By Clarissa Nadeau. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 06:42:33 AM.
Guitar Wiring 102, now we’ve got the basics down, let’s have a look at some simple modifiers to the circuit. This article first shows you how to add a "killswitch" to the guitar, then uses the lessons learned from that process to change that killswitch to a volume control instead. Finally, we’ll find out how capacitors are used in guitar circuits and install our first tone control.
I like to do my own guitar repair and set up. I hate paying people to things I can do myself, I like to do them my way, and I get a great deal of satisfaction from a successful guitar repair. So I was determined to work this one out for myself. So, after grabbing the dental floss from the medicine cabinet, I took the guitar out to my garage workshop and got to work. I laid the guitar on its back on some carpet remnants on my workbench, and removed the strings. It was time for a new set anyhow.
Sovtek is the primary OEM supplier of preamp tubes today. Sovtek tubes are made in Russia. As you can see above, they have a spacer below the short, fat plates, a gap between the plates and the second upper spacer, and a "dimple" getter over the top. If you see a tube that looks like this, it's a Sovtek, regardless of the label. Sometimes they are marked as Sovtek 12AX7's but you also see them marked as Groove Tubes 12AX7-R's and Fender 12AX7's. You will also see them marked 12AX7 WA, WB or WC. I'm told the WB version has a little more gain and the WC version is a little quieter. Regardless, these tubes all have an edgy (bright) tone that is popular with Fender amp owners.
The resistance value of the potentiometer plays an important role in tone; the rule of thumb is to use 250K potentiometers with single coil pickups and 500K potentiometers with Humbucker pickups. Both are commonly found on stock guitars. Guitar pickups can often be "hot", or sound a bit dull. To fix this, swap out the stock 250K pots with premium 500K models. This will allow the pickups to get more high-end sound while brightening up the overall tone.
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