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Do You Use The Tone Controls On Your Guitar?


erikbojerik
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How do you do your EQing?  

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Players - I'm interested to find out if you guys use the tone controls on your guitar at all - or rely instead on the amp/pedalboard for everyday EQing.

When you're doing your soundcheck, what do you dial in? Do you ever use the guitar's tone on-the-fly in the middle of a set to correct something you hear that's not quite right? Do you set your guitar's tone to a fixed position and never move it, or do you twiddle with it between/during songs?

Choose any of the above options that apply - you don't have to pick just one. But pick only the ones you actually use on a regular basis. And post if you like.

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I voted for using the guitar´s tone controls...but I also use the amp´s! I used to have a single channel Fender Jr. (valve) and I used to fiddle with the controls all the time...I also switched pickup positions a lot (I had a LP). I used the volume controls quite a bit, trying to mix and match the volumes, tone and pup positions for flexibility. One thing that some people forget as well, is how much a difference the picking technique as well as the picking position make to the overall tone.

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I set the overall EQ at the amp and then I use my guitar's tone control and/or pickup switch to select between different tones. I usually leave the tone controls alone on my guitar, but sometimes I roll them back if it sounds brighter than I'd like.

I also have tone controls on all my pedals, DIY ones included, but those have been set a certain way and left like that for several years now. :D

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I use all of the above. My amp only has a tone control, which I have set a little below noon. I also have an EQ pedal on my board with I use to cut the highs a bit and add some upper mids. But while I'm playing I use my tone control on the guitar, in conjunction with the pickup selector all the time during songs, between songs, everything.

I also use my volume control a lot, and although I have a volume pedal I only use that for times when I need to do a quick change in volume or do a swell. I use my guitars volume to bring down the overdrive level for softer songs for example.

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Tone pots.... I dont even know what they are for.

They make things sound like mud for me. However I do have rack mounts and amps with EQ, and I spend a lot of time playing with it there.

I can see turning it down on a neck pickup for some jazz.... other wise I dont really like the sound.

What is the history of the tone pot? were they used to taylor a sound on older amps or something?

I have been trying to get a SRV tone on my strats... I cant. I have read what he does tone at X, volume rolled off. whatever.... And I am mainly a heavy distorion player anyhow. so tone on heavy distortion, not a good mix IMHO.

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I tend not to use my tone control...however...I do kind of use the volume control to effect the tone. I don't use a treblebleed on my tele so turning it down also takes off the bite, on my LP I do have treble bleed volume controls, so this means turning down will give a brighter sound to HB pickups.

I'd like to though, but generally I have yet to get one to work in a really useful way. The amps tone controls are far more effective and extensive and digital effects can have different EQ's on any settings if used...so I voted amp EQ.

I am working on a project on a 2xHB guitar with a new (well at least to me) kind of tone control. This is a normal tone control between about 8 and zero...above this (8-10) it turns off the bass on one coil only...the result should be a split HB sound with the added bass and noise canceling of the other coil...so a fatter split if you like with no added controls and making the tone control more useful.

I do use the selection switch a fair bit for quick changes between different tones and like the sound of different pickup types on a guitar. In general, my favorite tone (standby) is the neck and bridge pickups together on both the tele and the LP. On the old LP, I used to use the different volume controls quite a bit so that I could have a mix of the two...combined with coil splitting, both pickups on and adjusting the balance between was a far more effective "tone control".

But in general, no...perhaps if I played with distortion I would have more use for it!

pete

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I use the tone on the guitar and on the amp. Mostly use the tone on the amp, but I like some sound I can get with the guitar tone for blues, so I use that too. I don't have an eq pedal, well, I wouldn't use that at the moment anyway, since I don't have a pedal board set up at all at the moment.

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I'm always twiddling my knobs. Volume, Tone, pup selector switch, push/pull for coil tapping. Most players don't realize the variety of sounds they have at their fingertips just by flipping a switch or turning a knob or picking in a different position. You can go from a smooth mellow warm overdrive to screaming metal and back again with the flick of your wrist - no channel switching or other gizmos necessary.

FYI: For soundchecks, run full-open so you don't surprise the sound guy - that includes vox as well!

