Tapered Treble Bleed

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by dpgumby, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. dpgumby

    dpgumby Senior Member

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    Just thought I’d share my experiences with wiring in my new RS Guitarworks Vintage kit in my LP Traditional, and in the process plug the wiring solution I found. (Apologies for the length of the post, I tried to edit it down, honest)

    I started by wiring it 50s as per the RS recommendation, but I found that the interaction between the tone and volume controls makes for a very finicky, hit and miss setup. Basically I found that altering the tone control alters the volume control taper. What is the point of having an RS Superpot with a custom taper when that taper is completely messed up by the tone setting? This is very noticeable when you get down to 5 or below on the tone pot. I also found that mixing the pickups on the middle setting just didn’t work anywhere near as nicely as it did with the stock modern wiring, I couldn’t get it to sound right.
    Don’t get me wrong, there are some very nice tones in there, but getting the settings right is so much more difficult – the slightest over correction on a pot and you’re a mile off all of a sudden. I haven’t tried it but I would imagine in a gig setting this could be a real pain. I can see why Gibson don’t use 50s wiring any more. I know most of you guys prefer it, but it doesn't work for me.

    So then I tried wiring it modern instead. Good control, but straight back into the mud again on turning down the vol, particularly noticeable on the neck pickup after hearing the 50s wiring. So I ended up with a compromise, bridge wired modern, neck wired 50s, but this wasn’t great, and middle position still not useable like it was stock.

    So then I started thinking about modern wiring with a treble bleed circuit. The problem with treble bleeds though is that unless it is well balanced, you can end up with some unnatural sounds. Then there are parallel or series resistance options. Parallel doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, as it bleeds low frequencies through as well, and as it is in parallel with the high side of the volume pot, it messes with the volume taper again; so series would seem more sensible. Also, if you get the values wrong you can end up with the guitar getting brighter as you turn the volume down. Some people leave the resistor out altogether but this ends up producing a very tinny effect when the volume is low. Then, what happens when you want to use the tone control as well? With the tone left on 10 everything is good, adjusting the volume down brings the treble bleed into play, and the highs are retained. But if you reduce the tone as well, the treble bleed is still letting through the highs – the lower you set the tone the more noticeable this is – I think this is the treble “sheen” that people refer to sometimes when talking about treble bleeds. Doesn’t do much for that “woman tone” setting – you have to leave the vol on 10 to eliminate the effect.

    I tried to come up with a solution for these issues, I was thinking about using double gang pots and all sorts of exotic options, but then I came across this (its the second post in the wiring library - not sure how to link to that though)

    Jemsite - Hi-Pass Filter trick (I'm an idiot)

    Basically it is modern wiring with a rearranged tone circuit to allow for a different arrangement of a treble bleed. For lack of a name, I am going to call it the “tapered treble bleed” because what it does is to reduce the effect of the treble bleed as the tone is turned down, by wiring it to the previously “unused” end of the tone pot. As the tone is reduced, the resistance in the bleed circuit increases, reducing its effect. I wish I could claim credit for it, but it was posted by FrankFalbo, so hats off to him – it’s a very clever and simple idea. The only change I have made to it is to include a series resistor – this is essential I think to limit the treble bleed from making the sound getting very tinny when the volume is very low (with tone on 10).

    So why am I posting this then, if it's in the wiring library? Thing is, I can’t find any evidence that anyone except for the author/inventor has ever tried it. I found a couple of references to it on different forums (posts by the author) but everybody seems to have ignored him. Hence my reason for posting this - I think it's too good to pass by. Maybe most people just don’t get it, or think it’s too far from the usual 50s/modern wiring options. Anyway it seemed to be possibly the ideal solution to me so I decided to try it. First I just tried the standard treble bleed with a series RC with various component values. This enabled me to get the correct RC values for the basic circuit, but also confirmed to me that there are some unnatural sounds produced when you turn down both the volume and the tone. Then I re-wired to the tapered version, using one of the old tone pots as a variable resistor so I could fine tune the circuit, before putting in a fixed resistor.

    And you know what – IT WORKS! :) I now have what I consider to be the ideal – intuitive controls, a volume control that has a perfect taper, doesn’t lose the highs when you turn it down, and a tone control which only affects tone and not volume, also with a lovely smooth taper, and no nasty harmonics or treble sheen. And it sounds awesome. :thumb: I can play with the tone down at 5-6 for a “normal” tone, and whack it up to 10 for extra bite, and this won’t have any effect on the volume or taper of the volume control, and I can use the volume without it getting muddy or getting any unwanted tonal effects. I can also mix the two pickups on the middle position just like it was before. Exactly what I was after in fact.

