Fender themselves changed this to 0.022uF later since many players thought the tone knob was too drastic in these strats. A electric path that has little “resistance” will lead more current than a path with higher resistance. You may install a separate tone cap for the mid/bridge pickups allowing you to tune them individually. Tremolo is volume). We set the action by playing and tweaking by ear and feel. Everyone, including myself, always talked about which famous guitarist had the best tone. If you don't have one of these switches, it's because you have a single pickup guitar. The schema also shows the curcuit assuming the pickup switch is in position 1, 3 or 5, using only one pickup and one tone pot. A low pass filter only allows frequencies at a lower value than the threshold to pass through, which means it's chopping out higher frequencies. 0.01uF) and/or a bigger tone pot R2 (i.e. On the other hand, there are a few scenarios where you might enjoy having full treble at lower volumes: – When you play solo and licks with reduced volume and want the same tone as on full volume setting. Let’s list a few components and parts in the Fender Stratocaster that affect tone: In this section we’ll breefly explain how components inside the Stratocaster affects the tone. The dynamic area is reduced and will lie between 6 and 10 on the volume knob (while the standard strat/tele wiring has a bigger range 1-10). An example of that is too close pickups with a shrill and hard tone, bad intonation or worse, a loose truss rod and a neck curve that results in high action, several centimeters high. Press down the low E against the last fret and measure the gap between the pickup magnet pole and the bottom side of the string. Single coil strats have by design a relatively scooped tone compared to many other guitars, and we personally think thicker strings improves the tone and bring out more mids. You will lose control with the risk of missing notes and playing out of tune or time. turning the screw < 90 degrees, can take days before you see the neck stabilizes into its new curve. Several Gibson models have used a four-knob control complement consisting of an independent volume and tone control for each of two pickups and a three-way pickup selector switch. Its placement there is, like that of all Stratocaster parts, entirely deliberate—close enough to the strumming/picking hand to be within easy reach while playing, but far enough out of the way that it’s unlikely to be accidentally knocked out of position. If this quicker answer doesn't satisfy your curiosity, you can read more about it and related topics in our article called 'What is Guitar Tone?'. If you have plastic knobs like a Strat, those require Split Shaft – you can simply slip the plastic knobs on. After adjusting the action from a low and high neck position, you must verify the action and fret buzz halfway on the neck. 500K control pots are the usual choice for humbuckers. In developing that standard feature, Parrish found that adding one resistor to the capacitator in series and another in parallel would let a fuller tone shine through at all volumes. These "K" numbers are the resistance ratings (kOhms). Some things you can change, some things you can’t. Volume knobs control the output of one, two, or all pickups. Any higher frequencies will quickly 'roll-off' in volume so they are far less noticeable. Cap’s are measured and specified by the term capacitance, with unit farad. The volume difference between 10 and 8 is significant with the 50’s wiring. The pickup current is divided in two paths – 1) through the tone pot R2 and tone cap C1 and 2) through the volume pot R1. This is the “bass distance” we’re referring to above. The treble bleeder kit consists of a cap and resistor wired in parallel over the volume pot – from the top leg of the volume pot to the middle leg and hot tip output. A higher resistance means less current to flow through the tone pot. Only the low ones stay. The paper towel seemed like a good idea, but same result. An advantage with the 50’s wiring design is no treble loss when backing down the volume, which is the same objective as with the Treble bleeder kit. On the other hand, if your preferred style is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas blues, thicker strings and higher action will allow for powerful bends and shakes with both sustain and volume intact – given you have the brute force and technique necessary. This might be too thick for beginners, but after playing for some years this gauge allows you to bend and shake heavily. Our reader questions often lead to full investigations on a broader scale, and this one is no exception. This way, you lose all the definition of that specific pickup. Capacitors act different for signals of different frequencies. Setting the volume at zero means zero resistance between ground and the output jack hot tip – the volume pot at minimum grounds the signal. We’re sadly not sharing any millimeter measures, simply because we don’t know or measure the heights on our own guitars. Good sounding guitars that are also easy to play can be hard to find among new guitars. Play with regular strength and pick attack. Some switches, like the Eyb or the Schaller, fall somewhere between the two main types, offering an open PCB-based construction, like the one shown above. If you need to tame the treble in a bright Tele or Strat, try to increase the tone cap value to i.e. The guitar and amp