Many players prefer their pickups running at full tilt all the time, partly because they don’t like the sound when they back off the guitar’s volume. Constantly running on ten is fine if your music calls for it (and sometimes a simple kill switch in place of a volume control can be the perfect tool for the job), but there’s something to be said for the sonic territory that one can explore when they use the volume control to influence the interaction between guitar and amplifier. Still, what can you do if you want to vary your gain from the guitar’s volume knob but you wish to maintain the treble response?
A treble bleed modification is the answer! This is a very simple trick which maintains the high end when you roll back the volume control, and it’s especially noticeable if you play a guitar with a H-S-H layout with coil splitting in the 2 and 4 positions. It works great with Strat® pickups, and it unlocks a wider range of bright cleans from humbuckers, which are especially prone to the treble reduction effect. It allows you to maintain a similar basic tone throughout the volume knob’s travel, while lowering the gain generated by the amplifier.
And it’s easy to perform! Simply solder a .002 capacitor and a 100k resister in parallel between the input and output terminals of the volume pot. Depending on how neatly the pot is soldered, you may not even need to remove and re-solder any wires. There’s a diagram here which shows you where to solder the capacitor and resistor. Once you’ve performed the mod, explore the new sounds at your fingertips. Many players who have given in to the joys of the treble bleed mod like to dial in their maximum required gain amount with the guitar on 10, then use the volume pot to reel it back for a cleaner rhythm tone. And if it doesn’t quite do it for you, the mod is easily reversible.