Treble Bleed Caps

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Gearhead, Feb 20, 2005.


  1. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

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    Do you find treble bleed caps useful? For both neck and bridge HB pups, or just the neck? I happened to have a few .001 caps around and managed to hold one in place on the neck volume pot while I did a bit of twiddling, but wanted some opinions before I soldered it in place (and on all my main guitars if it works out). Is it me, or does the volume variance change drastically also? (meaning that it seems to stay louder much longer as I crank the pot down to zero).

    I've must have been living in a dark cave somewhere, had never heard of them until I hit this board ;) Seems like such an easy mod, surprised they're not more prevalent if it's a good thing.
     
  2. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    With very few exceptions, I've never cared for a bypass cap. It does work well in a PRS rotary switch guitar, primarily because of the single coil parallel sounds. (A 500K volume pot is just too large a value for two single coils in parallel.) I've also never found a humbucking pickup whose split sound I liked, so I rarely used those positions when I had a rotary. I usually stuck to the full humbuckers or the single coil series sound. In all of those cases but one, the treble bypass cap did not do anything for me. The one exception was with a Duncan Custom Custom pickup in the bridge position. I'd even go as far as to say this pickup needed the 180pF bypass cap, even when used as a full humbucker.

    For single coil pickups, even P90s, I don't like a bypass cap, no matter how small it is. A bypass cap no larger than 150pF is acceptable, to me, with a Telecaster, but I"d much prefer the guitar without one. I've always thought Fender's value of .001uF for this use was much too large. (The late 60s/early 70s, ice-pick-in-the-ear Teles became beautiful, new guitars when you got rid of the bypass cap, and replaced the 1Meg volume pot with a 250K pot.)

    I usually play with no effects, and I make extensive use of the guitar's volume and tone controls. I generally set the amp up to be louder and brighter than I think I'll need. That way I get full use of the guitar's controls, and the very slight loss of highs when I back off on the volume is more than manageable.
     
  3. Improviser

    Improviser Supporting Member

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    I've never had a treble bleed circuit installed until I recently purchased a set of WCR Darbursts and the RS Guitarworks kit. The treble bleed is only on the neck humbucker and really works well, although takes a little getting used to when setting volume-level balances compared to the bridge pickup (w/o treble bleed). The circuit works really well like this, and allows the neck pickup to maintain more natural cut when lowering the volume pot, without the mud.

    To my ear, the above setup sounds a much more natural use of the treble bleed circuit than I've ever heard with single coils....

    For me the only downside is that I like to use germainum and silicon fuzzes (ala Fuzzface) and the natural rolloff of the volume control is harshly affected by any treble-bleed circuit :( . Probably not a big deal for most, but something to keep in mind.

    Cheers

    GB
     
  4. KLB

    KLB Member

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    The volume and tone control interaction on a Grosh Set neck (#19) with Voodoo '59 pickups (7.9k neck, 8k bridge) is among the best I've encountered on an LP type guitar. It feels and reacts naturally at all settings. Both volume controls have 680pf and 160K in parallel across the wiper and pickup input side. The tone caps are .1mf, which are larger than usual. They are connected to the pickup input side. I spoke with Don Grosh and he said they tend to use .02mf at this point in production. All caps are ceramic, by the way.

    I am about to install this setup on a '02 '58 Historic LP with Wagner Goodwoods. The neck pickup in particular sounds muddy if not full on. It currently has the so-called vintage wiring with no treble bypass, and .02mf Sprague Black Beauty caps. It is not nearly as intuitive in operation and feel as the Grosh wiring.

    - Ken
     
  5. exhaust_49

    exhaust_49 Member

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    Im intrested in this varialion of wiring and just so I understand this right, I've got an lp with the 50's mod that includes indepedent volumes; would I add the treble bleed mod to the neck vol pot or to both pickups.

    DISCLAMER: Im new at this wiring techo babble so bear with me.
     
  6. KLB

    KLB Member

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    You can add it to either/both pickups depending on whether you think it needs it.

    Also, try moving the tone cap connection point from the pickup INPUT side to the Volume pot output side (wiper). Try it both ways and see which works best for you. The Grosh I refer to above had the tone cap connected to the OUTPUT of the volume pot -- the wiper.
     
  7. Ayan

    Ayan Member

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    I address this very issue you're reffering to on another thread entitled "How To Balance Pot Tapers/Treble Bleed," which I started yesterday. You can find it here:

    http://thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?s=&threadid=70701
    and I hope it gives you some options you can use.

    Cheers,

    Gil
     
  8. Improviser

    Improviser Supporting Member

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    Thanks Gil, great post on the other thread.

    Because I use fuzz pedals though I'm still stuck, as I have to leave a treble bleed circuit off at least one of the pickups (in this case the bridge pickup on HB guitars) so that I can still use the fuzz without total square-wave cacophany tones :D

    Still, yours is a very good idea if you don't need to use (true) fuzz pedals.
     
  9. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    i never liked the treble bleed circuit. Maybe i never had the patience to test many different combinations of caps and resistors.

    i once had it on my strat and couldn't find why it sounded so ****** untill i removed it...