affect the tone in different ways. Get Creative with Effects Like Reverb, Delay and Distortion. This should be done after raising/lowering the bridge saddles when adjusting the action. A set of 10-15 songs involving a lot of chords can wear you out totally if the action is too high or the strings are too thick/high tension. Jumbo frets and a “Modern C” shaped neck all add to the playability and comfort, whilst the 70s style larger headstock adds resonance due to the extra wood, and it just looks cool! These all relate to the pickups and your overall gain. To convert your Strat’s normal tone control to Greasebucket specs, you don’t need much: 0.1 μF and 0.022 μF capacitors (Fender uses ceramic-disc versions), and a 1/4-watt 4.7 kΩ resistor (Fender uses the metal-film type). A 5-way blade switch will let you choose between mixing and matching three pickups. Yes, most. This technique points out the reality that as you start cutting out frequencies, you're also dropping the volume a bit. Lots of friction between fingers and fretboard will limit your playing a lot and makes it difficult to play aggressive solos with strings bends and shakes. We like this mod since one needs no extra components to re-wire a strat or tele circuitry into the 50’s wiring design. Your hands and fingers should not get tired after 15 minutes of playing a mix of chords and licks/solos. ... One search I found said to use a flathead screwdriver to "widen" the pot, that may be the next try. Many times we find that used instruments are better to play than brand new ones, not necessarily because they are old and worn, but because they have had caring owners that have tweaked the details that make a difference. A smaller volume pot will result in more treble loss in your guitar, and it is desirable to brighten the tone with humbuckers. Therefore higher volume pot resistance values with humbuckers. You're only achieving warmth by removing higher frequencies. Now you may find you've lost some articulation in your playing due to cutting out the high frequencies, so you add a little tone back while bumping up the volume to compensate for the loss due to the low pass filter. He acts as owner, editor, lead author, and web designer of LedgerNote, as well as co-author on all articles. Thicker strings have more tension and can therefore handle more beating and a harder pick attack before they are “over-hit”, resulting in either a too sharp note or the buzz and blizztering attack when they slam into the frets. But sustain is not all, we’re also looking for a resonance character where the neck and body responds with desirable frequencies based on the input frequencies from the vibrating strings. If you want more treble go for a lower tone cap value C1 (i.e. Use sand paper or sanding files and file the nut slots carefully so that the strings are lowered. Please note that the effect of this mod is only present at reduced volume levels. Does Studio Recording Equipment Apply to Podcasting? Start with the bass side. The knobs control volume and tone. The volume pot, tone pot and tone cap will all affect the tone. With the tone knob in the full c ockwise position, a brighter tone is achieved. you are using thicker strings than the nut s used to, your guitar will get out of tune when you’re using the vibrato or when bending and shaking strings. We think that the truss rod mojo is really not complicated nor magical. Let it be said! Good instruments can motivate us to play better and make us feel good and comfortable on stage, which is important for both professionals and hobby guitarists. Below is the wiring diagram for the American standard stratocaster model. If you can live with the sudden reduction of volume with the 50’s wiring, you should try it out. Setting the volume at maximum results in 250kohm between ground and the ouput, meaning a higher voltage applied over this 250k resistance and a stronger signal going out. This is a high resistance where most of the current will continue to the volume pot rather than going towards ground. It is also important to keep the nut slot wide and smooth enough to prevent the strings to get stuck and locked. Not thicker than your fingers are able to control and handle, without getting tired and worn out. TBX Some instruments have a unique tone circuit that features a TBX Tone Control (Patented). This is the most standard wiring – three single coil pickups, 5-way switch, 250k volume and tone pot, the lower tone pot coupled for both mid and bridge pickup and no treble bleed components/wiring. Hence, the truss rod must be tightened to straighten the neck. Of course the strings must be properly stretched and the tuners must work perfect for this to work. Strat will sound brighter with a 0.047uF tone cap than it will with a 0.1uF To understand why Fender did this, you have to take a look at the past. Raising or lowering the bridge saddles is much easier. Higher tone cap value -> darker tone. ELECTRONICS 3x V-Mod II Strat single-coil pickups, 5-way blade selector switch, master volume, neck/middle tone, push-push bridge tone control activates neck pickup in switch positions 1 and 2; SCALE LENGTH 25.5”/648mm; NECK WIDTH 43.2mm at nut, 51.8mm at 12th fret; NECK DEPTH 21.1mm at first fret, 23.0mm at 12th fret You may want to write these knob values down somewhere and give the tone a name you can remember for self-reference. This means the tone cap does affect the tone a little bit even when the tone knob is on 10. Or is