Easy Guitar Mods: Volume Bypass Switch

Easy Guitar Mods: Volume Bypass Switch

Easy mods that you can do yourself to unlock new tonal possibilities from your guitar.

Today we're going to look at the volume bypass switch.

Now this is a really, really great tool if you are constantly riding your volume control, whether that's an individual pickup volume control or a master volume to vary the amount of overdrive or crunch you are getting.

Sometimes if your volume control is on 10, you'll be getting a really nice distorted sound, but if you roll it back halfway, you get something pretty clean.

And that can be a really great way to move between clean and distorted sounds without using a stomp box or using a different channel on your amp.

But it's not always that easy to consistently hit that same spot on that volume control to get that kind of cleaned up tone at exactly the same level.

So what this mod does is lets you set your volume control exactly where you want it, and then leave it there and use the push pull to bypass that volume. So when you pull out the push pull pot, the pickup is then at full volume and then is fully distorted.

Again, this will replace either an individual pickup volume control like in a Les Paul or a master volume pot on a Strat or a Tele.

What you can do is going to take the hot from your pickup, which is usually the white wire in case of single coils. It's also the white wire in the case of our humbuckers because that's the color scheme we use.

And you're going to connect your output to terminal C2. Now your output in this case would be a switch if this is an individual volume control for a particular pickup, or, if this is a master volume and the switch comes before this pot, then that output would be the output jack itself

You're going to connect a jumper from terminal 2 to lug 1 of the pot part of the push pull pot.

Now a push pull pot is basically two distinct circuits. There is the pot part - the potentiometer - which is like any other potentiometer, and then attached to that is a double pole double throw switch.

And those two things are completely independent. There's no interconnectedness inside the push pull pot between those two things. So we're going to take this jumper from terminal 2 on the push-pull part and attach it to lug 1 on the pot, which is this first one.

Then add a jumper from lug 2 of the pot, which is the middle one, to terminal 4of the switch part of push pull pot.

And then we're going to add a jumper between terminals 1 and 3 of the switch part.

And finally we're going to - as is normal with any other kind of volume pot - lug 3 of the pot is going to go to ground.

All right, let's talk through what's happening here. So the signal from your pickup comes in from the hot into terminal C1 and when the push pull pot is down, so normal operation C1 connects to 2 and that sends signal from terminal 2 up to that first lug of the pot.

The amount that you turn the pot then determines how much of that signal goes to ground through lug 3 and how much is output through lug 2. Then lug 2 connects to terminal 4 of the switch part, which in the down position is connected to C2, and then that goes to your output.

So you can see the actual volume pot, the pot of this, is engaged as normal. So if you roll that pot back, you're going to see a decrease in volume.

When we pull up on the switch, C1 disconnects from 2 and C2 disconnects from 4, and instead C1 connects to 1 and C2 connects to 3.

So you'll see the signal from the pickup comes in onto C1, and that's connected to 1. 1 is jumpered to 3, and 3 is connected to C2. So the signal is basically going straight through. It's not touching the pot part of the push pull pot at all. It's just going straight through.

So hot into C1 to terminal 1, to terminal 3, to terminal C2 to your output. So in this position, anything you do to rotate the pot as you would normally do to roll off volume is going to do nothing because the signal is not going through the pot part of the push pull pot at all.

This is a great little mod for certain styles of playing. If you want to quickly and easily and reliably and predictably switch up your sound between a cleaned up rolled back version and a full whack, full distortion, full gain version. This is a really easy mod to do that. It's great. It's much less fussy than trying to roll back your volume pot tothe exact same mark every time. It's quicker to pull the knob out and engage the switch that way than is to roll off the volume knob. So this is a great one. So grab your soldering iron and happy modding.

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