I'm wiring up a Fender S-S-S Strat for one neck blender, one tone, one volume with a pull switch to override the volume and tone. I haven't gotten the tone to work ever since the last mod I did to it, and I changed pots 3 times, but not the capacitor. I've followed every diagram outside of my teachings about tone "drain," and even ruled out other possibilities in wiring mishaps.
Should I have replaced the cap in the first place to save all this soldering time? I forgot to test with a meter, but I buttoned everything up and I'm tired. I turned 35 today and I might have had too much fun all day!
I turned 35 today and I might have had too much fun all day!
Happy Birthday, Lefty!
Normally, I'd put a post in the coffee shop but since I've got you right here . . .
Amp to 11 and jam "Highway Star" until yer ears bleed! Then a frosty cold adult beverage. Cheers!
Oh, about your question. A bad cap is certainly a possibility. You're going to have to unbuttton it to fix it regardless of the source of the problem, and caps are cheap, easy enough to change 'em. (Cheap, that is, unless you got suckered into one of those "vintage" things the size of a 55-gallon drum. :
When you say the tone control isn't working, do you mean that rotating the knob has no effect whatsoever on the output? Or, does it reduce the signal but not alter the tone towards the bassy side of things?
I get no cut or change, but I can hear the "bond buzz" in some wiring configurations when I touch the bare post, and with the cheapo pot I used I could hear scratchy noise when I turned it.
Basically, it should drain the treble from the hot leads from either the volume or the switch...right? I tried grouding it, even though it's grounded through the shield. I tried reversing the terminals, thinking maybe the left-handed myth about everything being reversed could be true, but it wasn't (the push/pull switch is actually backward).
I have to find the correct caps - this electronic surplus house I went to beat me up with specifics and tried to sell me the HUGE barrels again. Those were the only "orange drops" they carried.
Could be a bad pot, then, or a bad connection, or a bad cap, or some combination.
Can you post some well-focused close-up pixs of your wiring?
Do you have a multimeter?
Could be 3 bad pots in a row. Or it could be wacky wiring between 2 mods.
Might be able to put some creative photog to work, but no guarantees. LOTS or small terminals and wires so bad I had to use hemostats from my med lab days to solder. I'll try to work up some diagrams - that would probably be better.
Yes, I have 2 multimeters I forgot to use last night.
You can use either a regular guitar cable, just holding the meter leads to the tip and sleeve of the plug. Better yet is to use an old plug, with the wires stripped back on the other end and alligator clips attached to connect the meter.
...hope the Mrs. doesn't mind us stopping before the wedding we're going too!
OK, you're officially Nutz! ;D
The "brain scan" procedure will tell you if the pot is bad (or perhaps a bad connection to the pot). It will not tell you if the cap is bad. Your multimeter won't measure capacitance (unless it's one of them fancy ones).
"No" resistance, i.e. 0Ω, implies that there is continuity. Infinite resistance, or an "over limit" reading, means no connection. But anyway, you probably won't get an accurate reading if measuring components that are wired in. That's where the brain scan procedure may be helpful.
I didn't think they were that high, but shouldn't they work anyway?
The voltage rating is a maximum value, above which one dare not tread. You can use any ones you like with values > 10V, no chance of frying that with guitar circuitry!
A meter set to read DC resistance (Ohms) should read open when strapped across a capacitor. If it's a real BAC* the resistance will ramp up as the cap charges, and then settle at over range. Your tone cap is not a BAC.
Brain scan procedure will not tell us anything about the tone pot, since it'll be trying to read the pot through the cap, and...well...see above.
Capacitors often fail closed. That is, the short internally, making them something similar to a straight wire - or maybe a small resistor. If this was the case - and assuming it's otherwise wired correctly - the Tone pot would still have a noticeable effect. Most of the action of the Tone pot involves the cable capacitance and the inductance of the pickups. It would likely also go silent (or very close to it) when turned to 0.
If it's failed open, then the Tone pot is no longer a part of the circuit, and would have no noticeable effect.
The right way to test a cap is with a meter that measures capacitance. One can use part of one's posterior, though, by wiring the cap in at the guitar's output. You can either:
A) Wire it in parallel across the jack - from Tip to Sleeve. If it's working, you'll get a very dark and muddy "Tone at 0" tone. If it's failed closed, you'll get silence (or very near to it). If it's shorted open it'll have no noticeable effect.