this all a matter of personal taste and preferences – just like music itself? If the nut slot is too tight and narrow, i.e. Also called string height, adjusted on the Strat bridge. When you leave the tone knob at 10, you essentially have it in bypass mode where all frequencies can pass through unabated. If you intend to chop Stevie Vai solos with finger tapping and melodic scales in the speed of +25 notes pr. In "vintage wiring" there is no tone control for the bridge pickup on a Strat. However, I know of no Squier Strat that has Tone 2 wired for the bridge-only pickup setting. The action is adjusted in several ways. The vintage 50’s strats had 0.1uF. This is an effect of the original circuitry from Leo Fender. We don’t like the tremolo bridge rest firmly down against the body. Newer necks and fretboards with glossy lacquer will create lots of friction, particularly when your hands are warm and sweaty. Remember when choosing an audio interface was confusing before you read this? With a bad setup you will get a crap tone no matter how good parts you have. I love these kind of questions because it shows us gaps in our content beyond the huge ones we're still trying to cover. These guitars will eventually need a fret job, meaning either re-fretting or leveling the frets. How Do I Link & Monitor the Signal Chain While Recording? 18 fret or not doing any bends and shakes, you can optimize the action from a lower position on the neck. The guitar toggle switch and the guitar tone knobs explained. You should inspect the neck curve on a monthly basis and adjust the truss rod accordingly. Our personal recommendation for obtaining a rich and sustaining tone is to use as thick strings as possible, but not thicker than that. So in a jazz band you may hear a real crisp guitar tone where they may have the tone knob at 8 to 10. The TBX control can be wired as a substitute for any normal tone control for any pickup, as well as a master tone control for all pickups. Bass side: 2.6mm. 0.1 µF. Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum. Next in line is the capacitor C1 which will allow higher frequencies to pass through it, meaning that the treble-part of the signal will be grounded and is lost. Single coil guitars often have 250K volume pots while humbuckers have 500K. Going further, focusing on Stratocasters, a good guitar is initially given from the design and build of the guitar – wood materials, pickups & electronics, hardware, neck and fretboard. This way they can comfortably move up or down with their tone without affecting their volume too much while trying to hang around that 7 value. Hi, Nate. In a single pickup guitar you'll have only one tone knob but you can have multiples depending on the number of pickups you have. It’s more important to have fresh strings and change them regularly. The strategy is the same here, lower them much as possible without getting any fret buzz when you are playing licks high up on the neck and bending the strings a whole note. fenderguru.com is a privately owned web site and not part of Fender Musical Instruments corporation. Read more about the 50’s wiring on http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/3_Mods_for_3_Guitars. Let’s list a couple of advantages with thicker strings. Go ahead and get the amount of saturation and distortion you want, then start turning the tone down until you cut out as much of the sharpness you want so your tone sounds warmer. When we adjust by ear we are playing chords and licks with the neck, mid and bridge pickup until the balance gets right. There's nothing bad about it at all. They will not pass through the tone cap but is forced to go to the volume potmeter towards the jack output. Search the Internet for more sources of in-depth information on how pickup works and the physical and magnetic interaction between strings and pickups. We will try to address some of these questions in our setup guide. Depending on how hot the pickups are (magnet strength, number of windings) you need to adjust the distance accordingly. The other part of the Push-Pull pot is the Switch.The DPDT switch has two sides.Side 1 (A – B – C) is entirely independent of Side 2 (D – E – F).. We refer to the center lugs, B and E, as the “common” or inputs of the switch – they stay connected all the time. It offers several possibilities to easily tweak and adjust the behavior. The treble-bleed circuits included on the American Professional Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar and Jazzmaster single-coil pickups take that one step further. The switching, however, is … Thicker strings support a hard playing style better and you won’t lose pitch. Tone fatness can partly be compensated for in pedals and amps – therefore you should use strings that suit your fingers with a correct relationship between finger strength and string gauge. The tone cap is shared between all pickups (in vintage wiring, the bridge is not wired to the tone pot). The question that usually comes after this one is related to needing help finding the perfect tone. The TBX (which stands for Treble Bass Expander), is a dual Recommended component values from fenderguru.com are 680pF capacitor and a 220K ohm resistor. Our favorites are Pyramid round core nickel strings, but we are open to lots of different brands. Like water and other things in nature – current seeks to ground through the path of least “resistance”. This is all about the knob! 250K and 500K are the most