Gretsch tone switch - sounds awful

Posted by Dwight Listmayer on Sun, 10/17/04 - 12:53:11.

I have to rewire a brand new Gretsch 62 re-issue and wonder if anyone has one, or a similar model. It has 3 volume controls, but no variable tone control. Instead, the 3 way tone selector switch offers 1. full, wide-open bright, 2. medium dark with a .022 capacitor, as if the tone was turned down all the way on a Fender, and 3. Dark, with a .047 cap, like a Gibson turned all the way down.

I don't like any of these choices. I find ALL unusable. Any agreement, disagremment, opinions or ideas?

Thank you, Strat Man Dwight



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Re: Gretsch tone switch - sounds awful

The reason the #2 and #3 settings sound that way is that the switch sends all of the signal through the capacitors and these caps are typical of Fender and Gibson guitars. A variable control allows only a portion of the signal to pass through the cap and leaves the rest of it unchanged. The effect the capacitor has on the tone depends on how far the control is turned.

Capacitors roll off the treble end of the signal sent through them. The bigger the cap, the more treble it diminishes or "rolls off". You could try installing different sizes of capacitors (.01, .001, .02 etc.) on the switch to achieve the tones you are looking for. Or you could put them in the hot (+) side of the pickup lead wire before it connects to the volume control to enhance the tone of each pickup in the #1 setting and then use the tone switch for additional tone changes. You could even replace the tone switch with a variable tone pot/control, if space permits and that option is desirable.

This site http://guitarelectronics.zoovy.com/category/wiringresources/ has wiring diagrams of the most popular setups.

What I have done to experiment with different tone capacitors, to hear the tones they produce, is connect a pair of wires to the tone pot/switch where the caps connect and run them from the inside to the outside of the guitar with a couple of clips on the other end. Then I could connect the caps to the clips and hear the effect they had on the sound/tone.

Re: Gretsch tone switch - sounds awful

: The reason the #2 and #3 settings sound that way is that the switch sends all of the signal through the capacitors and these caps are typical of Fender and Gibson guitars. A variable control allows only a portion of the signal to pass through the cap and leaves the rest of it unchanged. The effect the capacitor has on the tone depends on how far the control is turned.

: Capacitors roll off the treble end of the signal sent through them. The bigger the cap, the more treble it diminishes or "rolls off". You could try installing different sizes of capacitors (.01, .001, .02 etc.) on the switch to achieve the tones you are looking for. Or you could put them in the hot (+) side of the pickup lead wire before it connects to the volume control to enhance the tone of each pickup in the #1 setting and then use the tone switch for additional tone changes. You could even replace the tone switch with a variable tone pot/control, if space permits and that option is desirable.

: This site http://guitarelectronics.zoovy.com/category/wiringresources/ has wiring diagrams of the most popular setups.

: What I have done to experiment with different tone capacitors, to hear the tones they produce, is connect a pair of wires to the tone pot/switch where the caps connect and run them from the inside to the outside of the guitar with a couple of clips on the other end. Then I could connect the caps to the clips and hear the effect they had on the sound/tone.

To Pookster - good answer, appreciated. How's about I undo the volume controls and add variable tone controls in their place with different caps, and keep the master volume? Wiring would be no problem - comes from experience.

Thanks for your insight & suggestions.

Strat Man Dwight

Re: Gretsch tone switch - sounds awful

: To Pookster - good answer, appreciated. How's about I undo the volume controls and add variable tone controls in their place with different caps, and keep the master volume? Wiring would be no problem - comes from experience.

: Thanks for your insight & suggestions.

: Strat Man Dwight

Your welcome.

That's a great solution and a workable one too. If you could achieve a satisfactory tone from each one by placing a cap in the hot side of the leads from the pickups, you could then use the separate volumes to "blend" the pickups together, sort of like having a mixer on the guitar. What if you replaced the selector switch with a push/pull pot for the tone and had different caps for each position? Up for brighter tones and down for darker ones or vice/versa.

Just a thought.

Pookster

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