83 Custom Volume Pot - Linear or Audio?

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by Burny FLG, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Hi all, new (to me) guitar and need to buy a volume pot. Want to replace with the same or similar, so what did it come with? I'm guessing long shaft and 500k but did it come with audio or linear as standard?
    Pics from listings below - CTS & 'Gibson" pots.
    Gibson has a lip washer at the top of the shaft (arrow) which is absent (arrow) on the CTS.
    Mine has the washer.
    Also Gibson has some tabs which I think are to hook onto the pot assembly base plate.
    Other pics of pot mentioned (arrow) and knob.
    Any advice or experience welcomed Thanks.
    CTS Audio 500k Long.jpg CTS Audio 500k Long.jpg
    Gibson Audio 500k Long.jpg Knob 2.JPG 4 Pots II.jpg Knob 1.JPG 4 Pots.jpg
     
  2. Al Walker

    Al Walker Senior Member

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    Those differences don't matter. Don't know the taper in a custom, but, someone here does.
     
  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Better not guess, IMHO.

    Norlin era guitars are really special and my favs are from the 80's and 90's! :thumb:

    But Norlin era guitars are also known as some of the quirkiest nonsensical guitars Gibson ever put out. There is no rhyme or reason behind some of them either!

    I have an 82 Standard with 300K pots. Don't assume 500 unless yours is already too dark and you want to brighten it up a bit.

    Hang in there and I'm sure one of our experts can tell you what it is by the numbers on the back of the pot....

    Also, don't get to hung up on getting a Gibson brand pot. There is a topic in here ranting about what crap they are!
     
  4. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    What you have there is 100K Special Audio Taper Tones (by the 71 079 code) and 500K Audio Taper Volumes (by the 71 137 code)
     
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  5. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Hey Kris thanks for responding. What is a 100K Special pot? Is it a standard 100k or?
    At this point because I have to remove all the pots to replace one (all attached to a backing plate) and I'm getting into customising here but would replacing the 100k tone pots with 300 or 500k get rid of some muddiness when the controls are on 1 - 6? Cheers!
     
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  6. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Thanks Al Walker and DarrellV too for your responses.
     
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  7. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    No prob!
    I wanna say special audio taper is linear..
    You can just replace one..but yes, you'll have more range with a higher K pot..300 can be honky (in a good way), 500K will have a fuller range.
    I like audio taper all around. 500K usually.
     
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  8. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Thanks again Kris, think I'll get a 500k audio harness from toneman, can't wait!
     
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  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Let us know how you like it... I'm considering one for my '82 as well... I've been checking out Toneman's stuff recently.
     
  10. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    No probs I've ordered the one with Russian caps. They take a couple of weeks to build and ship so will keep you posted.
     
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  11. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Hi Darrell, the new pots have been in for a few weeks now so I have an idea of how they sound. Originally I had 500k Audio Volume and 100k Special Audio Taper (Linear) Tones which was OE. There's definitely a difference in tone brightness overall. Down low it's less muddy especially low volume, I'm able to get better blends too. There's no dark sound now though and the guitar is bright anyway so I don't have a big bass as much as a bright bass. The treble pick up is BRIGHT now - nearly to the point of harsh so I have the tone down to 1-4 depending on the volume level. Playing through the '68 Princeton with a 10" the sound is bright clear and bell like, I'm using the bass on 7-8 with the treble on 5. Still experimenting!
     
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  12. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thanks for the reply! Getting ready to pull the trigger myself here, as my pickups are done.

    What you have described sounds like my guitar does now after the re-fret! It is bright for days, and I regularly play with the tones cracked down a little bit or even the volume.

    Used to be a wide open guy, but now I'm a tweaker...

    It works, I mean, it doesn't sound bad it just takes the brightness off the top a little.

    In your case though, if you haven't done a volume balance between your 2 pups yet, now might be a good time.

    From what you are describing you could prolly lower the bridge pup a bit to lessen the glare, or sink the pickup a bit more and raise the bass string pole screws a bit out of the cover for balance.

    There is also going to be a difference in your pickup response now too.

    The pots place a small load on the coils of the pickup normally.

    Every pickup has a happy zone where it puts out the most energy (called a resonant peak its a hump of louder volume in a small part of the overall sound).

    The pots put a drag on the pickups happy zone and drag it down to both a lower frequency and lesser volume.

    This was the sound you were used to.

    Now with 500K pots all around the effect is the opposite and your pickups response has moved back upward toward their happy zone. Loud proud and clear...

