Brightening up a McCarty a bit...

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by DaveNJ, May 30, 2018.

  1. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Hey all, I have an Smokeburst McCarty which has been my favorite guitar for forever, pretty much, but after getting my PS a few years ago, I'm noticing that the McCarty with 57/08s is a tab bit darker than the 58/15 pickups in my PS.

    I've tried playing with height and adjusting he screws, but I was never really able to get it back to a good balance between the two pickups. From the specs it shows a .033 cap between the volume and tone pots - will moving that to a .022 brighten things up a bit? I have a treble bleed (180pf) on the volume pot, so it's not just an issue when I've lowered the volume...

    Any suggestions welcomed!
     
  2. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Answers, in order of practicality:

    Turn up the treble and/or presence on the amp.
    Install a no-load tone pot.
    Use a short, low capacitance cable.

    You won't gain anything by changing the tone cap.
     
  3. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Thanks, Garrett - so, this is where I get confused - you say I won't gain anything by changing the tone cap and I've read that it won't make any difference if the tone is on 10, but then I read an article like this from PG:

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/auditioning-tone-capacitors-part-ii-2

    where he says, "Remember, the tone cap is always part of the guitar circuit and it even influences the tone when the tone pot is fully opened."

    So, what's the real deal? :)
     
  4. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Maybe it has a tiny effect? Some people claim to hear the difference between paper-in-oil caps vs. ceramic while others call that BS. I don't think it's worth obsessing over. Any change would be so slight that it would be nothing compared to a simple tweak of the treble knob on the amp.

    I don't count myself an expert, but as I understand, when your tone pot is all the way up, it isn't filtering anything that isn't already cut off by the resistance of the pot, so the cap is not a factor.
     
  5. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    From that PG page, I agree - it's not filtering, but it does apparently change the resonant frequency... I don't know - maybe I'll try rigging up one of those multi-cap things and see if I ca hear a diff...
     
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  6. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    Switch that 5708 bridge for a 5909 bridge and stand back!!!
     
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  7. DaveNJ

    DaveNJ New Member

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    Haha - I was looking at the pickup descriptions on the PRS accessories site earlier and said, “gee, look at that eq curve on the 59/09...”

    I’m due to get a new DGT soon, so maybe I’ll wait before doing any pickup swaps to see if that scratches my itch more and I can just keep the McCarty as a different flavor...
     
  8. Tone-y

    Tone-y New Member

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    I've always understood it as that even on 10, a tone pot has some internal resistance to it, so the cap is filtering a bit. That's why the no-load pots make a difference, as these completely remove the tone pot from the circuit on 10, so that the cap really isn't having an affect.

    I would say that you would notice a change from 0.033 to 0.022uf. Though it won't be much. It could also be that your tone pot is measuring on the low side of the tolerance band, and swapping with one on the upper end of the band might make a difference.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    A few suggestions:

    Walk over to amp, turn up treble, and if necessary, turn down bass when you switch to the 57/08 guitar; or,

    Simply set up your amp to get a brighter sound with the 57/08s, and roll off a little treble on the other guitar’s tone control when you use the 58/15s; or,

    Consider an EQ pedal that you can switch on when you want to use one or the other guitar. I find them essential for a variety of tone-shaping uses, not just adjusting for differences between pickups, and the beauty is that even the best EQ pedals on the market are less expensive than new pickups, will do a better, more audible job than something very subtle like switching caps, and require no modifications to the guitar. There are several on the market that are tonally more transparent than the “usual suspect” Boss EQ, though the Boss isn’t a terrible choice at all.

    I have 57/08s on my PS McCarty Singlecut, and have 58/15s on my 594. I go the EQ pedal route, but I also mess with the tone controls on the amp a little depending on how I feel that day. I do the same thing with my other PRSes; they all have different pickups. Nonetheless, I don’t want my guitars to sound alike; my tone tweaks are to account for more subtle tone shaping needs.

    The beauty of having guitars that don’t all sound alike is that you have guitars that do different things, thereby justifying your buying several guitars, and being useful for a variety of tone needs, not just one type of thing. Just my two cents.
     
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  10. garrett

    garrett knows just enough to be dangerous

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    Ain't a thing wrong with that. Caps are cheap. Hook 'em up and trust your ears. But in my opinion, if you're going through that trouble, you may as well just drop a no-load pot in there. It will take the resistive load of the pot and any capacitance out of the equation on 10.
     
  11. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    Something I always try before I do anything else, aside from adjusting pickups, is try different strings. Most of my PRS guitars sound great with pure nickel strings, but I have a couple (S2 Semi and Mira 25th) that were just a little too warm sounding with those, so I went to nickel plated steel sets on those guitars, and it put them right in the sweet spot. Cheap, easy.

    The Mira 25th was also wired for 50's style wiring, with the tone pot/cap lead attached to the middle lug of the volume pot, I switched it to the first lug aka modern wiring, and that cleared things up a lot as well.
     
  12. Telemesa

    Telemesa New Member

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    On my PRS's I find that the 180pf treble bleed cap isn't enough. Do you like the tone of the guitar with the volume all the way up?
     

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