Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby waldo041 » Fri May 29, 2009 5:32 am

hogan wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
So I hate to sound blasphemous, but Jerry was not the electronics tech. He was surrounded by them though, and it seems that in the interview you can see that he sort of blended and filtered his own semi-limited understanding of the cap's that lived, or once lived in his axes.

Brad


I completely agree and have said the same thing for years.

~MJH


i agree also, however he does explain quite well the function he liked and got from his tone controls to a "T".

peace,
waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 29, 2009 5:46 am

Indeed. I like how insightful his commentary is in how it illustrates his attitude toward his gear. It kind of reminds us that he was a practical, meat & potatoes kind of guy (OK Big Mac and Fries) when it came to using his tools and getting a sound he wants. When I switched to .02uF tone cap's after hearing that Jerry used .02uF, I have grown to really like that horn-like sound with the tone full off and some distortion on. He may not have fully understood the inner workings as an electronics engineer would, but he sure knew how to use them. And that's an understatement if there ever was one.

Brad
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby strumminsix » Fri May 29, 2009 6:31 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:When I switched to .02uF tone cap's after hearing that Jerry used .02uF, I have grown to really like that horn-like sound with the tone full off and some distortion on.


Would you please expand on that, Brad? As it stands I use my tone pot primarily between 7-10 to adjust for pickup changes (7 on the bridge, 10 on the neck, 8-9 on the series). Seems many players get awesome tone when rolling back their tone pots even further! Thanks!!!
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 29, 2009 7:10 am

I'm with you. In general when I play clean, I like to shave off some top end glass by setting my tone at around 7 or 8. But what Jerry's referring to is the resonant peak shift/boost that happens only when the tone is set on zero. Doesn't work real well with a clean tone, but with some distortion, it really brings out a unique, what I think of as a sort of french horn-like character. But this resonance shift thing only happens when a tone pot is at zero.
Any setting above zero is simply rolling off the treble in varying amounts. The common .047uF tone cap doesn't bring this out as well as the .02uF cap that we believe Jerry had.


Brad
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby Pete B. » Fri May 29, 2009 8:06 am

'Wanted to post a link to an Archive example of this tone, but Archive is not linking for me this morning for some reason.
fwiw, I hear the tone as more of a Bassoon like instrument sound.
He used it in Space segments. I can't think of any specific song where this tone was used as a regular, every time they play it, ingredient.

Not the best example, but about :40 sec into this you can hear this tone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qyb8dudm ... xt_from=PL
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby tigerstrat » Fri May 29, 2009 8:46 am

Pete B. wrote:'Wanted to post a link to an Archive example of this tone, but Archive is not linking for me this morning for some reason.
fwiw, I hear the tone as more of a Bassoon like instrument sound.
He used it in Space segments. I can't think of any specific song where this tone was used as a regular, every time they play it, ingredient.




Pete, you aren't referring to the post-'89 MIDI bassoon sound are you?

+1 on some confusion in that Garcia statement.

I generally play with a LOT of treble rolled off on the guitar. I pretty much live in the 3-6 range with a lot of usable variation within that. Standard clean and balanced center is at about 4. Probably more like 1-3 when using the Mu. I've tried both .022 and .047 and on my strat, the difference, including the expected resonance shift, is actually pretty hard to detect except that the .022 doesn't seem to go quite as deep... so I've settled on the 47 for now. Maybe I need to go with a 250k pot that actually measures 250k instead of 320k... then again, it does everything I need it to, so why fix if it aint broke.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 29, 2009 10:33 am

Tigerstrat.

The pot value won't really change much other than where in the pot's travel things occur. A tone pot is really just used as a variable resistor and not a potentiometer (variable voltage divider). It's the cap value that really is the tone and frequency determining factor. The larger tone pot value like you've got can actually be advantageous since when it's fully bright, you actually extend the range a bit. But no harm at all since you operate mostly at less than 100%.

In general, like you I tend to prefer a .047uF tone cap, or even larger sometimes because it gives a more natural and "normal" sounding rolloff to simply brighten or darken a tone. But the .02uF, being that small, gives a unique voicing and mid-boost when set at zero like we've been describing. The horn sound is cool, but I'm sometimes torn between that and the .047uF.

I heard Jerry use that tone-off, distortion on, horn sound in bluesy rock songs or occasionally on real sustainy solos like Black Peter or Stella. You can hear a lot of examples of where he ends a solo, flips off his loop to go clean, and he realizes that the tone is still dark, and then a second later he turns it bright again. I heard that happen a lot.

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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby tigerstrat » Fri May 29, 2009 12:54 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:Tigerstrat.
But the .02uF, being that small, gives a unique voicing and mid-boost when set at zero like we've been describing. The horn sound is cool, but I'm sometimes torn between that and the .047uF.

I heard Jerry use that tone-off, distortion on, horn sound in bluesy rock songs or occasionally on real sustainy solos like Black Peter or Stella. You can hear a lot of examples of where he ends a solo, flips off his loop to go clean, and he realizes that the tone is still dark, and then a second later he turns it bright again. I heard that happen a lot.


About that, when you say "0", that corresponds with maximum resistance of the pot- thus the bass end of the sweep, correct?
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby Pete B. » Fri May 29, 2009 1:16 pm

tigerstrat wrote:Pete, you aren't referring to the post-'89 MIDI bassoon sound are you?


