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Unread 04-25-2011, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best Centralab replicas?

I know this has been covered before, but I hope that maybe some companies have started reproducing the original 500k Centralab pots that were used in the late 50s Les Pauls. It would be great to have something which is so close to the real thing that it's indistinguishable from the original. Things I'm after are: the correct value (preferably slightly above 500k), right audio taper, the right friction, the same materials / magnetic properties etc.

Real pots from '59 are now 200-300 USD, and there's no way for me to tell if they're real and untouched. I can't imagine that the components are that expensive but to have a run that makes money for a vendor must be quite an investment?

Some examples of pots that I've heard are good:

- Mojotone
- RS Guitarworks Superpots
- PRS or Hamer CTS pots
- any I forgot?
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Unread 04-25-2011, 04:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling # Sound View Post
- any I forgot?
Yeah, check out Home Page or talk to forum member Jonesy on the forum directly.
He knows alot and has real quality stuff.
He has old original CRL ceramic caps so check with him to
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Unread 04-25-2011, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

All I use are the 10% CTS500K, built to 550K specs smooth custom taper, nice even roll off. These are nicest current production CTS pots I have run across so far.

http://www.wdmusic.com/cts_500k_audi...tolerance.html


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Unread 04-25-2011, 05:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRhoads View Post
Yeah, check out Home Page or talk to forum member Jonesy on the forum directly.
He knows alot and has real quality stuff.
He has old original CRL ceramic caps so check with him to
Thanks! Any users (not vendors) who can chime in ?
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Unread 04-25-2011, 08:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

wasn't aware centralabs were replicated by anyone.
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Unread 04-26-2011, 05:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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wasn't aware centralabs were replicated by anyone.
Precisely. Hence my question IF anyone is doing this and why I mentioned "I hope that maybe some companies have started reproducing the original 500k Centralab pots"
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Unread 04-26-2011, 03:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

I believe CTS TVTs are CEntralab repros.....
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Unread 04-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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I believe CTS TVTs are CEntralab repros.....
I have a set of the RetroSpec TVT's...they don't look like centralabs but they do sound and behave like centralabs...
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Unread 04-26-2011, 10:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesy View Post
All I use are the 10% CTS500K, built to 550K specs smooth custom taper, nice even roll off. These are nicest current production CTS pots I have run across so far.

http://www.wdmusic.com/cts_500k_audi...tolerance.html


http://www.wdmusic.com/media/images/...ze1/CTS500.jpg
How do these compare with the R S pots,are they easier to turn?
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Unread 04-27-2011, 11:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

I used the CTS TVT pots on my replica kit and I like them overall. The turning friction is very smooth too.
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Unread 04-28-2011, 12:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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I used the CTS TVT pots on my replica kit and I like them overall. The turning friction is very smooth too.
Thanks, I have clabs in my R7 and R S in my R9, the clabs take a lighter touch to turn and I'm use to them.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 05:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
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Thanks, I have clabs in my R7 and R S in my R9, the clabs take a lighter touch to turn and I'm use to them.
As in Centralabs, the originals?
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Unread 05-02-2011, 06:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling # Sound View Post
As in Centralabs, the originals?
Yes, originals.
Have some cts tvt from crazy parts coming to try.

Last edited by NowGibson; 05-02-2011 at 10:38 PM.
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Unread 05-03-2011, 10:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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Originally Posted by NowGibson View Post
Yes, originals.
Have some cts tvt from crazy parts coming to try.
Thanks, it would be great to learn from your experience. very curious about the differences in feel, taper, tone and pot value?
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Unread 05-11-2011, 09:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling # Sound View Post
Thanks, it would be great to learn from your experience. very curious about the differences in feel, taper, tone and pot value?
Got my CP pots today and they're a little stiff in the turning torque and read 516/521, taper was low on 0-1=2,1-2=30,2-3=70,3-4=110,4-5=136,5-6=188,6-7=271,7-8=373,8-9=492,9-10=521.
clab C-2 taper element/cts split shaft hybrid-0-1=6,1-2=14,2-3=25,3-4=41,4-5=104,5-6=282,6-7=408,7-8=490,8-9=537,9-10=542.
turning torque is smooth/easy.
I'll be putting up sets for sale as I have way to much stuff if anyones interested.
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Unread 05-13-2011, 06:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NowGibson View Post
Got my CP pots today and they're a little stiff in the turning torque and read 516/521, taper was low on 0-1=2,1-2=30,2-3=70,3-4=110,4-5=136,5-6=188,6-7=271,7-8=373,8-9=492,9-10=521.
clab C-2 taper element/cts split shaft hybrid-0-1=6,1-2=14,2-3=25,3-4=41,4-5=104,5-6=282,6-7=408,7-8=490,8-9=537,9-10=542.
turning torque is smooth/easy.
I'll be putting up sets for sale as I have way to much stuff if anyones interested.
Thanks, would be great to see it in a graph, little hard to read now.
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Unread 05-14-2011, 07:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

