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Tele Neck Pickup


thedoctor
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I built a new 12-string Tele for (NA) and had a tiny noise problem with the SD neck pickup. I goofed around with a bunch of disc caps and found I could almost eliminate the noise with a .002 mfd at the expense of a tiny bit of high/twang. While I was trying different values, I wondered if anyone has ever tried variable caps in their tone circuits. I know they aren't the most stable of active components but I can't help but think they might be an improvement over the RC networks currently used. Didn't someone used to use a rotary switch with about 6 different caps on each leg? For tone, I mean. Maybe beating a dead horse but thought I would ask.

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I built a new 12-string Tele for (NA) and had a tiny noise problem with the SD neck pickup. I goofed around with a bunch of disc caps and found I could almost eliminate the noise with a .002 mfd at the expense of a tiny bit of high/twang. While I was trying different values, I wondered if anyone has ever tried variable caps in their tone circuits. I know they aren't the most stable of active components but I can't help but think they might be an improvement over the RC networks currently used. Didn't someone used to use a rotary switch with about 6 different caps on each leg? For tone, I mean. Maybe beating a dead horse but thought I would ask.

Aren't you talking about the Varitone?

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I don't know. Maybe Varitone used variable caps but, to be honest, I never heard of Varitone. I just don't ever remember working on an axe that had variable capacitors. I have never seen var/caps in any schematic, either.

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Variable caps would work just fine, if they are stable and quiet - the reason potentiometers are used for frequency shaping (as opposed to variable caps or inductors) is that their cost/benefit ratio is better, and they're generally both quieter and more reliable. Variable caps in the audio range tend to be very expensive and quite large, and changing either component in an RC network has the equivalent effect on its transfer function, so it makes sense to make the adjustment with the cheaper of the two.

The Varitone is an LCR resonant filter shunted to ground with an assortment of switched fixed caps to change the center frequency. I'm not aware of any commercial audio equipment that uses variable caps for tone shaping.

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