July Mod Of The Month: Blender And Gradual Tap Madness!
Last month we talked about our “Gradual Tap” mod. If you haven’t seen this, go back and check that one out – we’ll be using 2 of them in this month’s mod, coupled with another blender pot to get really cool tones out of your Les-Paul® style guitar. With this mod, you’ll need:
- A guitar with 2 humbuckers equipped with 3-Conductor (4 Conductor will do) leads.
- (3) Blender pots
- A 2-Volume / 2-Tone layout
- Basic soldering skills
What does it do?
Upon completing this modification, what you’re left with is a Master Volume, 2 Gradual Taps (1 for the Neck, 1 for the Bridge), and a Blender Pot that will blend between either the two Humbuckers, two Single Coil tones, or a Humbucker and a Single Coil together. You really have an endless sweep of tones at your fingertips with this mod!
Note: This mod will sacrifice your tone knobs. Lindy doesn’t use a tone knob with Humbuckers, so, instead, he opted for this mod that will allow you to achieve a plethora of tones from just a few turns of your knobs.
Let’s take a look at the wiring:
How Does It Work?
Your pickup’s White leads will go to the blender pot (Bridge Tone in most set-ups, but you can use whatever set up you’d like if you want to re-order the pot layout). Black & Shield can go to ground. Red Goes to the middle lugs of the Gradual Tap Blender pots. Lug 1 of the Blender Pots go to Ground. (Please Note that these wire colors are for our humbuckers only. Check with your original manufacturer if you have a different brand of pickups)
You then take a master output of all pickups and go to the switch. The signal will enter the blender pot and gradual taps first, then go to the switch, finally reaching the master volume and output.
Either Humbucker can be gradually tapped into a single-coil using the Gradual Tap knobs. If you’re on the Rhythm (Neck) pickup, you can get more single-coil tones simply by turning the Gradual Tap. You can do the same for the Bridge Humbucker.
Furthermore, you can blend between both pickups. So, if you have a Single Coil tone on your neck, you can blend in your Bridge Humbucker tone to get a completely different type of tone, and vice-versa. The options are truly endless, and you can get some wild combinations, that are all completely usable! We hope you love it!
Hey so I can hear the tonal difference really well on the neck pickup but when I adjust the bridge I don’t think I’m getting any kind of change. Wiring issue? Using a 4 conductor humbuck so have the white to the blender, black/shield to ground, and the red\green together going to terminal 2 on the bridge split pot. Maybe faulty pot??
Hey Zach, first off – is it our Humbucker that you’re trying to split? If not, be advised that other manufacturers have different wiring codes and you might be wiring the humbucker wrong in the first place. Secondly – are you using a Blender Pot to perform the gradual split? A normal pot will not perform the mod correctly. Let me know!
Confused… what kind of value/type of pot is needed for this partial split? doesnt it need a resistor??
Yes – the Partial Split requires a 7K resistor. You can read about that here. Regarding Pot Value, default for Humbuckers is 500K, just note that you’ll get a brighter tone when splitting the humbucker.
Just to help me wrap my head around this concept, the pickup’s blender introduces the single coil sound, it does not gradually reduce the humbuckers to single coil. Do you get my drift? That’s why I’m wondering whether to incorporate resistors to the splits, so that as I turn the pot the single coil tone and volume will stay fairly rich, instead of incorporating a weaker tone with just a ground.
Thanks again, Jason
I’m having my guitar tech perform this mod and install a set of Tonerider AC2 humbuckers in my ’79 Gretsch Committee. They are rated at 7.5 K neck and 8.3 K bridge. I’m wondering if I should have him put a small resistor on each of the coil split grounds. It’s my understanding that each pickup’s blender pot takes the signal from full humbucker to full single coil, much like a stereo’s balance pot gradually introduces the other channel as the knob turns. Perhaps the single coil sound on these might be a little weak and benefit from a 1.1, 2.2 or 5 K resistor (I’ve seen that Lindy goes with 7 much of the time, but to me, that seems a bit high for these). What are your thoughts?
Interesting. On my Les Paul which has your high output bridge pickup with alnico 4 at 13.0k my pickup selector switch is not wired.
One knob is a no load 500k volume
One knob is a no load 500k tone – it can get pretty bright if I really want it too ?
One knob is a pickup blender
One knob is just used for the integral Push pull coil tap of both pickups
Very simple, functional and logical, and I do t have to worry about hitting the pickup selector when I strum wildly. I really like the blend set just to the bridge pickup side of the middle. Very balanced tone for all gain levels.
Sounds like you got it going on, Tim! That’s awesome.
These mods all seem interesting, but why no demos?
Thanks for your feedback. I’ll see what we can do to post a short video showing how this works!