This year Fender has got a new humbucker for their HSS configured Strats and I love the way the guitar sounds. I love the Fat 50 single coils and I love the Shawbucker.
I'm building my own guitar (my first) and I figured I should borrow heavily from the new HSS strats.

I heard someone say in a video that the guitar has a dual-gang pot with both 500k and 250k resistance. I suppose they meant that the humbucker is wired through the 500k and the single coils are wired through the 250k.
It seemed simple enough, but then I wondered how that would work when you're combining the humbucker with the middle pickup?
So I realized that I don't know enough about guitar tone circuits. I've got a few diagrams open in my other browser tabs and I'm trying to read through them and teach myself, but every page I read just adds more questions and it's hard for me to narrow down my scope.
So maybe I can describe where I'd like to end up and get some feedback about that:

That's roughly shaped and I've hand-drawn some ideas for tone control placement.
I want 2 Fat 50s and a Shawbucker. I want the guitar to sound like the Shawbucker Strat when all of the knobs are dimed. I like funk-inspired Rock. Frusciante, Prince, Lenny Kravitz but I'm not trying to nail anyone's sound.

But as for the controls themselves I only want a volume and a single tone control. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a treble cut. I was wondering if maybe I could do a standard tone control and a mid-boost of some sort, or maybe I could just put a kill switch in there, or - hell - I don't know. I'm open to suggestions. I just want it to be cool.
You could use something like this: http://www.guitarelectronics.com/product/CPCS25/CTS-Stacked-Dual-Concentric-Audio-Guitar-Pot-250K500K.html .
It's basically just a 250k and a 500k stacked on each other so that you can fit the two controls in one spot. You could wire the single coils through the 250k and the humbucker through the 500k.

A kill switch is really easy to add too. You just wire a normally open momentary spst switch on two lugs on the volume pot. http://www.instructables.com/id/Guitar-Killswitch-Strat.-design/?ALLSTEPS
Last edited by transformed at Feb 20, 2015,
^ I think that's mostly correct. I assume they use a stacked pot, but not a concentric one. They're wired independently so combining the pickups would make no difference, they are summed after the volume pot(s). The wiring is functionally identical to having two separate volume pots, but in this instance they happen to be on the same shaft.

I like the mid boost idea, very useful on strat type guitars.
I was just watching a video that demonstrates passive variable mid cut. That's cool too.

I'm going to have to take a break from studying for a little while but I'll be back later. Thanks for the advice so far guys.
this ones an easy guitar to wire, just looks strange. The questions been answered so the only reason I'm chiming in an interesting mod so you don't have two small knobs to mess with.

so what I did on this Jackson DK2 (HSS) was put a 250k resistor from the portion of the selector the wires are selected and the other side to ground. Kind of gives you the option to fine tune pickups but it's very monotonous. Thankfully resistors are cheap (1-10 cents each) , can be used over and over again and are non-polarized.
What do you guys know about sweepable passive (cut) filters?

I'd love to have one knob that controls the size of the cut and another that controls the frequency of the cut. Is there a common mod for that? I read about the Clapton circuit but that appears to be fixed frequency. I'd really like to have a sweep control.

Varitone. That's basically what I was thinking of. I've never heard of them before. It appears that they're not very popular though....
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Feb 20, 2015,
varitones are pretty easy to make if you're comfortable soldering. The gibson way requires lots more stuff but a basic one with a rotary knob and 5 values of capacitors it's pretty easy to pull off. Guitar fetish has a BB King Lucille one on their website for 20$ that is pretty much pre-made. To my understanding it filters out a certain % of your guitars output giving you 6 tones (6th is bypass). It can be useful and you can custom tailor the capacitors to suit your needs. The bigger the "uf" on a capacitor the heavier effect. So 0.001uf is very small and 0.1uf is very large.

getting back to it, guitar fetish also has/had the eric clapton mid scoop too, it's inspired by the circuit so I can imagine lower quality components. Erics is active so you'd need a 9v battery in your guitar at all times is the down side. But I've been looking into creating an external 9v power supply because I've grown to hate pickguards unless there is swimming pool routing.

there is also a mid scoop by torres engineering. The inductor to make it happen is pretty expensive (15$ usd give or take) unless you live in UK. This ones adjustable. I can send a website to it if you're interested.

other active preamps that come to mind are..
artec comes up a lot on ebay Guitarheads.net for those
EMG has a few. Gain (afterburner) to what David Gilmour uses on his red strat
this wah potentiometer. Joe Perry used it I can never remember what it's called. Has an X in it.

the easiest passive option is:
the Fender TBX. It's 2 capacitors and a resistor. It's super easy to make. It shapes your tone two ways. The only repercussion is they use a blend potentiometer (you can use a concentric) so 10 isn't 10 and 0 isn't 0 on it so it takes some getting used to. It is your standard tone knob 4.9 to 0. 5.1 to 10 it gets rid of the muddiness at high gain settings really well. Joe Gore (Tonefiend on youtube) did a few videos on it.

however there is all sorts of mods I can shed some light on. I work on guitars as a hobby and every now and then i get to try something new.
Okay - I have been spending some time reading and listening.
I think I want to do the G&L PTB circuit but I'd like to get a little bit of the Varitone mid-cut function too. I was listening to a demo of the Big D Varitone. I like the third position. I was thinking I could use a push-pull pot on the tone control to bring the inductor and one particular capacitor into the circuit and it would be like a mid-scoop switch. For that matter I could probably pick a different capacitor and use another push-pull pot on the bass control. Then I'd have something like the equivalent of a 3-position varitone. (The second position on the big D is also pretty cool)
(I'm trying to limit myself to 3 knobs)

Have you tried anything like that Tallwood? Or anyone?
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Feb 21, 2015,