A few years ago I built four cbg,s three acoustic anyone PIezo with volume and tone pots.   Now I am about to start a 6 string electric.  A few questions

1.  Pots, seems like most folks use 500k pots on electrics,  but I have red in several places that if you’re using a single coil pick up at 8 to 50 K is best. Thoughts? 

2. I will be using “light” electric guitar strings on this six string Electric. My neck is three, quarter-inch pieces of oak laminated together with a fretboard laminated on top of that. I have never done a truss rod in my 3 string ones, do you think that will be strong enough do you think I need to run a truss rod to work? I intend to build another so I would not be devastated if it did then but of course I wound prefer it not.

3.  Suggested height/space between single coil pickup(it has a cover on it) and strings?

4. The capacitor on the tone pot, I read .047.   Is this good for this setup or a .22?

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Hi, most of your questions were recently covered, so I'll just address the neck query. 

 The strength of your neck would depend on the grain orientation and the thickness of the fingerboard, as to how well it would resist the up to 150 pound pull of six strings (depending on gauge). 

The truss rod not only helps to stiffen the neck against upward bow it allows for control of that bow, known as relief. This relief, adjusted by the rod, helps in the setting up of low actions so that strings are less likely to buzz on the frets. Some players have dead flat fingerboards but most/all guitars have the means to add relief if needed.

Bottom line, if it was my guitar I'd want a rod.


Six string need a truss rod. Even going with a set of 7's ( lightest gauge of strings out there) the tension will be enough to warp the neck forward. 

As far as pots go 500K is the usual for humbuckers and 250K  is the usual for single coils. Capacitors can run all over the place. But the usual is  .022uf for humbuckers and .047uf for single coils. These are a matter of taste or what your wanting out of your tone pot. 

String to pickup distance is another matter of taste. Usually a good 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch will do. 

Put the pickup/pickups at their lowest adjustment setting and slightly raise each one til you find the right height for each pickup.

High settings will get you the most volume and bright tone while low setting gives low volume and darker tone, so it just depends on what sounds the best to you for each pickup in each guitar. Bright and loud isn't always the best tone, but some pickups sound mushy/muddy when low and dark.

A single coil pick-up normally uses a .47 cap and a 250k pot. A 500k pot and .22 cap will darken the high frequencies.  

Usually 250k/.022uF for singles and 500k/.047uF for humbuckers.

Singles use the 250k pots/.047 caps to darken the already bright toned single coil pickups, which is why the reversed is used(500k pots/.022 cap) to brighten double coils because the 2 pickup coils wired in series darkens the tone. Why double coil humbuckers have that full and fat tone that's different from a Fender Stratocaster using 2 coils in parallel to buck hum - no as fat, full or dark, but a bit brighter.

So to be clear, it's low value pots(250k) and high value caps(.047) for darker tone. Higher value pots(500k) and lower value caps(.022) to brighten tone.

It can all be a bit confusing and when you get into building you own amp circuits it gets more confusing.

My post should have read "Usually I use 250k/.022uF for singles and 500k/.047uF for humbuckers".

I tend to use a humbucker if I want a darker toned guitar and a single if I want a bright toned guitar.

Using 500k/.047 on a humbucker with the tone turned all the way down cuts most of the highs and some of the mids and gives me the grunt I like from humbuckers.

Using 250/.022 on a single coil with the tone all the way down cuts some highs but still has some of the chime I associate with single coils but doesn't let me drop into the mud.

Yeah it's really all according to what you like. Tele bridge pickups and P90 style pickups can be darker toned than the usual single coil pickups and a lot of people like using the 500k pots with .022 or .033 caps.

Just a guide rule and you can use what you like.

That's how you get your own tone flavor, just what Korrigan said.

For others to know is that the same formula doesn't always work for every guitar. Some guitars turn out to be brighter/darker than others, but by changing component(pots and caps) values you can get a good tone out of your git.

Interesting neck material you describe .,., with a neck laminated vertically you can do with out the truss rod, and I like a dead flat neck.,.,many people are so used to the idea of a truss rod, they think it is necessary, but I have found it is more of a personnel preference.,.,adjustable truss rods do not always have the desired effect.,.,so your neck stock is three 1/4" pieces of oak laminated horizontally? Did you laminate them yourself ? .,,.

The grain runs the long way, meaning from body to head and is not a bolt on, but will run all the way to tail of the cig box without going out the back. Glued and braced inside the bos.  I took the three .25” thick oaf pieces and applied tite bond glue to them and clamped them together with multiple clamps for 2 days.   This is how I did my other 3 stringers.  

Check out Steve Wishnevsky on the net. He runs Wishbass, builds all sorts of stringed instruments, and rarely uses a trussrod. It’s all a matter of neck construction. Some “willow wand” necks do need a functioning trussrod to adjust neck relief.


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