What's a Tandem Volume-Tone Control?
A Tandem Volume‑Tone Control is a two‑deck CTS potentiometer with a single split‑shaft actuator tip, wired to control volume and tone at the same time. It's called a "Tandem" pot, because both potentiometer decks are operated simultaneously using one standard guitar knob. This is unlike a dual concentric control, where each deck is independently operable via specialized inner and outer knobs.
Click here for the Tandem Volume‑Tone Control wiring diagram.
This inexpensive yet high‑quality control allows an electric guitar to provide an additional tone depth adjustment, using the upper end of the volume knob's rotation. A tandem control makes your standard volume knob tonally interactive with your ToneStyler ®.
How does a Tandem Volume‑Tone Control work?
By upgrading your volume pot to a CTS Volume‑Tone pot, a slight reduction in loudness introduces a small series resistance between the pickup signal(s) and the ToneStyler's fifteen‑capacitor network. This added resistance reduces the ToneStyler's enhanced pickup resonance and the depth of treble cut‑off. The benefit is a new "lead" and "rhythm" tonal contrast, just by making a small change in volume.
The simple operation of the tandem Volume‑Tone control and ToneStyler is totally natural and intuitive; there are no clumsy push‑pull controls or concentric knobs involved. Players who would like to produce an additional tonal contrast while shifting volume between rhythm & lead will really appreciate this interactive performance.
When the volume knob is set on maximum loudness, the ToneStyler produces maximum resonance and treble cutoff performance, just as when connected normally to a standard single‑deck volume pot. The Tandem Volume‑Tone function is only activated when your volume is set below maximum.
Recommended uses for a Tandem Volume‑Tone Control:
The CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone control is a popular option for PRS® models, Telecasters®, and similar guitars featuring only a master volume knob and a master tone knob. After selecting any one of the 15 discrete ToneStyler contours, fine tonal adjustments can be made during performance or recording.
Who should NOT choose a Tandem Volume‑Tone control:
Players who prefer a tonally‑neutral volume knob response, without interacting with the ToneStyler, should retain the guitar's original single‑deck volume pot; Players who routinely set their guitar's volume knobs below maximum will not receive the ToneStyler's full EQ potential, and likewise should retain the guitar's original single‑deck volume pot.
Guitars featuring dual tone controls, such as the Fender Stratocaster, do not require a Tandem Volume‑Tone; one tone knob can be connected in series with the master ToneStyler, thus providing independent volume and tone depth adjustments, and maximum flexibility.
* The CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone Pot is not ideal for dynamic or "expressive" volume & tone swells using only the pinkie finger; the rotary effort of these dual‑deck controls is greater than that of a standard single‑deck volume or tone pot. *
Which Tandem Volume‑Tone control is right for my guitar?
To match the wide variety of guitar pickups and mounting surface thicknesses, CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone controls are available with your choice of a 250kΩ, 500kΩ, or a 1 MegΩ audio‑taper potentiometer deck value for your volume function, and in 3/8" MEDIUM & 3/4" LONG mounting bushing lengths. The secondary pot deck is connected to your ToneStyler to control the tone depth.
For thick‑top guitars such as the Gibson Les Paul series, choose between the two LONG bushing controls:
EP-2653 Long Vintage: 500kΩ volume or tone deck, plus a 250kΩ volume or tone deck
EP-2652 Long Modern: 1 MegΩ volume deck, plus a 250kΩ tone deck
For all other guitars, choose between the two MEDIUM bushing controls:
EP-2654 Medium Vintage: 500kΩ volume or tone deck, plus a 250kΩ volume or tone deck
EP-2655 Medium Modern: 1 MegΩ volume deck, plus a 250kΩ tone deck
Installation and customizing tips:
The guitar's control compartment must provide a minimum 1" depth from front to back, in order to accommodate the 7/8" minimum "inside length" of the tandem pot. Most solid‑body guitars meet this clearance requirement, including very slim models such as Gibson's SG and Firebird series. If you have a custom guitar, or suspect that your control compartment may be less than 1" deep, please measure before ordering.
Like the ToneStyler, CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone controls are fitted with the USA standard 1/4" diameter 24‑spline (fine pitch) split‑shaft actuator, which accommodates all Gibson® & Fender Strat® USA push‑on acrylic & plastic knobs. For use with set‑screw knobs such as found on a Fender Tele®, just add the enclosed "split-2-solid" spacer and 1/4" brass sleeve for a snug fit.
To customize your Tandem Volume‑Tone Control's volume & tone taper rates, simply add an optional bypass resistor (four included) to the volume and/or tone decks. The range & rate of volume change and/or tone change between "10 & 6" on your volume knob (the taper) can be made narrow & slow by including a resistor, or wide & fast by skipping this step. Each CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone Control kit includes two 30K and two 150K optional bypass resistors, "split-2-solid" shaft adapter kit, mounting hardware, and detailed instructions.
For ease in soldering the six terminals of your tandem control, we recommend that the optional resistors, plus the ground & signal wire connections, are soldered in place before the control is mounted. Then, test all control functions using an amp before mounting the new controls in place.
The Tandem Volume‑Tone Control is manufactured exclusively for Stellartone® by CTS®, and is available for purchase at authorized Stellartone dealers.
Please click here to add your choice of a new CTS Tandem Volume‑Tone Control to your Stellartone shopping cart. MAP/Street Price: $9.45