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Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


How To: Install The TBX Tone Control Kit

December 5, 2011;

Fender Stratocasters can be found in the hands of some of the world’s living legend guitarists, and anytime a piece of equipment debuts on that artist’s signature Stratocaster, you know it’s built for perfection.

The TBX Tone Control Kit was first introduced on the Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster in the late 1980s as a way to give the guitarist more freedom to configure the sound of their Stratocaster’s middle and bridge pickups. Installing the TBX Tone Control knob and pot gives your Fender Stratocaster an extra boost of bass and treble control, and creates a bevy of opportunities to refine your own signature style.

External equipment needed:
•    15W soldering iron
•    Sponge (to remove excess solder)
•    Phillip “1” screwdriver
•    Wire cutters
•    Socket wrench


1. Remove the tone knob at the end of the pickguard closest to the bottom of the Fender Stratocaster. This is the knob that controls the middle and bridge pickup tones.

2. Remove the Stratocaster guitar strings, and unscrew the pickguard with a Phillips “1” point screwdriver.

3. Unsolder the pickup assembly cord connected to the output jack, and remove the pickguard setup.

4. Label all the wires connected to the soon-to-be replaced tone knob, or take a digital photograph of the setup so you know where each wire connects on the tone pot.

5. With a 15W soldering iron, unsolder the wiring from the pot quickly, but safely, in order to prevent burning anything.

6. Using a socket wrench, unbolt the nut connecting the pot to the pickguard, located on the external side of the plate. A normal wrench will work as well, but a socket wrench minimizes the chances for scratching the pickguard.

7. Place the TBX Tone Control pot into place, and fasten it to the pickguard with the retaining nut provided.

8. Measure the capacitor wires’ required length and cut excess wire to prevent crowding inside the Stratocaster’s body cavity. Thread the striped capacitor wire between the bottom outside prong up to the middle top (closest to the exposed pot) prong. Solder the wire at each prong, and do the same to the other end of the wire touching the TBX Tone Control pot.

9. Solder the larger bulb capacitor wire from the top outside prong to the pot.

10. Re-connect the pickup switch wire to the bottom middle prong on the TBX Tone Control device, and solder both ends to their respective positions on the prong and switch.

11. Solder a wire connecting the TBX Tone Control Kit and treble tone pot, and make sure all solders are securely fastened.

12. Turn the pickguard over, attach the new tone knob, and screw it back into place on the Stratocaster’s body.

13. Re-attach and tighten the strings to your desired tuning, and enjoy the crisp, versatile sound of the TBX Tone Control System.

Installing the TBX Tone Control Kit strengthens your Fender Stratocaster’s sound and expands your knowledge of the Stratocaster’s equipment and makeup. Sam Ash guarantees satisfaction with all their products and includes free shipping in your purchase, so don’t hesitate to affordably upgrade your Fender Stratocaster with the TBX Tone Control Kit.

Note on your Fender Warranty: 
Although Fender has a limited lifetime warranty on its electric instruments, the electrical components are only warranted for a period of 1 year from the date of purchase.  Provided that you install your TBX Tone Control Kit correctly (or have it installed by a Fender authorized Service Center) your new electronics are also warranted by Fender for a year from date of purchase.  If you don’t feel comfortable installing your own pickups, contact us at 1-800-472-6274 and we will arrange for one of our Fender Authorized Technicians in NY or FL to do the work for you for our standard fees.