    By dialing the tone knob back a bit you are essentially imitating the effects on the pickups of the lower value pots you had.

    Just FWIW Some Mfgs took the peak response of the pickups into consideration when they spec'd the pots for a guitar.

    Not that you made a bad choice or anything wrong at all. You can't hurt anything with a harness mod, but you can expect a change.

    I asked Toneman if I could get different values in mine for this reason, mine is already too bright.

    He replied that he couldn't, that's fine that's his business.

    I'm handy enough to change them later if I want to, to something lower like 300K. You could try that just for the bridge, for example.

    You could do the same thing. That's why I'm bringing this up.

    You don't have to live with the brightness if you don't want to.

    There is nothing wrong with the harness, it's just that to me, it's a one size fits all solution that prolly works in 90% of the cases.

    I'm just pointing out that there are answers for the 10% if they want to improve on it for their needs.
     
  13. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Hey Darrell are you saying -
    • 300k tone pots will take some of the brightness out
    • Adjust pickup heights between the two to get volume balance
    • Adjust pole pieces to get more bass
    At the moment the neck pick up is flush with the plastic mount (out slightly on the treble side) and the bridge is out 50mm from the mount. The pole pieces are fairly even, the treble E is raised slightly.
    Tone guy uses pots with a coarser knurled shaft so the original fine knurled knobs don't fit unless you force them, he implies that they will fit but they don't. I don't think there's anything magic about tone guy's kits. What benefit are the Russian caps over the original ones? Would swapping the original caps back in with the 500k pots make any difference?
     
  14. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Well, lets take this one chunk at a time.

    300K pots will take some brightness out. You don't have to change them all, you can use them just on the bridge for example. IIRC you had 100K in the tone before...

    Adjust your neck pickup to where it gives you the sound you like. Flush mount sounds about right.

    Now with all knobs wide open strike a chord and flip the selector switch back and forth between Neck and Bridge.

    The bridge will sound cleaner, but it should be the same volume as the neck. The only alteration you should hear is in tone, not volume.

    Once that is done you can still use the pole pieces if needed to balance the response of each pickup to your liking.

    Be sure to bring a small screwdriver with you so that as you are playing it if you notice a chord isn't ringing out as you'd like to hear it you can tweak the thinner strings a bit till they chime in. Or add some warmth to the bridge with the bass screws.

    I have found small amounts of turns make a difference.

    As far as the caps go we can venture into 'corksniffer' territory on one end to no descernable difference on the other.

    Many think that the old paper in oil caps give the smoothest most musical roll-off ever created. Some think it is magic mojo. Many forget that the caps don't even affect your tone until you bring them in with the pot. They do nothing at wide open.
    They are more authentic to the 50's era tone that many strive for so there is a market.

    Under all the mystique caps all work the same. They pass alternating current at and above a certain frequency, and they block DC.

    How much difference you can actually hear them doing when you roll the tone controls down, is up to you.

    There is nothing wrong with the PIO Russian caps you ordered. I was thinking of seeing what all the buzz was about myself and trying them.

    MY buddy @ehb (Edro) says he got the orange drop style and is very happy with it.

    I will most likely go this route as it is more affordable anyway.

    Thing is, you are not in any way stuck with the sound you have.

    There are things you can try to dial it in closer to what you want to hear.

    I'm not knocking your choices or anyone's work. Just trying to be helpful if you are open to doing some further tweaking on your own. To some, like me, this is part of the joy of ownership! Making something truly your own and work just the way you want it too..

    Oh, and the Knobs will most likely need to be replaced. He mentions that on his site and others in here have pointed it out too.

    CTS and Bournes use different spline counts. Its just the way they are.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017 at 10:38 PM
  15. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Hey Darrell thanks for the response. I'm going to do some adjustments on the pole pieces and bridge pick up height as that seems too bright for my ears. if I don't get something that works will get a lower value pot. The neck pick up is fine so will leave that alone. From what you're saying I need to raise the bridge pick up to equal the volume level of the neck and then drop the pole pieces down to reduce the harshness. Hmm, see how I go - no harm in trying. I'll need a Bourns pot so I don't have to change the knob again, they only do 250k? Sure that'll be fine. Tone man says you can fit an original knob to a Bourns pot if you squeeze the shaft top - fine if you want to stuff your original knob. Me I'm new to all this and he didn't state clearly the knurling was different in which case I would've bought some coarser thread knobs from him to suit. I told him to make that clear in his description but fell on deaf ears.
     
  16. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Sort of, kind of... I appreciate your patience.

