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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / What's the use of the Master Volume control?



ok - so u know me
Feb 19th, 2012 04:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

To me it seems completely surplus to requirement!
Also, it must affect the signal path with extra wiring etc...

My ideal setup would be to replace it with a 2 way switch to bypass the master tone pot (or not) and I would swap the tone pot and neck vol positions.

Another (maybe better) variation would be to replace the Master Vol with the tone-switch circuit and have bridge and neck vols wired like a LP (both act like Masters when switch in mid position) - pots positioned as 6122-1962 model.

What do you think?

Contributing Member

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Feb 19th, 2012 09:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

In the 50s, Gretsch figured that most players likes to set their comparative volumes for bridge and neck pickups. The master volume allows the player to preserve that relationship--while also allowing overall volume control.

A lot of Gretsch players these days see ths circuit as klunky or unnecessary. Many simply disconnect the master, as well as the tone switch that's standard on some models.

Gretsch continues to make guitars with these features...because that's how they've always done it. It's dead simple to mod them.



ok - so u know me
Feb 20th, 2012 05:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

only thig is i dont want to be left with 'holes' in the bodywork!

thats why i thought about the on/off switch or tone switch thing.... iv had a further thought of having 1 vol and 2 tone (strat) with LP wiring OR just having 1 vol 1 tone (LP wiring) - BUT then there are the 'holes' again!

do Gretsch do custom build like Fender?

Contributing Member

Walton County, GA.

We Fixee good long time you like
Feb 20th, 2012 08:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

Most of the Gretsch models are classic designs...don't screw with them. :-)


Contributing Member

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Feb 20th, 2012 04:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

You can get nylon plugs in just about any color and plug unused holes with 'em. After a week, you forget the plug its there.

Or leave it open, like Setzer does with his '59 6120.


Contributing Member

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Feb 24th, 2012 02:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like the master volume knob. I set the individual pickups how I want them to be individually and to each other, then the master becomes the overdrive knob no matter where I am on the guitar. About 8-10 on the master goes from the edge of clean to some real nice drive.


Pocono Mountains USA

Wanderin eye and a smokin gun...
Mar 1st, 2012 06:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

Wow, some of what is mentioned here is contrary to what I have heard regarding the setting of the individual volume controls.

First, I have a 6120 & I like the position of the master volume so the redundancy doesn't bother me. The issue on my 6120 is that once I back off either of the volume controls (say to 7-8) that pickup is totally out of the circuit. It seems like there is no way to blend two pickups like on any other two pickup guitar.

I was told this was normal and was even given a mod to fix it which involved moving a wire on the pot.

Does anyone else have the same experience with a 6120.

Sorry for the slight hijack.


Fredericksbu, Va USA

John F.
Mar 2nd, 2012 04:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a 5127 and a 6129tl and actually really appreciate the MV. It's an easy and quick way to go silent in between songs and also to boost for solos.

I did put a treble bleed on the master of my 6129. IT got muddy quickly.

I used to have a Gibson ES-340 and it had funky wiring: volume, 2 tones and a blender. That was my main guitar for about 18 years... so I'm kinda used to the mast volume thing. Having two separate volumes, like on my LP, throws me sometimes. too many things to think about while on stage! LOL (yeah, I'm simple like that!)

Contributing Member

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 3rd, 2012 11:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

fitz - It seems like what you're experiencing is the treble drop due to no bleed circuit. If you roll back either pickup and listen closely through the positions on your selector switch you'll hear both pups working, but the one that is rolled back will lose its top end and sound lower than what your ear would expect. Bleed circuits fix that.


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jun 13th, 2013 05:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

My only quip on the master volume is location. You're not going to be able to do really smooth volume swells or adjustments on the fly unless it's the only layout you've played for a while.

I'm still fumbling with mine. I also fumble with the arrowhead knobs and use the mounting screw black hole as the guide.

For my uses, I don't need to mod a thing, and have discovered a vast tonal array by altering the volume of each pickup with it's own knob, which really does alter the treble and bass output of the overall guitar very nicely.

FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / What's the use of the Master Volume control?

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