500k Pots Volume and tone

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by ozone, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Hey Super, glad they made it OK :thumb:
    Yeah give me a shout about the V when you have time...

    Peace, jonesy
     
  2. kspeed

    kspeed Senior Member

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    FWIW I replaced all the stock 300k pots in my LP Special with 500k CTS pots and while the difference wasn't DRAMATIC, it was very noticeable. The P90's openned up a bit with a little more bite, a more airy tone, and less mud. The guitar is solid mahogany, though, so this mod sort of made up for the lack of a maple cap in my mind.
     
  3. Vintage_Burster

    Vintage_Burster Senior Member

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    What comes stock with 07 Standards? 300K?
     
  4. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    Some guitars just sound better with 300ks. My 1989 stock SG sounds fantastic and with stock 300k volume pots. It is a monster live.
     
  5. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    300K volume and 500K tone pots.

    I think the 300K volume pots a linear taper while the 500K tone pots are audio taper. I could be wrong. I prefer audio taper in all 4 positions.
     
  6. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    What makes them linear? I notice with the stock 300ks in my SG...I can roll all the way down and they stay clear. I can only do that with the audio tapers in my LP if I use a treble bleed circuit.
     
  7. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    :applause:
     
  8. Tom99SS

    Tom99SS Senior Member

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    Linear taper is suppose to supply a smooth reduction in volume. At 9 you have 90% of your volume, at 8 you have 80% of your volume, etc.

    Audo taper is more dramatic where at 7 you may have 50% of your volume. It is suppose to follow closely to the human hearing (at least this is what I have read).

    As far as retaining the Treble when turning down the volume pot, 50's wiring is suppose to accomplish this to a point. Modern wiring will darken the sound as the volume is turned down. Please see "Wiring Library" sticky at the top of this forum. Great info there. :)
     
  9. Fixxxer

    Fixxxer V.I.P. Member

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    I see this has been resurrected, and my thought on this, is a 500k pot (specifically 500k) is the best starting point. Then, you can play with pickup magnet types and the TONE KNOB.

    Remember guys, you have a tone knob on your guitar (at least most guitars) that is your friend and wants to be used!

    If 500k fails some pickups are just made for a lower pot value.

    discuss
     
  10. richedie

    richedie Senior Member

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    After experimentation, my favorite is audio taper with a treble bleed circuit! It acts more linear but better and retains treble. However, my SG with the stock linear 300ks work great. They might stay.
     
  11. Stylemaster

    Stylemaster Senior Member

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    Reviving this thread.
     
  12. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    Thanks for reviving it! I have a few questions.

    I haven't really heard anybody talk about high-gain. Most people want "vintage" this and "vintage" that. But, I don't want to sound like Jimmy Page or like I'm playing a '59 Les Paul. I have a '79 Silverburst and I play lots of high-gain stuff - modern rock, prog. rock/metal, and etc. But, I also play classic rock and older stuff as well (and lots of clean tones). But, I generally prefer a darker, beefier, meatier, mellower sound. I usually EQ my amps with the bass flat, mids boosted up fairly high, and treble flat or a bit lower.

    I'd say Adam Jones' tone (Tool) is a good description of what I shoot for - very mid-present and not harsh at all.

    My LP has the stock everything (490R/490T pickups, 300k volume and tone pots, et. al.). I'm fairly happy with the sound of the pots. But, the volume sweep is awful and all the pots need replacing because they are scratchy. I will be changing out (at least) the bridge pickup, possibly to a Duncan JB. In the product description on a few sites for the JB, I sometimes see: "Some use 250k pots to smooth out the highs on this pickup."

    However, on Torres Engineering site, they say for pickups between 8 and 12k DC they recommend a 1 Meg pot, for anything over 12k DC, they recommend a 2 Meg pot. The Duncan JB is a 14.6K DC pickup. 1 and 2 Meg pots seem CRAZY HIGH to me. Am I missing something?

