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Has anyone removed the TBX and mid-boost circuit from a Clapton Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by don21480, Nov 18, 2018.

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  1. don21480

    don21480 New Member!

    Age:
    59
    3
    Nov 18, 2018
    Raleigh, NC
    I have 2017 Clapton Strat - love the way it plays and wondered if that circuit is coloring the tone and making a little mid-heavy even when rolled off? I thought about just making it a passive guitar but keeping same pickups. anyone tried this on the newer Vintage Noiseless pickups? What pot values did you use? Thanks in advance for any guidance!
     
  2. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    Welcome to S-T @don21480

    In a word, don't.
    Swap out the original set up for a new one if need be, but don't start ripping components out of the existing set up. I can 99% guarantee you wont like the results.

    The TBX doesnt color the tone to a noticeable level, and isnt worth removing. That said, its your guitar and you can do what you please with it.

    Vintage Noiseless (and all Fender Noiseless) aren't traditional Strat pick ups. Don't expect them to have that treble heavy, low mids "jank" of a traditional Strat pick up.

    Easiest and cheapest way might be to get yourself a graphic EQ. Then you can boost or cut frequencies to get the sound you like.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  3. don21480

    don21480 New Member!

    Age:
    59
    3
    Nov 18, 2018
    Raleigh, NC
    thanks for the quick reply @TheDuck !

    I'm really not looking for the traditional Strat sound - I use the guitar only for recording and really like a fuller more open sound than the traditional Strat which this guitar delivers but as you mentioned it takes a little EQ work to get the mids to be more clear and less muddy so that's why I was thinking about removing the "active" componenets. with this info you still think its a bad idea? :)
     
    Andrew Wasson and TheDuck like this.
  4. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    I do think its a bad idea, because I love the boost and tone of a Clapton Strat.

    I use the EMG DG-20 in my Strat, and before I installed it, I was on the verge of buying a Clapton Strat simply because I love the tone and response of a Strat with an on board mid boost.

    Also, if your tone seems flat and muddy, check your battery. I know its an obvious thing, but a low battery can drain the tone from an active circuit.
     
  5. don21480

    don21480 New Member!

    Age:
    59
    3
    Nov 18, 2018
    Raleigh, NC
    I found this on youtube which is pretty cool -

     
  6. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    I find those Sweetwater vids rarely do justice to the gear they are showcasing, and that vid is no exception.

    That Strat sounded dead and lifeless.
     
    FuzzFace90 likes this.
  7. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-Talker

    467
    Mar 26, 2010
    Decatur
    Yeah, I did that on an EC partscaster I put together. I just faded on the mid-boost board over time. Fender makes a non-boost model that used the same noiseless EC pickups (mid 2000s era) called the Deluxe Player's Strat so I used that to re-wire it.

    https://p4.zdassets.com/hc/theme_assets/549136/200076499/013-3000_02A_SISD.pdf

    Here's the EC https://p4.zdassets.com/hc/theme_assets/549136/200076499/011-7602Aupg1_SISD.pdf

    So on the Deluxe, the volume pot is 250K, tone pots are 500K with a .022 cap. The EC has a 50 vol pot, with 250K tones. That's a lot of work! Have fun!
     
  8. archetype

    archetype Strat-O-Master

    846
    Nov 26, 2016
    Williamsville NY
    IMO you should just pull out the loaded pickguard and stash it for the day you might sell the guitar. Build or buy the loaded pickguard that you really want.
     
  9. mojosman

    mojosman Strat-O-Master

    966
    Mar 24, 2013
    Western Mass
    I once owned a Clapton with Lace pickups. I loved everything except the tone of the pickups. I later decided to make a partscaster as close to the original Blackie that I could. I bought a Clapton neck, a black Jimmie Vaughan body, and a loaded pickgaurd with D. Allen tru 62’s. I love the tone, the neck, and the way it turned out. I sold the Clapton strat, but the blackie clone is never going anywhere. That’s an option for you also.
     