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I run my pickups at tone = 10. I like a mid-boost, so, my amp is set at Lows = 5, Mids = 8, Highs = 6.5'ish. All fine EQ'ing is handled within pedal presets. I was surprised to see how many do not seem to do this, or maybe it just isn't what is considered most important in the chain. :D

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On my OLP MM3, I do sort of use it.

I find though on that bass that there isn't too much the tone controls do. It either makes the tone sound a bit dull, or a bit brighter, but not noticeable unless the bass is playing by itself softly, without other instruments, so I tend not to bother when playing at church, but at home, its a little more usable.

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I've found that I need to experiment with cap values to find what works with each guitar I'm building.

I use it all the time on my bass.

On my guitar, I often find myself rolling it back a hair the first gig or practice I've got new string on - my rig can get pretty bright when I swap the strings, before they've "broken in", but I don't like to mess with the knobs on the amp, I've got them where I like them.

I also play with the tone control a lot because a lot of the effects pedals I use behave differently as play with the tone, particularly my Octavia clone. If I'm putting a lot of upper octave voices on with the HOG, rolling back the tone control can keep them from getting two strident.

On my one-pickup guitar, I quickly roll the tone control back in singing, sustainy high-note solo things where I might normally switch to the neck pickup.

In general, though, I use things like parallel/series switching on pickups and pickup selector switching for my tone needs more often. I also have an pedal board EQ, with three boosts (hi, mid, lo) as well as a cut option on the mid, that I use frequently as well - helps me get a little bight when I need to cut through the mix. There's a mid-boost footswitch on my amp, too, but I never use it with the current tones I've been playing with, although for rootsy rock, it was real great.

The tone control is great when playing clean but on the verge of breakup, helps eliminate a lot of string noise.

NEver found myself really needing more than one tone control, though.

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All fine EQ'ing is handled within pedal presets. I was surprised to see how many do not seem to do this

Me too - given that most multi-effect floor boards have a built-in EQ that you can change and save from preset to preset.

But for guys who use stompboxes, I guess an EQ stompbox would be a bit redundant since you can't exactly change it between songs.

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Tones at 10, volumes at 10 (I use a dual looper with a tuner set to mute as a kill switch). I'm usually way too busy/stressed on stage to fiddle with things once we get going --I'm just holding on for dear life....

Most I'll do is use the switch. That gives me most of the variation I need.

And my board has two fuzzes, a distortion factory and a synth wah...I really don't think a puny lil' tone knob is going to do much against that....

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  • 2 weeks later...

i generally have em cranked and only turn em down for better feedback control with the tone right down you wont get the uncontrolable squeal which i like, but sometimes i wanna get more sustained feedback and then turn it up till it looses control and starts sqealing :D

Edited by S.A.D
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  • 4 weeks later...

I use my tone and vol all the time. Roll the vol back a whisker to clean up the signal and take my tone down to half when playing some good rock in the bridge position. Like someone said before there is so many tones at your fingertips. Just look at any great guitarist, they're always fiddling with their knobs! :D

Edited by chops1983
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Playing with others I just turn everything on 10 except the volume on my amp of course. But all eq and tone knobs run full-up unless someone specifically says "can you cut your treble/bass/whatever". But when I'm playing with a bassist, drummer and even another guitar player I've never had that problem. I suppose they just eq'd around me, but they never said anything about it.

I remember the first night I turned to my amp and said screw it and just dimed the whole thing. Nobody else turned around and changed the settings on their amps. They just said I sounded better.

If I could I'd just have all single-pickup guitars wired straight to output and an amp with only the one volume knob.

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I went as far as calling EMG and getting a diagram to eliminate a tone pot in a dual humbucker setup. I blast it anyway, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s just one less hole I gotta drill. Everything tone and EQ wise takes place in my rack and on my amp.

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Depends on the amp i have two a cheap Crate V18 and a old Tubeworks td742

the crate i leave the volume and tone on the guitar at 10 and use the amps controls.

but i have found that the Tubeworks likes to have you set its eq and volume a little brighter and louder than you want to play (or in my case try to play) and use the guitars controls to fine tune. but i still love that little ratty amp.

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How many guys here who use the tones controls playing a single coil guitar? And the guys who dont use tone, are you all humbuckers?

I use single-coil guitars almost excluseively these days, but in my last band I used a LP copy with a humbucker bridge and P-90 neck pickups. I had all of the knobs ripped out of that guitar.

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