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Vol/Vol/Tone/Tone - how do you use it?

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  • Vol/Vol/Tone/Tone - how do you use it?

    Hey everyone, I'd love to hear some ideas for how to get the most mileage out of a vol/vol/tone/tone setup like on an SG or Les Paul. When does having separate circuits come in handy for you?

    I've had my SG for about a year and a half now and find myself using it just like I would a Tele or other guitar with master volume/tone. Sure, I can see the utility, but nothing has ever wowed me to the point where I'm able to be more musical thanks to the separate volumes and tones.

    I'm messing with the SG pickups soon and am halfway tempted to throw in a crazy combination that wouldn't work in a master volume/tone guitar, like Norton bridge/JB neck, since in theory the separate circuits will allow me to wrangle them into submission while providing a broader tonal palette.

    Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by alex1fly; 09-13-2021, 03:15 PM.
    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
    Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
    http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

  • #2
    It's for individual control of your pickups. I like it a lot on my 335 with PAF style pickups.

    My default for that guitar is the neck volume back a bit with tone on full, and the bridge volume on full and the tone back a bit. That sounds lovely . . . but sometimes I'll set it with the bridge volume back a tad and the neck way up in volume and tone for solos. I rarely want the same settings for both pickups . . . and then in the middle position there's a whole bunch of tone mixing that can go on with the two volumes.
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Originally posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    • #3
      I don't have a guitar with 4 controls but with my Hamer Monaco I often tend to make use of the vol,vol,tone by leaving the bridge vol backed off to about 6/7 and use it for rhythm leaving the neck pickup cranked for leads.

      With the additional tone you have that little bit more flexibility also, where you could also have the bridge rolled off a little if you wanted to balance the treble with the neck, or maybe roll the neck tone off altogether to get a completely different sound from each pickup.

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      • #4
        Turn the volume all the way down on the neck volume then whack the switch back and for to get that kill switch kinda thing, it was the rage in the 70s/early 80s, Randy did it, you should too.

        j/k, I don't currently have any 4 knobbers, I do have a V/V/T on a Schecter Solo though, but yeah, that trick is old.

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        • #5
          I've never really settled into the 2 vol/2 tone setup. I was so used to master vol/tone that 2 knobs were clumsy for me. I am constantly using them.
          Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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          • #6
            I use those pots quite often. Once you figure out their versatility, you’ll wonder how you played guitar without them.


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GuitarStv View Post
              It's for individual control of your pickups. I like it a lot on my 335 with PAF style pickups.

              My default for that guitar is the neck volume back a bit with tone on full, and the bridge volume on full and the tone back a bit. That sounds lovely . . . but sometimes I'll set it with the bridge volume back a tad and the neck way up in volume and tone for solos. I rarely want the same settings for both pickups . . . and then in the middle position there's a whole bunch of tone mixing that can go on with the two volumes.
              So is it for faster switching when playing live? I mean those same tones can be dialed in with vol/tone, right? So the benefit here is having them set and quickly flicking between the two?

              A lot of guitarists I admire are constantly messing with their volume and tone knobs. I'm definitely down with exploring the range of tones that guitar knobs plus amp controls can yield, just still struggling to see a massive improvement from having independent controls for the two pickups.
              Originally posted by crusty philtrum
              Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
              http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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              • #8
                I do like GuitarStv does, in addition to some egregious toggle switch flipping in the style of Rhoads.
                I am either a thirtysomething actress or a small farm animal.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Little Pigbacon View Post
                  I do like GuitarStv does, in addition to some egregious toggle switch flipping in the style of Rhoads.
                  If you don't do distorted kill switch stuff every now and then, you aren't living
                  Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                  Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                  http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alex1fly View Post

                    So is it for faster switching when playing live? I mean those same tones can be dialed in with vol/tone, right? So the benefit here is having them set and quickly flicking between the two?

                    A lot of guitarists I admire are constantly messing with their volume and tone knobs. I'm definitely down with exploring the range of tones that guitar knobs plus amp controls can yield, just still struggling to see a massive improvement from having independent controls for the two pickups.
                    Yes, with the 335 I usually set the volume and tones for different sounds before a song. Then only make minor tweaks of volume and tone while playing. You can get a similar effect by being fast on the controls, but there isn't always time when switching quickly from rhythm to lead in the middle of a song.

                    This is very different from how I play a strat, where I tend to work the knobs in the middle of a song more often.
                    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                    Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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                    • #11
                      I've recently been experimenting with an OOP middle position and bass cuts instead of tone controls. Definitely a lot more flexible, but how many of the sounds are actually usable? I don't really know yet.
                      If I only had a dollar for every song I've sung
                      every time I had to play while people sat there drunk,

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                      • #12
                        The most out-there wiring I did in my SG was make it two channels. I put stacked Vol/Tone where the volumes used to be, and the tones became a fader between both pickups. The pickup selector switched between the channels. So I could have one blend of the pickups, flip the switch and have a different blend and tone for the pickups. With stereo out I could run into different amps or different effects for each channel. By putting the pickup faders completely to one or the other pickup, it became a normal SG again, just with stacked Vol/Tone.

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                        • #13
                          The only way to make it better is to go with Triple Shot Rings. Or Push/Pulls.
                          Anyone ever use the neck full up for leads and the bridge backed off for cleans?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Demanic View Post
                            The only way to make it better is to go with Triple Shot Rings. Or Push/Pulls.
                            Anyone ever use the neck full up for leads and the bridge backed off for cleans?
                            This is how I gravitate to using this guitar. Neck pickup sounds full and fat and sparkly, bridge pickup is kinda tinny and boring. So the neck gives me the most versatile response for jamming and the bridge is there when I just want to fill out some sound.
                            Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                            Anyone who *sings* at me through their teeth deserves to have a bus drive through their face
                            http://www.youtube.com/alexiansounds

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                            • #15
                              Most often I use 2V/2T as an opportunity to manipulate pot and cap values for the position....so very high K values for the neck slot and much lower for the bridge.
                              It also means you can keep the tone for each set so you avoid the typical harsh bridge muddy neck contrast.

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