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Can this Fender Volume/Tone Pedal Be Modified To Not Suck? (schematic & guts inside)

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Fender sent me a schematic after they could no longer defend the shitness of their recent Volume/Tone pedal's tone-sucking supremacy..

 

so, i was wondering if anyone could look at these schematics and gut shots and maybe offer up some suggestions on any components that could be changed to make the signal come through clearer at a neutral setting. ie, that doesn't take out 3-4db and virtually all the treble off your guitar signal? :facepalm:

 

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old thread with soundclip of the tone suck for reference: http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?p=36363350#post36363350

 

any help would be much appreciated.. this is the last stop before returning it.

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what could possibly cause the tone suck ?

perhaps some bad solder joint ? you could swap the capacitor ?

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it looks to be a completely passive device, there is no way to make it not "suck tone" IMO.

 

...that's what I was thinking....it's just like messing with the tone and volume konbs on your guitar. :idk:

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You could change out the 250K tone pot for a 500K or even 1 meg pot, and/or change the tone cap to a 0.02 mfd in place of the 0.047. But yes, it is a passive device (no amplifying components) so some signal loss is a given with this thing. A treble bypass cap on the volume control might help some.

 

As a last resort, try turning up your amp's treble control.:idea:

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This is bizarre. My vintage DeArmond 610 does basically the same thing and it does suck a little tone but in the center position it's really not bad at all. Are you saying that at the point where the eq is flat you are having serious tone suck issues?

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Gareth, what type of guitars are you plugging into that pedal?

 

It is indeed a passive resistive / capacitance vol / tone pedal. Nearly identical to the passive electronics found in most guitar vol / tone circuits. As has already been mentioned, replacing the 250K volume pot with a 500K might work - it will depend in part on what you're plugging into it. And as I mentioned in the other thread, you definitely don't want to have anything in "front" of this pedal - it should be the first thing you plug into, straight from the guitar...

 

Mechanically, it looks like they're using strings and springs - basically a pulley system. My old eyes are having a hard time seeing how they are attaching the capstans to the volume and tone pot shafts, but I suspect they're held in place via Allen screws or similar... which means swapping out the pots shouldn't be too hard to do. The capacitor should be easy to swap out too, so you can change the tone circuit fairly easily.

 

A good tech will probably be able to mod that to work better with your rig, but you're going to have some signal loss with any passive tone circuit.

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On a brighter note, it probably wouldn't be too hard to turn one of those into a dual axis, dual expression pedal. One quick question - can you still sweep the top deck of the pedal from side to side (adjusting the tone control), regardless of the up / down position of the pedal? IOW, even if the volume pedal is full up or full down, can you still sweep the tone?

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On a brighter note, it probably wouldn't be too hard to turn one of those into a dual axis, dual expression pedal. One quick question - can you still sweep the top deck of the pedal from side to side (adjusting the tone control), regardless of the up / down position of the pedal? IOW, even if the volume pedal is full up or full down, can you still sweep the tone?

 

i thought you'd like some pics :thu: yep, with volume at heel or toe down you can still sweep left-right on the tone.

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yep. worst i've ever heard.. it's about twice as bad as a crybaby in bypass. if you open the link to the old thread there's a sound clip i made. guitar-computer vs guitar-pedal-computer and it's really quite shocking.

 

I just remembered... The DeArmond 610 has a dual pot for the tone and a single for the volume. The dual tone pot handles both the bass on one pot and the treble on another pot. I think when you put the pedal in the center it's like both pots are off. You should flip that Fender and keep an eye out for a 610. ;)

 

Another to look out for is the Bigsby volume tone but the prices are usually off the hook.

 

Bigsby%20pedal%20volume%20tone.jpg

 

The DeArmond looks like the one by David Gilmour's foot there

 

pompeii_effects.jpg

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cheers seth. will keep my eyes peeled, but damn.. they'll be hard to come by.

 

are there any schematics for these older ones? for comparison sake

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The DeArmond 610 has a dual pot for the tone and a single for the volume. The dual tone pot handles both the bass on one pot and the treble on another pot. I think when you put the pedal in the center it's like both pots are off.

 

That sounds similar in concept to the Fender TBX tone circuit (they sell those as kits for about $15 IIRC) - it's a treble rolloff in one direction, and a bass rolloff in the other, with a slight center detent. Still completely passive. Might be able to retrofit that into the Vol / Tone pedal...

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It appears that you need to use a Strat/SCs and remove the pots from your guitar.... But the tone control is the passive treble cut type, like the one in a guitar it can cause some mid peaking in interaction with a pickup but the cap is wrong, and if you turn down the guitar at all, it changes to a heavy treble cut.

 

Actually, driving it with a buffer should eliminate the tone suck but also most of the tone effect entirely. You could use the buffer and a series resistance to still get some tone effect.

 

I expect they intend for you to crank the treble on your amp. Not very smart.

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The DeArmond 610 has a dual pot for the tone and a single for the volume. The dual tone pot handles both the bass on one pot and the treble on another pot. I think when you put the pedal in the center it's like both pots are off.


That sounds similar in concept to the Fender TBX tone circuit (they sell those as kits for about $15 IIRC) - it's a treble rolloff in one direction, and a bass rolloff in the other, with a slight center detent. Still completely passive. Might be able to retrofit that into the Vol / Tone pedal...

 

hmm. interesting.

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So if you don't get it worked out, I call dibs
:p

Imagine the posibilities of what you could put into one of these things.

 

a delay with control over time and repeats would melt faces.

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cheers seth. will keep my eyes peeled, but damn.. they'll be hard to come by.


are there any schematics for these older ones? for comparison sake

 

The 610's are all over the place. They used to sell for a pretty penny but for some reason the value has gone done considerably. Might be due to the Fender reissues? :lol:

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Like others have said, it's a basic passive volume control with a treble bleed-style tone control before it - i.e. exactly the same setup as in a strat. So I'd expect some tone/treble loss from it. And the pulley system might not even allow the pots to reach 100% on or off, in which case you'd lose even more signal. And then there's a tuner out jack sitting in parallel to the input jack, which - if used - causes even more loss.

 

You could possibly replace the pots and tone capacitor to the same values EMG uses with their active pickups, and then add a buffer in front of it to make it work. But I guess the main question is what you expected the pedal to do, in the first place.

 

/Andreas

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I have the DeArmond 610 and would love to be able to use it in my chain, if only I could fix the inherent tone and volume suck. The gentle tone sweep is reminiscent of that vintage pedal steel sound when rocked side to side and would prove to be really novel and useful. Has anyone had any luck with a solution to the signal - loss problem? I'm not much of a techie, but is there a volume pot that can be swapped in (or ANY other mod) to reclaim all or most of your guitar signal? Thoughts appreciated...

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As Andreas suggested, short of using a buffer and / or increasing the value of the post (from 250k to 500k or even 1Meg) and changing the value of the capacitor in the tone circuit, there's not a lot you can do. A passive device is always going to lose some signal.

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This is a bit of a zombie thread, but . . .

 

I got an orignal Fender tone/volume pedal a month ago. I lent it to a friend because I'm focussed on slide right now and want to nail my intonation and vibrato etc before adding another analogue complication. The little time I spent with it suggests that it's a very expressive musical tool: cleverly designed and well-made. I've asked for it back and will give a report in good time.

 

An answer to the tone-suckage issue. Perhaps if I decide that this is a permanent part of my setup, I should install a switch on my tele that bypasses the guitar's tone and volume circuits. Given that the pedal is basically the same circuit moved to a pedal, the net result won't suck tone at all. Right?

Edited by pogo97

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