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Do you use the guitar tone control?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by BlueX, Apr 27, 2021.

  1. harleytech

    harleytech Well-Known Member

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    I do... Mostly on the neck pickup to get a nice bluesy tone for some lead playing..
     
  2. FutureProf88

    FutureProf88 Well-Known Member

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    I ride the volume and tone controls, and the pickup selector on my guitars constantly. My LP has the 50’s wiring scheme, which in my opinion gives much greater control over the tone of the instrument than the 60’s scheme, which feels more like an on/off switch to me. On a LP the middle position with varying settings for the two pickup volumes and tones can give a very wide variety of different sounds. But I wear out pots in my guitars to the point where I ALMOST consider them a type of consumable.
     
  3. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

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    I ride the volume and tone controls quite often as well. Especially with my fuzz pedals where I use the volume knob to clean up the fuzz to my liking. But also, there's lots of different tone's to be had by experimenting with the volume and tone knobs. I'm always experimenting with different pickup selections and volume and tone settings.
     
  4. Ufoscorpion

    Ufoscorpion Well-Known Member

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    Definitely, why reduce the tone when tone is what we all chase .
     
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  5. Strat man do

    Strat man do New Member

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    Depends on the guitar: on my EC Strat, yes I roll off the tone to about 3-4. I have another Strat where tone control is wired to bridge PU and I roll that one off quite a bit too, almost 0. On others leave at 10. Volume usually around 7
     
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  6. Wylde Horses

    Wylde Horses New Member

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    I used the tone controls a lot more since I changed the caps on them. I always found the tone on my strat way too heavy-handed, like it would sound good from 10 down to ~7, and then turn to mud. I thought it was just me until I was watching John Mayer talking about some of the considerations made when working with PRS on the Silversky - he said pretty much the same thing, that he even asked about a detent in the tone control at that point in the pot’s range.

    Around that time I started looking at the effect different cap values have on tone, and how they work. The capacitor value actually determines which frequency ranges you are rolling off, starting at the high end and working further down the range as the capacitor values increase; while the pot itself determines how much those frequencies are reduced. Ultimately I’ve found that, since I only want to roll of top-end and preserve more of the mids, I like 0.022uf caps in place of 0.047uf on the master tone of my strat (with a blender on the second tone control to mix the neck p/u in when on the bridge and vice versa), and 0.015uf on the neck pickup of my les paul (keeping the standard 0.022uf for the bridge).

    With those cap values, and the blender on the strat, I am always messing with the tone controls, finding great sounds all over the place.
     
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  7. rick16v

    rick16v Well-Known Member

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    On Les Paul style layouts, I use the tone all the time. I dial in the amp to the neck pup. The bridge is now too bright. I roll off the tone (and maybe a touch of vol) to get rid of the ice pick.

    This is because if i dial in the amp to the bridge, the neck pup is too dark.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
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  8. JaxLPGuy

    JaxLPGuy New Member

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    People whose playing I admire like Eric Johnson, Andy Timmons, Chris Buck, etc are masters of the controls. I figure if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.

    That said, I don't use them a whole lot. However, I just got a Gibson Les Paul yesterday with P90s and I've noticed I'm using the tone controls (mostly on the bridge) a lot more as I play it through and dial in each of my amps.
     
  9. TheCount0212

    TheCount0212 Active Member

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    I have '50's wiring in all my guitars. On a LP I will roll down the tone on the bridge pickup to somewhere b/w 3 - 7, depending on how hot the pickup is. I find this usually allows me to get a thick, singing B.B. King / Claptonesque vibrato (think Spoonful from the Fresh Cream album).
     
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  10. Dean Swindell

    Dean Swindell Well-Known Member

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    Since the early 90's I've always had a tone control for the bridge pickup on the strats. Normally it sat at about 8 all the time and a tad lower with overdrive. One rule of thumb, don't use a value of cap higher than.022, especially on a Fender, The larger he cap the more signal gets ground out and a Fender has less signal to spare than a Gibson; the rule of .047 for Fender and .022 for Gibson makes no sense. .047 is too high for any guitar and probably the reason so few people use the tone control at all.
     
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  11. Dean Swindell

    Dean Swindell Well-Known Member

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    YES! A properly voiced tone control can be extremely musical on a bridge pickup. (No cap larger than a .022, please:cheers:).
     
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  12. Phoenix1

    Phoenix1 Member

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    I use the tone mostly on my bass. Rotosound strings have such a different sound between the tone on ten or zero. Tone on bright it sounds like a piano bass keys or a slap bass sound, back it off and it goes into that thunder bass. It all depends on the type of sound you want. Mostly on my guitars i use the tone controls up to crisp sharp sound. I dont like to muddy them up too much.
     
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  13. masher_uk

    masher_uk Member

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    Les Paul - generally left on '10' and use amp/pedals for eq. If you cut higher frequencies at the source (ie the guitar) it's difficult to add them back later. Send the maximum available signal from the guitar (volume and eq) then adjust further down the signal chain. Just my 2 cents...
     
