Electronics

The output of an electric guitar is controlled via the volume control. The volume control can also be used to ‘ride the volume’. This is when a distorted tone is set on the amplifier and the volume control is lowered. This affects the amount of gain (overdrive) being produced and therefore ‘cleans’ the sound up.

The use of tone dials also play a large part on the sound the guitar produces. The tone controls are basically a frequency filter. If the tone is rolled down to zero the high frequencies are cut and bass frequencies more prominent. If the tone is set higher the bass frequencies are reduced and the higher frequencies are more prominent.

The tone controls would be set based upon the music being played. When playing clean funky guitar parts the guitarist may want to make use of higher frequencies so would set the tone to a higher setting. For a bluesy guitar solo a muddier sound could be the preferred sound so the tone would be dialled lower.

Guitars come in a variety of volume and tone configurations. The Fender Stratocaster below has one volume and two tones knobs. Stratocasters can be wired in different ways. A common set up is for the first tone to be wired to the neck pickup with the 2nd tone wired to the middle pickup. The bridge pickup often doesn't have a tone wired to it.

Stratocaster – Pickup Selector

This switch selects which pickup is being used. On most Stratocaster guitars there are five positions that can be selected.

Stratocaster – Pickup configuration

In positions 2 and 4 two single coils are working together in a similar way to a humbucker therefore reducing the hum usually associated with single coils.

Les Paul – Volume/Tone & Pickup Selector

The tone controls would be set based upon the music being played. When playing clean funky guitar parts the guitarist may want to make use of higher frequencies so would set the tone to a higher setting. For a bluesy guitar solo a muddier sound could be the preferred sound so the tone would be dialled lower.This switch selects which pickup is being used. On Les Paul style guitars, there are 3 positions that can be selected. The neck pickup is labelled ‘Rhythm’ and the bridge pickup is labelled ‘Treble’

Jack Socket Placement

The jack sockets are located in different locations depending on the guitar.