Gretsch G6128T-53 What’s with the Lousy Tone Control Sweep?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by rcboals, Jul 2, 2021.

  1. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    Thanks everybody who chimed in. Since nobody is enthusiastically saying "Yes do this it will definitely make it better" So, I am not going to molest this guitar for a maybe it will work. I really like this guitar and don't want to mess it up, Like I said I can live with it. Lots of options to adjust EQ and it does have a sweet spot around 2 on tone pot.

    I wonder if Cliff Gallup, and George Harrison actually knew how bad the tone sweep was on their Jets and obsessed about a fix?? LOL :)
     
  2. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    I wouldn't consider swapping pots and caps even remotely a risk of messing up the guitar, and it's 100% reversible, unless - worst case, here - you have metric pots and ream to 3/8". Most of us would consider that an upgrade, even if the taper of your tone control remained exactly as it was. Just sayin'...

    -m
     
  3. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    It's not terribly uncommon and yeah... I really dislike it. I never paid attention if it's the pots or the caps, or the combo.... I need to confirm this some time... set up an experiment...
    One thing I did confirm a few years ago is that a pot on zero isn't like a wire with no pot! I suppose a No Load pot is more like the "wire only" because it switches to bypass the pot entirely right?
     
  4. manunk

    manunk Gretschie

    Confused here due to ignorance. What does the K stand for in 250K vs 400K vs500K ? And how does it work that a lower resistance pot brings more lows? What is resistance anyway...I'm guessing that thicker metal means more resistance? Perhaps I should start a new thread..Pots, resistance, treble bleed and pickup output for dimmies.
     
  5. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    Ya'all need to go practice your scales.​
    :) I just finished that's why I am here now. ;)
     
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  6. Lucky Jim

    Lucky Jim Electromatic

    48
    Oct 16, 2020
    Kent, England
    Weren't the tone controls quite different in those fifties jets using stacked pots with two caps?
     
  7. DougWheeler74

    DougWheeler74 Gretschie

    411
    Jul 10, 2019
    NE Wisconsin, US
    The K stands for Kilo or 1,000. A 250K pot is 250,000 ohms whereas a 400K pot is 400,000 ohms. Resistance is a measurement of how much material 'resists' current flow and is achieved by various techniques. In a potentiometer (pot) a slider is moved along length of material. The further the slider is from one end, the more material there is and more resistance. If you were to measure resistance between the slider and one end of a linear 2K pot it would measure 0 resistance a one end, 1,000 ohms in the middle and 2,000 (2K) ohms at the other end. In tone circuits, the pot is wired along with a capacitor and forms an RC (resistor-capacitor) circuit. Depending on how it is wired, the RC circuit will pass or bypass certain frequencies changing the tone.
     
  8. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    It can't mess it up unless you're referencing making a mechanical mistake. But that guitar is really easy to work on and as others have said, this is completely reversible.

    In my guesstimation, it's well worth it to try. I have two Gretsches and while they did use audio tone pots, they're not all created equal and mine definitely improved. I spent $7 per pot on nicer, tighter tolerance CTS ones from Emerson and it definitely improved things. Plus, I got easy turn pots and that was a nice improvement.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  9. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Because this is a reactive circuit (like AC circuits), each element impacts the resonant frequency of the circuit. IE, even when your tone pot isn't really doing anything to the tone because you have it turned all the clockwise, it's still influencing the base tone that you start out with. That is to say, a pot isn't just a variable resistor in a reactive circuit, its very presence in the circuit means it loads the circuit and influences the tone.
     
