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#1
I've had numerous guitars over the years; some with one tone control, some with two and the same with volume controls. Whilst I have used the volume controls (more so in the early days before i got a volume pedal) I have never found any practical use for the tone controls and always have them on full.

On all the guitars I've owned (including a Les Paul and a Strat), turning down the tone just seems to cut the mid and treble and it sounds awful. Maybe it's because I play mostly rock and metal but I see no use for this at all.

Do you use the tone controls on your guitar and if so why?
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#2
Yes I do use it. I have a mahogany Ibanez S870FM with one volume and one tone control. When going for a clean sound, if I roll off the volume and tone a bit I get a lovely smooth, warm, bassy tone. If I leave both controls at full, the tone tends to be a bit harsher. However, much like you, when I'm playing metal I tend to keep the tone control at full.
#3
yes but not a lot. occasionally a different sound is needed so i may adjust the tone.
#4
I pretty much ALWAYS use the tone control nowadays. I turn it down until the brittle and ice picky "zing" from the strings is gone - it usually doesn't take very much at all. Then I compensate for the change in tone by bringing up the treble and mids on the amp as required.

This pretty much eliminates the problem of nasty metallic overtones which are painful at stage volumes at its source, allowing for greater tonal flexibility with the amp's EQ without having to worry about hurting peoples ears with harshness. Using this method has really drastically improved my tone.
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#5
Oh god yes, what do you think I am, some sort of animal?
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#7
Sometimes. I generally like bright tones and a bright attack, so tone at maximum is what I'm looking for, but sometimes it's helpful for a "softer" tone, especially if things are really too bright (usually with strummed chords, or playing lead with high gain on high notes which can get a little ice-picky).

I'm sort of in-between on this matter, but I can really understand both people who use it all the time and those who don't even need one on their guitar, it's just a matter of your playing style and what kind of tones you like.
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#9
Quote by Matriani
I've had numerous guitars over the years; some with one tone control, some with two and the same with volume controls. Whilst I have used the volume controls (more so in the early days before i got a volume pedal) I have never found any practical use for the tone controls and always have them on full.

Do you use the tone controls on your guitar and if so why?


On standard guitars, the answer is "No, not much."

Worth understanding that what we call a "tone" control is actually just a treble roll-off.

On my L6S (70's Gibson), there are two "tone" controls. One is a treble roll-off, the other is a mids roll-off (a fixed frequency, variable roll-off). I use those controls. It's an original. The reissues Gibson put out in 2013 subbed in a bass roll-off for the mids roll-off.

One of my Agiles is much-modified. Instead of a 2V 2T setup, there's a master volume, a master treble roll-off, a sustainer intensity knob and a Chandler Tone-X, which is an *active* sweepable (variable frequency, like a wah) mids BOOST (about 16 dB) on a push-pull.

On another guitar, one of the knobs is a *passive* sweepable Mids CUT on a push-pull.

I have an old Ibanez AR500 that has an active/passive pickup system with a three-band EQ.

On a couple of my Carvins, I have an active preamp setup that offers a master volume, master treble (at the "5" setting it's about the same as a fully open treble roll-off, but on either side of that you can get up to a 15 dB boost or cut. A second "tone" knob does the same with the bass side of things -- a 15 dB active boost or cut. And the forth knob of the usual quadrant is a "blend" knob for when both pickups are selected.

On a Variax, there are usually four controls as well, with one volume and one tone, and the third and fourth knobs are the model selection switch and the alternate tuning switch. I was recently told (but haven't confirmed) that the on some of the acoustic settings, the tone knob became a setting for the mike distance (simulated, of course), and since that distance changes the tone of the guitar, it would be an obvious choice. On my Variax Acoustic 700, there's a mike distance slider (no knobs on that guitar) that sets that, so it's likely that Line 6 has carried that over. I've just never really tried it to find out on the other guitars.

In short, if you're wasting those knobs by simply diming them, you CAN find uses for them that make a lot more sense.
#10
No. I find the treble rolloff useless for what I'm trying to achieve tonally. If I were to make a custom guitar, I'd get rid of the tone knob altogether. I just don't care for the gimmick of being able to make one's amp sound like it's underwater on the fly.

I know that isn't the way I'm supposed to be looking at it. I'm meant to increase the amp's treble and cut most of that treble out with the tone knob. But I just don't like that approach at all. It's far too easy to accidentally bump the tone knob while one is doing something like switching pickups or rolling off the volume. And when you do bump it, you end up losing all your hard work of trying to find the best position for it. Most of my guitars don't have knobs that give you any numbers or any reference point to turn the knob from either. For whatever the tone knob tries to achieve, I'd simply prefer it if the amp did that instead.