    I can't really decide whether to go with new CTS pots of the same value as stock (300k all around), mix it up between 300k and 500k, or 500k all around. The current bridge tone pot has a nice wah-like sound when rolled off a bit. I like that.

    I guess I could just buy all of them and mix/match until I'm happy. But, I really don't have the time or patience to keep rewiring my guitar over and over again until I find what works. So, any suggestions?

    500k all around
    300k all around
    mix and match
     
  13. Tadas

    Tadas Member

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    Hello,

    I'm not sure if this ir the right thread for my question, but I'll ask anyway. :D moderators are welcome to delete my post if necessary :)

    So, i have a 2007 Epi Les Paul Custom (black) and I'm looking forward to rewire it, put tusq nut, and new pots. I'll probably wire it with 2 humbuckers, 2 volume, 2 tone and 3 - way switch. I am not going to change pickups right now.

    What pots should i consider buying? 500k? 300k? Any ideas of the brand?
     
  14. if6was9

    if6was9 Senior Member

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    My 1978 Gibson 'The Paul', also has 300k volume and 100k tone pots. I purchase this guitar new so they are stock from factory. I just received some new 500k pots from RS that I plan to upgrade soon. Unless you leave the controls all at 10 the guitar seems to be to 'dark' sounding, very muddy. I hope the the 500k pots will correct that. I also got some PIO pots from ebay that will also be part of the upgrade.
     
  15. eddie_bowers

    eddie_bowers Senior Member

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    You don't hear much talk about this, but my 1984 Silverburst also came with 100k tone pots (no wonder the Silverbursts are dark sounding). I changed all the pots except the the bridge (which tends to be a little harsh with even 300k)
     
  16. stadams

    stadams Senior Member

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    My 1982 Silverburst also came with 300k/100k potentiometer arrangement along with crappy 0.022uF ceramic disc capacitors. The problem is I have grown accustomed to the sound of the guitar and am struggling with upgrading the entire harness. The dilemma has even caused me to seriously consider buying another LP just to mod it to late 50's specifications. Can anyone quantify the change in sound/tone of the guitar when changing the potentiometers and capacitors? I am assuming that most of the customs with this issue also had Shaw pickups installed.

    Anyway, for those non-believers of the 100k potentiometer issues here are a couple of pictures of my LP. The potentiometer code confirms the 100k value:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Senior Member

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    I have a '79 Silverburst. 490R/T pickups, same pots (300k/100k). I also have found that I like the sound of the stock electronics (except the bridge pickup, that's being changed at some point). On your guitar, does the bridge pickup's tone pot have an effect similar to a wah-pedal in the heel down postion, when rolled off? Mine does and I really like it, especially for high gain and soloing.
     
  18. if6was9

    if6was9 Senior Member

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    I just upgraded mine last night.
    [​IMG]My guitar just before I gutted it. I got this guitar new on 12Dec1978 and it was 100% stock until last night.

    [​IMG]Control cavity before.

    [​IMG]Control cavity After. RS 500k 'super pots' for volume CTS 500k for tone, PIO caps .022 for bridge and .015 for neck. I wired the caps and tone pots '50's style'.

    The switch from the 300k/100k to the 500k/500k has a great impact on the sound in my case. Before my guitar sounded great as long as all of the controls were on '10'. Turn anything down and it sounded like mud right away. The guitar is definitely much 'brighter' than before, maybe a little to bright. I find that I'm now leaving the tone control around '5', which in time may just prove to be a good thing. I have not yet taken the time to tweak my amp settings so I think that that when I do it may not be so 'bright' after all. I may go back in and re-wire the cap and tone pot back to the 'Modern' style to see if it will "darken" the tone a little. Anyhow, like I said I just did this last LATE last night and have not played it that much yet. I will try it out for a while before I decide to go back to modern style.

    I'm wondering now if just upgrading to the PIO caps and 50's wiring would have been enough to open up my guitars tone. A little to late but in all I'm glad that I did the upgrade.

    I hope this helps you stadams in your quest for better tone.
     
