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The Fender Greasebucket Tone Circuit

we are going to post regular cool guitar mods that we find or have sourced on the web or in Blogs or Forums & gather them all together & present them here-such you can take a cheaper guitar & really turn it into a top sounding player-for not a huge outlay of dosh -typically replacing pickups, wiring, switch, pots,  jack, nut & the whole guitars set-up are getting you a long way there this is by way of thanks to all the people out there who have posted , wriiten & generally contributed to these Mods on the web. We are NOT pretending these are all our ideas ..just making a repository of articles in one place that we have found to be very useful on our own guitars.

Heres a great guitar mod link: (source DIY guitars-great job by these guys  too..)

TODAY…The Fender Greasebucket Tone Circuit

(this is sourced/taken from a well written  article  by the prolific German writer & guitar enthusiast- Dirk Wacker-many thanks -big hands for Dirk)

We are going to take a look with Dirks article  at building the Fender Greasebucket tone circuit-as introduced in 2005 on several guitars in the Fender Highway One series, as well as in various Custom Shop Stratocaster models.

The “Greasebucket” name (which is a registered Fender trademark ) is said to be based on the shape & oil filled nature of the original  caps used  

Here is what Fender says about the Greasebucket: “The Greasebucket tone circuit adds a new dimension to your tone, the effect is that when rolled down, the tone pot reduces the high frequencies, but does not add bass.” also I believe it maintains your guitars gain that can normally be lost when tone pot is rolled down

 In fact, many pro players swear by this tone circuit, and it indeed produces a different effect than the standard tone circuit we all know. But don’t take the Fender description literally—a Strat’s standard Tone control does not add bass frequencies. With passive electronics, you can’t add anything that isn’t already there—you can only re-shape the tone by attenuating certain frequencies, which makes others sound more prominent.

Removing highs makes lows more apparent (and vice versa), and that’s exactly what we have here: The standard tone control rolls off some high frequencies (depending on the capacitance of the tone cap), making the bass frequencies more prominent.

In addition, the use of inductors (which is what a pickup behaves like in a guitar circuit) and capacitors can create resonant peaks and valleys, further colouring the overall tone. Some people like this interaction, others don’t—it’s purely subjective and a matter of personal taste.

Anyhow, the Greasebucket tone control is a cool way to roll off the highs and lows in your guitar while preserving GAIN & preventing your tone from getting muddy. This is especially helpful for creating sparkling clean tones, but it’s also useful for overdriven sounds.

To convert your Tele or Strat ‘s normal tone control to Greasebucket specs, you don’t need much: 0.1 μF and 0.022 μF capacitors (Fender uses ceramic-disc versions), and a 1/4-watt 4.7 kΩ resistor (Fender uses the metal-film type). If you want to convert both your Strat’s tone controls to Greasebucket specs, obviously you’ll have to double these parts.

The mod itself is relatively easy. Simply unsolder your tone pot and then connect the new parts as shown in the diagram. (Note that the resistor is soldered in series with the 0.022 μF cap.) The rest of the Tele or Strat wiring, including the volume pot, stays standard.

(Fender’s Greasebucket circuit in all its glory. This wiring diagram comes courtesy of Dirks article & Seymour Duncan Pickups and is used with permission. Seymour Duncan and the stylized S are registered trademarks of Seymour Duncan Pickups.)

This type of band-pass filter only allows certain frequencies to pass through, while others are blocked.

The standard tone circuit in the Strat is called a variable low-pass filter (aka a “treble-cut filter”), which allows only the low frequencies to pass through while the high frequencies get sent to ground -via the tone cap.

The Greasebucket’s band-pass filter is a combination of a high-pass and a low-pass filter. This circuit is designed to cut high frequencies without “adding” bass. Mainly this has to do with that 4.7 kΩ resistor wired in series with the pot, which prevents the value from reaching zero.

You can get a similar effect by simply not turning the Strat’s standard tone control all the way down. The additional cap on the wiper of the Greasebucket circuit complicates things a bit, because together with the pickups, it forms an RLC circuit (a resonant circuit comprising a resistor, an inductor, and a capacitor) But the Greasebucket has its own special sound, and I can only encourage everyone to try it. You’ll be surprised at its flexibility and tone.

If you’re adventurous, you can personalize the Greasebucket circuit with additional mods. For example, you can try different tone-cap values and materials. The 0.022 μF cap connected to the tone control is the standard configuration we all know from our Strat’s tone control. But, Dirk has discussed several times in his previous columns, there are tons of alternatives. You can try other values from 2200 pF up to 0.1 μF, and also different types of new, used, or new-old-stock (NOS) caps—such as metal film, film, paper in oil, waxed paper, and silver mica. Your choices are virtually unlimited.

We’ll discuss more Strat and other guitar mods—looking at 4x way & 5x way switches in teles & Strats, pups in series rather than just parallel, that really improve your guitars sonics & tone & even its playability…such as  making/shaping & slotting  a guitar nut from a bone blank & the Fender S-1 switching system—in the coming weeks

Good luck, stay in tune, and enjoy your modd’ing


ALSO..heres some interesting ideas in this link below on wiring your pickups.. SAFELY ..such if you plug into an amp with an electrical  fault you wont get knocked on yer ass…or at worse FRIED!?

“He decided to put every possible metal piece on the guitar on the other side of this circuit.   So I had my pickups wired so any covers or back-plates had their own separate grounding-wire run alongside the signal cable, inserted my safety circuit between the low-side solder lug on the volume control and the body of the potentiometer, tied all the grounds and shielding elements to the body of the pots, and tied the pot bodies all together.   This way, the only way I could get poked would be if i decided to grab the output jack itself while playing.   Then I rewired my SG, my two Tele-clones, my Strat clone, and my Fender P-Bass.

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