The Workbench

Telecaster wiring question: treble increases when volume turned down

1

I'm not a pickup wiring expert by a long shot. I just follow directions and used my barely adequate soldering skills. But I suspect this may be an issue with the treble bleed capacitor. Here's the low-down (I'll add more supporting pics in subsequent posts):

Squire Classic Vibe 60s Tele Custom. I added a 4-way wiring harness from StewMac a few years ago. Got the whole assembly pre-wired by them. All good.

A few months ago, I installed a set of Lollar pickups (J Street bridge and Royal-T neck). Love them. (Initially i had a problem with humming when I didn't touch the strings. Opened it up and soldered the "shield" wire to back of the tone pot – the wire that's connected to the little tab on the bottom of the pickup cavity. Also checked to see that the ground wire running to the jack was solid. There's also a ground wire connecting to the underside of the bridge plate (soldered also to back of tone pot, iirc). Seems fine now.

(Ancillary Q1: Do I need all these grounds? Does it change anything?)

Q2: [Main problem] When I roll off the volume, I notice that the treble appears to actually increase - gets thinner - definitely does not get muddier. Why is this happening?

From my limited knowledge, I see that there is a treble-bleed cap on the volume pot (as well as a larger cap between the 2 pots. Is this treble-bleed cap not doing its job? Is it doing it too well?

One thing I notice: from the StewMac wiring diagram, the treble-bleed cap should have a value of .001uf. The other cap should be .047uf. But looking at the photo of my pots, it looks like the treble-bleed cap is larger that it should be: It says 102k on it. Wouldn't that be .01uf, not .001uf? The other cap seems right (473k). Am I reading these right?

So is that maybe what's causing the treble to increase when I turn down the volume? Is the treble-bleed cap too large?

I also understand that some people add a resistor to a volume-bleed cap to smooth it out. Is that the solution? Or remove the cap, or change to a different value cap?

Any advice, corrections etc are appreciated.

3

Another pic of the caps. Vol pot on right, tone on left.

4

Dang usually it's the other way.. .treble rolls off when the volume is taken down some. But I sure don't know w all this modern world stuff.

5

That's what the treble bleed does. It bypasses the volume pot so that when you turn the volume down, you're not turning the treble down. I don't usually like them; when I turn down I usually also want to stand out less, so I consider the loss of treble a good thing.

You could try a smaller cap, so less treble bypasses the volume pot.

6

I started using these adjustable treble bleeds in my guitars and they save me a LOT of headaches from trying to find the right combinations of caps/resistors/series/parallel.

https://guitarelectronics.c...

7

I started using these adjustable treble bleeds in my guitars and they save me a LOT of headaches from trying to find the right combinations of caps/resistors/series/parallel.

https://guitarelectronics.c...

– JBGretschGuy

I didn't know such a thing existed! That's fantastic! It would be great on all my guitars, except for the 6120: working on those is such a PITA, I HATE it, that I wouldn't disassemble one to install this.

But I will be keeping them in mind for the future!

8

I didn't know such a thing existed! That's fantastic! It would be great on all my guitars, except for the 6120: working on those is such a PITA, I HATE it, that I wouldn't disassemble one to install this.

But I will be keeping them in mind for the future!

– ruger9

Getting the master out isn't too hard. On Gretsches, I just set it in the middle and forget it. Great sweep and great treble roloff. Also, whatever Gretsch is using for their Treble Bleed in the 2020 models is fanatic. I just don't know the component values.

9

Wow. Never met a Tele that needed a treble bleed. I use them on my Gretsches because I like to set everything up with my volume dialed back about 30% and then I dial it up as needed. I tend to run my tone control dialed back too, though. With a Tele, dialed back warms up the tone just right for me and I dial the volume up to cut through. By the way, a 102 is 1 nanofarad, or .001uF, so that's right. Adding the resistor to the bleed circuit keeps the taper of the pot consistent and is very useful. I'm definitely going to look into that V-Treb Variable Treble Bleed Circuit thingy, though. That would have saved me hours of experimentation, and it will save me hours of speculation because "what-ifs" will be easy to try.

10

Thanks for the feedback, y'all.

I get how the treble bleed is supposed work – I have one on the master volume of my 5422, and it works great. The problem with the Tele is that it seems to not just maintain the high-end as the volume is rolled off, it seems to actually increase it and get more brittle and thin-sounding. I guess I'll just have to take it out and see how that changes things.

