why are there two tone knobs on a strat

Why Are There Two Tone Knobs On A Strat? Tone Controls Explained

Many fans of the Stratocaster model might be wondering “why are there two tone knobs on a strat?”.

What’s the explanation for having multiple tone knobs, instead of having just one.

Why are strats different and special?

The two tone knobs, or tone controls on a Fender Stratocaster allow guitarists to control the tone for individual pickups.

As Strats have three pickups, tone control plays a larger role than most other guitars where you might only have one or two pickups.

Why are there 2 tone knobs on a strat

The two tone knobs of the stratocaster allow you to adjust the desired tone on the neck and middle pickup.

You may see special edition Stratocasters that have only one tone knob, and you might even come across a modded strat that has three tone knobs.

This is achieved by changing the original wiring and adding another tone knob.

Alternatively, you can also change the Stratocaster wiring to have all the pickup controlled by one tone knob, thus simplifying the tone controls.

You will be more easily able to get the tone you want from your strat without having to use pedals to mod the sound.

If you are not familiar with how the pickup switch and tone controls work, you can check out this Stratocaster users manual for a quick reference.

Basically, as the switch allows you to turn on each pickup by itself, or the forward two, or rear two pickups, respective of the switch’s position.

The tone controls then allow you to adjust the tone for the pickups you have selected. 

While you can certainly modify your tone via external pedals, it is always nice to have a little bit of control built right into the guitar.

Which tone knob is which on a strat

For Fender Stratocasters, the tone knob, closest to the volume knob, controls the tone for the neck pickup.

The second tone control or third knob on your guitar adjusts the tone for the middle pickup.

The bridge pickup has no tone control knob, however, there is a movement of guitarists that get their Strat’s modded with a third tone knob.

How do you use tone controls on a Fender Stratocaster

The forward tone control will change the tone for the neck pickup, while the rear tone knob adjusts the middle.

With no control for the rear pickup, you can only control tone if the switch is placed into 4th position to turn on the bridge and middle pickups.

So again, with an unmodded Stratocaster, there is no tone control while the switch is in the bridge position.

Every other 5-way switch position will allow the tone knobs to change the tone.

There is no right or wrong way to select tone.

Tone is entirely 100 percent personal preference.

Perhaps it’s best to leave your tone knobs in a neutral position until you get a feel for what you like.

However, just play around with them and see what sounds best to you.

Don’t let anyone tell you you have to have your pots a certain way, because you absolutely do not.

How to take the tone knobs off a strat

The knobs on a Stratocaster that control the volume and tone are held on in the same fashion.

They are simply pushed onto a post that is a little larger than the plastic knob.

Therefore if you lift the knobs straight away from the guitar, they should just pop off.

It isn’t ideal to do this regularly, as it will wear out the plastic knob and may become loose over time.

However, it is a handy way to completely clean up your guitar, every now and then.

If your knobs do become loose you can always buy replacements for a few bucks.

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