The Bright Switch

The Bright Switch is a simple mod that you can add to any guitar that will make you go “woah!” as soon as you engage it. All you need is some basic soldering skills, and a Push Pull Pot that is the correct value (250K/500K) for your guitar. (More on Pots and Pot values here.)

What it does: 

On the technical end, the Bright Switch removes the added Load from your Volume Pot and Tone Pot. We define “load” as anything that is consuming electricity. Your Volume Pot, even on 10, is sucking up some of your signal. By removing the load, the pot does not consume your signal anymore. It’s like connecting your pickups direct to your output jack, and bypassing the electronics. When pushed down, your guitar is working as normal. When you pull up, you remove the Ground off of your volume pot and tone pot. This is the same as sending your guitar’s signal straight to the output jack.

Tonally speaking, when you pull up, your guitar’s tone will get brighter, fuller, more aggressive, and beefier. It’s like a boost pedal wired in to your guitar. You’ll get more definition, pick attack, and more growl. I’m sold. How do I do this Mod?

Here’s how you wire this mod up. Please note that the pot on the left is volume pot, and the Push Pull pot takes the place of your tone pot.

Lindy Fralin Bright Switch

 

When your Push-Pull pot is down, all the wiring is the exact same as a Strat or a Tele. The Signal enters Lug 1 of the Volume Pot. Lug 2 connects to the input of the Tone Pot and the Output Jack. When the switch is down, your signal goes through the Cap on Lug 3 and your highs get grounded, like a normal volume pot. NoteLook at Lug 3 of the Volume Pot: you don’t ground that to the casing, like you would a normal Volume Pot. Instead, a jumper goes to the Push-Pull, with the Grounded leg of the Cap.
 
When you pull up, the Load (ground) eliminates off of the Cap, the Push Pull Tone Pot, and the Volume Pot. Essentially, your pickups connect to the output jack, with no load.

Version 2:

What happens if you don’t have a tone circuit in your guitar? You can use the Bright Switch on your Volume Pot only. Keep in mind that this won’t be as noticeable as removing your Volume Pot and your Tone Pot as well. Here’s how to wire it up:

14 Comments

  1. Heya Tyler,

    I came across this mod recently and it’s very interesting to me. I would just like a few things cleared up. Based on Junior’s comment, he says this mod would eliminate the functionality of both the volume pot and the tone pot. Does that mean, even when not activated, you would not be able to turn down the volume knob to lower the volume, or cut out highs when moving the tone knob? If that is indeed the case, is it possible to wire this mod while fully retaining the full, original functions of the volume and tone knobs?

    My second question is how would this mod fit into a 2 volume, 1 master tone configuration where the tone is used as a coil split? Would it be possible, using a volume push/pull, to disconnect all three pots at once, or both volumes at once, or would it simply be a singular volume knob for one pickup?

    Thank you

    1. Hey Steven,

      When this modification is in it’s “Down” position, your Volume and Tone work like normal. However, when you pull up, for “On”, your tone is deactivated, but your volume pot kind of acts like a tone pot. It happens because it removes the ground off of your Volume. This means you can’t cut your volume all the way off, however, you’re still hearing a loss in high frequencies due to the volume pot’s resistance.

      For your second question, I guess you could cut off all pots at once using this mod. You’d have to run the Volume Pot “Lug 3” to Lug E of the Push Pull Pot. This will ground everything when down, and remove the grounds when up. That’s an “In-Theory” answer – I haven’t tried this yet.

      Tyler

  2. Two questions:

    1 – Can the bright switch mod be combined with the Fralin magic cap mod, by using a .0015uF cap between the volume and tone pots in the diagram (or perhaps in place of the jumper in the diagram)?

    2 – With the bright switch enabled, does the guitar’s volume to to max? Your reply to Junior’s comment seems to indicate that.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Jason,

      1.) Sure thing. Simply use it as the jumper from Lug 1 of the volume pot to Lug 2 (center) of the tone pot.

      2.) In theory, yes. By removing any load from your signal, your pickups theoretically don’t have anything “holding them back”, so your pickups are at full volume.

      Tyler

  3. Hey Tyler .. Your “Bright Switch” mod is just what I’d like to try on a new P-guard build

    Question – can I use a TBX master tone control OR only the 250K pot attached to the dpdt switch?

    Thanks .. Dan

    1. Hey Dan,

      Thanks for your patience while I get back to you. If I’m understanding your question correctly, if you wanted to use your TBX Master Tone, you’d have to make the Volume Pot a Bright Switch. There are two versions of the Bright Switch – the 1.) Tone Pot Version, which removes the load off of your Volume Pot and your Tone Pot, and the 2.) Volume Pot version, which only removes the load off of your Volume Pot. If you wanted to keep your TBX, you’d have to use the Volume Pot version.

      I hope that helps.

      T

  4. I have an Epic Zephyr Regent (neck p/u only) that is Dark, Dark, Dark. I’m inclined to believe it’s the actual thickness of the top (arch top/hollowbody) versus the electrical load of the pot. I get a better tone using half wound bright strings, but do not like the feel as much. Would this bright switch mod help with my specific situation? I cannot really tell from the videos.

    Thanks

    1. Steven,

      Thanks for your question. You might want to look into other options if your pickup is too dark. For instance, you might want to check the pot values and make sure you’re not sending your pickup through a 250K pot. A 500K pot or 1Meg pot might brighten your pickup up a bit more.

      That being said, if you want a usable brighter tone, this mod might be for you.

      Tyler

  5. I’m very new to this stuff, so please bear with me.
    I’m looking at the diagram and I’m freaking out, doesn’t some sort of ground have to go to the output jack too?

    1. You’re right, Bryan. That can be soldered to any simple ground, like the casing of the volume pot, or the casing of the Push Pull tone.

    1. Hey Eric,

      Pretty much – however, this mod takes the volume pot and the tone pot out of the circuit. So, to get a similar effect, you’d need to use a no-load pot for both. Some people might like this mod more, as it’s more of a “switch”, as opposed to a “click” with the no-load pot.

      Tyler

  6. It may be appropriate to disclose that this mod eliminates the volume and tone pot functions altogether: no volume or tonal changes are possible in this setting, but full-out pickup output is all you get!

    1. You’re right! When you’ve eliminated the ground from the volume pot, your volume pot doesn’t work like it should. It acts instead like a tone knob. Good comment, Junior!

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