Modern Gretsch Guitars

Volume-pot to Tone-pot conversion


I have a Setzer SLVO with typical 6120 Filtertron tone-switch setup. Im not crazy about the tone-switch concept, although I work around it.

I've got a fondness as some do here, for the Gibson style tone-pot-for-each-pickup setup. I like the broader range of tone-shaping available. It also seems much easier for me to get a guitar in sync with a particular amp (ie, with little to no amp tweaking) with a tone-pot. The tone-switch is a bit awkward and quirky for me.

However, I do love the Gretsch style master volume setup, and almost NEVER adjust the individual pickup volumes.

So my question is this: how difficult would it be to convert my two unused, individual pickup volume controls into tone-pots? Has anyone done this before? With this particular style wiring harness, would it simply be a matter of adding a cap of some kind to each pot? If so, what value cap? I'm assuming the stock pots are linear taper. Would I want/need to replace these with audio taper pots? Can these two pots be worked on fairly easily without pulling out the entire wiring harness?

Thanks for any help.


You intend to keep the tone switch AND convert the volume pots?

Seymour Duncan has dozens of wiring diagrams at his site; here's 1 volume, two tones, and 3-way selector. You'd just have to figure out where the tone switch fits in.

You might contact TV Jones as well; he could surely tell you how to do the trick.

If it was me, I'd put in audio taper pots while I had it apart for sure, and, alas, I expect you'll have to pull the entire harness.


Deleted because I don't want to retype up the whole thing again the correct way. Either way, it's easy (for me) to do, but it all depends on how much patience you have. Sorry Proteus, you were right. I can't believe I missed it on the gretsch schematic... Duh! I feel stupid now. That's what I get for trying to help someone! lol

To get them out use the fatter 1/2" wide clear aquarium tubing and stick the pot shaft in it and feed it through the body until you can grab it through the F hole. Carefully pull them out of the F-Hole and cover the body of the guitar. Desolder, resolder, reinstall in the same way you took them out, only in reverse. Screw them back on, fire it up. If it doesn't work for some reason, put it back the way it was, but I bet it will work...


wenz, he's going to need caps to turn vol pots into tone, no?


Proteus is right - you must have a capacitor in order for a potentiometer to function as a tone control.


no, that isn't true Wenzel, the Gretsch wiring schematic clearly shows a capacitor! the only difference between a tone pot and a tone switch is that the pot allows you to select how much of the signal is run through the capacitor (and they probably use different values, too) — without it, it just won't work!

here's a photo of the TV Jones tone pot wiring harness with a .022uF capacitor:


Hey Pedro,

You're absolutely correct. When using a tone cap in parallel with the resistor in the pot, only the center tab and either of the others need connections.

I tried to post this addendum yesterday afternoon, but kept getting a message saying my server couldn't locate this server.

Hey, where can I get a stupid cap?!? Will it keep my head warm, cause it's getting colder, and my mellon lacks much of the outer insulation it used to have. :nice:



Yeah, you're right. I see the stupid cap now. 223K. I am over-stressed right now, but my wiring should work, right? I am going off of what Gretsch's wiring schematics say. I have only done tone pots on a tele, so my experience with messing with them is limited to none on a gretsch. I have done volume pots all day long, but since my gretsch's have always had tone switches, I never worried about it. Sorry for the slight misinformation.


I wear a stupid cap about half the time.


Hammerhead sayeth: "Attaching only a ground to one end of the resistant material, and two contacts to the sweeper will achieve nothing, because nothing is attached to the output tab of your pot."

In this case, only half the pot is being used, to vary the resistance between the signal and the cap, other side of the cap goes to ground. The third tab isn't used.

Wenzel has it right, but you do need the cap.

EDIT: It doesn't seem that the quote feature is working.


Wow, great responses. Thanks everybody. Glad I moved this post from the "tech" section and placed it here. Good idea to ask TV Jones as well. I think I'll send him an email and alert him to this thread. Would be nice to get his thoughts on the matter. Oh, and I should add that the idea was also to just leave the tone-switch as it is, even if it doesn't get used.


Why can't you connect the wire to the toneswitch to the center wiper of one of the volume pots? I know the requirement was for 2 tones, but if you used a push-pull pot you could have the choice of a functioning tone control or toneswitches.


Wow! What a time warp. My reply above actually came before the comment. Not too difficult to spot the newbie around here. I'll have this all figured out soon. For now, think I'll just sit back and watch until time catches up. Wait a second, that just happened.:omg:

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