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ksl

Volume &Tone Resitance Values~

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Good day all,,, Here's my DIY pickguard, 2-SSL's & a Lil' 59, and the tone is hooked up only to the bridge p/u. Both pots are 300k, and I'm finding things on the dark side, especially for positions 2 thru 5. Is the best way to brighten things up a bit to put in a 500k pot, and which pot to change, or both?  How does that work, especially with no tone on the middle & neck?

Thanks everyone & stay safe!

 

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Edited by ksl

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Pots don't have a great effect on tone. 

What happens when you put a 500K in place of a 250/300K pot is the sweep changes.

Instead of the volume tapering down at an equal amount it will do practically nothing until you get to maybe 2 or 3  then it cuts off all at once. 

The taper is wrong for single coil pickups unless you buy a special taper that quickly attenuates towards the high side. 

What you actually want to brighten thing up are bleeder caps.  I bought some .001uf caps myself yesterday because I had run out.   Cost me a whopping $3 for 25 of them and I ordered 25 .033uf tone caps for 2 from the same vendor for $2.

You have the option of connecting the cap by itself or using an additional 150 ohm resistor in parallel with it depending on the type or pot, pickup and the amount of tone you want the guitar to retain.  You can find the combination ready to install for a buck or two like this and you simply solder it to the center and hot leg  of the volume pot (not the grounded leg)

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This will make the tone much brighter as soon as you dial the volume down a little. It will not affect it at full volume.  The only fix for full volume tone is to get pickups with brighter tone.  Or you could add active electronics and add an on board EQ circuit.  Artec makes some excellent circuits for this. The batteries last for years without needing replacement which is good because you typically have to Velcro the battery in the cavity under the pickguard.  I have a couple of guitars with this arrangement and it works quite well. 

Personally I prefer to simply choose pickups that already have  the ideal tone and then I only have to worry about balancing their output with pickup height. 

There is one other item you could try.  I'm not 100% sure how well it might work because I don't use those single coil humbuckers.   You could wire the two single coils in series for impedance closer to a PAF then try using a 500K pot.  Switching them off and on as singles might be tougher with a blade switch, and you'd still have the taper issue when running them singly but in the 2 and 4 positions you might be OK.  It will make the pickups louder in those positions but you'll find loudness is the least of your worries when you have amps and pedals that can remove paint from the walls.  I learned a long time ago I prefer vintage would pickups over all these pickups claiming they are hot wound. 

A strat pickup sounds its best when wound at 5.6 to 6.2K ohms.  Anything above that's going to kill the highs and produce mud tones.  Seymour winds their mini HB at about 9.8K they typically change the magnet strength so it will work with other single coil's and blend ok.  Dimarzio is crazy high at 13.8K.  Even with a weaker alnico magnet its unlikely to blend with a vintage single coil  very well.  You have to be careful with the generics because they don't know how to balance the impedance properly and all they do is wind as much wire as they can on the bobbin as though more is better.  It isn't, its in fact the worst thing you can do for good tone as you are finding out. 

I'm not a huge fan of humbuckers in Strat's to begin with. I have one with an ideally matched full sized HB in the bridge position.  It took a lot of experimentation to find that one and it wound up being the same type of Mighty Mite pickup EVH used.  I've also tried a Strat with P90's and Gibson style Mini Humbuckers. Neither were worth the effort in my book.  Nothing but mud tones and 3 of each was overkill.  They didn't provide much difference in tone and you couldn't hear much change in any of the PO positions. 

One last option you can use to add treble is to take a .047uf cap and wire it to a pot so the cap is in series with the pickups.  This lakes it work the opposite  from a normal tone control that has the cap in parallel with pickups.  As you turn the pot down, it removes bass from the output instead of cutting treble. The cap value simply have to be higher to pass most of the frequency and only removes the bass tones.  Rickenbacker used this trick on many of their bridge pickups on guitars and basses.  Danelectro also used a similar filter combined with tone so the pot would remove treble turned in one direction and removed bass turned the opposite direction. 

Again, I prefer to get my tone by choosing the right pickup first.  The rest is just optional control.  Try the bleeder first.  you may have to turn the volume down a tad for it to work but it usually does the job on most Fenders and it is a stock option of most Tele guitars because their bridge pickup is usually wound much hotter and needs the bleeder when truning down to prevent muted tones.   

 

 

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Thanks WRGKMC,,, but don't forget, I'm working with a Master Volume & a tone that controls only the bridge.  Looking to brighten the 2 through 5 positions that sounded fine when that exact pickguard was mounted on a different body. It's not pickup choice.

Thanks 

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If you want to open the sound up across all positions, I'd start by replacing the 300k volume pot with a 500k pot. Then after that you can experiment with different capacitor values for the tone control if you think it's necessary. Since you have the tone control hooked up to only the bridge humbucker, it shouldn't have any impact on the sound of the single coil pickups, but replacing the master volume pot definitely will make them (as well as the bridge pickup) sound brighter and more open. Since you have the tone control on the bridge pickup, if position 1 seems a bit too bright after the volume pot swap, you can always roll off a little of the highs from the bridge pickup using the tone control. 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, ksl said:

Gotcha, PHIL! Thanks~

 

You're welcome. :) Please let us know how your project turns out once you get it finished. 

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6 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

If you want to open the sound up across all positions, I'd start by replacing the 300k volume pot with a 500k pot. Then after that you can experiment with different capacitor values for the tone control if you think it's necessary. Since you have the tone control hooked up to only the bridge humbucker, it shouldn't have any impact on the sound of the single coil pickups, but replacing the master volume pot definitely will make them (as well as the bridge pickup) sound brighter and more open. Since you have the tone control on the bridge pickup, if position 1 seems a bit too bright after the volume pot swap, you can always roll off a little of the highs from the bridge pickup using the tone control. 

 

 

This matches my experience, although I'd usually run 250/300K pots (both tone & volume) on a strat and 500K on a humbucker guitar.

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31 minutes ago, Ancient Mariner said:

This matches my experience, although I'd usually run 250/300K pots (both tone & volume) on a strat and 500K on a humbucker guitar.

That is what I typically use too. 
 

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