2) Wire it in series with the hot output - between the switch/volume pot and the jack Tip. If it's working here, it'll act as a high-pass filter, and you'll get a very thin, shrill, tinny kind of output. If it's shorted, you'll get normal output (no change). If it's open you'll get something close to silence, probably with a significant increase in noise.
All that said, we still don't know much about the actual wiring around this capacitor. You indicated that there is a switch in there to "override the volume and tone". I strong suspect the wiring in and around this switch. Since I can't see it, though...
Sorry, but this Forum's [ img ] tags can only handle .GIF, .JPG and .PNG files. Your shutterfly website insists on converting your postings into their proprietary format, which has no file extension.... that's why the images don't show as you would expect.
Can you please re-post them to a "normal" website that leaves the image format alone (i.e. a .JPG file remains as a .JPG file)? Photobucket and Imageshack are the perennial favorites for this job, but I'm sure there are others.
Rule #1: All Lives Are Final. Make sure that the life you have just been issued is appropriate for your needs, before departing the womb.
Rule #2: In case you don't like the life you have, see Rule #1.
Too big? Wow, those came out better than I expected! I cleaned it up a bit and rewired 3 times. I even put it mostly stock and then jumped to 1-tone 1-volume 1-blender. I got everything but tone cut. I tried moving the tone back to the pickup switch (was at volume) and jumped all 3 pickup lugs to go to tone - I still got no tone cut, but the blender muffled the tone and made scratchy noise when a string was played.
Now I will attempt to put it back the way it was when I just had no tone cut. The only other problem was the mid cut out with the neck in the mid-neck position instead of blending like it should have.
I swear, this Strat has been cursed ever since I got her and I keep making her more angry with each mod!!!!
Oh, and in case it matters - the pots and cap came from a Dragonfire (Fender knockoff) S1 setup. It didn't work as they intended, and I think the cap was probably DOA. I only ordered a plain 3 pot set, so that might explain the QA. The "Texas Blues" pickups are nice, though. I just had to put the Hotrail back in the bridge, because the Texas bridge was a bit too harsh.
I finally got it working last night!!!! After a few nights of "try this and put it down," I tried a tone pot from my MIJ Strat that I thought was fried. My multimeter proved it it be working. Wired in the extra cap I bought and VIOLA! Although it only cuts the tone completely at 9-10, I'm happy. I think I'll try to wire it backward to see if it gets better. I tried a new blend sceme too, but it's not as variable as the one I had.
Dragonfire guitar parts. Don't mind my grouchiness. The Texas Blues pickups sound pretty darn good (not as bright/buzzy as SRV Fender Texas Specials, but the bridge was too harsh for my liking) as I mentioned earlier in this thread, and I thought about purchasing a set of active pickups for another project. However, the pot set I received wasn't so great - They sent the wrong set, one pot and possibly the cap were bad, and their customer service is terrible. After no response to my emails, I told them that I would figure the problems out myself and never buy from them again. Still no response. I've bought other parts from them before and was satisfied, but that last straw left a bitter taste in my mouth.
VOILA - excuse my French. That is what looks like a .022uf cap, but I can't be sure and I'M still not sure it wasn't DOA from Dragonfire/GPO. The one I replaced it with is the same color, but bigger. Same with the pots - I THINK they are 250K, they work fine, except for the bad one that got tossed in the spare parts box with BAD written on it.
Pick on me all you want, but I have since cleaned everything up inside...well, except for the brown marks on the switch wafer. Everything was wired from scratch, except the solo switch that I needed to remember was backward...and then I ended up wiring it backward to the switch anyway and wasted another 10 minutes and my last 60 gauge string broke - GRRRR!
It was all well worth it. She sounds great! Much better than any MIM Strat I've heard and I lost that dull, lifeless sound once and for all. As for the curse...I hope I gave it a "more productive value" for lack of better explanation.
She came to me from a guy in New York who suffered a big loss from the 9-11 tradgedy. I'd give away my more valuable Ibanez before I sell her for top dollar!