    For me, I think this is possibly the best option for the passive volume/tone control circuit, it certainly works far better than the 50s wiring on my guitar. I recommend you try it if you aren’t happy in any way with your tone or controls, particularly if you don't get on with the 50s wiring and don't like mud! I'd be interested to hear if anyone else out there has tried this as well.

    For those of you who are interested, I've attached a schematic, a wiring diagram and a couple of pictures of my control cavity after the mod.

    The volume and tone pots are 500K, the tone caps are 0.022uF Luxe Bees, the treble bleed circuit is a 0.001uF Sprague Orange Drop cap and a 220K metal film resistor (0.6w) wired in series. If you do try it, I think you will be OK with 0.001uF caps, resistor value may vary (I think I could have gone higher (to 400K) on the bridge). If you have lower value volume pots, you will probably need a smaller resistor.

    Note that normally, the tone cap would be grounded to the back of the tone pot, but because of the size of the bees, I grounded it at the top lug of the volume pot (doesn’t really matter where it is grounded).
     

    Attached Files:

  2. slowpokerhino

    slowpokerhino Senior Member

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    That is very interesting. I have a lot of the same issues as you, will have to give it a try.

    Uh oh, I don't think I can. Just remembered that RS completely removed the top lug of my tone pots for some damn reason.
     
  3. eddie_bowers

    eddie_bowers Senior Member

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    It's an interesting idea.
    I find that a regular treble bleed works just fine (with the resister in paralell) as long as you don't use an audio taper pot. The nice thing is that the resistor changes the taper and makes just about the same and an audio taper.
     
  4. slowpokerhino

    slowpokerhino Senior Member

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    For the volume pot or tone pot?
     
  5. LawDaddy

    LawDaddy Senior Member

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    Thanks for the post, I'll have try this.
     
  6. frankfalbo

    frankfalbo Senior Member

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    Woohoo! Another convert. I'm not sure I was thinking it through when I put "I'm an idiot" in the title of the thread though, now it lives in infamy. I'm sure I didn't foresee working for Seymour Duncan, and I surely didn't put that on my resume. :laugh2:

    You're not alone, there are a lot of people who have done it. Thanks very much for the compliments. I don't really like treble bleeds much anyway, but this is how I always do them if I do them. Maybe we'll put it up on the Seymour Duncan wiring diagram section of our website.

    The main thing with any treble bleed is that if you use it in conjunction with your tone pot, you're left with all mids. So although I just use a cap without a resistor, this mod works with whatever value you use for the treble bleed, and regardless of whether you couple it with a resistor. But if you do couple it with a resistor, run that to the tone pot too. In other words, whatever your treble bleed "network" is, take it to that lug of the tone pot.
     
  7. slowpokerhino

    slowpokerhino Senior Member

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    Please.
     
  8. if6was9

    if6was9 Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    Image from the wiring library thread:
    http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/4555-post2.html

    I was revisiting the wiring library thread the other day and was thinking about trying this. After reading this thread, I have decided to try it out this weekend.
     
  9. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    Thanks, good info. However....I have no issues with stock modern wiring as is. I like the tone to darken a bit when rolling off volume. It is not very noticable when playing at high volumes....only sounds warmer, maybe a touch darker.....but I like that! If I want hot and brighter....I roll it up. I don't like my less gainy tones too bright anyway...
     
  10. Ilya-v

    Ilya-v Member

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    I can't belive this is not a sticky.

    This IS the end of all Modern vs 50's problems.

    I don't think people are aware of this solution.

    Nor do they aware that clicking on the "A Different Take On The Highpass Filter"
    image at the "Wiring Library" thread will lead them to the Jemsite post
    about this manificent wiring method.
    It should lead HERE to this thread.

    ashbass please make it clearer for people like me :) on the Wiring
    thread that this is the BEST solution from both worlds.

    Perhapse the first post is just too long to read to understand the magnificence
    of this wiring method.

    So here it is in short:

    It retains the treble when you lower the volume knob.
    AND makes the tone pot useful on all volume settings without the
    side effects of the regular Treble Bleed mod (Sheen).

    Thats like having 50's wiring WITHOUT the messed up pot tappers !!!!
    No more sudden volume drops, no more "on/off effect" from the pot,
    No More Compromising Your TONE.

    DO IT NOW !!!

