Wide Range Pickup Questions

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j mascis
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Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by j mascis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:05 pm

Hey guys.

I'm building a JM with WRHBs in it. What do you think for the cap values and pot values? Would it be the standard 500k pot and .22 cap as a starting point?

Also, for the JM rhythm circuit, I am considering using a 250k pot instead of the 50k pot -- has anyone done this with success? Would you leave the other mini pot at 1meg? My goal is to make the rhythm circuit brighter than the main circuit...maybe turn it into a lead tone, or at least something usable.

Thanks.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by adamrobertt » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:47 pm

j mascis wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:05 pm
Hey guys.

I'm building a JM with WRHBs in it. What do you think for the cap values and pot values? Would it be the standard 500k pot and .22 cap as a starting point?

Also, for the JM rhythm circuit, I am considering using a 250k pot instead of the 50k pot -- has anyone done this with success? Would you leave the other mini pot at 1meg? My goal is to make the rhythm circuit brighter than the main circuit...maybe turn it into a lead tone, or at least something usable.

Thanks.
I’m pretty sure that the models that originally had these pickups in them had 1 Meg pots. Not sure about cap values but probably .047 uf?

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by JVG » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:35 pm

Sounds like a cool project :)

It’s a matter of personal taste, but i would start with either 500k pots in the main circuit, and 0.022 or 0.015 capacitors. (I presume you missed a decimal point when you suggested a 0.22 cap?)

For the “rhythm circuit” - which you will be actually using as a “lead circuit” - you want it to be brighter, so i would have both mini pots at 1M and use a 0.003 capacitor (same as the Jaguar ‘bright’ switch). This way you should get a slight bump in treble as soon as you engage the “rhythm” switch, and a further increase (or actually reduction in bass) as you wind back the roller pot for tone.

Cheers!

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by j mascis » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:32 pm

JVG wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:35 pm
Sounds like a cool project :)

It’s a matter of personal taste, but i would start with either 500k pots in the main circuit, and 0.022 or 0.015 capacitors. (I presume you missed a decimal point when you suggested a 0.22 cap?)

For the “rhythm circuit” - which you will be actually using as a “lead circuit” - you want it to be brighter, so i would have both mini pots at 1M and use a 0.003 capacitor (same as the Jaguar ‘bright’ switch). This way you should get a slight bump in treble as soon as you engage the “rhythm” switch, and a further increase (or actually reduction in bass) as you wind back the roller pot for tone.

Cheers!
awesome, thanks.

with two 1meg pots in the rhythm circuit, it will be like a JM's standard circuit, correct? Only with humbuckers...so maybe a little more tame? My gut was that would be too bright, but maybe not.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by timtam » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:49 pm

Which WRHBs do you have ? Pots have varied for the different WRHB types. Originals had 1meg. Fender WRHB reissues (regular HBs in WRHB case) have usually had 250k, although that's probably too low (and partly responsible for their less-than-stellar reputation). Clone attempts from pickup manufacturers have often recommended 500k. Fender now has CuNiFe WRHBs again, but there is no parts manual for the American Original 70s Telecaster Custom they're in yet, so AFAIK we don't know what pots it has.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by mbene085 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:58 pm

I don't know why you'd want a lead circuit that, when wide open, is muddier than the rhythm circuit.

Especially on a guitar capable of tone presets, why not just get the maximum frequency range out of your pickups and use the tone knobs to cut back any unwanted treble? WRHBs are basically the second-thickest sounding category of pickups after PAFs, with the tone knob backed off a bit, even on 1 meg pots, they can be about as warm sounding as anything out there.

I'd vote for 1k pots all around, and using the tone knobs to tweak it from there.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by JVG » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:02 pm

j mascis wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:32 pm
awesome, thanks.

with two 1meg pots in the rhythm circuit, it will be like a JM's standard circuit, correct? Only with humbuckers...so maybe a little more tame? My gut was that would be too bright, but maybe not.
It would be the same as the standard circuit if you used 1M pots in the standard circuit. That’s why i would try 500k in the standard circuit and 1M in the lead circuit.

But really you could do it either way around. I guess the point is that you want two circuits - one ‘standard’ and one brighter. Which one goes where is not so important :)

There’s a chance the lead circuit i proposed could be too bight, but hard to say for sure. Unfortunately these ventures into the unknown often take a bit of trial and error, but that’s part of the fun of custom mods :)

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by j mascis » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:52 am

JVG wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:02 pm
j mascis wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:32 pm
awesome, thanks.

with two 1meg pots in the rhythm circuit, it will be like a JM's standard circuit, correct? Only with humbuckers...so maybe a little more tame? My gut was that would be too bright, but maybe not.
It would be the same as the standard circuit if you used 1M pots in the standard circuit. That’s why i would try 500k in the standard circuit and 1M in the lead circuit.

