5 Push-Pull Pot Mods You Should Know
Push-Pull pot mods are a quick way to add new tones and a fresh new take on your guitar. Push-Pull modifications can open up a new world of tonal personality for your favorite instrument. We’ve noticed that our customers love getting push-pull pot modifications installed on their Prewired Pickguards and Prewired Control Plates. We thought we include our top 5 Push-Pull Pot Mods that you should know!
Before we get started, if you haven’t checked it out already, take a moment and learn how Push-Pull Pots work here. In essence,
A Push-Pull Pot is a normal pot that features an independent switching section attached to it.
PUSH-PULL POT MOD #1:
Coil Splitting With A Resistor
We know, Coil Splitting is in that category of “no-brainer” push-pull pot mods. However, coil splitting doesn’t work correctly across all humbucker designs. Certain humbuckers, like low-output humbuckers (like our Pure P.A.F.), do not give you a usable single-coil tone when split. Splitting a low output humbucker usually leaves you with a thin-sounding single coil that clocks in at around 4K. The tone that comes with it is not very usable at all.
However, using a 7K resistor in series to ground provides you with more a 6K Single Coil, much more in line with our Vintage Hots and Blues Specials!
MOD # 2:
2 Tone Caps, 1 Push-Pull Pot Mod
Hungry for more tonal options, but don’t have space? No worries! This Push-Pull Pot mod features two-tone caps – one value in the down position, another value in the up position. Many customers use this mod and select the 0.02mfd in the down position for a traditional Strat Tone, and Lindy’s Magic Cap in the up position for another tonal world.
PHASE REVERSING WITH A PUSH PULL POT
Another cool mod you can perform with a Push-Pull pot: Phase reversal. It allows you to reverse the phase of a pickup to create new, creative sounds. The best part? You can reverse back to normal! Performing this mod requires your pickups to have a separation between your coil and ground. For an article on this, check out our previous post here.
Another quick tip: if you want to use this modification with a Blender Pot, check out this article here – it allows you to blend the out of phase tone with an in-phase tone!
PUSH-PULL MOD #4:
Engage / Disengage Volume Kit
Our Volume Kit is a Treble Bleed kit that allows your pickups to stay bright when you roll down your volume pot. When you roll your volume pot down with regular 250K pots, your high frequencies tend to go down with the volume. Your tone gets darker and jazzier.
Some guitarists like when the tone gets darker; however, many guitarists do not. Some guitarists want to keep their high frequencies where they are. The Volume Kit comes in here – it keeps your high frequencies steady as you roll down the Volume Pot. However, the Volume Kit can increase the brightness of your guitar permanently.
The Engage / Disengage Volume Kit Mod allows you to choose whether or not you want the Volume Kit on! The diagrams above let you choose whether you would like your Volume Kit on or off by default.
PUSH-PULL MOD #5:
The Bright Switch is a push-pull modification that makes your pickups and guitar sound a little more ‘full-throttle’ when pulled up. To perform the Bright Switch mod, you need a standard Volume Pot and a Push-Pull Tone Pot.
When the Bright Switch is in the down position, Lug 3 of the volume pot connects to ground. When the Bright Switch is in the up position, the connection to ground gets removed. Due to this, the pickups become brighter and more ‘hi-fi’ sounding.
Note: When the connection to Ground gets removed from the Volume Pot, your volume pot will not work like a normal volume pot. It will never fully turn your signal down 100%.
Well, that should about do it for this article. I just wanted to showcase a few mods that our customers are enjoying installed on their Prewired Strat Pickguards and Telecaster Control Plates. Let us know what other mods you’d like to see in the future, and I’ll try to draw them up! ‘Till next time.
Mod#2 you could use this for softening single coil sound in a mixed (HB and S) guitar. One of mine (like many) has a series HB and also single coils; I don’t wanna use 250K pots because HB will get muddy, so I chose 500K pots, and the HB sounds good. But when I select single coils, it suffers the typical harshness from using 500K pots with single coils. That’s where this mod can be sweet – pull up, and your single coil sounds better… and I can suggest a tweak.
Referring to Mod#2 diagram, In the “up” position, in place of Cap2, use a low-value cap in parallel with a high-value resistor. It’s like a treble bleed, or “volume kit”, but since it goes to ground instead of going to the output, better named “treble dump”. Some values as a starting point: for the cap, try Lindy’s magic cap (.015 microF) in parallel with a 500KOhm resistor. The result will be a tiny bit of overall signal will be grounded (via the resistor), and most of the very highs will be grounded (by the cap). It just sweetens the sound a touch. Of course, other cap/rez values will tweak the sweetening.
@PAUL NEEDS re Mod#1, you can take advantage of the other pole on the switch. The switch in the diagram is a two-pole, two-throw switch (that’s like most push/pull switches in guitar potentiometers these days). In the diagram, each pole has a red stripe; the two poles are affected simultaneously by the push/pull action. Mod#1only uses one of the two available poles. So you could hookup the Hot from your other pickup to the center terminal of the unused pole; and then from that pole’s “Up” terminal, solder a plain wire to ground. Thus, the switch’s terminals are almost a mirror image, except one side has a resistor and the other side has a plain wire (no resistor). By the way, this is an intriguing idea!