What is Synchronized Operation?
On many of our Terminator Single Volume Kits you will see that each kit includes instructions for Traditional and Synchronized Operation.
Both the Mad Hatter Terminator "Goes to Eleven" Volume and "Killer" Tone Pots are manufactured exclusively for Mad Hatter Guitar Products by CTS following many of the same specifications as the great CTS audio pots used on instruments in the 50's and 60's. With the Terminator system these Dual Value Pots offer four different wiring options, 250k, 500k, 750k, or both 250k and 500k simultaneously. This is what we call Synchronized Operation.
Why the different values in pots?
To answer this question we have to go back to the 1950's. When Leo Fender launch the Fender guitar line he used 250k pots with .047uf tone capacitors to darken the tone of the single coil pickups. The reason was they were too bright sounding compared to instruments from other manufactures. Gibson at the time was using primarily 300k pots on their P-90 pickup instruments.
When Gibson launch the humbucker pickup in 1957, Gibson engineer Seth Lover used 500k pots with .022uf tone capacitors. He found the humbucker to be too dark and wanted to brighten them up. Using the 500k pots with the .022uf tone capacitors gave him the tone he was seeking
Basically the lower the value on the pot the warmer the tone. The higher the value the brighter the tone. For tone capacitors it is just the opposite, the higher the value the warmer the tone, the lower the value the brighter the tone.
Today many studio players in Nashville will install 1 meg (1000k) pots in their instruments to find the bright twangy tones they are seeking We find by bridging the 250k and 500k pots together we can get fairly close at 750k.
The following illustration shows how to wire Mad Hatter Terminator "Goes to Eleven" Volume and "Killer" Tone Pots at either 250k, 500k, or 750k.
250k - Warmer Tone
500k - Brighter Tone
750k - Twangy Tone
The following wiring diagram shows the Traditional method of wiring a Fender Telecaster to the 250k setting using the Terminator.
Why stay with Traditional?
In the 1950's Fender and Gibson set a standard that many still follow to this day. However, today's guitars offer a variety in combinations of wood, pickup configurations, manufactures, etc... Couple this with the many genres of music. Today you need the guitar to meet your needs.
In addition, every guitar is different. Due to differences in wood and how a guitar is set up, even identical guitars can sound and play totally different. Wiring the pickups to their own individual valued pot can help you dial in the tone you are seeking to achieve.
Mad Hatter Guitar Products founder, Electric Ed, prefers to wire his bridge pickups to 250k with the .047uf cap for a warmer tone. This is especially nice with bridge humbuckers that tend to be bright and a little harsh.
For the neck pickups he prefers 500k with the .022uf cap. for a brighter woodier tone.
The following wiring diagram shows the Synchronized method of wiring a Fender Telecaster using the Terminator. The main difference is the pickup hot wires go to the volume pot first and then to the switch. The tone pots are then attached to their respective pickup at the volume pot.
In this wiring illustration the bridge pickup is wired to the 250k terminals on the pots and the neck pickup is wired to the 500k terminals. The result is the following:
Postion 1 - Bridge - Warmer Tone - Grungy
Position 2 - Bridge & Neck - Twangy Tone - Chime
Position 3 - Neck - Woody Tone - Bluesy
We like to call this set up "Ed's Way"
Although we recommend our favorites here, you have the option to experiment. You may want to do just the opposite for a brighter bridge pickup and darker neck pickup, or mix it up with the volume pot at 500k and the tone at 250k, with your own .033uf tone cap. The combinations are nearly endless. Just like every guitar is different, so are the players. Find your tone today and Hear What Your Guitar is Missing!