common values. At full volume there is no effect of the treble bleed cap + resistor (same with 50s wiring). Some made by Fender do have Tone 2 (the "bottom" tone knob) wired so that the bridge-only pickup setting has tone control. You will have the same approximate dynamic range. You may even use wounded strings to file the nut with. If the strings are too big you won’t have the necessary power, timing, control and ability to play fast, bend and apply vibrato. It has to be set up correctly and there is some amount of luck and randomness involved too, more often with cheaper gear than expensive gear. Also a 250K tone pot makes your guitar less sensitive to “bad” or long guitar cables with high capacitance that kill some treble and clarity. If you play mostly rhythm and/or you play softly, you can have a low string action. This is the wiring diagram showing how you solder the cap+resistor on to the volume pot lugs. All fret-buzz reduces sustain and volume. We also believe that 0,047uF is a good starting point for the tone cap in Stratocasters and Telecasters. There's nothing like diving head first into a new instrument. The contoured body and neck joint make the Stratocaster easy to hold and play, and its deep cutaways give the player ready access to the entire fretboard. The vintage 50’s strats had 0.1uF. What seemed obvious isn't so clear cut. A Fender Stratocaster with a Neck, Middle, and Bridge Pickup I said all of that so I could say that your tone knob or tone knobs are affecting the characteristics of the output of the pickups. A good setup will ensure both tone and playability, allowing you to play fast and easy with superior tone. We prefer a straight neck (straight as possible) to allow the lowest possible action along the whole neck length. With several neck profiles to choose from, there’s a Strat to match just about everybody’s hand and playing style. Each one can be controlled individually. Which components affect the tone in what way? 0.1 µF. The string should vibrate freely when being plucked when you’re holding it down against the first and last fret. As you know, the standard Stratocaster has a master volume and two tone controls, one for the middle and one for the neck pickup, but none for the bridge pickup! Fender themselves changed this to 0.022uF later since many players thought the tone knob was too drastic in these strats. Either the nut has to be replaced or the whole nut must be raised by inserting a piece of paper or wood below the nut. I said all of that so I could say that your tone knob or tone knobs are affecting the characteristics of the output of the pickups. At fenderguru.com we believe that 250k tone and volume pots is a good choice of clear fendery tone with just the right amount of sparkle and low-end. One of the advantages with vintage guitars is the worn neck wood. This is amp tremolo, by definition. We cannot hear any difference. Thicker strings will have a higher tension and bend the neck more. You may have noticed that the tone gets a little darker when you back down the volume on your guitar, especially for stratocasters and telecasters. This is the starting point and from now you must adjust be ear. Let's say this threshold lands on the 6 kHz frequency. This is the wiring diagram for Stratocaster, from premierguitar.com. Who has not upgraded their guitar with expensive aftermarket parts in the search for a better tone? The proper way to create the tone you want before you start hitting your pedals and amplifier effects is to open the tone knob up to a 10 and set your volume. A minor truss rod adjustment, i.e. Adjusting the truss rod is an iterative process that can take days and weeks, depending on temperature and humidity and how much the guitar travels. Simply – as long as the truss rod is inside the ball park area, and not outside, all is well. There is no correct answer in high vs. low action as it’s highly subjective. Volume-Pot: from the circuit you see how the output jack (hot tip) is wired into the circuit at the middle leg of the pot. It can change from song to song, which is why some players will set their volume correctly with their tone knob aimed around a 7. Dc-current and low-frequency signals see a cap as a high electrical “resistance”. A smaller value like 0.047µF will have more treble. Good setup won’t compensate for that, but it will bring out the potential that each individual guitar has. Tuning down to Eb will allow you to use thicker strings and you will get a woodier and darker tone. Good sustain must be ensured by having a quality bridge (Callaham, for example) and good body and neck wood. You should play the guitar as much as possible after adjusting truss rod to stimulate the neck curve change. This is just as wrong as when we say a Fender amp’s “vibrato channel”. We prefer a bone nut for both performance and the vintage correct looks, but we’ve also had graphite nuts that are smooth and well functioning. With that, here is our top 10 (not specifically in any order, except for #1).1) Practice/Playing Style- no need for a detailed explanation here. This makes the strings slide smoothly and even allows us to do deep Hendrix dives without the guitar getting way out of tune. At fully counter-clockwise position, tone=0, the resistance R2 is 0 (zero) ohms allowing all the current to leak through here on its way to ground. But first, let us try to define a little bit more what is considered a good guitar tone.
2020 strat tone knobs explained