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I Added A Little Brightness To My LP Pickups' Sound


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I am very happy with my new Les Paul Standard's sound except that it sounded almost too deep and rich. It needed some more brightness to the sound.

A cheap and dirty way to add a little more treble is to put a 10k ohm resistor in series with the tone control capacitor. I did this to both tone controls. Nice little improvement.

Soldering skills required.

 

Background: I noticed that completely disconnecting the tone control cap improved the brightness of the sound. I got a "bright" idea. Limit how much the capacitor changes (filters) the frequency response.

 

FYI: My pots are 500k ohm, the caps are 0.02 mfd.

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Hmmm... considering that you already have 500,000O in series with the cap (assuming the tone control is at "10"), I think any difference you get from an extra 10,000O (i.e. 2%) will be largely subjective. Basically you've changed your 500K pot to a 510K pot, which is well within the tolerance range of the pot. I would recommend you try a smaller cap value, say a .015 or a .018 if you can find one, if you are seeking tangible as opposed to imagined results.

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Hmmm... considering that you already have 500' date='000O in series with the cap (assuming the tone control is at "10"), I think any difference you get from an extra 10,000O (i.e. 2%) will be largely subjective. Basically you've changed your 500K pot to a 510K pot, which is well within the tolerance range of the pot. I would recommend you try a smaller cap value, say a .015 or a .018 if you can find one.[/quote']

That was the first thing I tried. It did not soften the tone enough (when called for) with the smaller cap (the smaller cap shortens the time-constant of the circuit too much).

 

If adding a 10k ohm resistor doesn't change the tone enough, then try a 15k, 22k, 33k, or 47k.

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Actually, I would think what you want, in order to closely mimic the condition of infinite resistance that you created by disconnecting the cap, would be a 1Meg pot. However you will now find that you really have to dial back a lot before you start rolling off the highs. Recognize the 500K value for what it is; a compromise between usable range and a reasonably high resistance to prevent high freqs bleeding off to ground. Pissing around with 10K resistors and the like is just.. well... whatever makes you happy. Even a 47K resistor merely represents a 10% increase in the overall resistance of the circuit... and that's still within the outer limits of the pot's tolerance.

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+1 on the 1meg pot if more bite is what you seek.but the taper is much differant as pointed out.i have a 1 meg in my samick and its kinda like wide open sounding.peels paint off the wall' date='does'nt mellow out very well.[/quote']

 

The p_ups have a characteristic resistance/impedance and the volume pot value is selected to provide

a balance on the tone/frequency response from the two coils in the hbucker.

I would guess that some resistive loading is required. If you don't have enough of it,

the sound would have kind of a hollowness to it.

Volume pot outputs are combined through the toggle switch in the mid position,

(DC resistance: Neck 8K + Bridge 13K = around 4Kohms), however the signal impedance is another matter.

If the vol pots are fully open, (1 meg to ground), it's (4, 8, or 13K) sitting on top of a 1meg resistor..

a high impedance presented to the amp's input. Lots of volume, but might be dicy to control.

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FYI another interesting trick is to cut the resistance in the tone pot so that the ground is completely isolated in the "10" position i.e. infinite resistance. I think fender refers to this as a "texas tone" circuit' date=' and it's fairly easy to do this mod yourself. [/quote']

 

"Delta Tone" at 10 there is no resistance. The pup is running straight to the volume pot. I have made a couple of Delta Tone pots, easy to do.

 

There is also the Fender TBX - (treble/Bass Expander) 1 meg tone pot device. Uses stacked pots. I have it in my Strat.

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I haven't ohmed out my Epi LP Custom tone pots, but the taper is such that I have a smooth roll-off until I back off to about 3/4 and then there's a lot of difference in a hurry. At that point, the tone becomes muted quickly. Depending on the amp EQ, I stay somewhere from CW to almost CCW. There's an almost wah wah breakover when you get almost CCW. I suppose that the pots are log taper. That's with SD Pearly Gates in both positions.

 

I like a full range to boosted mid sound for lead. You'll rarely hear me playing a tinny, cutting tone on any pickup unless the song calls for it. Even then, I like some balance in the EQ. Most of the sustain in a note comes from the fundamental and second order harmonics.

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Well yeah, I am mostly a Fender player...but Delta Tone and No Load pots are features found on Fender guitars !

 

A good Strat or Tele doesn't need any of this stuff ! [and neither does a good Gibson type guitar if the pickups are any good ]

 

Just my opinion of course. I know that some folks enjoy the extra flexibility which some of these mods allow.

They're just not for me.

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The TBX circuit is very interesting; basically it's two 500K pots ganged together with a detent at the center, wired in series to a .02 cap to ground with an 82K bleed resistor also going to ground off the series connection between the two pots. From center to zero it works pretty much like your standard tone control but from center to 10 it starts adding in the second pot so that you end up with 1 Meg resistance at ten, and you get a little more treble than you would with the standard 500K pot and cap setup. I always felt that a TBX control would work well on a single pickup guitar to give you a wider range of available tones... but then again, upon examination of the TBX circuit, you can probably get similar results by just upping to a 1 Meg pot. Some people feel that the 82K resistor to ground tends to do bad things; some have modded the circuit by removing this resistor.

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The newest version of the TBX from Fender now uses a 1M resistor instead of the 87k on older models. It is supposed to eliminate any popping sounds when moving off the detente at 5.

 

Ah. That sounds better... I didn't like the idea of bleeding all that signal off but with a 1M resistor that won't be a problem.

 

BTW...

detent (DEE-tent): a mechanism that temporarily keeps one part in a certain position relative to that of another' date=' and can be released by applying force to one of the parts.

 

[b']detente[/b] (DAY-taunt): A policy toward a rival nation or bloc characterized by increased diplomatic, commercial, and cultural contact and a desire to reduce tensions, as through negotiation or talks.

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