But when it comes to bass guitars, it's a very different story. For the way bass is often amplified, tone controls and active adjustable preamps are very useful.
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#11
Quote by monwobobbo
yes but not a lot. occasionally a different sound is needed so i may adjust the tone.


Yeah, same here. Or if I'm playing a bright guitar like a tele or a strat, I might use the tone control on the bridge pickup. Or depending on the exact type of tone I want.
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#12
I use it the most on my Tele. Not sure why, other than the Tele has such a simple set up with a stable tone in all positions. I can tweak the tone quickly without running the risk of going out of bounds.

On the Gibson LP, it is cool to dial back both tones in the center pickup switch position to get a very "woody" sound. I also like the tone dialed up somewhat when just the bridge pickup is selected so that I get a bright grindy sound.
#13
I use them a lot with clean tones, never with hi-gain though, muddy sounding to me
#14
I tend to roll off a bit on the bridge pickup of my ESP, as it's an EMG 81 and even with the 18v mod, those things sound extremely trebly.
#15
Mainly use it for covering somewhat jazzy stuff like "In the Cold, Cold Night", and sometimes when using a Whammy set to an octave down, especially on guitars with single-coils instead of humbuckers.
#17
Rolling off the tone a bit works oddly well with high gain, if you're playing Black Sabbath or grunge stuff
#18
I never did, but my tonal taste changed and now I have it rolled back to about 8 on all my guitars all the time.
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#19
Mostly play Strats, but also Teles, Les Pauls and similar and various Super-Strats. Never use the tone controls, but I use the volume control all the time. (Sometimes I have the amp on the distorted channel all the time and do a "clean" tone by turning down the volume, other times I use it to shape the tone for my distorted parts only.)

I do not necessarily think the idea of a tone knob on the guitar is a bad one, but I find too hard to use.
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#20
Not much...but a lot more than I used to.

And a little bit more, the older I get.
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#22
Quote by Blompcube
I pretty much ALWAYS use the tone control nowadays. I turn it down until the brittle and ice picky "zing" from the strings is gone - it usually doesn't take very much at all. Then I compensate for the change in tone by bringing up the treble and mids on the amp as required.

This pretty much eliminates the problem of nasty metallic overtones which are painful at stage volumes at its source, allowing for greater tonal flexibility with the amp's EQ without having to worry about hurting peoples ears with harshness. Using this method has really drastically improved my tone.

^More or less this; saves my funk chops from sounding like the final moments of the West African black rhino, in first-person (or first-rhino, I suppose).
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#23
yes! i had mine upgraded to a different capacitor and it made the whole tone knob very much more pleasing. on 0 it isnt all mud, its more of just a high end rolloff. that combined with my out of phase switch makes a very awesome cocked wah sound.

if you dont like your tone knob, probably because anything less than 8 sounds like mudd, i highly suggest a quick reqiring job. about a 10 cent cap and about 20 bucks in labor costs....or do it yourself.

i cant remember if i did 6800 or the .01 down from .22 but whatever it was made a HUGE HUGE difference. literally from anything less than 8 was mud to i can pretty much play at 0...but it just has less high end. its almost like my tone knob is a treble bleed type thingy.

im liking it. i feel like i can actually USE the full sweep now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR4maqK_IhQ
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#24
tbh i never use it

big fan of bright and tight tones that need to cut through the mix.

if i need dullness i can just post eq it.
#25
It works well with fuzz but other than that I've never really found a practical use for the tone control. I may try a bass cut tone mod on one of my guitars though.

I don't even use the volume control much either, other than for just muting my guitar.
#26
Quote by ikey_
yes! i had mine upgraded to a different capacitor and it made the whole tone knob very much more pleasing. on 0 it isnt all mud, its more of just a high end rolloff. that combined with my out of phase switch makes a very awesome cocked wah sound.

if you dont like your tone knob, probably because anything less than 8 sounds like mudd, i highly suggest a quick reqiring job. about a 10 cent cap and about 20 bucks in labor costs....or do it yourself.

i cant remember if i did 6800 or the .01 down from .22 but whatever it was made a HUGE HUGE difference. literally from anything less than 8 was mud to i can pretty much play at 0...but it just has less high end. its almost like my tone knob is a treble bleed type thingy.

im liking it. i feel like i can actually USE the full sweep now.

Actually it's very different for me - I have two Schecters, on the Demon 7 the tone control is quite even and very usable, and it doesn't get really muddy until the very lowest settings (which could be used as that kind of "muted" effect, I guess), and it happens to me that I roll it down to 5-6 when playing clean and things are too bright and hard on the ears.

