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Smallest change to your guitar that made a big tonal difference.

Jeff Michael

There are two silly things I do to any Fender bass I have: replace the thumb rest/tug bar with a wooden one (usually ebony), and replace the knobs with the appropriate style Callaham deep-knurl knobs. I use the tug bar, particularly the treble-side variety, more than most people, and I like the knobs to be grippy and have some mass when I’m adjusting them. Silly to be sure, but on the other hand, these are my main touch points to the body of the instrument.

Circuitwise, I always change a Jazz bass over to blend/volume/tone instead of volume/volume/tone, as I like to go from one pickup to another in one move rather than two. And my other go-to mod is making the bottom tone knob on a strat a push-pull knob that adds the bridge pickup to the neck for all seven pickup combinations.


Terry Hoffman

What was the smallest physical change to your guitar that made the biggest difference in sound and performance?

I recently replaced the graphech saddles on my USA Strat with alloy Wilkinson block saddles. Not only did they raise the action a bit allowing for use of a thicker gauge, but the saddles have introduced increased sustain and acoustic projection.

Well it wasn't a small change but. I did a complete loaded pickguard on my 92 American Strat. Dimarzio Area unit. Absolutely sent that guitar into orbit. Totally amazing!!!!!!


Removed tone pot of neck pickup on my Tele .
Pickup now sounds more alive than when I had the tone pot attached and did'nt use it .
Try that on a telecaster bridge pickup like on a Esquire! Just a volume knob sweet jesus pure rock an roll!


Senior Member
Put a Fender waterslide headstock decal on my blank headstock,,, OMG where has this Decal been the last 8 years?!
It finally sounds and looks like the Guitar I've always wanted,,,,,
My Dreams have all come True :bong:dude


Gold Supporting Member
The smallest physical change here depended on a particular guitar but overall a different capacitor value
on the tone pot that helped get a more usable taper and variety or variation of sounds.

Randy Zeitman

Acoustic ... new pick ... a particular brand of toothbrush ... cut the bristles and use as a brush strum ... use the back for a different kind of smoother strum. Gonna make a YouTube about it.


Turned the bridge tone knob into a blender pot that blends the bridge pickup into any position the 5 way switch is in on my American strat. It was life changing! Ha ha.


Gold Supporting Member
1) Strings I experiment once in a while but I always come back to Pyramid Maximum Performance.
2) Pickup height adjustments.

Tony Done

I won't call swapping pickups a small change, but removing the plated brass covers from resulted in what I thought was a noticeable improvement in tone in several pickups on which I tried it. I don't think removing nickel silver covers would have much effect on tone, but I haven't tried it.

Another small change that makes a difference is a treble bleed cap across the volume control.


I replaced the terrible parallelogram F tuners on my '75 Tele and '72 Thinline RI Tele with Kluson Revolution 19:1 tuners (drop-in replacements). Both guitars tune up much easier and more precise. I always had to fight with the original tuners just to turn them.


Silver Supporting Member
Kinman noiseless pups in my strat and my tele.
I put Kinman Surfmasters in a ‘64 Jazzmaster because the noise in the originals made the guitar unplayable. It was a great change but my bank account would not call it “small”!
Changing picks.
From Fender celluloid to Dunlop Tortex.
I feel that. HUGE difference with picks, esp Tortex vs Celluloid. I have struggled to get into celluloid despite trying on and off for years. Sometimes they work in recording cases, but overall I feel like I get lots more from Tortex, IMO.


One modification I did that actually was a hardware modification that was small yet made a handy change for a big sound difference was install Loknobs which allowed for increments of about 3 mm or so on the pot. This would normally eliminate any smooth volume swell possibilities with the knobs, but I accidentally hit a workaround, because they were installed in push-pull pots that I had set up for coil taps and I decided I wanted switches for the taps and when disconnected the wires from the pots that now went to the switches I realized when I lifted the pots to the upper positions away from the loknob teeth it could still be used as a normal smooth volume pot which then made it dual function. In the down position, it locked into whatever increment in the volume taper I liked the most, and the upper position it was a normal volume swell knob.

Another thing I did since I don't have a tone knob at the moment I solder a 125k resistor across the two outer legs of the pot to make a 250k pot a 125k pot, which is what would happen if I did have a tone knob.

Red Mustang

Added a Gilmour switch on my strat giving me a nice bridge and neck combo (Tele) and all 3 pickups for a jazzy warm blues tone. Also added a kill switch for the kick and a piezo under the pickguard connected to the blender tone pot converted as a volume with a 3 way switch. That's my experimental strat and I love it

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