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Old 09-27-2017, 06:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Silimtao View Post
Just to be clear, I opted not to use 500k pots because I was afraid things would be too trebly/bright. I wanted to get away from the ice-picky treble tellys are known for. In my vid clip, my tone knob wasn't wide open, but even if it was, it wouldn't have been piercing, while retaining some telly twang.

Also, you can't escape how your pups are voiced. I just lucked out with my first choice in pups. I really love the DiMarzios.
Where's the video? I missed that!
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:44 PM   #12
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Where's the video? I missed that!
Jam Clinic #3; not my best, but you can hear how the DiMarzio sounds.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:05 AM   #13
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Here's the stock wiring.

Looks like a .047 tone cap and .0001 capacitor treble bleed with no resistor. The soldiering looks pretty decent to me. I hope I do at least as well as the factory job.

The pickups are not awful but they have a slightly thin tinny edge to them. Considering the price ($199 new) this is great guitar once it's setup.

I flipped the control plate to see how it feels reversed. It's fine in the stock orientation but having the volume closer is nice. It's no extra work, so I think I'll install the new stuff reversed. The stock setup looks backwards to me, anyway

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Old 09-29-2017, 03:12 AM   #14
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Here's the stock wiring.

Looks like a .047 tone cap and .0001 capacitor treble bleed with no resistor. The soldiering looks pretty decent to me. I hope I do at least as well as the factory job.

The pickups are not awful but they have a slightly thin tinny edge to them. Considering the price ($199 new) this is great guitar once it's setup.

I flipped the control plate to see how it feels reversed. It's fine in the stock orientation but having the volume closer is nice. It's no extra work, so I think I'll install the new stuff reversed. The stock setup looks backwards to me, anyway

This is what happens when you have a $4 soldering gun haha. I'd like to flip my plate too. I'm thinking of a Bigsby too.

Sent from my LGLS990 using Tapatalk
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:34 AM   #15
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I've done a bit of plumbing and I have an decent (but not high end) soldering iron. That should help but I'm still pretty concerned about soldering. Plumbing ain't careful, detail work.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:15 PM   #16
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Here's a quick update.

The project is 75% complete. I need to take some pictures. All the electronics are installed. I'm waiting on new knobs and a switch tip but it's playable and sounds good. The PuPs in series sound great. I ruined the new switch when a drop of solder landed on the contacts. The wiring is not as neat and pretty as I would have prefered but it seems solid. I replaced my soldering iron chisel tip with a pointed tip when I replaced the switch. MUCH easier to do nice, neat work.

While I had the guitar apart I polished the frets and I sanded and reconditioned the maple fretboard. I cleaned and polished every inch except the back of the neck. I really like the feel of the neck, so I didn't touch it.

The cheap Squier saddles work OK but they can rattle. The action was pretty close to start, so I simply raised all the saddles by 2 turns and added a drop of blue Loctite to each stud. Then I lowered them back down. Now they will quietly hold position.

Before starting I wrote down every measurement in detail. Pickup height, action, neck relief, etc. The former owner told me he just had a professional setup done. It was just as I expected Someone probably did some adjustments but it's inconsistent and poorly done. Literally nothing was right. However, The action was decently low and It played OK, so it's not too far off. Every string was intonated sharp. It seemed wrong more than random. Easy stuff to address. I'll dial it all in this week and she'll be a sleek, precise machine.

I don't know if I'm swapping out the tuners yet. They seem to work well enough. Now that I've re-strung the guitar myself, I can better evaluate the tuning stability. If they hold tune, I'm keeping them.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:04 PM   #17
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I'm pretty ignorant regarding what capacitor to use. The 047 is what came in the kit.

If it's too much, how would the tone be affected? What would other capacitors do? They're inexpensive, so I don't mind swapping.

The whole reason I want to do this is to learn more about how it all works.
(Note: players that are well familiar with the guts of their guitar should skip to the "thumbs up" at the bottom of the post).

I've mentioned this before, but I dont mind mentioning it again, cause folks dabbling with a guitar circuit should know this shit if they wanna know why their guitar is doing what its doing (IMO).

Just my .02 cents ...
I have to say "IMO"... a .047uF cap is much too 'big' (in its uF value), ESPECIALLY with a 250k pot. I know thats what Fender used since they've been building guitars, but on the other hand, Fenders tone circuit is useless, sounding like the amp is buried in a ditch if the tone circuit is used.

Also, a 250k tone pot is gonna let a large amount of high frequencies to get to that big cap (and then to ground, never to be heard from again) when the pot is fully open (on "10"). The .047 cap isnt helping things, cause caps act like an "aperture" for how much of the high frequency range they will let thru (**more on that below).

A simplified (believe it or not ) explanation of volume pots, tone pots and caps. This is all assuming the pot is fully open (on "10"):

Volume pots:
A volume pots value will affect the amount of signal that reaches the amp. The lower the volume pot value (ex: 250k), the 'softer' the output will be, and there will also be a "little" (but not a gigantic) high frequency loss.
A higher value volume pot (500k or 1meg) will allow more of the pickups output to reach the amp, and allow a bit more high frequencies to get to the amp as well.

