No-load tone pots & treble-bleed vol on MIJ strat

Stephen James

Strat-Talker
Vendor Member
May 30, 2016
458
Iowa City
Not sure I follow. Aren’t treble bleeds and no-load pots essentially addressing 2 separate issues: one loss of treble at lower volumes and the other loss of treble at any volume due to having a tone pot in the circuit?

Technically, yes, the problem of 'treble loss as you roll back volume' versus 'inadequate treble at all volumes due to interaction/wiring with variable resistive load' on the guitar are two different problems. Your first post mentioned that the overall problem for you was that you didn't like the treble loss as you turn down, and you wanted to explore both solutions, but I interpreted that as 'it was primarily a problem of loss when turning down volume'.

YMMV of course, but I just know I have tried to solve some degree of both of the above problems, and using no-load pots was not a good solution, for me, of increasing the sparkle/treble of the guitar. The no-load state sounded too harsh, when turning the pot the resulting load felt veiled, and I still had treble loss as I turned down. I had much more success bringing the treble inherent in my system to life by changing component values, or pickups, or by using lower capacitance cabling (or shorter cable runs).

So the info I posted above was to give you some help in finding implementation methods or component values to help you find a solution to the problem of treble loss when turning down the volume that best fits your specific tonal preferences. But if that isn't what you are after, and you have the means/time, definitely try no-load pots and see what you think.
 

shunter

Strat-Talker
May 25, 2009
110
London
Thanks. Interesting. I’m wavering a little now on the no-load pot on the bridge as I can’t really imagine having that pickup wide open but I do like the idea of the neck wide open.

the existing tone pots are just rubbish. They’re like on-off switches
 

Stephen James

Strat-Talker
Vendor Member
May 30, 2016
458
Iowa City
Well, assuming you do the installation yourself, it would only be a ~$10 investment (or the equivalent in pounds) to do the tone on the neck, and it would also give you insight as to whether doing the bridge could work out well for you..
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
6,824
Murfreesboro, TN
Thanks. Interesting. I’m wavering a little now on the no-load pot on the bridge as I can’t really imagine having that pickup wide open but I do like the idea of the neck wide open.

the existing tone pots are just rubbish. They’re like on-off switches

I feel very much the same, usually I leave the tone wide open on the neck and want to turn it down on the bridge. Of course, the purists would say--if you don't like how bright it is on the bridge, don't play on the bridge. Moving the wire between tone pot and switch is easy enough, you could try neck wide open and tone on the bridge and see if you like it.

Having tone controls that act like on-off switches is a pretty common complaint. Do you know whether the tone pot you've got in there is linear taper or audio taper? If you use linear taper the change will be abrupt because hearing isn't linear. Also tone controls will act different depending which leg of the pot is active. You have a non-linear resistive strip between the wiper (middle lug) and each of the other two.

main-qimg-e41a6d46e6033c64b92226aa3f382820.webp

So the amount of resistance between your signal and the cap (and then ground) varies based on where the wiper is turned. If the pot is non-linear, the resistance between terminal A and Terminal W will behave very differently that the resistance between Terminal W and Terminal B.
 

JohnDH

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 5, 2012
2,229
Wilton NSW Australia
I think this is all good with the two no-load tones and the treble bleed.

After a lot of analysis and testing , I use a TB circuit with 120k in parallel with 1000pF, on 250k pots. If your most important reduced volume is at about 5 or less on the knob, a slightly smaller cap like 820pF is slightly better.
 

Stephen James

Strat-Talker
Vendor Member
May 30, 2016
458
Iowa City
I think this is all good with the two no-load tones and the treble bleed.

After a lot of analysis and testing , I use a TB circuit with 120k in parallel with 1000pF, on 250k pots. If your most important reduced volume is at about 5 or less on the knob, a slightly smaller cap like 820pF is slightly better.

I think you are the author of the excellent article/thread I linked to earlier in this thread. The article was an analysis of the output effect of the different styles of treble bleed for a few values, and it showed a few different applications of those treatments (like resulting slope of audio pot with treble bleed applied), so helpful man!!!

Really, thank you and well done!!
 

The Strat Dude

Posy rules!
Feb 9, 2014
14,365
Funny Farm Ln.
I prefer both Gibby and fender style guitars wired with 50s wireing. And my fave way to wire a strat is an idea that Fezz shared, which is to replace the 5 way switch with a 3 way. Then wire the bridge and neck with 50s tele wireing then wire the middle pup direct to a separate volume pot where the second tone would be. This scheme is not for everyone but it keeps the treble loss when rolling off the volume at bay bay it seems like it has a more tele like feel to it which I also like. But I don't really care too much about quack positions or playing the middle pickup by itself.
 
Last edited:

shunter

Strat-Talker
May 25, 2009
110
London
Sorry one last question. I think I need linear tone pots for a smooth roll off of the treble. It’s the audio pots that suddenly go dark isn’t it?
 

Stephen James

Strat-Talker
Vendor Member
May 30, 2016
458
Iowa City
If you aren't using a treble bleed, probably, but then you might as well try the 50's wiring mentioned above.. Sorry, not trying to be a broken record, it is just hard keeping all of the moving variables correctly trained on the target..

If you plan on implementing a treble bleed, the article/thread I linked on page 1 (this link will take you right to the graph you need) shows the audio pot is much more linear when used with a treble bleed, I don't know how that interaction would be when applied to a linear pot (if there is one). And JohnDH (posted above) should get credit for this as I believe he is the one who did all of this work..
 

AngeloEvs

Strat-Talker
Jan 5, 2020
315
Norfolk, UK
Linear will have a "slower" roll off than logarithmic (Audio) types, that is to say you will need to rotate the tone pot more anticlockwise to get the same treble cut as a Audio taper (using the same value capacitor). A 500k audio pot will also feel different to a 250k audio pot. The advantage of logarithmic pots is the degree of control is better.
 

shunter

Strat-Talker
May 25, 2009
110
London
Wow. That thread is a bit beyond me I think, but thanks. But I watched a video on you tube and the audio pot definitely seemed a more gradual change in tone.
 

AngeloEvs

Strat-Talker
Jan 5, 2020
315
Norfolk, UK
The Audio pots have a gradual effect which is why they are preferred.

You can test and experience different potentiometer values, types and capacitor values without installing them as a permanent modification by connecting the output of your guitar to an external potentiometer/ capacitor that has a jack input and output. Suitable Potentiometers and capacitors for testing are relatively cheap and plentiful on EBAY. Just mount the tone control and capacitor with jack sockets on a small section of plastic, old scratch plate, etc. You only need a soldering iron and not difficult to learn.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
17,040
KC
The linear is actually more gradual whereas the Logarithmic is more like what you hear with a quicker drop off from the top end.
f5P1V.png
 

jball85

Strat-O-Master
Mar 16, 2014
742
East Texas
If you like to use the volume control to swell notes, you're better off with a resistor in conjunction with the HPF/capacitor.
 

shunter

Strat-Talker
May 25, 2009
110
London
The linear is actually more gradual whereas the Logarithmic is more like what you hear with a quicker drop off from the top end.
f5P1V.png
But the ear perceives the linear to have a sharper on/off effect and do less in the 6-10 range, with the effect mainly kicking in suddenly at sat 4-3. That’s how my strat works at the moment - not useful.
 


Latest posts

Top