Basic Guitar Electronics – Treble bleed circuit wiring (aka volume kit)

treble bleedDoes your tone get muddy when you turn your volume down? Learn how a Treble bleed circuit fixes this problem.

The treble bleed circuit is one of the easiest mods that you can perform on your guitar, but it is also a mod that might require extensive experimenting before you’re able to it get perfect. The treble bleed is meant to preserve treble loss as you turn down the volume control on your guitar by creating a very simple high pass filter to counteract the high frequency loss inherent in the volume control. You will want to add this mod to your guitar if you feel that rolling off the volume causes your tone to change too dramatically, thus becoming muddy or dull.

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What is the difference between the 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 preamp tubes?

What Is The Difference Between EL84 / EL34 and 6L6 Power Tubes?Let’s take a look at the less glamorous, but still equally important type of amplifier tube – The Preamp Tube

The 12AX7, 12AT7, and 12AU7 all belong to the same family of nine contact, twin triode tubes. In many cases these tubes are interchangeable and can easily be swapped. We will take a look at why you might, or might not want to swap out the different types of tubes.

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How do I split a Humbucker with a 3-way Telecaster switch?

phase series and parallelIf I have a Humbucker in the bridge position of my Telecaster, can one of the coils be turned off with the 3-way switch?

A reader asked about turning off one coil of the bridge humbucker in his Telecaster via the 3-way switch. What he proposed is:

1. Neck pickup
2. Neck + one humbucker coil
3. Both humbucker coils

While I guess the answer might be technically “yes”, I am going to say the answer is in reality: “no”.

The reason is that we do not use “both coils” in the Humbucker. We actually run one coil into the next coil, and it might be better to look at a Humbucker as a Single Figure 8 Coil instead of 2 separate Single Coils. We can “split” the Humbucker by running a (switchable) wire to Ground right where the one coil meets the other coil. This actually “shorts out” the second coil, it doesn’t shut it off.  So, in order to split the pickup we need a path to Ground. The 3-way switch in a Telecaster is a “Hot Wire” that selects which of the Hot pickup leads to send to the Volume pot. There is no ground connection available and adding one will short out the entire guitar. Without a ground we cannot split the pickup.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Les Paul Three-Way Switch Wiring

les paul three-way switchNow let’s take a look at wiring up a three-way toggle switch in a Gibson Les Paul style guitar, and while we’re at it, we’ll talk about the rest of the wiring also

So, we’re going to take a look at wiring up a three-way toggle switch in a Gibson Les Paul-style. And because Gibson electronics are different than what we have been looking at so far, we’ll take a look at the rest of the circuit as well. We’ll look at the two humbuckers, the three-way switch, two Volume controls, two Tone controls, two capacitors, and the output jack.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Stratocaster five-way switch wiring

blues telecaster pickupsLet’s try something a little more difficult with the Strat style 5 way switch: 3 pickups into a five way switch with 1 Volume and 2 Tone controls (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not difficult at all).

Let’s talk about wiring a five-way switch to your Stratocaster. We covered the Telecaster and its three-way switch and one Tone control; now we’ll look at the Stratocaster and its five-way switch and two Tone controls. Even though we’re talking about the Fender Strat and how it’s wired, the switch will work the same way in any guitar with one Volume and two Tone controls. If you are changing your switch it might also be a great time to check out the other components in your guitar to see if they are also due for an update. Be sure that you have high quality pots with the right values, and check the value of any capacitors as well. Check your Output Jack for wear as this is another very common part to wear out.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Telecaster three-way switch wiring

telecaster three-way switchLet’s take a look at re-wiring a three way switch for a standard Fender Telecaster guitar. If you have already tried out our Volume and Tone wiring guides, this would be a great next step.

Wiring up a Telecaster three-way switch

The information in this article will apply to any similar three-way “Lever” switches that are used in many different Strat style guitars. The Gibson Les Paul and several other similar guitars use a three-way “Toggle” switch and that discussion will be in a different article. Since the title of this article is “How To Wire A Telecaster” I am going to use all of the standard Fender Telecaster values in the wiring diagram.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Tone Control Wiring

blues telecaster pickupsLet’s look at the basics of how to wire a tone control and how to adjust it to get the best sound from your guitar.

For many people, the tone control itself is just a potentiometer (Volume knob) with a capacitor attached to it. When the tone control is turned all the way up, the tone is at its brightest, and as you turn the knob down (off), the tone darkens (i.e., high frequencies get rolled off). What might not be generally known is that the other components, especially any other volume and tone controls, will also affect the tone, so their values must be considered. Also, your tone is YOUR TONE, so unless you are trying to restore a collector guitar to original specs, it’s better not to just blindly follow guidelines and rules and call it a day. Instead, use your ears and this guide to get the best tone from your guitar. So, with that said, let’s begin with the components.

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What are the Best Budget Guitar Overdrive Pedals

budget guitar overdriveOverdrive pedals designed to give you all of the crunch that you need without emptying your pockets.

Effect pedals are a great way to change up or enhance your sound. You can get almost any sound you can think up, somewhere in a pedal. You can do anything from adding a slap-back echo to turning your guitar into a synth. Their small size and relatively inexpensive price allows players to get several types of pedals and string them together on a pedal-board, or several of the same type and swap them out. Many vintage pedals are collected and can sell for thousands of dollars. Right now we’re going to take a look at overdrive pedals in particular, and of those we want the ones that won’t break the bank. Each pedal on this list costs less than $100, looks and sounds great, is high-quality and durable, and will deliver all of the overdrive crunch that you need. We’ll look at, and discuss a few vintage pedals that have more than proven themselves, and we’ll also take a look at a few of the more modern ones on the market today to see how the technology is changing, and determine if they sound as good, or better, than the old pedals.

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Basic Guitar Electronics – Volume control wiring

blues telecaster pickupsHave you ever wanted to wire-up your own volume control? In this article we’ll learn how to connect your 250K or 500K pots.

We’re going to talk about simple volume control wiring, but before we start to solder anything let’s go over a few things. First, let’s talk about the volume potentiometer itself, and what value we should use.

There are many values in circulation but the most common ones are a 250k volume pot and a 500k volume pot. Generally speaking, a 250k pot is used for single coil pickups and a 500k pot for Humbucking pickups. When a Volume pot of any value is added to the circuit, high frequencies are lost because of the way the circuit works; i.e., the lower the value of the pot the more high end frequencies get rolled off, even when the volume knob is all the way up. The higher the value, the higher the resistance, and more resistance prevents frequencies from “leaking out,” which leads to a brighter tone.

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What are the Best Guitar Overdrive Pedals ?

best guitar overdriveIf you are in the market for a guitar overdrive pedal, this list will point you in the right direction.

For many of us, the overdrive that is built into our amplifier, even if it is a good one, can become stale and restrictive over time, thus leaving you looking for something more. An overdrive pedal can be the perfect solution. Pedals are usually much cheaper than a new amplifier, and much less bulky. There are so many overdrive pedals available that it won’t be too hard to find one or more that you like, thereby leaving you free to create for yourself a truly custom sound that is unique to you. Right now we’re going to look at some of the best guitar overdrive pedals available out there, and we’ll talk about why they are so great, and also what makes them that way. We’re going to take a look at vintage designs as well as modern overdrive pedals, to see how things have changed, and how they have remained the same. These are all going to be Overdrive pedals, so we will probably see a few tube emulators, and pedals designed to sound like an amp naturally breaking up. You’ll get some good crunch and even distortion out of many of these pedals, but these are not Fuzz pedals or Metal distortion pedals; those are for another time.

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