  19. Armitage

    Armitage Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Different pot values and how they affect you!

    Humbucker graph shown.

    Humbuckers traditionally come with 500k volume and tone pots, wth .022 caps. Single coils traditionally use 250k pots. Traditional Les Pauls came with 500k pots, but went to 300k... Historics come with 500k, it's one major reason they sound better. Remember, pickups were voiced/made to run at these values, changing the value changes their intended tone, (good or bad is an opinion), as well as their output.
    The top curve indicates virtually no load, the second curve down indicates a 1meg pot, the third down is a 500k pot, the fourth is a 250k pot and the bottom curve represents a 100k pot. As you can see, higher pots give you more output and raise the resonant peaks output. The resonant peak doesn't shift in frequency, but it does shift in amplitude. The resonant peak frequency of most HBs is around 5k to 7k.
    With tone controls (they react differently then volume pots because of the way they're wired in the circuit), a 250k pot is the same as turning your 500k tone pot down to it's resistive mid point (5 on a linear taper pot). Even on 10, a tone pot bleeds high end to ground, but pickups were designed in this circuit in mind, and some people think they sound cold and glassy without a tone pot in the circuit.

    If you want to see what it's like to use different value pots, without pulling breakable knobs and changing out your pots, here's a temporary way to see what it's like.

    [​IMG]

    This is how you can hear what going from a 250k to 500k (or even 500k to 1 Meg) volume pot sounds like. Just disconnect the pickups output wire to the pot and put a 250k (or close 240k or 270k), (or to try 1 Meg, 500k or close), resistor in series. It'll sound the same, but you CAN'T turn the volume all the way off, remember this is just a test function. If you like it, go buy the pot.
    You can also try doing it to your tone pot as shown. In many guitars with 250k tone pots, I've just left the resistor in permanently; you just can't turn it down as much.



    [​IMG]

    This is how you can hear what going from a 500k pot down to a 250k volume and tone pot sounds like. Just put a 500k (or close, e.g. 510k or 470k) resistor in parallel with the pots outer lugs. You can actually even leave it this way, the only difference will be the volume and tone pots taper (i.e. 10 will be 10, 0 will be 0, but it'll be half as loud at a different place on the knob).

    Most people prefer audio pots for volume, and linear pots for tone. Most manufacturers just use audio for all... You use an audio taper for volume because the ear isn't linear with volume.

    Expensive pots sound the same as cheap pots as long as they're the correct value. The problem is, is cheap pots have a wider error tollerance then quality pots, and there's more of the bad ones, and cheap ones wear out quickly and get noisy.

    P.S. if your "or close" value is slightly higher then the pot, the value will be slightly higher on 10 then the actual double, (or halved value) in these circuits. If lower, it'll be slightly lower.

    [​IMG]

    This is how you can hear what going from a 500k pot down to a 250k volume and tone pot sounds like. Just put a 500k (or close, e.g. 510k or 470k) resistor in parallel with the pots outer lugs. You can even leave it this way, the only difference will be the volume and tone pots taper (i.e. 10 will be 10, 0 will be 0, but it'll be half as loud at a different place on the knob).

    Most people prefer audio pots for volume, and linear pots for tone. Most manufacturers just use audio for all.

    You use an audio for volume because the ear isn't linear with volume.

    Expensive pots sound the same as cheap pots as long as they're the correct value. The problem is, is cheap pots have a wider error tollerance then quality pots though, and there's more of the bad ones, and they wear out quickly and get noisy.

    P.S. if your "or close" value is slightly higher then the pot, the value will be slightly higher on 10 then the actual double, (or halved value) in these circuits. If lower, it'll be slightly lower.
     
  20. uOpt

    uOpt Senior Member

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    Careful. This is the impedance graph. It is not the frequency response graph.

    Basically, the frequency response graph is flat left of the the resonance peak. As in the impedance graph the frequency response has a resonance peak and the amplitude of that peak is dampened by the resistance that the volume pot puts across the pickup.
     

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