This may seem like a silly question, but what exactly does the tone knob do? Do you ever not have it turned all the way up?
its hard (at least for me) to describe. i normally have mine all the way up (bad habit). if its really low, you kinda get a dry sound. all the way up is really sharp (not as in F# but as in it kind of bites). once again I'm bad at explaining
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i usualy keep mine at 10, if you turn it down lower you'll get a more muffled sound hard to describe
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It is really hard to explain.... it kinda adjusts how "saturated" your tone is... All the way up it will sound really sharp and piercing, all the way down it will sound muddy and more of the low frequencies will sound through. At least that's how I would describe it lol.
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its a high pass filter. with you tone knob at ten, the signal is not being filtered at all, at zero, depending on the capacitor value, treble frequencies are being rolled off.

I turn my tone knob down for solos on the bridge pickup, smooths out the tone a little.
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To hear the difference without actually using your guitar, listen to the solo to November Rain, that's what it sounds like with the tone at 0.

Then listen to any other ****ing solo ever.

Really, the only changes I make with the tone knob is 0 or 10.
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The way it was explained to me is that the tone knob adjusts the brightness of your pickups. When it is turned all the way up, your pickups are at their brightest, while when the tone knob is rolled back it gives you a darker, more mellow sound.

The tone knob is actually a very useful tool for a guitar: if you are getting a good sound from an amp but you need it to be just a little less bright, roll back on your tone knob until you achieve the tone. Likewise, if you wanted to get a Jazz tone from a traditionally rock-oriented guitar, roll the tone knob back until you get that mellow sound you are looking for.
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So the tone knob is essentially a "treble knob"? Ive played guitar for years and I can hear the difference, I was just curious of exactly what it is/doing. Anyone got a more techincal answer? I've been on a "I want to know how things work" kick lately.
It rolls off higher frequencies, so it is basically a "treble knob".

Also I don't know if this is the case, but if you listen to Bohemian Rhapsody, the solo is kind of soft, it doesn't pierce. I don't know if this is actually the tone knob or just his unique guitar, but on a Strat you would roll back the tone a bit to get close to that tone.
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It's not so much a treble knob as a treble cut - it doesn't add anything, all it does is cut high frequencies when you turn it down - so when the tone knob is up full it's not actually doing anything, that's the "normal" sound of your guitar.
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Well, actually even when it's at 10, it will still be cutting some of the highest frequencies. Different values of pot and capacitor will effect the tone more/less when the control is at 10; something like a 1meg pot with a .022uf capacitor will hardly effect the tone at all when it's at 10 while a 250k pot with a 0.47uf capacitor will still effect it a noticable even at 10. Fender make a pot that works as normal from 0-9 but at 10 is turned fully off, so that doesn't effect the tone at all (they also make one which works like a 250k pot from 0-4 and a 1meg pot from 5-10). You could also just remove any tone pots from your guitar entirely to hear your pickup ''wide open''.
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Not going into technicalities,
It cuts out some the high frequencies in your guitar pickups.
Turn it all the way down, and your tone will be very bassy.
But even having a tone knob on your guitar would cut some of the treble.
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If you have 2 tone knobs (like a Strat), the first one (below the Vol knob) which gives you more "tone" with the neck pick up + the second one (below the first tone knob) which gives you more "tone" with the middle pick up. Turning the knob to 10 will give you more of a brilliant sound than before you turned the knob. It is best that you could do this on a clean effect to see the difference.
The tone knob on my MIA Telecaster is the most useful tone knob I've every come across. You can get a hundred different sounds just by rolling back the tone, and it never seems to get really muddy - I've not played a guitar with such a wide range of sounds available, just from changing the tone.

Technically, the guys above are spot on. The best technical explanation I've ever seen of what is going on is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_pass_filter
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So the tone knob is essentially a "treble knob"? Ive played guitar for years and I can hear the difference, I was just curious of exactly what it is/doing. Anyone got a more techincal answer? I've been on a "I want to know how things work" kick lately.

i've had some low end guitars and amps where it was almost impossible to tell if i was adjusting the tone knobs.

now, if i accidentally move a knob i can tell right away.

basically i'm asking what gear you're using?

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I like them alot!
Thats one of the reasons i like Les Pauls so much! A tone and volume control for each pup!
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I removed the tone knob on my RG2EX1. I never used it, and that's not really for a lack of experimentation.
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I use mine alot. Too much treble when not playing leads almost always sounds bad to me. I keep mine closed to 0 to get that nice guns n roses slash-style sound.

I always say, to define your tone. Start with the amp's eq, then pedals, then guitar knobs.
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I use it alot to warm up the neck position a bit more. Smooths out chords, less "bite" to them, makes them sound more wholesome when you turn the Tone down.
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