Good tone from 0-10: easy clip-on mod

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Issue 182 January 17, 2013

Trade Secrets On The Road: Dan Erlewine visits the repair shop at Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He brings back this great, simple tone tip from repairman Brian Delaney.

In this Trade Secrets video:
  • Dan takes Trade Secrets on the road for a shop visit.
  • Brian Delaney's quick, non-invasive tone modification.
  • Hot Tip! A simple mod that's easy to try for yourself.

Video Transcription

Dan Erlewine: Here's my friend, Brian Delaney. He's as great player as he is the repair man, and he's got a tip for you if you like the electric guitar.

Brian Delaney: [on-screen text reads: Brian Delaney - Ann Arbor, Michigan] One of the things that irks me about electric guitars in general, as they come out of the box. Is the fact that they sound great when they're turned up on 10. It's nice and big and full sounding and round, and then you turn the control down a notch or so and it gets dark.

The further you turn it down, the more undefined it gets. And what you lack is the tone you had on 10 throughout the entire range of the volume control.

Non-invasive tone modification

Quite a few years ago, I was looking at a Fender Tech support bulletin that Mike Stevens had written, and one of the tricks he found was to add a small circuit called a resistor capacitor network to the input and the output of any given volume control, particularly, he was talking about on Fender guitars at the time. But you can use this mod on just about anything.

This is a small circuit [on-screen text reads: Golden Age Treble Bleed Circuit - This circuit makes an easy mod] containing a capacitor and a resistor. In this case, it's a 0.001 capacitor and 150 K-ohm quarter watt resistor [on-screen text reads: Solomon SL-30 Soldering station - Solder the next job like a pro]. I've soldered alligator clips to it so I can clip it into a circuit.

Say a customer comes in and is interested in more control out of his guitar. I can add this into the circuit by just simply clipping it in and let him listen and decide for himself whether it's worth doing the modification. If he doesn't like it, we can simply undo it. It's not invasive, doesn't require any soldering if you don't want to. So let's put it in the Duo Jet.

It's installed. How's it sound?

That's on 10. That's on nine. So it retains a fidelity through the entire range of the volume control. Much more controllable.

[Brian plays the electric guitar]



Brian Delaney

Guitar Repairman

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