    So your bridge pickup is too bright but not as loud as your neck pickup as it sits now, if I follow you correctly.

    Here are some more options:

    1. Raising the whole bridge pickup will increase the volume for all strings, provided you raise it level.

    If you raise one side of the pickup, bass or treble, you will boost that side more. Same thing if you drop one side, you will lower the volume for the strings on that side.

    Many players do this with Strat neck pickups to reduce the bass mud. They tip the bass side down and raise the treble side.

    The pickup is cocked to look at, but it levels the response.


    2.Raising the pole screws will raise the volume for that string. You can achieve a similar increase in volume by just raising all the pole screws, Or raise just the bass strings to add more bass. Or sink the treble pole screws to lower response.

    HOWEVER!!!

    Raising just the pole screws on your bridge pickup will also boost the brightness, which you don't want.

    Reasons are as follows.

    Magnetic pickups only see the part of the string that they are under.
    Due to the way a string vibrates the largest amount of motion and energy are around the center of the string.
    The deeper more fundamental sound of the string is strongest near the center.

    Your 2 pickups are made near identical, yet the neck is darker because it sees an area of the string that is closer to its center, so it picks up more of the deeper fundamental parts of the string, and the greatest amount of vibration which generates a stronger signal in the pickup. This is why we have to sink them down into the body to keep them from being over powering.

    The bridge pickup is located near the end of the string's length and can only see partials and overtones, not the deep fundamental, so it is thinner and brighter and, since string energy is also diminished near the ends, it generates a weaker signal compared to the neck.

    This is why we usually have to crank them up next to the strings to get any volume out of them.

    If you crank up the pole screws on the bridge pickup you adding more signal from the BRIGHTER side of the string (toward the bridge)!
    Not what you want.

    I found that I had to sink my screws beneath the cover a bit and raise the pickup higher so the slug coils were closer to the strings.

    The combination of covered poles and position closer to the neck helped a little bit.
     
  17. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    The more I look at it the more I think Gibson stuck that 100K tone pot under the hood for a reason.

    You may not have noticed but the way its wired means the tone cap is leaking a small amount of treble to ground even with the tone control all the way up. This is normal.

    The way it is wired your pickup hot signal is soldered right to the leg of the tone cap along with the other connections, so it is always in the signal chain. Some signal is always lost across the cap to ground. How much is lost at wide open is determined by the pot resistance.

    The new 500K pot is now blocking about 5 times as much treble bleed through the cap as your old 100K did, making your sound that much brighter. That's why you have to roll off the tone now.


    A simple experiment.

    If you are handy with a solder iron and you have a source for electronic parts (like we used to have Radio Shack) you can see how a 300K pot would sound or fool your pickups into thinking you have a 300K installed without having to buy one and unsolder everything.

    Resistors in parallel are funny things. Your volume pots are known as a variable resistor, but a resistor just the same.

    When you put any two together, you always get a new value that is less than the lowest value resistor in the bunch.

    So in your case if you could get your hands on a 1 megaohm resistor, just a tiny 1/4 watt would do, you could solder it across the two outside legs of your bridge tone pot to effectively make it become a 333K pot!

    EXAMPLE:
    R1 is your tone pot 500K
    R2 is the 1 Megaohm resistor
    Output equivalence is 333.3K
    resistors in parallel.jpg

    By providing a total lower resistance path to ground you will enable the tone cap to remove more highs from the signal.
    Even when wide open!

    This could very well be why Gibson used 100K's on that model.
     
  18. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    Wow thanks for the info. Not really handy with a soldering iron so have no idea what to do there. I'll ask someone to explain what your kind works mean exactly and to do an experiment. Essentially you mean the 500k is making it brighter, maybe the 100k go back in. Or something to give treble bleed? (I don't know what but have heard that term bandied around) Another thing the tech said there was no earth wire in the cavity nor did he think there ever was one. Would putting one in make a difference? He thought it would just make the pick ups noisy in certain conditions. Thanks Darrell.
     
  19. Burny FLG

    Burny FLG Member

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    I'm too far up my own *** here. I'm just going to get used to it - what is the secret sound of the 500k pots?
     
  20. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Yeah, I went overboard, sorry...

    The earth wire is for grounding everything to keep the hum and noise down.

    Toneman runs a wire around each pot that is soldered to the shell. That is the ground.

    Your guitar grounds through the amp jack socket. The ground or shield from that lead is soldered to one of your pots. This grounds the whole guitar using that wire soldered to each pot.
     

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