But really you could do it either way around. I guess the point is that you want two circuits - one ‘standard’ and one brighter. Which one goes where is not so important :)

There’s a chance the lead circuit i proposed could be too bight, but hard to say for sure. Unfortunately these ventures into the unknown often take a bit of trial and error, but that’s part of the fun of custom mods :)
Cool, thanks. I think I'll do 500k, .022 in the main circuit, and 1meg in the lead (formerly rhythm circuit) -- I'm not sure what cap value for that yet. But this should make it two distinct circuits and both usable. I was thinking a higher cap value though, in the brighter circuit, like a .033 or .047.
That area is small to work inside, so is a small ceramic cap preferable to an orange sprague? I have some small orange spragues, but even being small I'm not sure they'd fit. Any idea what Fender uses? I have to order the parts so I can't test them in-hand yet.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by j mascis » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:53 am

timtam wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:49 pm
Which WRHBs do you have ? Pots have varied for the different WRHB types. Originals had 1meg. Fender WRHB reissues (regular HBs in WRHB case) have usually had 250k, although that's probably too low (and partly responsible for their less-than-stellar reputation). Clone attempts from pickup manufacturers have often recommended 500k. Fender now has CuNiFe WRHBs again, but there is no parts manual for the American Original 70s Telecaster Custom they're in yet, so AFAIK we don't know what pots it has.
I asked the manufacturer, and they said they suggest 500k with these.
With that info, I think I will go ahead and setup the main circuit as 500k and the lead as 1meg (what cap would you use to tame the ice pick? - .047?) I also have a spare .033.

This guitar is for live performance, so I need quite (humbucker) and useful tones on both circuits.

Thanks everyone.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by jvin248 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:13 am

.

If you are worried about too bright then measure the 500k pots you get and sort for the lowest you measure. Pots can be "in-spec" down to 450kohms or as high as 550kohms. I think the WRHBs were bright, but if you have modern look-like-WRHB-but-are-actually-standard-humbuckers then you might do better with going at the higher end of the spec pots. Many humbuckers are muddy due to high capacitance and the higher kohm volume pot will help get the notes back.

Tone caps can go 0.068uF for darker, 0.047uf is typical, 0.033uF is a little brighter, and 0.022uF is brighter than that -- even when the tone knob is 'wide open' the caps load the circuit and let some 'presence' through -- which may be a problem if running high gain/fuzz.

If you have space in the cavity routes ... you could also mess with getting a cheap import ceramic magnet Strat-type coil to use as a dummy pickup: knock off the bar magnet and push out the slugs then put that on a switch or push/pull to give yourself a noise canceling feature to other single coils you are using. Just need to match the polarity to get hum canceling.

.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by andy_tchp » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:15 pm

j mascis wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:52 am
I have some small orange spragues, but even being small I'm not sure they'd fit. Any idea what Fender uses?
Decidedly non-fancy small ceramic disc capacitors.
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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by JVG » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:38 pm

It’s unlikely you’ll have “ice pick” tones (man i hate that expression!) with WRHB pickups.

A 0.047 cap winds off tons of treble, and i wouldn’t use it with humbuckers unless you want a really bassy sound.

0.022 should wind of some trebles but still leave a nice mid-range honkiness. It’s a good starting point, i find.

Don’t overthink this....caps are easily swapped if you don’t like your first choice :)

Have fun with it!

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by Sweetfinger » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:59 am

andy_tchp wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:15 pm
j mascis wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:52 am
I have some small orange spragues, but even being small I'm not sure they'd fit. Any idea what Fender uses?
Decidedly non-fancy small ceramic disc capacitors.
Fender used ceramic disc caps up through the 1970s but it's rare for Fender to use them today. I know the Kenny Wayne Shepherd signature Strat has a ceramic disc. Fender's standard tone cap in most guitars is a small brown/reddish-brown film cap, same one that's in the bag of parts if you buy a Fender 250K pot in retail packaging.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by timtam » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:28 am

I believe anywhere where there are cramped quarters Fender will use ceramics (eg JM/jag rhythm circuit, jag strangle circuit, treble bleeds), as well as in any vintage-spec model (eg their tone control), but otherwise the brown polys (eg Am Pro tone controls). Bottom line is that it doesn't matter - only the capacitance value is important. And both probably cost Fender a few cents each. You shouldn't need to pay much more than that.
Last edited by timtam on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wide Range Pickup Questions

Post by patrick.h » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:21 am

j mascis wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:05 pm
Hey guys.

I'm building a JM with WRHBs in it. What do you think for the cap values and pot values? Would it be the standard 500k pot and .22 cap as a starting point?

Also, for the JM rhythm circuit, I am considering using a 250k pot instead of the 50k pot -- has anyone done this with success? Would you leave the other mini pot at 1meg? My goal is to make the rhythm circuit brighter than the main circuit...maybe turn it into a lead tone, or at least something usable.

Thanks.
Just a thought, but I have Curtis Novak WRHBs in my classic player JM and had the rhythm circuit modified so the switch coil splits the humbuckers and the rollers are individual volume knobs for each pickup. The lower volume and tone knobs are now the 'master' volume/tone.

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