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Tone Probelm

Tyler Durden

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Hello everyone,

I got myself a SG about 2 years ago, used from ebay. When i first got it, it was wired normal (two vol, two tones, and a 3 way) but in a way i've never seen it before. It was like ass-backwards. the only thing i remember from the way it was wired was that the cpacitors didnt go from tone knob - volume knob, it came off tone knob and then grounded on bottom of the pot (like the way master tones are wired) After a month or two it started crackling and getting noises when you use the volumes (common from a BAD wiring job) but the tone always sounded good.

I eventually gutted it and used just two of the pots with both pickups to wire it 2 master volumes w/ 3-way switch, no tones. It sounded the same, maybe a little richer since it didnt have any tones.

I finally got around to rewire it the "factory" way a few weeks ago. I got all new parts (500k pots and a 3-way switch). At first, i wired it with .050uf ceramic capacitors this way:


and i had massive tone problems. everything worked but it wasnt "rich" at all. Very dull, very dry sounding. as if i turned the tone knob down a little, or the gain on my amp. it wasnt as distortiony. i figured it might be the value capacitor i used (since i never used that one before) so i switched them with .022uf caps. I got a little more high end, but same dull and dry sound. So, i decided to wire it this way:


and see what would happen. No difference in tone.

I dont understand what the problem is. The only thing i can think of is that i got some shitty pots (from stew mac, they look a little wimpy compared to other pots) but could they really **** up the sound that bad? Is there a mod that any one knows of? or maybe something simple thats staring me in the face? any help would be very much appreciated. thanks.

Edited by Tyler Durden
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This probably won't be of much help...

But I never wire my tone controls that way - using the tone cap as jumper from volume control pot to the tone control pot. I wire them the way you consider backasswards - wire jumper from volume control pot to tone control pot - with tone control closest to ground.

Back in the days when I didn't shield guitars, caps could pick up extra noise. Wiring them far away from ground would just increase the noise level. So, even with shielding, I still wire them as close to ground potential as possible.

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Sorry, Tyler, but that's a volume pot with a cap in parallel - it'll just turn down the volume. Try wiring as shown, but place the cap between the rightmost pot lug and ground. There are several equally valid ways to wire a tone pot, since components in series are equivalent, regardless of their physical order. See if this helps:


All three of these tone setups are electronically identical, even though the physical setups are quite different.

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