Hot Rod Mod

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by section2, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    So I was up late last night, playing my G3900 in a Daylight Saving Time fog, when the tone pot started shorting out. My addled brain hadn't gotten used to the time change yet, and it still felt like it was an hour earlier than it really was, so off I went to the workbench with the guitar and my trusty soldering iron in hand. While I was at it, I decided to replace the original mini-pots with some CTS pots from my box of spare parts. I wired everything back up and discovered that I now had a grounding problem somewhere in the circuit. Sigh.

    Tonight, I went back down to the workbench to redo all the soldering. Halfway through the job, it occurred to me that I'd never used the tone pot on this guitar anyway, so I decided to leave it out of the circuit altogether and just go with an ultra-simple hot rod setup: one pickup, one volume, nothing else.

    I've just finished wiring it up, and holy cow! What a difference. This guitar has always been warm and rich, but removing the tone pot has really opened up the twang. I'd expected it to be a subtle change. It's anything but.

    I'm now trying to talk myself into going to bed instead of staying up all night learning the "Wicked Game" solo. So far, "Wicked Game" is winning.
     
    DaddyDog, Yukimajo, MKunie and 4 others like this.
  2. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Cool!
    You getting rid of the dead knobs and plugging the holes?
     
    section2 likes this.
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    Simple is better. :)
     
    wabash slim and section2 like this.
  4. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    I'm toying with three options:
    1. Getting rid of the dead knob;
    2. Putting a no-load tone pot into the circuit (in theory, this should sound just as bright as the hot rod setup when the tone pot is dimed); or
    3. Adding a three-disc piezo setup for acoustic sounds, giving it a volume knob where the tone knob used to be, and wiring it to a stereo output jack.
    I'm leaning towards option 3, just because it's the most fiddly choice and I can't leave well enough alone.

    The knobs on this guitar are mounted to the pickguard (it's got a single floating neck pickup with nothing mounted to the soundboard), and I'm designing a new custom pickguard anyway, so there will be no holes to fill if I decide to stick with just one pot.
     
  5. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    I'm coming around to that way of thinking. I tend to like complicated things and versatile guitars, but I'm really enjoying the fact that this particular guitar does one thing—clean tones—extremely well.
     
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I’ve never needed or used a tone knob on a guitar in my life.
    I’m thinking of installing a tv jones harness with a tone switch for my 5420. That way it’s just bypassed when it’s off, like a no load tone pot. Also, a tone switch looks cool next to the pup selector, obviously. ;)
     
    section2 likes this.
  7. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    185
    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    I was pretty much like that until about 25 years ago - volume and tone on full, Fender Twin or Marshall half stack. But late night playing with a Tele through those got me using the volume and tone and now I'd be lost without them. I really find the Gretsch tone circuit great for circling in on the tone (and volume) you want.
     
    section2 likes this.
  8. Chris MC

    Chris MC Gretschie

    143
    Oct 27, 2014
    Orange, Aus
    They are all interesting options. Just wondering with this guitar and pickgaurd set up, could you wire up a mud switch tone circuit with the existing dead knob running a two or three position turning switch instead of the turning tone pot?
     
    section2 likes this.
  9. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Interesting idea! If I put a tone control back in, I think I'll use a no-load pot so I can dial in the tone more precisely.
     
  10. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    I was thinking about what you could do with your existing tone knob if you added a mud switch, and I remembered an idea I had a while back: wire up the mud switch so that the upper position has a set cap value, the middle position goes straight to the output jack, and the lower position runs to the existing tone pot. With a flick of the switch, you could toggle between a quick preset, a pure tone, and the dialed-in tone of your choice.

    Or you could put an inductor instead of a capacitor in the top position of the tone switch, which would cut the midrange instead of the high end. That might suit your style especially well. You could call it the Twangler.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
    calebaaron666 and CaliforniaSlim like this.
  11. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Hehehe the twangler, i like that.
    i want to drill a new switch hole next to the pup selector and either get the TV Jones tone switch harness, and move the pup volume knobs down and plug the knob hole nearest to the bigsby.
    OR get the harness with a kill switch and put that nearest to the bigsby.
    It’s all gonna be expensive either way. Not in a rush. Just dreams right now.
     
    section2 likes this.
  12. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Those sound like fun mods. Hey, if you want both, you could buy the tone switch harness and then turn your master volume pot into a kill switch by replacing it with a push-push or push-pull pot with nothing wired to the second pole.

    (As you can see, I have far too much fun dreaming up mods for other people's guitars.)

    I hear you there. Modding is fun, but my bank account would appreciate it if I took up macramé instead.

    Is there a reason you want to swap out the entire harness? If you're handy with a soldering iron and you don't mind the existing pots, you can buy the tone switch on its own and save a ton of money.
     
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  13. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Good question man.
    I’m an entry level solderman.
    I’ve soldered the electronics in fenders.
    I’m leaning toward a new TV Jones harness, complete with new pickups already connected. I know it’d be less expensive to connect new materials myself, BUT I’d rather pay the money and not be responosible for anything but soldering the ground wire and installation.
     
    section2 likes this.
  14. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    702
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Fair enough.

    I'm very much an entry-level guy when it comes to soldering, but it seems like a useful skill to learn, and I figure it can't be too hard to do a passable wiring job on my guitars. My soldering work on the G3900 is far from pretty—but no one's going to see those solder joints but me, and I'm happy to save some money while practicing a new skill.

    On the other hand, if I'd spent that time practicing guitar...
     
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