Electronics

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There are a great variation of ways you can diversify your sound. Below are just a few options I use regularly in my builds.

All guitar looms are fitted with quick connectors and Audiophile Aerospace audio electronics, eutectic low-melt silver solder, very high quality used on all connections.

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Extend the tonal variation of your pickups by adding a treble and bass expander (TBX pot). Below is a picture of the TBX pot after I have just solder the system together.

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The TBX tone pot

The TBX pot is a combination of a 250 K and 1 Meg potentiometer. The resistor ( blue-grey in photo) and capacitor (orange in photo) can be changed to greatly alter the tonal range of the circuit. The TBX is part of the renowned Eric Clapton stratocaster setup and usually comes with a 82k Ohms resistor and 0.22μF Orange Spraque drop capacitor. I experiment with changing these values and with different pickups too. The higher the capacitor value, the more bass output from the tone control at zero. So a 0.1μF Capacitor gives an overall darker tone than a 0.02μF cap. One of my guitars has a 0.056 μF cap the ‘Solberg Sonic’ really bright tones.

20170908_173346.jpgThe resistor normally supplied with the TBX is a 82 k Ohms carbon-film resistor. Some suppliers do allow you to change these when ordering. However this is another area for experimentation as the value of the resistor influences the center frequency and the amount of bass cut out of the circuit (low-pass filter). I use between 100-220 kΩ as these values provide a smoother and more natural bass cut.

TONE BLEED ?

Have you ever noticed that when your volume knob is turned up high your tone isn’t the same as when you roll the volume back say 5. When the volume is 10 on a standard guitar, the amp gets the full signal from the pickups, giving a well-rounded tone. Some people think that this modification drops the tone and dynamics others not so it depends on you. It is easily removed.

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100K resistor with Orange 102pf Capacitor

When you turn the volume pot down,  the treble part of the signal is gradually lost, the guitar will sound less bright and more muffled. This is due to the relation between the pickups and the pots resistance. As a device this reduces the electric current  and capacitance, basically, resistance and capacitance are inversely related. Hence as you turn down volume the circuitry starts to work more like a low pass filter cutting of the highs hence a duller tone. This can be corrected by the introduction of a capacitor and resistor into the circuit. These can be wired in parallel, series or just a simple capacitor on the volume pot.  The effect is that as the volume is turned down you will still retain the highs and full tonal spectrum of your guitar. Again the size of capacitor and/or resistor will influence the final tonal properties.  I generally use a 100K resistor with 102pf (0.001) Poly film Capacitor (Cornell Dubilier Orange Drop) capacitor.

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A 250k Push/pull pot for Fender guitars

A further modification is to change the standard volume pot to a push/pull pot see here to the left. This gives the option of coil tapping but also the addition of a capacitor connected to the pull side of the pot this means you have your normal volume and tone controls when the pot is pushed in, but when pulled out the capacitor on the push pull pot in engaged and connect the volume pot with its capacitor directly to the amplifier. For this purpose I use the original 0.001 μF Black beauty SPRAGUE capacitors imported form the USA (see below).

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The 0.001uF black beauty capacitor which is soldered to the two lugs on the push/pull pot.

The result is a very bright  tone with lots of gain immediately at the guitarist finger tips. Also used in the push/pull pot to give the ‘Bright tome effect.

Russian military grade 0.01uF can also be used if you prefer these.