The treble bleed is a pretty simple mod, but devastatingly effective. For the uninitiated, it is essentially just a capacitor and resistor wired to prevent loss of treble as you turn down your guitar’s volume.
Not all treble bleeds are made equal- from the size of the resistors and capacitors used to the way they are wired together, everyone’s take on this mod is slightly different, and it can make a big difference to the sound. The behaviour of a treble bleed will change depending on the length and quality of the cable used to connect your guitar and amp, so we have endeavoured to create a treble bleed circuit that sounds good with any setup: a 0.001uf orange drop capacitor wired in parallel with a 150k resistor.
Monty’s treble bleed comes with installation instructions, but please note that it will require some soldering (only a tiny bit). If you’re not confident doing this, please bring your guitar to Monty’s -or any other qualified tech- and we will be happy to help you install it.
Please note that a treble bleed circuit is not appropriate for use with 50s style Gibson wiring, as this wiring has a natural treble bleed effect.
(Now for the technical bit)
For slightly magic reasons that you have to be a genius to understand (like our friend and neighbour Mr Steve Crow from Audio Kitchen amplifiers), a guitar volume pot interacts with various other parts of the circuit -particularly the cable- in the manner of a low-pass filter. A low pass filter is a filter that cuts off almost all signal above a certain frequency. This cut off frequency is inversely proportional to the resistance of the circuit; the higher the resistance of the volume pot (the more you turn it down), the lower the cutoff frequency. This means that as you turn your volume down, you increasingly eliminate treble frequencies, causing your guitar to sound muddy.
Enter the treble bleed circuit! The wiring of a capacitor between the input and output lugs of the volume pot allows some treble to bypass the volume pot as you turn it down, essentially acting as high-pass filter (capacitors only let treble frequencies through).
Obviously, the value of the capacitor makes a big difference to the effect of the treble bleed. Using too small a capacitor can cause the sound to get thin as you turn down the volume, whereas too large a capacitor will drastically affect the taper of the volume pot. We -and many others- address these issues by with the addition a resistor wired in parallel with the cap.
It is worth stressing that the additional loads created by a treble bleed circuit will subtly change the taper of the volume pot. In particular, the mod introduces a slight ‘catch’ at the point where the volume is turned to zero. This can be detrimental if you use lots of volume swells, but is otherwise hardly noticeable in normal playing.