This is because any potentiometer is nothing more than a variable resistor. When fully open, a 250k pot has 250k ohms resistance in the carbon path inside the pot working against the pickups signal to reach the lug that is grounded. A 500k pot has twice the amount of resistance (500k ohms) for the signal to get to ground. A 1meg pot has 4 times the resistance of a 250k pot, and twice the resistance of a 500k pot for any signal to reach ground.
That difference IS noticeable.

The less resistance the signal "see's" to get to ground thru the pots carbon path, the more signal will reach ground, resulting in a lower output.
The more resistance the signal has to get to ground, the more signal gets to the amp (more volume and punch).

Taken to its extreme, a volume pot with a 5meg resistance value (thats 5 million ohms of resistance, or 10 times the resistance of a 500k pot) would be like wiring the pickup straight to the jack, because virtually no audible signal would be able to reach ground, and the pot would be acting as if it was a direct connection between the pickup and the jack (or switch, which ever the case may be).

Tone pots:
A tone pots value determines how much high frequency can reach ground THRU THE TONE CAP, which is the grounding point of the tone circuit. You'll notice that the tone pot has the right hand lug** unattached to anything (**the right hand lug as viewed from the bottom of the pot with the lugs pointing upwards).
Because of that aspect of a tone circuit, when a tone pot is on "10", the only thing the "hot" lug (usually the center lug) of a tone control is connected to is the carbon path in the pot. The carbon path inside the pot connects the center lug to the left hand lug, which has a capacitor soldered to ground. (There ARE other ways to wire those connections, but it will make this explanation complicated).

So, now the carbon path (which determines the resistance of the tone pot) AND the tone cap is between the hot signal from the volume pot and ground. Caps, by design, will only let high frequencies thru. It can be viewed as an aperture, or port, the size of which is determined by the caps value (ex: a .005uF cap is a smaller "port" than a .01uF cap).

The pot value and cap value work hand in hand. If a circuit had a low value tone pot (ex: 100k) and a high value cap (ex: .047) the guitar will sound very muddy with no cut or presence. In that example, the pot has little resistance for signal to get to the cap, and the cap is a big 'port', allowing a lot of frequencies thru it, so the result is a muddy tone.
It works similar to a volume pot in theory, but instead of sending ALL the signal to ground (like a volume pot does, by virtue of the left-hand lug of a volume pot being grounded) a tone pot sends high FREQUENCIES to ground thru the cap, by virtue of the ground path being "interrupted" by the capacitor. How much of the high frequencies are sent to ground is determined by the size of the cap:
Higher cap value: more highs can get thru it.
Lower cap value: less frequencies can get thru it.

**An analogy of a capacitors function in a guitar circuit:
A line of 100 men are on a sidewalk, ranging progressively from very skinny to fat as we go down the line. All these guys represent the full, unaffected frequency range available from our pickup.
The very first guy is very skinny (he's the highest frequency produced by a pickup).
Progressively each guy behind him is "less skinny".
We reach the last guy, who is fat (he is the lowest frequency produced by a pickup).

The men walk down the sidewalk toward an open sewer hole (which is the guitars capacitor, in this example). The bottom of the hole is "ground" as we understand it in guitar terms.
The SIZE of the sewer hole will determine how many "skinny guys" (high frequencies) fall into the hole, and at what point certain "diameter" guys wont fit thru the hole. Meaning, the fatter guys (lower frequencies) wont be able to fit thru the hole, and wont get to "ground"... they simply continue to march toward the amp.

So with a small value cap (smaller sewer hole) maybe only the first 5 guys will fall into the hole to ground (very little highs are shunted to ground). The 6th guy (and everyone behind him) wont fit in the hole, so they keep walking toward the amp (lots of the frequency range reaches the amp).

With a BIGGER value cap (larger sewer hole), more skinny guys (and a few fat guys) will fall into the hole until we reach a somewhat fatter guy that wont fir thru the hole... the result being a lot of highs "fell in the hole" to ground, and less high frequencies are reaching your amp.

In a very exaggerated example, if we used a GIANT cap value (like .30uF), probably ALL the guys on the sidewalk would fall into the hole, cause the hole is so big, that ALL the available frequencies would be able to get thru the cap to ground. That would effectively making your tone pot a 2nd volume pot, since the cap is SO big, it will let all the frequencies thru it (to ground) and no signal reaches the amp.

In this sense, it might sound like more is better, but thats almost always not the case. Its no different than amplifier settings... VERY few amps sound their best with the volume pot, and ALL the tone pots on 10 (well... maybe except a 1971 metal front 50 watt Marshall )

Seriously, our ears dont find all those frequencies pleasant, and it IS why amps have tone controls.

