How to extend usable range on Fender controls?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by The_Nuge, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Hi!
    Any tips on how to extend the usable range of the controls on a Strat?
    I've got an Eric Johnson, which is a great sounding guitar, but it's a bit annoying that the (particularly volume) controls do very little below "8". I'd like it to have the range of 50s LP wiring if possible!
     
  2. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Thats all to do with the pot taper.
     
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  3. Juan Wayne

    Juan Wayne Senior Member

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    Yup, taper. When you say they do little below 8, you mean they are too quiet below that compared to say, 9, and pretty much anything below 5 is unusable quiet?
     
  4. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Yes, more or less that!
    On a Gibby with vintage wiring, 10 is obviously "full on", 7-8 heavy crunch and below that it really cleans up.
    The best sweep I have in my Gibbys (well, clone) are with "True Vintage Taper" CTS pots, but the pots in my Gibby reissues aren't far behind.
    What should I get for the Strat?
     
  5. Juan Wayne

    Juan Wayne Senior Member

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    Seems like you have one of the thousands of "audio" tapers around. None of them is actually progressively exponential as you would expect in order to recreate the opposite function of human hearing so you perceive linear increase of loudness relating to linear turn of the knob. More likely, it's one of the many versions of 2 sections (sometimes a few more than 2) of linear taper with different gradient so it sort of resembles the exponential response it tries to imitate. Kinda pointless anyway, considering this is not hi-fi we're talking about, you probably need more control over distortion than you need to all the sudden go quiet and then be louder than the rest of the band, but I'm babbling...

    The thing is, there's plenty of audio tapers out there, some described as percentage A/percentage B or a similar notation, indicating up until where it goes to half the value, or where it actually takes off and starts to really get loud, some have funny names that mean nothing, as if there was just ONE true vintage anything.

    Anyway, the easy answer would be to get the same thing that you describe as the best. It's a matter of feel and predictability, but I can't guarantee that'll work as well on a Strat as it does on an LP. Different beat, and you probably don't even do the same music with it.

    I use linear for that very reason. Linear is predictable, usable from 0.5 to 10, no matter how much gain I have, I can always find the spot I need on any guitar. There's no two versions of linear, and if audio doesn't work on that pickup/wiring/rest-of-the-rig combo, I'd try linear. If that doesn't work, there's probably an in between taper that works, maybe your pot has too steep of a ramp from 7 and up.

    One quick trick you can test though, is to get a couple resistances, start with say... 1/2 of the pot value. So on your (most likely) 250k pot on the Strat, solder a 120k resistance between middle and third (hot) lug of the pot, and see how it reacts. Still too steep? Go for lower. Too linear? Go for higher. Then test with the desoldered pot at which point you have the same value between lugs 1 and 2, and 2 and 3, see what kind of taper you prefer.

    This tool can be a visual help for that: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xUXc3FyA0yyqkXyNBPMP3_u6TS5FTIbi/view?usp=sharing

    I used that in the past to make a treble bleed/linearize the volume pot of a Strat. 150k with a 470pF cap in parallel did the trick. Reacted as linear as could be with absolutely no loss of treble.

    Sorry for the long babble, but it's so much of a preference thing, and there's so many options... you'll get a lot of specific suggestions but it's so personal the only way to go is trial and error until perfect, or settle for what you have and try do deal with it.
     
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  6. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Thanks!
     
  7. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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  8. grayd8

    grayd8 Senior Member

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    Nailed it!
     
  9. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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  10. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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