No, I think it sounds like Bassoon but that's just my ear.
I was looking for an example in the 79-81 range, because I heard that sound at alot of shows.
I've heard you get this sound also.
I usually assosiate it with the tone knob on zero, distortion and octave, and iirc little/no reverb.
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 29, 2009 1:29 pm

tigerstrat wrote:About that, when you say "0", that corresponds with maximum resistance of the pot- thus the bass end of the sweep, correct?



No, just the opposite. When the tone pot is shorted out, zero resistance, fully counterclockwise, that makes the pickup thru the tone cap directly connected to ground since the pot resistance became zero. That is the darkest setting with the full dump of treble.

When you turn the knob clockwise, the more resistance you have, and the less the treble is cut. At full resistance, the full value of the pot, that is the brightest, most trebly setting because the resistor is "resisting" the path to ground thru the cap.

When I say zero, I mean fully counterclockwise, or the darkest dullest, least-trebly setting. Essentially the pot doesn't exist in that particular condition. It's just a pickup seeing a cap to ground, fully shunting or dumping all the high frequencies that will "fit" thru the cap.

The "horn" factor we're talking about here is a more complex thing that happens when the pickup sees the cap fully grounded, zero resistance from the tone pot. The pickup, being an inductor, will actually shift its resonant frequency downward and also slightly boost at that frequency. This gives the horn effect. All magnetic pickups do it when the tone is "off", but the cap value helps determine at what frequency this happens. Jerry's .02uF seems to create this shifted peak at a frequency that is horn-like. Magnetics, inductance, resistance, reactance, capacitance, etc. is actually a very, very complex science full of complex math. Fortunately we don't have to mess with it all that much. Pickup designers and engineers have worked out many of those factors so we get to simply play around with simple values to tweak to our liking.


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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby tigerstrat » Fri May 29, 2009 2:45 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
tigerstrat wrote:About that, when you say "0", that corresponds with maximum resistance of the pot- thus the bass end of the sweep, correct?



No, just the opposite. When the tone pot is shorted out, zero resistance, fully counterclockwise, that makes the pickup thru the tone cap directly connected to ground since the pot resistance became zero. That is the darkest setting with the full dump of treble.

When you turn the knob clockwise, the more resistance you have, and the less the treble is cut. At full resistance, the full value of the pot, that is the brightest, most trebly setting because the resistor is "resisting" the path to ground thru the cap.

When I say zero, I mean fully counterclockwise, or the darkest dullest, least-trebly setting. Essentially the pot doesn't exist in that particular condition. It's just a pickup seeing a cap to ground, fully shunting or dumping all the high frequencies that will "fit" thru the cap.

The "horn" factor we're talking about here is a more complex thing that happens when the pickup sees the cap fully grounded, zero resistance from the tone pot. The pickup, being an inductor, will actually shift its resonant frequency downward and also slightly boost at that frequency. This gives the horn effect. All magnetic pickups do it when the tone is "off", but the cap value helps determine at what frequency this happens. Jerry's .02uF seems to create this shifted peak at a frequency that is horn-like. Magnetics, inductance, resistance, reactance, capacitance, etc. is actually a very, very complex science full of complex math. Fortunately we don't have to mess with it all that much. Pickup designers and engineers have worked out many of those factors so we get to simply play around with simple values to tweak to our liking.


Brad


Gotcha. I knew you meant the bass end for the horn effect- I just couldn't remember whether, in standard tone circuit, the resistance shunted the treble or prevented same.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby dleonard » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:30 am

Could someone just soup to nuts me on how I can get the most accurate jerry tone with a strat through a twin, plus an mxr+ distortion? I'm always changing my mind as to which setting sounds better on the pickup selector, where to set the tone knobs, and what settings work good on the amp. If you dudes could just tell me what works for you I'd aooreciate it.
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby tigerstrat » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:49 am

dleonard wrote:Could someone just soup to nuts me on how I can get the most accurate jerry tone with a strat through a twin, plus an mxr+ distortion? I'm always changing my mind as to which setting sounds better on the pickup selector, where to set the tone knobs, and what settings work good on the amp. If you dudes could just tell me what works for you I'd aooreciate it.


much better off starting your own thread than hijacking this one, but long story short, amp: treble cranked, bass 1-2, mid 6-8; guitar tone: backed off considerably.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby dleonard » Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:55 am

what do you mean by backed off?
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Re: Raise your hand if your tone pots are not very useful

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:21 am

dleonard wrote:what do you mean by backed off?



Guitar's tone knob turned down from fully trebly. Not on 10.

I agree, this is for another thread start, but since you asked... The critical factor on a Twin to get a Garcia voicing is to turn the bass way down. There's something that happens on a Fender amp when the bass knob reaches about 2.8 or 3. If you keep the Bass safely below 2.8, and probably around 2.2, you'll hear that strong mid without muddy bass. Then crank the mids quite a bit, and treble to taste, maybe 6 or 7-ish.

Pickup-wise, Jerry used the middle pickup on a strat quite a bit. Also try the combination position of the middle and bridge pickup. But Jerry would use all the settings from time to time. Even the bridge pickup for super twangy stuff. But in general I'd stick to the middle pickup by itself. This should get you in the ballpark.

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