Do You Use Strat Neck Pup Tone Control?

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thegummythegummy Frets: 103
Been thinking about Strat wiring options and to me giving the bridge pickup a tone is a given and it often needs it.

Sometimes people like a master tone but when I think about it I'm not sure if I ever use the tone knob on the neck pickup.

Do you ever turn the neck tone down?

Wouldn't it make sense to have a tone control on the bridge only?
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 15784
    My Strat shares a tone on the middle/neck pick-ups and has one just across the bridge.

    I never use the mid/neck one - and rarely use the bridge one either - but it seems a more logical set-up than the standard vintage version.
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  • I don't think i've ever actually used a tone knob in my whole life.. Am I missing something?
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 2814
    edited November 13
    sometimes roll the tone pot off on the neck but just a touch if I want more chilled/jazz flavour

    Prefer a Strat wired with Tone neck + tone bridge so no tone on the middle - On hi-ish gain settings I like to trim any fizzy highs off the bridge pick up with the vol and/or tone pot - subtle but effective tweak

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  • My Strat shares a tone on the middle/neck pick-ups and has one just across the bridge.

    I never use the mid/neck one - and rarely use the bridge one either - but it seems a more logical set-up than the standard vintage version.
    Yeah that’s the way that makes sense to me.

    Though to be honest my Strat with the EMG SA set just has a single volume knob installed in the outer tone knob position so it can’t get knocked, I don’t use the tone controls with those pickups at all so just removed them
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  • Philly_QPhilly_Q Frets: 3294
    I guess I'm weird.  I love the sound of a neck pickup - single-coil or humbucker - with the tone on zero, I always have.

    But then I don't gig, it's probably not a useable sound in that context.
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  • AlnicoAlnico Frets: 3571
    Yes I do.
    Mine is wired so that Tone 1 is the neck and Tone 2 is the bridge, my middle pickup has no tone control until it's in position 4 with the bridge where it shares that tone control.

    I'd use the neck tone control and I'd definitely miss it if it was gone.

    Come to think of it I actually use the tone controls quite a lot, especially on my EMG loaded RG. I'll EQ the amp/fx in the GT100 just for this guitar and set the master tone at around 6-7 and then use 10 as a way to "Cut-Through" a little, along with an 18v mod on the wiring soon to be done and setting it all up at volume 7 so that volume 10 is a boost.

    I used to run everything on 10 until I realised that my hearing is shit and professionals know more than me so when one told me to try this, I found a metric ton more variation in everything I played than ever before.

    My hearing is still shit but I know it all sounds quite different.

    At some point, I might achieve "Good".
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 99
    Google “Dan Armstrong strat wiring”...

    you can thank me later :)
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3190
    Philly_Q said:
    I guess I'm weird.  I love the sound of a neck pickup - single-coil or humbucker - with the tone on zero, I always have.

    ^This. Turning the tone to zero on the neck pickup of a Strat gives a very mellow and musical 'lead' tone.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1488
    edited November 14
    thegummy said:
    Do you ever turn the neck tone down?
    Yes. Mostly under high gain circumstances.

    thegummy said:
    Wouldn't it make sense to have a tone control on the bridge only?
    For me, no.

    I choose to have the upper Tone pot for the neck pickup and the lower Tone pot for the the two. That way, I can have the rolled off effect on a Bluesy neck pickup sound one moment then, flip the selector switch to a bright sound from another pickup or combination.

    Having said this, habits learned on a Telecaster mean that I can operate the switch and master tone pot fairly swiftly.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • grungebobgrungebob Frets: 843
    Yes I use it quite a bit when I’ve got a big muff engaged and doing smashing pumpkins covers. 
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  • ricorico Frets: 473
    I mostly have it knocked down to 9 just to reduce any spikiness.
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  • Yep, often adjust the neck tone.  I've also modded the other tone control to work on middle and bridge.  Very useful tweak.


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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 10582
    Don't think I've ever used a neck tone control, not live anyway.
    Bridge yes, neck never.
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 4311
    yes - moreso these days with the plethora of amps and pedals options that I never had when a young'un
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
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  • rossirossi Frets: 271
     A strat neck pickup will make a good jazzy tone turned down .
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  • sometimes roll the tone pot off on the neck but just a touch if I want more chilled/jazz flavour

    Prefer a Strat wired with Tone neck + tone bridge so no tone on the middle - On hi-ish gain settings I like to trim any fizzy highs off the bridge pick up with the vol and/or tone pot - subtle but effective tweak

    I have this setup on my strat currently, not a fan to be honest. Something seems to be missing in the 2 & 4 positions. Think I might go back to 1 tone for neck/middle and a fender no load tone on the bridge. Best of both worlds then.
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  • My Strat shares a tone on the middle/neck pick-ups and has one just across the bridge.

