Clapton electronics versus EMG (Gilmour or Vince Gill)


Dang Twangler
I am intrigued by the idea of having a Strat with some sort of on-board mid boost. To that end, I recently ordered a loaded body that included a full set of Lace Sensor Blues with the Clapton electronics that I am experimenting with.

After fitting a new battery, I have found a couple of things to be true about this guitar:

-- The basic tone of the Lace Sensor Blues is pretty good. Hot but not overly so when the mid boost is out of the circuit.
-- The mid-boost control seems to come on slowly at first, then really strong in the last 9/10's of engagement. It goes very suddenly from a pleasant boost to a screaming, squawking mess in that last bit of engagement. This could be a sign that the Lace Blues are not a good match for the circuitry in full-on mode (I think Clapton guitars use Golds which are less hot).
-- The second pot is supposed to be a Fender "No Load" tone control with a paper-in-oil cap, but it just dials in a bunch of mud. I'm going to try a different cap ASAP.

So far I have mixed feelings about the Clapton mid boost. I wish it would give me more shades of boost as it comes on rather than being so touchy at the end of the pot's travel. I suspect that it is a different animal with pickups that are better matched to it. I'd love to hear from folks who use this circuit.

I was also reading today about different experiences with the EMG David Gilmour and Vince Gill setups. I think the Gilmour rig would make for a very versatile Strat. If anyone has compared the EMG SPC control with the Clapton circuit I'd love to hear about it.

Finally, I have a set of Ron Ellis 50/60 strat pickups on order. I have considered putting them in this guitar and fitting a Suhr backplate to cut down on any noise. If anyone has paired traditional pickups with the Clapton circuit I'm all ears. I know it can be done, but wonder how successfully.

Mark Kane

Platinum Supporting Member
the coolest sounding strat boost deal is the one tyler uses. I believe it's a Demeter circuit.


Silver Supporting Member
I have a Powerhouse Strat that uses the Clapton circuit but with less gain and regular pups with a dummy pup for noise reduction.
This control tends to be most active in the last bit of travel too, but with less boost available is quite usable.
Lace Blues are likely too middy to yield the expected range, as well.
Don't count on a cap change to do much unless you use a different value.
A bandmate has the EMG system and it is more versatile and offers a very good range from each control.
Neither one is totally vintage sounding if that is a main goal.
Low noise pups (or the backplate should work) ahead of the boost is preferred.


I've actually got two powerhouses. One of them has the boost taper problem you're describing and one of them works more predictably and smoothly. I'm guessing it's just a linear taper pot versus an audio or log pot, but I've never actually bothered to investigate :jo. I think I'll go crack them open and check if anyone is curious.

As for the sound, obviously I love them. I decided I couldn't bear it if my first one broke or got lost or stolen, so I bought a backup.

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