"Thanks, would be great to see it in a graph, little hard to read now. "
cts clab graph.doc

Not sure if this will work but here's an Excel graph pasted in Word doc of the values.
I tried it and it will come up if you have Word installed.
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Unread 01-21-2012, 07:57 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

BUMP

Any progress made in the last 6 months? Any business tried to replicate the Centralabs piece by piece, with exact same materials etc.?
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Unread 01-22-2012, 06:12 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

It is amazing that with all the retro parts craze that centralabs haven't been reproduced/replicated.
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Unread 01-22-2012, 06:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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It is amazing that with all the retro parts craze that centralabs haven't been reproduced/replicated.
My thoughts exactly! They have focused on the taper and the tolerances, but a 1:1 copy of the original materials and dimensions hasn't been done.
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Unread 01-22-2012, 06:45 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

A big business opportunity waiting to be exploited.
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Unread 01-23-2012, 05:45 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

IIRC, Centralabs pots had a low-torque feel. Is that correct? If so wouldn't the Bourns low-torque pots get you in the ballpark, feel-wise? I get them for about $4/ea from Mouser:

PDB241-GTR03-504A2 Bourns Potentiometers

I don't know about the taper, but they are my favorite pots on two of my LPs.
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Unread 01-23-2012, 08:22 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Hey, maybe the Bourns pots are worth a try. I've found it quite frustrating that I can't seem to get the feel I'm after in an upgraded pot - yet I have a PRS that has an incredibly loose volume pot, completely stock; the guitar has all kinds of high end, the pot has a very useful "jump" between 9 and 10 that works well as a boost, and then smooth roll-off from 8 down to zero - and I really doubt it's a $15-$25 part.

I have appreciated the sound and to some extent the tapers of the better pots I've tried - just never the feel. It's hard to find.
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Unread 01-23-2012, 08:34 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quill View Post
Hey, maybe the Bourns pots are worth a try. I've found it quite frustrating that I can't seem to get the feel I'm after in an upgraded pot - yet I have a PRS that has an incredibly loose volume pot, completely stock; the guitar has all kinds of high end, the pot has a very useful "jump" between 9 and 10 that works well as a boost, and then smooth roll-off from 8 down to zero - and I really doubt it's a $15-$25 part.

I have appreciated the sound and to some extent the tapers of the better pots I've tried - just never the feel. It's hard to find.
You are describing the feel of the Bourns exactly to me. And I like the taper better than some of the "custom" taper pots, especially when mixing the pickups in the middle position. Give them a try. Hard to go wrong at $4.20.
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Unread 01-24-2012, 05:16 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Dr. Vintage pots are the closest thing I have found to old Centralabs. Only pots I've installed that instantly felt "right" as opposed to feeling like a new pot.
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Unread 01-24-2012, 07:01 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

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Dr. Vintage pots are the closest thing I have found to old Centralabs. Only pots I've installed that instantly felt "right" as opposed to feeling like a new pot.
Are they selected CTS pots? Like RS Super Pots?
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Unread 01-24-2012, 07:04 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
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Are they selected CTS pots? Like RS Super Pots?
I'm not sure what you mean by selected? They are CTS pots, but made to Rick's (aka Dr. V) specifications.

Dr. Vintage Electric Guitar Controls
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Unread 01-25-2012, 07:27 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
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I'm not sure what you mean by selected? They are CTS pots, but made to Rick's (aka Dr. V) specifications.

Dr. Vintage Electric Guitar Controls
What I mean is that they are selected based on readout value, within tight tolerances.. but not necessarily a 1:1 copy of a Centralab.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 10:34 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling # Sound View Post
What I mean is that they are selected based on readout value, within tight tolerances.. but not necessarily a 1:1 copy of a Centralab.
The Dr. V pots are made to Rick's specs, so yes, they would have to be within tight tolerances. Rick would be the best bet for your questions though. Check out Dr. V's site for all the info on the pots, or send him an email.

Personally, when it comes to pots, I've never paid too much attention to the criteria/jargon that has now become standard when it comes to discussing pots. By that, I mean 5% or 10% tolerances, "matched sets", values over 500k, etc. Especially when you consider that the Gibson workers in the '50s never agonized about the values or which pot went in which position (neck or bridge?) they just grabbed a handful of pots out of the bin and soldered them in!

But, there are a definitely lot of crappy pots out there, so you definitely need to try various pots to find ones that work for you. I prefer the sound (taper) and feel (turning torque) of vintage Centralab pots. If your playing style is such that you adjust your volume and tone a lot while playing, you can't beat the feel of a nicely broken in vintage pot IMO. To me, the Dr. V pots react and sound the way a vintage pot does.
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Unread 01-26-2012, 10:32 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Best Centralab replicas?

Raul, appreciate your insightful comments. I should definitely check these out some time.
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