Strat Tone Cap Q

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by mischultz, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. mischultz

    mischultz Member

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    So I've built a couple of Strats now and have done pickup switches on a few others. I'm good with the higher value/darker roll off thing and am moving in that direction for this current guitar (not nearly enough roll off with a 22).

    But it occured to me the other day that in all the diagrams I've seen, there's only a cap on the first tone control and never one on the second. I suppose it works well enough (has for 52 years and counting), but I'm curious as to why you wouldn't do both.

    Anyone?

    Michael
     
  2. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    I think if you follow the wiring you'll find that the cap provides the tone function on both the middle and neck position, as determined by the selector switch. The bridge pickup has no tone control.
     
  3. HandOfTheHost

    HandOfTheHost Member

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    ...which always seems ridiculous to me. If any pickup needs some tone control it's the bridge. I've jumpered mine so the bottom tone knob is the bridge and the top tone is the neck and middle.
     
  4. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    You can change the wiring a bit such that you have a different tone cap for each tone control too. I agree about the bridge p'up being THE pickup that needs a tone control the most. First thing I do to a Strat.
     
  5. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I want to do this mod to all of my strats, but so far, the only diagram fro it I found left the middle pup with no tone control. Does someone have a diagram showing how to have it like HandOfTheHost describes?
     
  6. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    scott,
    I do it with a mega-switch because the way I was doing it left the middle/bridge combo with both tone controls loading it down, which made it too dark IMO. With a mega-switch, I can assign whichever tone control I want (or none at all) to each individual switch position. I could use a different cap for each switch position too. I can also add a resistor such that a particular switch position is loaded down less than it normally would be (and the tone control cuts less highs as it's turned down than it normally would). I put resistors in the #2 and #4 positions because I want the sparkle (and output) to be more consistent across all positions.

    I also wire it such that the middle position selects the neck/bridge combo but that's just a personal preference. My middle p'up is only used for the #2 and #4 positions.
     
  7. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    Yeah, I can't say I use the middle pup alone very much if at all. Every now and then it seems to get what I want when the planets are aligned just right LOL

    I'll probably just leave it with no tone control and follow the diagram I found.

    I am just getting into doing this stuff myself. Awhile back I had some pups swapped in one of my Strats and i asked the tech to give a tone control on the bridge pup. Well, it is now finally a useful pup for me! So I want all of them that way. Plus I am about to put a Duncan Twang Banger in one of them, so the tone control will be a must have for that one.
     
  8. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    scott,
    mini-hijack...what's your experience with the Twangbanger? If the Strat bridge p'up sounded like a great Tele bridge p'up...it just might be the most perfect guitar ever. Right now I have a Vintage Vibe SP90 (A5 bridge model) on the way...we'll see how that goes.
     
  9. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I haven't installed it yet, but that is exactly what I hope the outcome to be :) There are many that say without the tele bridge plate it can never sound like a tele, but several have said otherwise. To me, even if it is close, that'll be cool. The bridge pup on a Strat is one that I rarely use, so anything that will make it usable is a good thing to me. On a Strat my preferred pup is the neck. Then comes the 2 & 4, but I don't like overusing those. So, we'll see how it works out. I like the idea of having different bridge pups in my Strats. I have one that has a 70s vintage Dimarzio SD1 with volume control, and I have to say it is quite useable. Let me know how the SP90 works out, as I have no P90s in my arsenal at all at the moment. I'd also like to try a lil 59 on one of them as well. I really don't need any of my 4 Strats to have a totally stock configuration, since I don't much use the bridge pup anyway.
     
  10. HandOfTheHost

    HandOfTheHost Member

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    I wish I could explain it sufficiently, because it is fairly simple to wire them that way. I've found the wiring diagrams on the Seymour Duncan site very helpful. The problem is a lot of switches are slightly different, making it hard to explain in words. But if you see where the contacts are and where they're being made, you can find your way. Incidentally, I use a three way switch on my strat. I don't often use the 2 and 4 positions, but I can hang the switch in between there when I want. I replaced it once with a 5-way and it thinned out my tone perceptibly, so I put the 3-way back. Not that there is an inherent superiority of the design, but in the case of these two particular switches the 3-way sounded better. Here's a diagram I would start with:

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/schematics/3s_1v_2t_5w.html
     
  11. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    OK, the diagram I have seen just says move this wire from here to here, and the tone control will now be on the bridge pup.
     
  12. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    OK, it is installed. Compared to my Tele with Bardens, it does NOT sound like that. It does not sound like a Strat pup either, and also not a lot like a Tele, but it DOES sound good. I have not yet put it through its paces, so I'll probably know more when I do. I have heard that Jerry Donohue using this pup on his Strat, but I also heard he puts a metal plate under the pickguard. I supposed if you have a router, you can route the underside of the guard to the thickness of the plate, and just glue it in place. I'll have to look into that further, I guess.
     
  13. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    Thanks for the review. My SP90 shipped yesterday. I also recently discovered the Vinetto guitars...if only I had that kind of money.
     

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