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  14. wangchung

    wangchung Member

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    Absolutely. I rarely go above 8 on my bridge pups, but neck sometimes 10. It depends on the
    tune. I play mostly covers and try to achieve a reasonable facsimile of the tone therein. I run my DSL'S with the treble and presence on 1, and have my top end and chime come from the
    way I have my power tubes biased and my "pre-amp" tube combinations. I also work the tome controls of my "OD" pedals as needed, and use the inherent tonal character of my compressors and FM pedals as well. If they have switches for setting presence, tone controls or boost, I have those dialed in as well. I also pre-set my guitars V&T controls and use the switch a lot to go from rhythm to lead sounds per tune, working with the appropriate pedals. just kicking a compressor on and off between vocals for detailed rhythm when there's no singing can add
    sparkle to a tune. Enough of the audience seems to notice to make it all worthwhile for me anyway.
     
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  15. Douglas Cram

    Douglas Cram New Member

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    I always wired my Strats to use the bottom tone control for the bridge pickup - easy and worthwhile mod. I always found Humbucker pickups too dark when the volume was rolled off, so the tone control always stayed near 10 , unless I was after a specific dark or "woman" tone. Then I started fooling around with treble bleed circuits - on my Telecasters first, then on some humbucking equipped guitars. Once you find the right treble bleed circuit for your specific guitar, it's like a whole new world. There is some trial and error built in to the process, you need to be persistent. I've found there is no set rule for the cap/resistor combinations, although the suggested values usually get you close. It does depend on the pickups you are using - low output, high output etc. But anyway, once you have a good treble bleed circuit on your guitar, you will be using your tone control A LOT. It makes the guitar sooo much more versatile. I highly suggest this worth while mod, start with one of your cheaper guitars and bust out the soldering iron. Try some of the suggested and inexpensive treble bleed kits sold on Ebay or StewMac, wherever. It's a fascinating process.
     
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  16. Justin Whitstine

    Justin Whitstine Member

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    Always use guitar tone knobs. Set the amp bright and dirty, adjust guitar tone and volume to taste.
     
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  17. jazzdj

    jazzdj Active Member

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    It would be a good idea if you guys (and gals if any) knew what the h**l the Tone control actually does, and consequently why only using the Amp to control TONE is Futile.

    1) The Tone control WITH THE CAP, acts as a FILTER for the High Frequencies output from the Pickup.

    The Tone knobs on electric guitars are potentiometers that decrease the high frequencies as you turn the knob down and increase the same frequencies as you turn the knob up, and this is done in conjunction with the Capacitor Value that is in the Tone Circuit. There is also a Frequency "curve" involved.

    Tone capacitors are wired to the tone pot, so the signal from the guitar pickup will pass high frequencies to ground when the tone pot is rolled down. ... As a secondary effect, the higher the value cap, the more frequencies are rolled off with a shorter throw on the pot. That is the "Curve".

    2) The Amps Tone Controls WILL NOT eliminate the high frequencies sent to the amp from the guitar (if the guitars Tone is set to 10). Those HF tones are still there, only over-shadowed if you increase mid or lower tones on the Amp. So if you want those High Tones to not make it to the Amp for a certain sound you are trying to create, YOU HAVE TO ROLL IT OFF AT THE GUITAR!

    Example: If you are playing a SSS Stratocaster or SS Telecaster and don't want the trademark "jangly" HF tones, you better roll off ALL that HF from the guitar AT THE guitar and then fine tone the low and mid-ranges at the Amp.

    3) The EARLY Guitar Amp engineers and manufacturers knew what they were doing and understood the principle of WHERE the tones from a Guitar should be controlled .... AT THE GUITAR. Most "Early" (40's and 50's) guitar amp either had NO Tone control, or just ONE. Look at the Fender Tweed Champs. Gibson's Amps from the 40's like the 1948 BR-6 also only had a Volume control, and the 1959 Gibson "Les Paul model" GA-8 Gibsonette only had one Tone control. While later in the 60's 2 and 3 Tone Controls were added to amps, they were meant to "set and forget" for the period of the concert or recording set.

    My 1963 "Transistion Champ", 50'a tweed box and 5F1 circuit, but with a black tolex covering from the factory. (VERY Rare). Like ALL Tweed Champs, NO Tone Control, just Volume.
    Fender 63 Champ Black Tweed front.jpg
    Fender 63 Champ Black Tweed.jpg


    1959 Gibson "Les Paul model" GA-8 Gibsonette only had one Tone control.
    1959 GA-8 Gibsonette front sml.jpg
    1959 GA-8 Gibsonette top sml.jpg
     
  18. Ufoscorpion

    Ufoscorpion Well-Known Member

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    All of my guitars have humbucker’s , maybe if I had a strat or something single coil I could maybe need to roll the tone back some , only guessing, lol .
     
  19. BlueX

    BlueX Member

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    Thanks for all comments, informative and relevant as always on this forum!

    I will go through this more in detail and check how to develop my tone.
     
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  20. Bodhi F. Dharma

    Bodhi F. Dharma Member

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    I always use the tone controls. My main instrument is a Gibson Les Paul. I set the tone controls for each pick up to different positions. Then use the middle position on the pick up selector. Just moving the volume knob on the rhythm pick up (even slightly) yields massive tonal changes. Experimentation is the key. Also I rarely run the volume knobs wide open.
    Usually somewhere between half and 3/4.
     
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