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Wiring Drop Caps to a Lever Switch

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fjadams, Apr 9, 2015.


  1. fjadams

    fjadams

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    I'm getting closer to the actual building of my Squier Telecaster to Telecaster Thinline conversion.
    I'm using the Guild BiSonic pickups in it.
    Was wondering if it's possible to wire in drop caps on a lever Switch.
    Guitar Parts Resource  ::  Lever Switches
    Guitar Parts Resource  ::  Orange Drop Capacitors

    Was thinking of using a 3 Position switch with a .022, .047, .1 or a 5 way switch using .022, .033, .047, .068, .1.
    Also was thinking a blend pot for the pickup balance.
    So it'd be V/B/Lswitch.
    Is this even possible? With or without blend, with just a V pot and lever switch, or another way to switch pickups.
    Any help on this will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yes, you could do that, so each cap setting would be the same as using that cap for a tone knob with the tone turned down all of the way, no in-betweens. Wouldn't you also want one position to be no cap "full open"?
     
  3. fjadams

    fjadams

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Wouldn't fully open be all treble with no roll off? Don't think I'd need that.I think the .022 would be plenty enough treble for me.
     
  4. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    The pickup being an inductor, will give you some roll-off even without a cap.
     
  5. fjadams

    fjadams

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Would anybody be able to work up a quick schematic on how it'd be done?

    I'm guessing you'd solder one end of the cap to a pole on the switch for each one. Then would you wire them all together to the volume or blend pot? My electronics knowledge is very limited and am learning as I go along.
     
  6. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    I'd wire the wiper of the switch to the volume pot, one lead of each cap to a pole on the switch, and then the remaining leads to ground.
     
    bholder likes this.
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    True, sure, if that's what you want - "Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the law." [​IMG] :thumbsup:
     
    MattyBass likes this.
  8. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    You might want to run a 1 Meg resistor between the hot leads of the caps to minimiize popping when you switch. Gibson does this on the Varitone.

    BTW a Great resource for wiring is the Guitarnuts forum:

    Home | GuitarNutz 2

    If you're really into playing with tone shaping the spreasheet is particularly helpful
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
    bholder likes this.
  9. fjadams

    fjadams

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Thanks. I wish I knew more about electronics. I have a wiring book, but most of it is way above my understanding.
     
  10. What is a drop cap?

    In any case, on both 3 and 5 position lever switches, there are four terminals on each side of the switch. Pick one side, and identify the common. This terminal will connect to the signal path. Then, a capacitor should go to each of the remaining three terminals. If you are using a 5 position switch, position 2 will place capacitors 1 and 2 parallel to each other. Likewise, position 4 will place capacitors 2 and 3 parallel to each other. Keep this in mind when selecting capacitances.
     
    nuhckes8 likes this.
  11. fjadams

    fjadams

    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    Thanks. They're called drop caps where I was looking for them. So soldering a cap to each of the positions wouldn't give me five different tones?
    Probably if I knew more about guitar electronics I wouldn't get so many odd ideas about how I'd like to wire one.
     
  12. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    I do it a bit different way that eliminates pop. I solder a .022uf cap direct to tone pot then switch different value caps in parallel to that cap to get the values I need. In this case you would tie the switch's common lug to the signal side of the .022uf cap on the tone pot and each individual cap to a lug on the switch. All the caps commons are grounded together.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    yes, you can indeed use your selector switch for choosing different caps and replace your tone knob with a pickup pan;

    i've seen it before, and the thing is, in my mind both those things work, but not as well as the normal way! that's why it is the normal way.

    a switch for choosing different tone caps leaves you without the ability to adjust the tone up or down (is each cap gonna be set for "tone on zero"?), while a blend pot instead of a pickup switch is slower in the middle of the song, and unless you go with an ungrounded, no-load modded M/N pot, it's a tone suck too.
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  14. Yes, you get 5 different options. I wouldn't call them "tones," though. More like different frequency cutoff points.
     
  15. LoveThatBass

    LoveThatBass

    Jun 28, 2004
    You are Technically correct but to the non technical musician you could think of them as different amounts of highs being cut once the tone pot is lowered enough to allow them to be bled to ground.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    it would, but just switching in caps would be like if each tone was your tone knob on "0", just with different caps.

    a large part of what makes a tone pot on a tele useful, especially for that twangy bridge pickup, is the way you roll it back just a little, like to "7"; enough to trim off the "edge" while not losing the crucial midrange.

    you can't do any of that with a bunch of tone caps just stuck on the switch, each one working at 100% whenever it's engaged.
     
    Growlmonkee, bholder and SteveCS like this.
  17. I look forward to seeing/hearing this bass!


    220px-Drop_initial_example.

    The first letter in the above paragraph is a drop cap, it drops below the baseline. :smug:
     
    lz4005 likes this.
  18. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    One exception to what line6man said about the 5-way switch, is if you go with the OAK GRIGSBY 5-WAY SINGLE WAFER SUPERSWITCH from the link in the original post. It actually has four sets of 6 contacts, the Pole and a contact for each position. Of course that switch is more expensive than the others but would give you what you're thinking of.

    The four-way switch from the link also has a contact for each position of the switch.

    Also keep in mind that you don't have to wire the caps directly to ground, you could wire some to ground through a resistor if you wanted to have something other than a tone-knob at 0 effect.

    The Stellartone Tonestyler has something like this in a rotary switch rather than a lever.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  19. If I were you, I'd add an additional pot to act as a tone pot. Your lever would select the frequency roll-off point, and the tone pot would control the amount of roll-off. I'd use a 500k pot for this so that if it were fully open, you'd pretty much bypass these two controls in case you'd ever want full treble.

    If you have limited control space, I'd do a single Vol/Vol stacked knob to control the volume and balance of both pickups. But if you have enough space for separate knobs, I'd do a master volume and a no load blend as Walter linked to in post 13.
     
  20. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Just refers to the shape of the cap body:
    [​IMG]
    "orange drop", as opposed to "disc", "tropical fish" (yup, brightly colored) etc.
     

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