Tone switch

Hey this may be a dumb question, but is there a way you can wire a switch to make a guitar brighter?  I built my backup with a humbucker, and it sounds a bit dark, also doesn't react with pedals as much as my other guitar that has a single coil. I don't have room for a pot, that is why I was thinking switch. Thanks for the help.

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  • Yes.  I was thinking that would also be a way to achieve the brighter tone that Wolfeather is looking for.  Since guitar potentiometers & capacitors are passive, they can only subtract or reduce from the frequencies available. Adding a Altoid box with a 9v battery & an active tone circuit would do the trick.

  • It’s just a pot & a capacitor inside the box, no voltage, so it’s not active, it’s wired like a standard tone pot, I made it for a one humbucker guitar that had volume & no tone?

  • Adding a tone pot & cap will not make it brighter than it is.  A 1 Meg ohm vol pot will be a bit brighter, as will no vol pot.  Otherwise, use Brian's Altoids can to install an active treble boost circuit.

  • Hi Wolfeather, also check what humbucker you have. Some brands wind the coils to suit certain tones and positions on the guitar, eg: Neck or Bridge.

    Cheers Taff
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  • Have you given thought to an external tone pot? You could throw a pot, capacitor & jacks in any kind of enclosure? I’ve had to do this for a couple of my customers who play Tom Delong volume only strats? I used a 1590a Hammond stompbox but you could use anything that’s enclosed like an empty tin?

    • Here’s what I’m talking about, you could actually mount it on the side of a cbg if you wanted to?


  • They do have specialty tone caps for guitars, but I don’t think they’re worth 10-20 dollars for one capacitor? A capacitor with a 100/250v rating & tolerance rating of 5% or lower is really the best option. I use WIMA box capacitors 250v/5%  &  715p Orange drop capacitors, but I use the 1% tolerance over the standard 10% tolerance that everyone uses, they last longer & the specs are tighter? 

  • Do you have a pic of this  on/off switch? 

  • I don't believe that adding a cap will help brighten the pickup.  Capacitors bypass high frequencies.  Using a 550K vol pot may help a bit, as will removing the vol pot completely.  Have you tried lowering the bass side of the pickup & raising the treble side?  Probably not an option, but, of course, moving the pickup closer to the bridge will brighten the sound.  :)

  • Brian, would I be able to use just an on/off switch? Also are there special caps for guitar? I really appreciate the help.

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