    I don't find the treble loss annoying in my WCR Crossroads + RS pots. In fact i don't feel it quite much with my George L cables on the (clean) twin reverb.

    it's just my opinion and my setup, though.... :)
     
  10. frankencat

    frankencat Los Luthier Gold Supporting Member

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    Bringing this topic back from the dead for a question...

    Do you find that adding a treble bleed cap changes the tone when the volume pot is all the way up?
     
  11. gitarboy

    gitarboy Silver Supporting Member

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  12. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    Not one bit. I use the ACME kits, sound great.
     
  13. frankencat

    frankencat Los Luthier Gold Supporting Member

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    Hmmmm. While I am a fan of the treble bleed mod it does seem to have a small impact on the full-on sound to my ears.

    Edit: I installed a switch an a/b'd it with the cap in and out of the circuit with the volume all the way up and I am happy to report there is no difference. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  14. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    Sounds like a good idea. I have a LP-like setup on my Dean Caddy. I don't think I really use the neck pup except for blending with the bridge for rhythm and *occasionally* when I want to get clean on a dirty amp setting. Never did like the mud and/or general flatness I seem to get using it exclusively.

    Does the cap help? And is there some sort of visual that might show me how to do it? Or am I due for a visit to my friendly neighborhood tech?

    EP
     
  15. Tubevalvemaniac

    Tubevalvemaniac Member

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    Legendary Fezz Parka mod will do the trick in most cases, although there is controversy of HPF aka treble bleed mod vs tone-vol interaction ala vintage wiring schemes on which genial Fezz Parka mod migrated toward Strat and Tele.
    Some think that Fezz Parka tone pot mod is ultimate for somehow natural treatment of high freq content with vol/tone controls, but all depends on preferences. Nothing more or less.
    On one of my Tele treble bleed based on cap/pot in serie was perfect match while Fezz Parka didin't work, but on Strat was opposite, so go figure.
    For above reasons mainstream guitar manufacturers usually don't add treble bleed circuits at all.
     
  16. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

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    My solution to this whole set of problems is to do volume with a pedal in the effects loop. I hacked an old Morley pedal to do just passive volume (the amp "sees" only the pair of LDR's wired like a pot), plus channel switching in the same enclosure. It's simple, bulletproof, very portable. I bought a mini-volume to convert to make an even smaller one, but I haven't had enough incentive to finish that project (it's not that much smaller than the one I'm using).

    The point of doing volume in the effects loop is that you separate literal volume from "volume" on a guitar, which has more effect than the amplitude of what comes out of the speakers. If I want less volume, it's volume pedal. If I want less volume AND a peak shift, it's guitar volume.

    Also don't wind/buy your pickups so that you get your middle-of-the-road sound wide open. Leave yourself some room to work with the controls. E.g. listen to this old chestnut - good old PAF sound - listen to how thin it is by some contemporary standards.

     
  17. TremoJem

    TremoJem Member

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    I would really like to get in on this discussion.

    I have been playing with my Jem 7VWH for awhile now.

    I have connected two wires to the lugs of the pot and they hang outside the pick guard with alligator clips ready to accept components.

    So all I am looking for is to be able to play with my volume knob and not lose any tone...or have it get muddy.

    I recently removed the tone pot and the volume pot alone with the 330pF cap hooked up, just got really harsh when I backed down the volume.

    I want transparent tone or an organic tone when I lower the volume not muddy or harsh.

    So I am playing with different values and circuits, but it gets so damn confusing with all the varying crap on the internet.

    Some say one circuit thins the tone, another says to fatten tone try another circuit and another says a larger cap like 2300pF lets more frequency range thru, another says that if you want the humbucker to sound like a single coil when you back of your volume...then do this.

    It is all very confusing to an amateur. When I lower the volume on my Jem 7VWH it is for one purpose only...to clean up the tone so that it is not so distorted. I use less gain then "hi-gain" but more than "vintage" gain when I use my gain channel. I just want to roll off the volume to tame it a little and clean it up...so yes maybe like a single coil but at the same time not lose sparkly high and not have harsh highs either.

    When the entire circuit was intact from Ibanez, this used to work for me.

    Now that I have removed the tone pot it does not, at least for now. I love my new tone without the tone pot in the circuit, but now just need to fix the treble bleed circuit to work for me.

    Do you have any clues what to do?

    I want to be able to roll off the volume and have it clean up and sparkle without harsh or muddy tone.

    I realize that the middle single coil is cleaner than the two humbuckers so that is not an issue, plus in the second and fourth positions on the switch it splits the coils on the humbuckers and joins them with the single coil for a great strat sound so that should sound good too when rolling back the volume.

    Anyway any help would be appreciated, thanks.
     
  18. jrf

    jrf Member

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  19. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Good.
    -Resistors and caps.
    -caps provide the bypass, resistors control the level (in summary)
    -use in series or parallel, or cap and resistor in series, with a resistor in parallel, or no resistor at all

    Max and mitch until you are happy with the sound of your rig...it won't be 100% perfect all the time.
    There is no one answer. Go nutzzz.:messedup
     
  20. Brewski

    Brewski Member

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    PRS uses 180pf cap on their 500k humbucker guitars.
     

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