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anyone know how to set the tone knobs on a fender strat?

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Postby mayerfan70 » March 16th, 2010, 12:55 pm

I recently bought a fender strat and I am not sure how to set the tone knobs on the guitar so it has the best sound. I am new to electric so I am not real sure about the settings on my amp (fender frontman) either. Any help would be appreciated.
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » March 16th, 2010, 4:37 pm

It's all trial and error, Mayerfan. Different settings for different genres....all I can tell you is, when I had a Squier Strat and a Fender Frontman amp, I used to like a fair bit of treble and not much bass on the guitar, bass about halfway up and treble about 3/4 up on the amp, with the mids turned right down. But that was MY preferred tone for playing stuff like All Right Now, Nantucket Sleighride, and mostly what you'd call classic rock.....

It'd really help if you told us what sort of music you play, or what you want to play. If you're flitting between genres, give us a few songs you like (or would like) to play; every little bit of info helps us to help you!

:D :D :D

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Postby TRGuitar » March 16th, 2010, 6:27 pm

I'm gonna summon all my psychic powers and guess blues.

You have a 5 way switch. Starting with the switch towards the bottom of the guitar you have the bridge pickup (slanted one) then bridge + middle, then middle, then middle + neck then neck. The knob closest to the top of the guitar is the volume knob, it works all the pickups. The middle knob is tone for the neck pickup and the bottom one is tone for the middle pickup. The bridge pickup has no tone control. You truly need to twist them til you hear the sound you like. It is an individual thing and different for everyone.
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Postby Blue Jay » March 16th, 2010, 7:55 pm

It is personal. Wide open. All the better if there's Delta Tone with true bypass, or TBX with a treble bass boost. :mrgreen:
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Postby Blue Jay » June 1st, 2010, 6:56 am

mayerfan70 wrote:I recently bought a fender strat and I am not sure how to set the tone knobs on the guitar so it has the best sound. I am new to electric so I am not real sure about the settings on my amp (fender frontman) either. Any help would be appreciated.


Did you find the right setup. How's everything going?
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Postby Ricochet » June 1st, 2010, 10:55 am

I'll suggest that wide open all the time isn't necessarily best. I'd say do it like the old bluesmen do: Turn everything up on the guitar, and set the volume, gain and treble on your amp as high as you'd possibly want to go at a given session or just a little more. Then turn down your guitar's volume and tone knobs to where you want to start. Then you can conveniently control them from the guitar, turning them up and down as you feel the need. It gives you another dimension for expression when you don't just crank everything up all the time.
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Postby NoteBoat » June 1st, 2010, 11:11 am

+1 with Ricochet. I keep my amp on 10 all the time (but at the school, I keep the student's amps on 3 - because too many of them like to blow the roof off things!)

If I remember the electronics right, tone controls are mid-pass filters; turning it up rounds off both the high and low end of the spectrum, but leaves the center unchanged. So start with the tone controls on 1 - which sends all the frequencies through - and adjust from there.
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Postby Ricochet » June 1st, 2010, 12:27 pm

Depends on the tone control. Guitar tone knobs are usually simple treble cut devices. Some amps have that as well. The knobs on the three knob tone stacks don't entirely work independently either, so you don't necessarily max everything in each band by turning all the knobs all the way up. There are circuit simulators online that will show you what you actually get in the way of frequency response with different settings of a given circuit, it's a lot more complex than you'd think. In practice, it's best to rely on the ears.

Turning down the volume also cuts treble, if there's not a "bright cap" or "treble bypass cap" in the circuit. So you often want to turn the treble up a bit as you turn the volume down and vice versa. (I'm not about to open a can of worms by mentioning the Fletcher-Munson Curve, either.)
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Postby Blue Jay » June 1st, 2010, 2:49 pm

That's good, not can of worms - I like wide open too, and I like to go further - either Delta Tone which goes over the top with bypass, or TBX, which brings in a 1 meg pot (1000K) at 5 or 6 plus, or till 10. :D

As for amps, individual tastes may vary. Working it back & forth around the middle is a start. Cobain had other ideas.

I hope mayerfan70 is happy. :wink:
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Postby Ricochet » June 1st, 2010, 2:58 pm

Different strokes for different folks. And different occasions. I like to "floor it" now and then, too, just not all the time. :D
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Postby tinsmith » June 1st, 2010, 5:47 pm

One tone I have floored biting bridge, the other I have half muddy for neck. I like the blend together, but still I love the growl of the EPI LP for slide. I don't care for the Strat for slide.......both have the same action.
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Postby Gchord » June 3rd, 2010, 12:59 pm

I always set the tone knobs on 10 and control the tone with the 5 way switch. I can hear different tones in all of the them.If I want a thick chunky sound,I use the neck (#1) or a light thin sound,I'll use the bridge (#5).It all depends on what you like,and what sound you're going after.In the 80's,a lot of the "new" guitars were made with just a volume knob.This was made popular by Eddie Van Halen.You'll just have to experiment with the knobs to get the sound you desire.
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Postby rparker » June 3rd, 2010, 4:01 pm

Gchord wrote:In the 80's,a lot of the "new" guitars were made with just a volume knob.

I had one. Mail order Musician's Friend STOTD thing for $100. I was a dust collector until I put a tone POT, cap and pickups in it.

As you can see, I forgot to order the knob. :roll: :roll:
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oh, and the dremel tool should be used by someone with steadier hands. :oops: :oops:
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Postby Blue Jay » June 3rd, 2010, 4:56 pm

Gchord wrote:I always set the tone knobs on 10 and control the tone with the 5 way switch. I can hear different tones in all of the them.If I want a thick chunky sound,I use the neck (#1) or a light thin sound,I'll use the bridge (#5).It all depends on what you like,and what sound you're going after.In the 80's,a lot of the "new" guitars were made with just a volume knob.This was made popular by Eddie Van Halen.You'll just have to experiment with the knobs to get the sound you desire.


I used to have one of those Kramers with one volume and no tone for the one humbucker. :shock: I didn't need volume, so I wired the pickup direct. It was tone that we wanted. I put in one-only push/pull and 2 capacitors. It irritated people. :evil:
Not my problem, but to purists, a guitar that was supposed to have just wide-open tone, now had not one, but two, oh!

I have no idea what you're talking about on Strats. After that I've lost my focal point. I think you need 3 vols and 6 tones.
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If you've gone too far already you can set them where you want as long as they don't fall off - you might try Super Glue!!!

Nice job on your bright red beast, Roy! That's what we're talking about. Bend the rules - just don't break the guitars. :lol:
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Postby Geoff H » July 6th, 2010, 11:09 am

Hi All,
I am new to Electric, and have a Tokai Love Rock Les Paul (have a picture, but cannot remember how to attach it). Whilst I understand the message here about setting volume to the max you wish to use on the amp, and then controlling the volume with the knob on guitar, I want to know if the same theory applies to my guitar.

Also, I have the volume and the 3 other knobs, base, treble and ?

Daft question, but what is the fourth knob for. Always been embarrassed to ask!

Hope somebody can help.

Geoff
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