Regular tone knobs will always
cut the high end from your tone, but what if you want to increase it?
Well, you could try this simple mod.
See, your volume potentiometer actually
leaks a little bit of the signal to the ground. It's only a resistor,
after all. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that it's the high
end that is lost first, so pickups always end up a little muddier than
they really are.
|What you can do?
The mod is pretty obvious: Just
upgrade to a higher value volume pot in your guitar. Typically, single
coil guitars employ 250k pots while guitars with humbuckers (or a combination)
use 500k pots.
Instead, just replace the 250k pots with
500k ones and replace the 500k pots with 1M (i.e., 1000k) ones. As
you might have guessed, the 500k variety are easy enough to come by (including
as push-pull pots), but the 1M version is a little more scarce. However,
you can find them on some of the sites listed on the parts
There are two consequences of
this modification, and both are advantageous.
First, you add brightness to your tone.
This especially useful on Telecasters since players of those instruments
typically want the traditionally "twangy" sound that has a lot of high
end to it. Naturally, you can always cut it back as necessary by
simply using your tone knob. Of course, if you routinely use a muddy
tone in addition to the bright one, you might want to similarly upgrade
your tone knob to a higher value pot in order to compensate for the extra
Second, your output is stronger.
This is also helpful in guitars with single coil pickups since their output
is almost always lower than that of humbuckers. It's always nice
to be able to swap between instruments without having to re-adjust all
your volume levels.
Instead of tracking down and installing
a new potentiometer, a 250 or 500 kOhm resistor can be added between the
volume knob and the ground and effectively accomplish the same thing, but
will alter the function of the original volume knob. Specifcally,
there will be resistance to the ground. Thus, turning the knob down
will never completely remove the signal, just halve it.