Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Les Paul Volume Pot Capacitor Hi-Pass Mod

Here's a simple capacitor replacement mod for the volume pot if you're a Les Paul player. It will, of course, also work with any guitar equipped with humbuckers and 500k volume pots.

(Note that this mod is for the volume pot. Most capacitor modifications we read about are for the tone controls)

For this mod, a .002 microfarad disc capacitor is soldered across two of the volume pot's leads, with the third lead going to ground.

This mod acts as a high pass filter. When the volume control is turned down on a regular Les Paul, the highs and all other frequencies are attenuated. When the volume is rolled down with this mod, all frequencies, with the exception of the highs are attenuated.

With the .002 mF cap in place, turning down the volume pot on the rhythm pickup for example, yields a brighter, spankier tone reminiscent of a P90 soapbar which are great for clean rhythms. Soloing on the rhythm pickup with the volume slightly backed off also gets us away from the typical 'woofy' midrange of that pickup at higher gain settings.

On the lead pickup the effect is highlighted even more. There is considerably more 'twang' from the lead pickup when the volume is turned down to 7 or 8, enabling clearer tones that cut through.

Combining the rhythm and lead pickups with the pickup selector in the middle position yields even more tonal possibilities as we vary the relative volumes of both pickups.
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