    I never use the mid/neck one - and rarely use the bridge one either - but it seems a more logical set-up than the standard vintage version.


    This is how my Strat is wired, No.2 mod wiring from the Custom Shop or something like that. It has treble bleed on the volume plus "greasebucket" on the treble pickup tone control. Standard tone control on the neck/middle. I like how both tone controls can be used on the bridge/middle inbetween sound. Rolling each one back has a different affect on the tone.

    I mainly keep the neck pickup tone control on 10 but may occasionally knock it back to 8/9 just to reel in any spikiness. I will roll back the bridge to 5/6 to thicken a driven tone though.

    Every sha-la-la-la, every wo-o, wo-o, still shines

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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 103
    How about as a theoretical setup: a no load tone on just the bridge then a separate no load tone for every other position including position 2?

    Would allow the bridge to be adjusted separately and also leave the option of having no tone if wanted
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  • bbill335bbill335 Frets: 500
    thegummy said:
    How about as a theoretical setup: a no load tone on just the bridge then a separate no load tone for every other position including position 2?

    Would allow the bridge to be adjusted separately and also leave the option of having no tone if wanted
    That (and a lot of the options discussed in the thread) seem a bit overcomplicated, just as the stock wiring is to a degree. I'm leaning towards going with a no-load master tone, which gives you most of the same functionality as stock wiring. Plus it frees up room for a blender switch or other fun thing.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 103
    bbill335 said: 
    thegummy said:
    How about as a theoretical setup: a no load tone on just the bridge then a separate no load tone for every other position including position 2?

    Would allow the bridge to be adjusted separately and also leave the option of having no tone if wanted
    That (and a lot of the options discussed in the thread) seem a bit overcomplicated, just as the stock wiring is to a degree. I'm leaning towards going with a no-load master tone, which gives you most of the same functionality as stock wiring. Plus it frees up room for a blender switch or other fun thing.
    The master tone and blender is what I had recently but it makes it impossible to switch directly from full neck to tamed bridge. My suggested setup is like having a master tone for everything except position 1 which has its own tone.

    Off topic but I wouldn't actually recommend the blender knob as it's inconvenient and cumbersome.
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  • bbill335bbill335 Frets: 500
    edited November 14
    thegummy said:

    Off topic but I wouldn't actually recommend the blender knob as it's inconvenient and cumbersome.
    That's why I'm thinking a toggle switch would be easier (I'm just not sure which type). If I can get to bridge-only from every setting reasonably easily, I'm good.
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  • I never touch the tone knob on any of my guitars, I never see the need for it, one of LP's has the tone pot cut so the bridge pickup goes straight to the volume output which results in a hotter signal. I like it that way.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 2689

    On mine, the neck tone is actually a push-push that allows me to add the neck pickup to any position.  I mainly use it to get neck and bridge on together.   That's actually a 300kOhm pot so it's probably a bit brighter than stock.

    I then have a no load tone pot wired to both bridge and middle.  I do think about changing the middle over to share the neck tone, but I'll probably leave it as it is.

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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1954
    I converted my old strat to a 5 way switch from the original 3 way 70s thing, the tone controls are unchanged. I use the mid tone on about 3+ with that in between sound bridge+middle PU to get it fatter. The neck PU is always on 10. Playing dynamics and style cover everything else.
    Other guitars also get the tone knob twiddled, the Tele particularly responds well to the tone control.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 103
    bbill335 said: 
    thegummy said:

    Off topic but I wouldn't actually recommend the blender knob as it's inconvenient and cumbersome.
    That's why I'm thinking a toggle switch would be easier (I'm just not sure which type). If I can get to bridge-only from every setting reasonably easily, I'm good.
    My initial thought was to take one of the tone knobs off and install a switch in that hole (prompting this thread). After playing about with the neck tone I've decided I like it so was going to drill a hole for a switch.

    The S1 switch is, in theory, a perfect neat solution but is expensive and I've read a few reports of it being unreliable.

    Despite this, I've bit the bullet and ordered one. If it breaks, I'll go the hole drilling route but if it works it should be a nice solution.

    As long as it's wired as a bridge-on rather than neck-on, switching to position 1 will always get you to bridge only regardless of the position of the toggle/S1.
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