Registered User
Join date: Oct 2012
122 IQ
I was thinking about messing with the wiring on a cheap electric guitar i have, a stratocaster knock-off with three single coil pickups. My other guitar is an ibanez GIO with 2 humbuckers, it has 2 volume controls and 2 tone controls.

That got me thinking... what if a stratocaster (knockoff) had 3 volume controls and 3 tone controls? Would you be able to get all the same sounds (and more) as the original stratocaster, or would it sound completely different?

and what is the appeal of having less controls (like a fender telecaster or mustang)?

my main question is how would it sound with 3 volumes and 3 tones***
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
587 IQ
It would just give you more options, but having that many controls isn't really necessary, the way Strats are works fine. You would not be able to get a proper Fender tone, but you might be able to get close, but I don't think having more controls would help.

You basically want as many as you need, and as few as possible to keep things simple. For example, a punk guitarist probably isn't even going to use the tone control, and possibly not even the neck pickup or volume control. They don't need it, whereas someone who wants lots of tonal variety would need them.
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2009
4,739 IQ
i mean, technically you can manipulate your tone more sure, but think about it logistically. if you were playing live and want to tone down your volume and reduce some output, how quickly could you do that while playing? stuff like that.

i actually recently have become slightly annoyed with les paul wiring because i like the tone with both pickups and a mix of volumes (i liked the character it gives me with like 10 on the bridge and about 5-7 on the neck)....but then rolling off volume is harder on the fly.

i could always switch to the neck and reduce it right away but what if i wanted to take it back to a cleaner tone at like 3? thats harder.

overall i love les paul wiring, but i do see a real value in 1 tone / 1 volume, or heck if the guitar gives you all the tone, just 1 volume.


and also understmand many purists dislike all the controls cause technically its one more additional part in the signal chain to mess up tone, and any pot is actually taking away frequencies from the tone.

people take the van halen approach and just do a volume, leaving all the tone to the guitar / pickup and amp.

trick is - does your amp and guitar give you the perfect tone you want. i mean, if our equipment was 100% our dream tone, we wouldnt need EQs on our amps, or tone pots or anything!
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Join date: Oct 2009
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Would there be a tone and a volume control for each pickup (that's how they are in Les Paul) or three master volume and tone controls (that wouldn't make sense, unless you had a three band EQ in the guitar)? Do you know what a tone knob does? When tone is at full, you get the "natural" sound of the guitar. And if you turn tone down, it cuts treble. So three knobs: It would just maybe cut more treble. But I see no point, unless you wanted a tone control for each pickup. But it would still sound the same. When the guitar controls are at full, you get the "natural" sound of your guitar (unless they are active controls that they usually aren't). Active controls can also boost your signal, passive controls just cut the signal. But I haven't seen active controls on guitars, they are usually used on active basses.

Three volume knobs: Well, it wouldn't change anything. You would be able to have all the pickups set to different volume levels but you can do that with only one control. The advantage of three controls would be that you could kind of have presets for the pickups.

If you really want tone controls that change your tone more, a three band EQ would be better (bass, mid and treble knobs).

Do you know how the tone controls on your Strat work? I think when you only have bridge pickup activated (position 5), the tone controls do nothing or the first tone control works (it depends on the Strat, originally the tone control didn't work at bridge position). On fourth and third positions the first tone control is activated. And on second and first positions the second tone control is activated. I'm not 100% sure of these but if I remember right, they work like that. But there are two tone controls so you can have tone "presets" for different pickup positions.
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