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. Its one that might require extensive experimenting, however, before you’re able to get it perfect. The treble bleed is meant to preserve treble loss as you turn down the volume control on your guitar. It does this 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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Can I Split a Humbucker With a Three-Way Switch?

three-way switchIf I have a humbucker in the bridge position of my Telecaster, can one of the coils be turned off with the three-way switch?

A reader asked about turning off one coil of the bridge humbucker in his Telecaster via the three-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 two 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 three-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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Les Paul Three-Way Switch Wiring – Basic Guitar Electronics

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.

We’re going to take a look at Les Paul three-way switch wiring, 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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Stratocaster Five-Way Switch Wiring – Basic Guitar Electronics

five-way switch wiringNow here's something to try with the Strat style five-way switch: three pickups with five-way switch wiring, 1 Volume and 2 Tone controls (SPOILER ALERT: It's not difficult.)

So, then let’s go ahead and talk about setting up that five-way switch wiring in your Stratocaster. We covered the Telecaster and its three-way switch and one Tone control; now we’ll look at the Stratocaster, its five-way switch wiring, 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 as well, as this is another very common part to wear out.

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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 refers to the Telecaster three-way switch wiring, I am going to use all of the standard Fender Telecaster values in the diagram.

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Tone Control Wiring for Your Guitar – Do it Yourself!

tone control wiringLet’s look at the basics of tone control wiring 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 of tone control wiring:

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