    DougWheeler74 likes this.
  10. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    Post is just my own personal experience yours could be different.
    This is a very common complaint with the Gretsch master tone set up being less than desirable. I did what was suggested #1 change to the opposite lug on the tone pot. #2 change tone pot to a linear pot. There was no real change in the sweep of the tone pot with #1. The linear pot was was a straight not gradual short to the point sweep almost off or on. Just based on my experience here you will never get a gradual smooth tone sweep with the master tone set up like you do with two volume two tone set ups.IE: 77 Guild X500 with master volume, 61 Gibson ES330 VOS, and every other quality guitar I have owned with 2 tone and 2 volume. With stock wiring you will get a real nice sweet spot somewhere between 2 and 3 on he tone knob. This tone sweep isn't a big deal as we all have so many ways to EQ our guitar tone. I had to try this just to see, I couldn't leave it alone :) MY ADVICE LEAVE IT ALONE NOT WORTH THE EFFORT Attached before and after pic of wiring. They are the same only the cap is in a different position. LOL that's entertainment folks anything to distract from actually playing my guitar. :) :) :) :)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  11. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Stick a pin in it! I've always wanted to run that test myself but my only tone pot guitar is the 6119 and it's not fun to re-wire.

    One other thing I can offer here is to potentially look at different custom tapered audio pots. Some companies like Emerson or even Stew Mac will have special tapers in CTS pots that might be ever so slightly more desirable depending on your ears. But given your experience here, I have my doubts as to how radically different the result would be.

    I bought the Emerson pots but more because of the tolerance and lighter feel.
     
  12. SAguitar

    SAguitar Synchromatic

    810
    Jan 17, 2020
    Jack Plate, Oregon
    Not that this is even close to this topic, but Eddie Van Halen didn't wire a tone pot into most of his guitars.
     
    stiv likes this.
  13. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    "Hot Rod" wiring harness ain't a bad thought, or a bad thing.

    Brings it all out with well set up pups.
     
  14. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    That's why I have this :)
     
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  15. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    I thought that you would mention this one. :)
     
  16. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    In a much less important scale, my guitar man thinks the same.
    For him, anything in between pickups and volume pots are just a loss of signal and, in the end, tone. Most of my guitars (apart from Gretsch, that are stock) are wired like that.
     
  17. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    With all the eq options we have available it makes sense if you think about it. We have treble, bass and mid controls on the amplifiers. Treble, bass, mids, blend and all kinds of tone controls on a myriad of effects pedals. So no wonder most just leave the tone control on their guitars wide open.
     
  18. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    Even our speakers and cabs roll off highs - for years, that was what "speaker emulation" really amounted to, was a LPF with the cutoff at about 12k. and maybe a little resonance hump somewhere.

    -m
     
  19. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    After many efforts to outwit the designers of these circuits, I’ve concluded that the best you can do it squeeze the toothpaste into the other end of the tube.

    Simple is good.

    I would agree, but the difference may not be all that great.
    The controls on the guitar are basically a convenience. For my purposes, I have my settings where I want them, so apart from volume changes, and pickup selection, it’s fairly unusual for me to make any tone changes on the fly. If I’m playing the average Pop/Rock/Country gig, the only changes I commonly make are switching pickups. However, on the more mellow material, I can see the rationale for a tone cut.

    On the first gigs I played, I tried to tailor the sound to each song, but these days I have a handful of standard sounds I apply to various songs as I see fit.

    Going back the first comment that I quoted: MY ADVICE LEAVE IT ALONE NOT WORTH THE EFFORT. Overall, there’s only so much you can do in real time when playing live and to me, it’s more important that the settings I choose are quickly repeatable. If I’m recording, I might put more effort into fine tuning a sound, but for a live performance, my biggest concern is keeping the set going and I don’t like to tinker between songs.

    Keep it simple, is my mantra.


     
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  20. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    Houston
    THIS.

    I built my rig to sound like me. I did so with intentions of focusing on original material. When I couldn't get four guys in a room at one time to focus on making music, I decided to get into covers, at least I'd be on stage. I always found that playing the songs my way, with my sound, people accepted it and I felt a lot more fulfilled than if I were trying to ape the original recordings complete with authentic tones.

    -m
     
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