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June 2017 Giveaway

Bleeding Treble

Q: What is a treble bleed cap?

A: On some guitars, as the instrument’s volume knob is turned down, the sound becomes darker. A “treble bleed” or “tone bleed” cap or circuit can be installed to counteract this. The idea is that a very low value capacitor (typically 0.001 microfarad, or even lower, such as 680 picofarad or other value) is used, sometimes in conjuction with a series or parallel resistor (160kohm and 220kohm are common values) to bridge across the legs of the volume potentiometer. As the volume knob is reduced, a certain amount of high frequencies (treble) are allowed to “bleed” into the signal, maintaining the brightness of the sound.

Opinions vary on how well this works; some players love having treble bleed circuits, others don’t. If you’re installing your own treble bleed circuit, experiment with different resistor and capacitor values to find those that sound the most natural to your ears as you reduce the guitar’s volume level. An easy way to do this is to use small alligator clips to connect the components to the pot; this allows for easy swapping of caps and resistors of different values.

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