On the C-1 Classic it's almost the other extreme, it's very very subtle until the lowest settings where it suddenly goes all dark.
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#27
Quote by ikey_
yes! i had mine upgraded to a different capacitor and it made the whole tone knob very much more pleasing. on 0 it isnt all mud, its more of just a high end rolloff. that combined with my out of phase switch makes a very awesome cocked wah sound.

if you dont like your tone knob, probably because anything less than 8 sounds like mudd, i highly suggest a quick reqiring job. about a 10 cent cap and about 20 bucks in labor costs....or do it yourself.

i cant remember if i did 6800 or the .01 down from .22 but whatever it was made a HUGE HUGE difference. literally from anything less than 8 was mud to i can pretty much play at 0...but it just has less high end. its almost like my tone knob is a treble bleed type thingy.

im liking it. i feel like i can actually USE the full sweep now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR4maqK_IhQ


i think i read recently that you can add a small resistor to the tone circuit so that the tone on 0 is usable.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#28
Quote by K33nbl4d3
^More or less this; saves my funk chops from sounding like the final moments of the West African black rhino, in first-person (or first-rhino, I suppose).


You'd sound like that too, if someone were cutting off YOUR horn.
#29
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Not much...but a lot more than I used to.

And a little bit more, the older I get.


Good for you. If you don't use it, you'll lose it.
#30
One of these days i'm gonna take all that crap out of my guitars and replace them with just killswitches and nothing else.
#31
Hell yeah.
All the time.
On my Les Paul, when I set the switch to use both pickups, the bridge pickup tone I set to 10 and the neck pickup I set to 4 or lower.
#33
I never used them very much on my first two electrics, one with an EMG 81/85 set, and another with SD JB/Jazz set. But my new one has the EMG 57/66 set, and both of those pickups seem very bright to me, with the tone knob full. Like, not so bright that it's bad, but brighter than I expected, and am used to. So I've been rolling the tone knob off a little bit for my main rhythm tones, both clean and distorted, and rolling it back to full for leads. I like that.
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#34
Pretty mixed bag then. Some people do use them, some don't. I thought it might be that they're used a lot in jazz or something but it seems that style of music doesn't really seem to matter.

I know some people use heavily modified guitars with built in EQ's, effects, kill switches, etc. (Matt Bellamy for example) but I'm still of the opinion that on a standard guitar, the basic tone switch is pretty useless.

I don't know how feasible it is but I think it would be useful if you could modify the tone switch so that it controls the amount of reverb instead as I've always found it a pain having to adjust it on the amp between songs.
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#35
Quote by Matriani
I don't know how feasible it is but I think it would be useful if you could modify the tone switch so that it controls the amount of reverb instead as I've always found it a pain having to adjust it on the amp between songs.

While that's probably possible to achieve in some really cumbersome and impractical way, it would also be completely redundant, because there are reverb pedals which allow you to store and recall presets pretty easily these days.

Not to mention the possibilities of midi-compatible multi-fx units, where if you want more flexibility than simply having reverb presets, you could assign whichever parameters of the reverb you wanted control over to a midi expression pedal. But that goes far beyond the discussion about the simple passive low-pass filter tone controls we have on standard electric guitars
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#36
I would use them if they were easier to use. The volume knob and pickup switch are much closer to reach so they get used the most. And those two give me enough tonal options that I can switch on the fly to be happy. I set up my sounds where it sounds great on 10 and just leave it there. It still sounds great when the tone knob is on 6 or 7 and I would like to use them more but it's not feasible considering their location.
#37
It depends on the guitar pick ups for me , My G&L Fallout has a P90 and SD-JB and the tone needs rolled off with the SD or it gets ice picky , the P90 is fine with the tone knob turned up

my G&L Rampage has a volume only and it could use a tone knob with the EMG that's in it , easily eq'ed out of the amp but makes you change amp setting if your packing a few guitars

my other G&L's have a separate treble and bass control that works with out getting to muddy , I use them as needed
#39
Hmmm..well i have never used tone controls they are allways cranked up for max sound and tone and for strong Signal strenght thru the cord also ...You have a Les-Paul and you want to turn down the tone!!! lol.. i always insist on having the correct Amp/effect settings ..if you getting feed back n nois fuzz ect ..try adjust amp sound instead and keep all that lovely LP TONE you have ..but everyones different, no rules, do what sounds rite for you ...i have Gibsn SG by the way
Last edited by stretch7 at Sep 10, 2015,
#40
I only do on my Agile strat. Mostly I have pedals for that.

This thread has me dreaming up some wacky wiring scheme.
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Last edited by DeathByDestroyr at Sep 10, 2015,
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