Can the tonal functions on a Fender MIM be fixed? Or is it the Pickups?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by antics31, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. antics31

    antics31 Member

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    Hi:

    I notice this in almost every Fender MIM that I play; there is little or no tonal range at all. For example, the MIA I play the tone on the pickups can be set for a noticeable more treble or more bass; the MIM's I play the tone knobs are there but they don't do anything.

    Can this be fixed or is it a matter of the pickups that need to be replaced or, unfortunately both? If I take it to a tech will he know what I am talking about and know how to fix it?

    The reason I ask is because I only have five hundred or so for a MIM Strat but if the tone knobs can't be eventually fixed or I need to replace the pickups or both then I'll just wait to buy a more expensive MIA.

    Thanks for any replies!
     
  2. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Which models are you comparing? Some Fenders have "no load", "Greasebucket", or "TBX" tone controls, and some don't. There is absolutely nothing wrong with MIM pots, they are the same ones used in the USA Fenders.

    As for "tone controls not doing anything" on a MIM Strat. If a tone control doesn't "do" anything on a MIM or any other Strat, it is defective. You are aware that vintage correct Strats do not have a tone control on the bridge pickup? The majority of MIM Strats are vintage style circuits.
     
  3. Baxter Stockman

    Baxter Stockman Member

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    MIM and MIA strats both have the same value pots and tone caps. 250k pots and .022k cap. I'm not sure what brand pots come stock in the MIM, but if you had a multimeter to check the values you might be surprised to see the inconsistency in them.

    Higher priced CTS pots will serve pretty well as far as sweep and resistance values. Swapping different tone caps of the same value won't have any audible difference.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Lemme guess; you play the bridge pickup, turn down the last tone knob and nothing happens?

    That's the way it's wired, like a vintage strat; it makes the bridge pickup extra bright.

    It's very easy to change the wiring so that the tone knob works on that pickup too.
     
  5. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    CTS, same as USA Fenders.
     
  6. Baxter Stockman

    Baxter Stockman Member

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    Learn something new here every day! Is there any difference in feel between them? From my (admittedly small) exposure to MIM and MIA Fenders, the MIM pots have typically felt a bit more 'stiff' than the MIA. Is this just random chance as the pots aren't even made in either country?
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    were the MIM guitars the "blacktop" versions by any chance? those (otherwise cool) guitars tend to have weird, cheap, stiff-turning pots by alpha or whoever.

    the mexi standards should have the same CTS as the USA stuff.
     
  8. Baxter Stockman

    Baxter Stockman Member

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    They were MIM standards. Guess it was just (un)luck of the draw. Fine guitars otherwise.
     

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