Please take a look at the image to the left. This is, according to DiMarzio, how the volume pot in my "hum-canceling" pickup configuration should be wired up. They recommend 500K pots and a capacitor and resistor on the volume pot lugs as pictured. The recommended values for the capacitor and resistor are 560 pf and 300K respectively. The capacitor and resistor, according to DiMarzio, are optional and only serve to "restore the treble response that is sometimes lost when the volume control is turned down."
Well, I didn't use 500K pots, nor did I install the "optional" capacitor and resistor. This, apparently, was a mistake on my part because the Stagemaster does not sound the way I expected it to sound. The sound is unacceptable, so the Stagemaster has to come apart again.
So here is where I get confused. While DiMarzio recommends specific capacitor and resistor values (see above) for this set up, these values, come to find out are widely argued amongst people who know a lot more about guitar electronics than I ever will. These values aren't chiseled in stone and everyone, it seems, has an opinion on the matter. Some argue that they are a needless headache and shouldn't be used at all and they even offer up alternatives, which I'll get to soon. I will now give you 2 examples of completely differing opinions out of the dozens I found:
This mod will keep the sound a little brighter as you turn down the volume, and it won't get so muddy/muffled. Worth doing, IMHO.
The cap and/or cap- resistor are added between the hot of the volume pot (the terminal connecting to the switch) and the center lugs. The third terminal of the volume pot is ground, and is probably bent over and soldered right to the bottom of the pot.
There are several ways to do this. I've only tried a couple.
a) Cap only.
b) Cap and resistor in parallel. (This is what I have now on my Clapton.)
c) Cap and resistor in series. (I haven't tried this one.)
d) Cap and resistor in series, with another cap in parallel with those. (I haven't tried this one, either.)
The value of your volume pot will determine what values to use here. If your volume pot is a 250K, then I'd recommend starting with example "b" and using a 220K resistor with a 680pf capacitor. Any wattage resistor (1/4 watt is fine) and any rating of cap (50v ceramic disc) is more than OK. For more information go to the websites for Kinman pickups, Acme guitar works, or Seymour Duncan.
If your volume pot is a 500K, then multiply the resistor by two and divide the cap by two. (Approximately 470K resistor and 330pf to 500pf.)
FWIW, on Strats with volume pots of 250K, for the cap only method (a) I have used anywhere from 330pf to 800pf. Try about 500-600pf for starters.
I've used the cap/ resistor method, and another one that's free and works better:
There's a wire that goes from the outside lug of the volume pot to the tone pot. Simply move the wire from the outside lug of the volume pot to the middle lug.
That's it. Try it. I did and found it to be less nasally, more natural sounding, and no screwing with different value caps.
So there you have it, and because I am a huge fan of simplicity, I think I am going to toss the 250K pots and go back to 500K's, and try Example #2 first. The reason for this is that stuffed up and "nasally" sounding is exactly what the Stagemaster has going on right now.
My next step will be to unstring the Stagemaster, take the pickguard back off and try a different set up. I'll keep you up to date.
How To Read This Blog . . .
The Stagemaster Project was originally documented in "blog" format; therefore, the entries are in reverse chronological order. To follow the project starting from the beginning, click on "Introduction" on the right side of this page, then work your forward sequentially through the index.