Strat - Master Tone - Wiring Ideas & Productive Discussion

Stratman76

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1,115
I'm really hoping this thread will be useful to Strat hackers everywhere.

For base reference purposes-

Typical Volume Pot lugs are wired as:
Lug 1- hot (in)
Lug 2- signal out (wiper)
Lug 3- ground

Typical Tone Pot lugs are wired as:
Lug 1- ground or out
Lug 2- signal out (wiper)
Lug 3- ground or out


Bear with me, I'm definitely no EE (please correct me) and this will be an ambitious thread.

I've got a few diagrams to discuss and contribute but want to start with the basics. That established, there is no better place to start than a Seymour Duncan Strat Master Tone Diagram for a standard S-S-S, 1 volume and standard 5 position switch.





This is Tone pot - Lug 3 (out) to Volume Pot Lug 1 (Hot) and Tone Cap goes Tone Pot Signal to ground. No Blender (yet!).
 
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Stratman76

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1,115
This one I found on the Tele Forum (TDPRI)

It is based on 50's Les Paul tone wiring and was originally posted by a member who goes by Fezz Parka (thanks Fezz!). The Tele folks there really like this one as for them it has eliminated the need for a treble bleed mod (volume kit). Treble is maintained as volume reduced with this one.



This one is is-
Tone Pot Lug 3 Out to Volume Pot Signal.
Tone Cap routed from Tone pot Signal to Volume Pot Out (ground)...but couldn't the same thing be achieved by grounding the Tone Cap to the back of the Tone Pot?

What's really happening with this one? Has anyone here tried it?
There are apparently some real benefits to this method but the issue I've discovered (through research only) is that the relationship between tone and volume pot is odd. For example, turning the tone pot down will also reduce volume.

This will get better... (more soon!)
 
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walterw

Gold Supporting Member
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37,383
my understanding is that the only factor of any importance is connecting the tone pot to the middle lug rather than the input lug of the volume. that's the les paul "50s wiring" variation and yes, turning down the tone when the volume is also turned down scoops out a bit of midrange.

it doesn't matter where the tone cap is grounded; ground is ground.
 

Stratman76

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Messages
1,115
This is the apparently actual Gibson LP 50's wiring schematic



Which would be graphically depicted here...




This has Tone Cap wired directly to Volume Pot signal out.
The claimed advantage was this provides treble bleed/volume kit functionality without the ability of the master tone knob creating it's own volume reduction.
 
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Structo

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9,560
I really like the Lonestar wiring config.

This is where you put a humbucker in the bridge position.
The second tone control is wired to the bridge pickup.
The middle pickup is straight through with no tone control

I have a couple strats like this because I have a hard time finding a single coil bridge pickup that isn't like an ice pick in my ears and thin sounding.

I know this bugs the Strat purists but it does make the Strat very versatile. This config also coil taps the humbucker so that in switch position #2 you can still get the treble quack tone.
Diagrams courtesy of Andy Rothstein.




Another good mod to do is the Jimmy Vaughn mod or bridge tone mod.
This wires the second tone control to the bridge and is useful if you have the single coil in the bridge.

http://www.guitar-mod.com/wiring/jim_vaughan_strat_ar.gif


On a recent build I decided to try the all single coil strat again and I installed the Tonerider Classic Blues pickups which are just a bit hotter than vintage spec pups. I bought a pickup base plate from Callaham and installed it on the bridge pickup. It helped fatten the tone and took a lot of the ice pick away. I did the Jimmy Vaughn mod on this one as well.

The volume kit (treble bleed) on these layouts consists of a 1000pf cap and a 150K resistor in parallel on the pot lugs shown.
I have used this type of treble bleed on several guitars and like it a lot.

Here are some other great strat wiring schemes.

http://www.guitar-mod.com/rg_diag_strat.html
 

Stratman76

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1,115
This is a variation of the Jimmy Vaughn (as well as EJ Strat) that I want to try...



Here you have individual tone circuits for Bridge and Neck with individual caps (based on a Jim Collins post in the Fender Forum). YMMV regarding cap values. I'd like to try this with no load pots for tone and add a volume kit. However...this is obviously not a master tone scheme.
 
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Stratman76

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1,115
This is Blender "Exhibit A"

It's a Fralin Diagram with a Volume Kit
Master Tone
Blender

(Acme Guitarworks also offers an excellent Blender Diagram but they don't document a volume kit and they use a .047uf cap instead of a .022uf for master tone. BTW- Acme is an excellent source for blender pots. Theirs is made for them by CTS and has no detent.

 
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Stratman76

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1,115
This is Strat Blender Exhibit B

This is utilizing the Fezz Parka LP 50's style "volume kit alternative" scenario illustrated earlier.



Has anyone tried this Blender variation? Tone Lug 2 out to Volume Pot Lug 2 out.
 
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walterw

Gold Supporting Member
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37,383
Like a tele; the tone would connect right to the volume, rather than to the switch.
 




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