    *90 days money back guaranteed

    Cheers :slash:
     
    dynabite likes this.
  11. spad91

    spad91 Junior Member

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    Hi,

    I am very tempted to try this solution, however I would like some advice, please, from those who actually know what they are doing in terms of electronics - that excludes me... ;-)

    Is there a difference beween using wire to link the volume pot (the lug where the pickup comes to) to the tone pot, then have the cap run from the output lug to ground, and using the capacitor directly instead of the wire, and solder the output tone pot lug to ground?

    In other words, does it make any kind of difference if the tone cap is placed before or after the tone pot?

    Thanks

    Fred
     
  12. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Senior Member

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    In "regular" wiring, no. For this circuit, yes, wire it only as shown.
     
  13. spad91

    spad91 Junior Member

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    OK, will do. Thanks! :)
     
  14. spad91

    spad91 Junior Member

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    Hi,

    I have tried that tapered treble bleed in one of my LPs, and I must say I really like the result. :)
    The treble bleed I have installed is done with a 220K carbon resistor (I was able to get some high audio quality 220K resistors) and a 0.0012µF tropical fish cap, which I must say nicely keeps some of the bass, too, compared to the cheap ceramic caps I used to go with, so the sound remains pretty natural when I roll off the volume.

    I have a question, though: has anyone tried to go with this tapered treble bleed solution, BUT with the resistor in parallel to the capacitor?
    I may have a go myself, but would like to hear some feedback if anybody has already tried it.... :hmm:

    Thanks
     
  15. spad91

    spad91 Junior Member

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    OK, I'll answer my own question... :applause:

    Running the cap and resistor in parallel is not something to do, BUT in case you like the altered taper, you can always introduce an extra resistor to solder directly on the pickup and switch lugs of the volume pot. :)

    I have found more info on this in this thread, which I think is very complementary to this one. :thumb:
     
  16. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    Hi, everyone. Super-interesting and helpful thread. The most requent Tone Quest Report has an article on CP Thornton (guitar maker) who gives a good, short reference to the tapered treble bleed circuitry discussed in this thread. That writeup prompted me to finally try the mod, which I had resisted because the 50's wiring in place now does give one beautiful, "sweet spot" tone that I really feared losing. But I've gotten tired of limited and difficult basic volume adjusting and the like, and having read the positive reviews, gave the tapered treble bleed wiring a try. FYI, I have Duncan '59s and Bumblebees, 500 pots, and used the basic recommended values for cap and resistor for the tapered treble bleed. When I finished the wiring, I put the guitar -- older '57 reissue -- away for the night because I didn't want to get bummed if I had lost "the" tone. Well -- damn! In my guitar, at least, the improvement was absolutely knockout stunning. I can readily find thart signature tone, but now have a wide usable range of volume and effective tone control -- all with really great sounds. I really, really, really wanted to just stick with the basic, traditional 50's wiring -- just liked the idea of total "stock" setup -- but having made the switch, well, I'm amazed at how well it works and how great it sounds. Thanks a million for bringing this to our attention. It's a real contribution to the use and tone of the guitar we all love -- the mighty Les Paul. PS: I've bene playing forever, have played just about everything, modded everything, etc. -- clearly, a bad case of guitar OCD -- and I was still surprised by the extent of the improvement this simple rewiring produced. Dang! Live and learn.
     
  17. snaredrum

    snaredrum V.I.P. Member

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    aw MAN, i don't wanna do any soldering today as it's hot, but this sounds incredibly tempting...
     
  18. Orangedrop

    Orangedrop Member

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    Thank you!
    Very nice mod. I think the values needs to be tweaked a bit (in my LP) but the 220K and the 0,001 uF makes a good start.

    Before this mod I ended up with different wiring neck/bridge:
    Bridge - modern wiring, a 350 K vol pot and a PIO 0,047Uf tone cap
    Neck -RS wiring 550 K vol pot and a 0.022 PIO.
    Both vol pots had a treble bleed ala Kinman.
    PU:s are Dave Stephens LAB PAF.

    Again thank you for bringing this TB to attention :)
     
  19. Orangedrop

    Orangedrop Member

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    Forgot - did anyone try this mod on a Strat?
     
  20. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Not in a Strat but in a Tele (52 replica)
    vol RS Superpot 280k
    tone CTS 250k audio, res 8k fixed limit between cap and ground
    tone cap 0.1μF Luxe Phonebook

    tapered bleed - cap 1.2nF, res 330kOhm (3*1MOhm in parallel)

    It has a little bit less highs than with smaller res but I prefer it that way with single coils. Also that 8k res limits tone pot like it only go to ~1 and never to 0.
     

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