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  • Guitar rewiring

    I recently replaced the stock pickups, pots, and caps on a MIK Tokai.

    Although I placed the caps as indicated on the included diagram (looking into the control cavity....cap going from middle tab on the volume pot to the middle tab on the tone pot with the tone's lower tab grouned), I've seen slightly different volume-cap-tone connection diagrams as well.....particularly as "52-59", "60+" and "modern".

    In particular, the "52-59" diagram indicates the cap is attached to the (again looking in the control-cavity) bottom tab of the tone pot, with the middle tab grounded.

    ANyone know if or how this changes the tone (or control) characterics?

    Also, I've seen the cap indicated to be either a .02 or a .047......which is correct?

  • #2
    Originally posted by TD_Madden View Post
    I recently replaced the stock pickups, pots, and caps on a MIK Tokai.

    Although I placed the caps as indicated on the included diagram (looking into the control cavity....cap going from middle tab on the volume pot to the middle tab on the tone pot with the tone's lower tab grouned), I've seen slightly different volume-cap-tone connection diagrams as well.....particularly as "52-59", "60+" and "modern".

    In particular, the "52-59" diagram indicates the cap is attached to the (again looking in the control-cavity) bottom tab of the tone pot, with the middle tab grounded.

    ANyone know if or how this changes the tone (or control) characterics?

    Also, I've seen the cap indicated to be either a .02 or a .047......which is correct?
    Assuming you have you pickups connected to the outside lug on the volume control, then what you have is called "50's wiring". Not everyone at Gibson followed the schematic, so there are variations, but you have the electrically essential connections. The variations shown on the tone control connections make no difference tonally.


    The "proper" cap for a humbucker or P90 is .022. Some prefer lower values, especially on the neck, most agree higher values sound muddy.

    HTH,
    GS

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    • #3
      Thanks.....I wonder why so many "wiring restoration kits" use the .022? What sort of effect does it have on the tone...cut some of the lows?

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      • #4
        The caps bleed-off highs. The bigger the value the more highs are bled off. This slides the tone toward the bass.

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        • #5
          What Mystic said... .022 is usually used on guitar, and .047 (or .5) is commonly used on bass. Sometimes I like .005 or .01 on guitar... just rolls off the top end and leaves more mids.

          Try different values and see what you like.
          It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


          http://coneyislandguitars.com
          www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

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          • #6
            Tone cap choice is something I find I can rarely feel comfortable about, especially if the guitar has only one tone control. A tone cap value that suits a bridge pickup is often not what suits a neck pickup, and vice versa. A tone cap that suits a jazz tone may not suit a country picker's needs. Sadly, too many manufacturers use the same cap value for all pickups, regardless of what common sense might suggest.

            Consequently, what I've become a fan of these days is a bidirectional tone control. Here, I use a 1M linear pot where the wiper is connected to the volume pot's input lug, and each outside lug of the tone pot is connected to ground via a different value cap. A nice combination is something where there is something around a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio between cap values. So, .0047 and .022, or .01 and .047 or .039.

            The result is a control that provides one type of treble rolloff in one direction and a different type in the other, with the middle position being max treble. Rotating towards the smaller cap value provides a "rounding" function, as opposed to muting. That middle position could benefit by either having a detente you could feel or having one of those nail-polish no-load zones.

            But even without that, there are a few advantages to this approach. First, I don't know a single player who expects the same things from a bridge pickup that they expect from a neck pickup (e.g., who uses the bridge pickup to get a mute sound?), so this approach lets you have the type of tone-control action that suits the intended purpose without having to install a switch or additional pot. (Keep in mind that since the pot value is 1meg, the middle position is akin to a pair of 500k tone pots in parallel.) A second virtue is that the full range of each tone-control function is compressed into half the rotation arc. That not only means less futzing with moving the knob to trim back the treble, but it also means that you can use the tone control like a pinky-controlled "finger wah" the same way you can use the volume pot like a swell pedal. If you've ever heard what Danny Gatton could do with that, you'll be motivated to try it.

            Note that rotating in any direction has the effect of adding resistance to the path with the "other" cap so that there is little risk of tone sucking via having 2 caps in parallel.

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            • #7
              One interesting idea which just popped into my mind, for a one tone control guitar, is to use a dual ganged pot for the tone, and have two separate value caps, one for each pickup (assuming it's a two pickup guitar).

              For something like a Les Paul you can use two different caps.

              Then of course for a strat type of pickup switch, you can have it switch different caps (or just use different caps on each tone control.

              Another goodie is the old Les Paul recording guitar "decade" switch... a rotary switch with a number of different value caps.

              On the Les Paul I used to have I rewired one tone control as a master Varitone, and the other a master tone. I could get a ton of usable sounds of that guitar, including a very bright Fender type tone. Used to really surprise people.

              My main use for a tone control is to get the "woman tone"
              It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


              http://coneyislandguitars.com
              www.soundcloud.com/davidravenmoon

              Comment


              • #8
                One of my guitars has a simple 3-position SPDT centre-off toggle, where centre is no tone cap (identical to modified "no load" tone pots), and the two side positions correspond to a "rounded edge" tone (.0047uf to ground) and a "muted jazz" (.015uf to ground) tone. Simple, predictable, small footprint.

                Strats have traditionally made the error of using a single shared tone cap for both tone pots. Ideally, a different value cap should be used for each tone pot, so as to complement what you want that pot to do for the pickup in question. I would also recommend using a smaller-value tone cap for the bridge pickup tone control should one have a LP-type dual volume/tone complement. Certainly, the traditional values used for the neck pickup are appropriate, but those same cap values are wholly unsuited to the bridge pickup, where the typical tonal goal is to simply take away small amounts of bite and "round the edges" or generate less fizz from any distortion stages after the guitar.

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                • #9
                  Tone pot cap values

                  Hi, I've been reading all of the threads concerning tone controls and cap values etc... Here is a trick I use on many guitars and it's worked great for me on a number of guitars(sounds particularly good with quality p-90's). I use a good quality 500k push pul pot with a DPDT switch. On one side of the switch I solder either a .022 or .047 cap(depends on the pickup) then on the other side(pull up position) I solder a small value cap .0015 to .0047. This gives you the normal tone function in the down position,and that great woman tone in the up position with the control rolled all of the way off. It works great and unlike a varitone switch with six settings (half of which you never use)....this is very simple to use.

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