In ANY event, most guitars I work on with single coil vintage (to hot vintage) output pickups seem to respond very well to a 500k audio taper volume pot, a 250k linear taper tone pot, and a cap ranging from .0047uF to .015uF at the most.
That combination allows a strong signal to reach the amp, it attenuates just enough highs to retain cut and still sound pleasant. As a side benefit, the tone control is VERY usable when turned off of "10", whether the amp is set clean, to crunch to high gain lead.

Again,
YMMV.

<-- For anyone that actually read thru ^ALL THAT^ shit, and of course, for those that smiled at a 4ft long post cause they didnt have to read all that shit.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:43 PM   #18
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Super useful information, Fill. Thanks for posting this. Little by little, I'm catching on to how it works and this really helps!

Quote:
I have to say "IMO"... a .047uF cap is much too 'big' (in its uF value), ESPECIALLY with a 250k pot. I know thats what Fender used since they've been building guitars, but on the other hand, Fenders tone circuit is useless, sounding like the amp is buried in a ditch if the tone circuit is used.
The useless fender tone circuit is probably why so many people (myself included) run them wide open all the time.

Except for the 4-way, I've installed the most typical combination. It's like many Fenders and a lot like the Squier was from the factory. It works and sounds like they all do. Now I'll play and listen to see where to go from here. Swapping out pots and capacitors is pretty fast and doesn't cost much.

Quote:
In ANY event, most guitars I work on with single coil vintage (to hot vintage) output pickups seem to respond very well to a 500k audio taper volume pot, a 250k linear taper tone pot, and a cap ranging from .0047uF to .015uF at the most.
That combination allows a strong signal to reach the amp, it attenuates just enough highs to retain cut and still sound pleasant. As a side benefit, the tone control is VERY usable when turned off of "10", whether the amp is set clean, to crunch to high gain lead.
So, why a linear taper pot for the tone? What's the advantage over an audio taper? I generally understand the difference between the two types but little more than that.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:44 PM   #19
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So, why a linear taper pot for the tone? What's the advantage over an audio taper? I generally understand the difference between the two types but little more than that.
Well, its not 100% necessary to use a linear taper pot for a tone control, but a linear taper pot IS better suited for that application. Audio taper pots ARE ok to use for a tone control, but an audio taper tone pot will roll off high frequencies slowly at first, and then suddenly toward the end of the pots rotation.

The reason is a bit easier to understand by explaining why a linear taper pot is NOT well suited for a volume pot.

Volume decrease (or increase, for that matter) is not perceived by our ears in a straight line (linear) fashion. If it was, a sound registering 60db on a decibel meter would sound half as loud as 120db. But our ears dont hear it that way. 60db is a normal volume for a conversation... 120db is front row at a Deep Purple concert loud.

So using a linear taper pot for a VOLUME pot will make the pot almost behave like an on-off switch. From the fully "off" position, approx the first 3/4 of the pots roataion would have extremely little effect. From 3/4 to full volume, the guitars output would jump up very suddenly, because a linear taper pot is increasing the volume in a linear fashion, which again, is not heard by our ears as a smooth increase in volume.

The contrast to that is that the ears DO hear frequency gain and loss in a linear fashion. So a linear tone pot halfway between fully on and fully off (on "5") would send exactly half of the high frequencies that the tone capacitor will allow thru it, to pass thru the cap to ground.

In English, it means that a 250k linear taper tone pot at half volume (on "5") will read approx 125k resistance between the center lug, and EITHER of the outer lugs, because the resistance within the pot increases (or decreases) evenly (in a linear fashion) along the pots carbon path.

However, a 250k audio taper volume pot at half volume, measured from the center lug to the outer lugs might read something like 50k to the right lug and 200k to the left lug.
That aspect of an audio taper pot allows a smooth decrease in volume as the pot is rotated toward the "off" position, because again, the ears hear volume decreases or increases in a non-linear fashion. Audio pots were created for that exact reason.

So the basic formula IS...

Ideal:
Audio taper volume pot--Linear taper tone pot.

BOTH pots will have an even, smooth decrease or increase as they are rotated for their individual functions.

Acceptable:

Audio taper volume pot--Audio taper tone pot. (ALOT of guitar mfg's use audio taper tone pots to save money).
The volume pot will roll off volume as it should, but the tone pot will not.

Electronically (and functionally) incorrect:
Linear taper volume pot.
The volume will drop off very suddenly when the pot is rolled off.

Some players dont find using an audio taper tone pot to be any issue, and its really NOT an "issue", but (to me, at least), if a guitar is being rewired to improve its performance, I like to do it right the first time. Top quality components, the correct taper and value pots, shielded wire, a good quality cap, a high quality jack, and needless to say, great pickups.

Those parts are cheap enough, even if they're the top quality. For myself, I dont like to compromise when Im working on my own stuff, so I always try to get it right.

When I know my rig is gonna sound killer, it makes playing it a lot more fun.
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