small things were not exactly like the diagram. It sure would be easier to trouble shoot, if one had even the slightest idea what the different wires did o_O

I managed to break the leg of the cap, trying to connect it to the right lug on the vol pot, but then, luckily I remembered haven seen the diagram offered by Ask Zac, on the same mod, where the cap is connected to the lug of the tone pot and ground on the top of said pot. Who cares if one of the legs are a little too short, we're not going skiing! 😁

Then I double checked every wire, and it's now setup exactly like the diagram from Ask Zac, and lo and behold, all positions are playing, tone control works on bridge and middle, but not on neck, just as intended 🥳 Thank you guys for kicking me in the ass, to go over it one more time, more meticulously than I had done.

Now, do I hear a difference on the neck pickup, with the tone bypassed..? Yeah, maybe a bit... But time will tell if it's enough, or if I will try another neck pickup to get more clarity..

Diagram from Ask Zac:
View attachment 1052275
Well done, pleased to hear you got it worked out! Quite right about the cap, you can ground the end anywhere, back of either pot is fine.
 

summer_69

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You may also consider bigger (eg. 500K) pot for the volume to add a little clarity. Use lower capacitance cables and probably a buffer amplifier to remove the load from the inlet impedance of the amplifier. If the input impedance is eg. 47K or 220K ohm (depends on the amplifier and the high/low gain input) that will also load the pickups significantly.
 

bendercaster

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Glad you got it working. I really like the tone bypass mod for neck humbuckers and some traditional telecaster neck pickups. I tend to keep the tone wide open on those, but roll it back a little for the bridge to tame excessive treble there. However, when I switched to a stratocaster pickup in the neck, I had to undo that mod because the neck pickup was way too bright without the tone pot.
 




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