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  10. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    Will that work? If the PUPs aren’t producing the treble the graphic will have nothing to boost?
     
    Andrew Wasson likes this.
  11. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    53
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    It will work.
     
  12. esseff

    esseff Strat-Talker

    Age:
    32
    283
    Dec 19, 2017
    Australia
    I always like the idea of a Clapton Strat but didn't like the price. I thought the a Strat deluxe Roadhouse with the boosted circuit would be a good compromise so I got one.

    I loved the sound/electronics but hated the guitar, so I got a Jimmy Vaughan and swapped the gear into that. Now it's perfect. The JV is very close to a Clapton body/neck and the electronics use the same pups but a different boost circuit.
    .
     
  13. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 13, 2012
    Here
    Exactly the same boost, just with a resistor in the circuit so the boost isn’t the EC’s full 25db. It’s pretty easy to spot on a circuit diagram, just get some pliers out.
     
  14. esseff

    esseff Strat-Talker

    Age:
    32
    283
    Dec 19, 2017
    Australia
    You might be thinking of the Deluxe Powerhouse not the Deluxe Roadhouse. Different animals.
    .
     
    jpmist likes this.
  15. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    46
    Dec 6, 2016
    Massachusetts
    I have a TBX on my '95 Plus and love it. First off, it's passive. Secondly, dialing in one direction dials back the treble like a normal tone pot. Moving back the other way, dials back the bass, giving the feel of enhanced treble. I've no idea what the mid-boost might be doing, but I don't see how the TBX would be giving you trouble. I also find the Plus to be a wonderfully behaved instrument when it comes to recording, with the tonal range it has plus the quiet pickups (lace sensors), which goes to your primary use case. I've thought of picking up a Clapton Strat myself but wonder how much it'd give me that I don't already have from my Plus.
     
  16. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 13, 2014
    Florida
    I pulled the TBX out of both my Strat Plus guitars, in favor of the standard 250K pot/.022uf cap tone control. Just couldn't deal with it's 50/50 functionality vs. a standard tone control when playing live.
     
  17. coloradojeff

    coloradojeff Strat-Talker

    149
    Mar 9, 2012
    Colorado
    You can buy a loaded pick guard and just swap it out for the Clapton one. That way you don't screw up a great guitar if you want to switch back.
     
  18. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    338
    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    There was a guy on the TDPRI site who wanted to be able to use the EC preamp on his Strat with a true bypass. If you want to give it a try or want to get a tech to do it, I can post the circuit I drew for it.

    One thing to note is that the volume pot on the EC circuit is a 50k volume control whereas a normal Strat uses a 250k potentiometer. The 50k pot is right inside the preamp wiring so it’s not going to work if you bypass it and even if it did, a 50k pot would not sound good on passive pickups. The circuit I drew up accommodates for that and uses a proper 250k potentiometer on both active and passive.

    Anyway, I’ll dig it up and post it if you like. I’m using it in my Telecaster and like the flexibility it provides.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  19. VanWhelan

    VanWhelan Strat-Talk Member

    81
    Oct 24, 2011
    Roswell, GA, USA
    I used to own a 2006 EC Strat that I bought brand new back in the day. Had it a couple of years, but sold it to fund another gear purchase.

    Overall it was the best built Strat I ever owned, the fit & finish was exceptional, especially for a guitar at that price. But the problem for me was the VN pickups & TBX circuit. I could never get a good natural Strat sound out of it, it always sounded like the TBX was on.

    Some days I do think that I might buy another EC Strat, but remove the electronics for some real single coils & non-TBX circuit.
     
  20. artgtr

    artgtr Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 18, 2013
    WURTSBORO, NY
    I put a Clapton Blackie CS 30th Anniversary on lay away, it will be a while before I pick it up, as long as put $$ down every month they are good with it! I’m hoping I like the EC circuit, don’t really have any experience with it.