That adjustable treble bleed is way cool.

I'm still confused by the way these caps are labelled and measured: if 102k is 1 nanofarad, or .001uF, then why does the .047uF say 473k on it? To get from .001 to 102 requires moving the decimal point 5 places, but to get from .047 to 473 requires moving it only 4 decimal places. There's a difference of a factor of 10, is there not?

12

I started using these adjustable treble bleeds in my guitars and they save me a LOT of headaches from trying to find the right combinations of caps/resistors/series/parallel.

https://guitarelectronics.c...

– JBGretschGuy

I grabbed one recently, I'll have to pop one in and see.

13

Thanks for the feedback, y'all.

I get how the treble bleed is supposed work – I have one on the master volume of my 5422, and it works great. The problem with the Tele is that it seems to not just maintain the high-end as the volume is rolled off, it seems to actually increase it and get more brittle and thin-sounding. I guess I'll just have to take it out and see how that changes things.

That adjustable treble bleed is way cool.

I'm still confused by the way these caps are labelled and measured: if 102k is 1 nanofarad, or .001uF, then why does the .047uF say 473k on it? To get from .001 to 102 requires moving the decimal point 5 places, but to get from .047 to 473 requires moving it only 4 decimal places. There's a difference of a factor of 10, is there not?

– Jimbodiddley

http://kiloohm.info/3-digit...

15

Thanks for the feedback, y'all.

I get how the treble bleed is supposed work – I have one on the master volume of my 5422, and it works great. The problem with the Tele is that it seems to not just maintain the high-end as the volume is rolled off, it seems to actually increase it and get more brittle and thin-sounding. I guess I'll just have to take it out and see how that changes things.

That adjustable treble bleed is way cool.

I'm still confused by the way these caps are labelled and measured: if 102k is 1 nanofarad, or .001uF, then why does the .047uF say 473k on it? To get from .001 to 102 requires moving the decimal point 5 places, but to get from .047 to 473 requires moving it only 4 decimal places. There's a difference of a factor of 10, is there not?

– Jimbodiddley

The first two numbers are the actual value, and the third is the number of zeros after the value. The resulting number will be in picofarads.

  • 102 means a 1 and a 0, followed by two more zeros: 10 & 00 = 1000 picofarads = 1 nanofarad

  • 473 means a 4 and a 7, followed by three more zeros: 47 & 000 = 47000 picofarads = 47 nanofarads

It's just a shorthand for scientific notation if you're more familiar with that. 473 = 47 * 10 ^ 3 = 47000. It just makes things easier and quicker to write in a small space, e.g. 684 = 680000 picofarads = 680 nanofarads.

It helps to think in picofarads rather than microfarads. 1 uf = 1,000 nf = 1,000,000 pf


Resistors are quite the same, except the numerals have been replaced by colored stripes:

  • Black = 0

  • Brown = 1

  • Red = 2

  • Orange = 3

  • Yellow = 4

  • Green = 5

  • Blue = 6

  • Violet = 7

  • Gray = 8

  • White = 9

On older, typically carbon comp, resistors, there are three colored stripes, corresponding to a three number system just like on your caps.

  • brown, black, red means a 1 followed by a 0 followed by two more zeros: 10 & 00 = 1000 = 1 kilohm resistor

More modern resistors have 4 stripes, allowing them more precision, where the last number is still the number of zeros, but now there are three numbers to state the value. So with 4 stripes, a 1000 ohm resistor becomes:

  • brown, black, black, brown means a 1 followed by a 0, followed by a 0, followed by one more zero: 100 & 0 = 1000 = 1 kilohm resistor

  • red, red, black, yellow means a 2, followed by a 2, followed by a 0, followed by four more zeros: 220 & 0000 = 2200000 = 2.2 megohm resistor

Of course with resistors there's yet another stripe, which denotes the tolerance. In most applications this will be a silver or gold stripe, meaning 10% or 5% tolerance, respectively.

16

Oh, I see. Thanks Otter! No one told me there'd be code-busting involved!

17

Adjustable Treble Bleed...

I think I'll do the FSR Squire Bullet Tele at some point.

My 6120 and Super400 both have Treble Bleed.


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