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Thread: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

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    Default Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    I've read that every resistor has some parasitic capacitance and therefore has the ability to filter high frequency signals. I wondered if that would matter in practical terms in guitar wiring. I'm specifically interested in the effects on tone of regular 250k or 500k audio pots wired as a simple blend pot without a lug going to ground.

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    Default Re: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Stevens View Post
    I've read that every resistor has some parasitic capacitance and therefore has the ability to filter high frequency signals. I wondered if that would matter in practical terms in guitar wiring. I'm specifically interested in the effects on tone of regular 250k or 500k audio pots wired as a simple blend pot without a lug going to ground.
    short answer:
    yes, a resistor in series with a pickup will change the tone. i will kill treble.
    BUT NOT because of the parasitic capacitance of the resistor. it's insignificant.
    It'S because of the High Impedanz of passive Pickups.

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    Default Re: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    The series resistance of a blend control has two effects:
    1) It isolates the resonance of the pickup from the guitar cable capacitance and also isolates it from the other pickup. When the pickup is isolated from the cable capacitance and also the inductance of the other pickups, the pickup resonates at its self-resonance frequency. The self-resonance frequency is higher than the loaded resonance frequency, which you may hear as being brighter, or sometimes you hear it as a loss of treble depending on various factors.
    2) You are also losing treble because the capacitive loading of the the guitar cable together with the additional series resistance of the blend control acts as a low-pass filter.
    Last edited by Teleplayer; 06-03-2020 at 11:48 PM.

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    Tone Member Bronze Buzzard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    Don't get too caught up in the snake oil, yo. Try it a couple of ways until it suits you.

    Don't ever forget that the end result is about sound, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Does is sound good?
    I think I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque...

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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    I had a Ď52 Tele style blend pot in my Tele for a while and it didnít lose treble or affect the sound negatively when turned to different positions. It worked like a charm, as expected. I think I used a no-load so when it was on it was fully on? Itís been a while.
    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic
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    I am currently using Skullcandy headphones I found in the garbage.
    I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
    I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

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    Toneologist freefrog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does a resistor in series with a pickup change the tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Stevens View Post
    I'm specifically interested in the effects on tone of regular 250k or 500k audio pots wired as a simple blend pot without a lug going to ground.
    Even without a lug to ground, normal pots used as blenders still put a massive amount of resistance between each pickup and the output.

    I post below a simulation showing the resonant peak of two 6k Strat PU's in parallel (red curve) vs the same thing through a regular 500k pot wired as a blender (in grey).

    Name:  SC in parallel vs blender.jpg
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Size:  42.9 KB

    The output level is +/- 6dB lower through the blender. To obtain the same thing from the 2 PU's in parallel without blender, I'd have to lower the overall volume pot to 80% (with a linear 250k volume control).

    NOTE -If you want a blender which is not actiing as a volume control permanently lowered, you need a dual control like this: https://www.stewmac.com/electronics/...lend-pots.html

    FWIW. :-)
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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