Volume Pots 300k vs. 500k ?

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Classicplayer, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    I've never fully understood the advantage of having 500K vs. 300K volume pots on my Les Pauls.
    I have a Studio Deluxe from 2010 with 500K volume and tone and a Classic from 2000 with 300K volume and 500K tone pots. I usually operate both types in the 7' to 10' range and never below 7.

    I really don't sense any difference in brightness between the two values. If anything, I sense that I can get to the exact volume I want a bit quicker using the 300K volumes. On the other hand, I seem to have a greater degree of volume range with the 500K volumes, but it takes me longer to find that desired volume. I think I prefer using the 300K pots for just that reason. Does anyone else notice these aspects that I mention?


    Classicplayer
     
  2. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    I find it largely depends on how hot your pickups are and what amp you use then how hard you want your signal to hit the preamp.

    For example, your guitar/pickups 'may' hit amp A with just the right amount of breakup and treble with 500k pots on 10... but amp B, is easier to get to breakup and brighter... so that guutar might be too hairy through the 500k pots dialed to 10 using Amp B.

    I guess the important thing is that you are able to get your preferred sound using the dials, and that knowing 300k doesnt just cut just output... but perhaps more apparent is the Eq curve being slightly changed with a pot value change. Where dialling back will have less effect on the EQ curve (unless your modern wired without a treble bleed, but this is another story for another thread)

    Generally speaking... Rolling back hits the preamp less without changing the Eq curve so much.

    Lower values result in less highs and a slight mid push that adds a little bit of a comperssed feel.

    Higher value provides a stronger high presence and softens the mid push that results in a n edgier sound with a more dynamic feel.

    More Dynamics being the range your light to hard picking has on the sound. But what if the dynamic range to too large, and the sound is too trebble ridden... And your missing that mid driven fluidity we guutarists love :)

    Like using 1meg pots on single coils for an extreme example. Not only does this allow more high end through, it can sound too shrill/edgy with little 'mid pushed' sustain' the highs and lows are what hit the preamp harder and compress...
    ...250k pots with singles helps provide a richer tone without all the sizzle as the highs pull back resulting in the mids becoming a bit more present at the preamp resulting in a rounder, less edgy, compressed feel and sound. I love it when an amp kind of bounces back at you then sings when plucking :)

    Whats best, including pots, depends what you need the guitar and amp relationship to do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  3. Oldskoolrob

    Oldskoolrob Senior Member

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    So 300's are less prone to treble bleed then, but also have softer highs but will make it less dynamic? Have I read that right?

    Makes me wonder if I should run a 300 bridge and 500 neck....?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  4. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    Treble bleed refers to a capacitor placed on the vol pot that keeps the highs more present when the volume is rolled back... Rather than go to ground, the highs jump to the output via a capacitor... Treble bleed has nothing to do with values.

    Higher value pots allow more highs to pass through at all settings on the dial... where a bleed capacitor allows highs to pass through a capacitoras to your output as you roll back the volume, with modern wired guitars treble is the first thing to go to ground as you roll volume off, and can result in a dark sound if you use the vol to Clean up, if this is not desired a bleed cap an be handy to keep your clean sound high end in tact.

    Yes lower values have less high end and a more compressed feel
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  5. jcsk8

    jcsk8 Senior Member

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    I have a japanese lester that came with 250K pots. A change to 500k ones made all the difference. Much more open and bright tone.
     
  6. scooter500

    scooter500 Senior Member

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    I recently saw a Gibson spec for a es-175 & 335s for P-90s and they list a 300 pot for volume and a 500 pot for volume.
     
  7. Oldskoolrob

    Oldskoolrob Senior Member

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    Yep, sorry I meant if in 50's wiring the lower value pot would be less likely to lose treble than the higher one...
     
  8. Juan Wayne

    Juan Wayne Senior Member

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    500k will be brighter on 10, and lose treble quicker when rolling down because of the added series resistance.

    Conversely, 300k will be subtly darker on 10, with a slightly less pronounced resonant peak located a bit lower on the frequency range, but the lower added series resistance will help keeping treble a bit better as you roll of.

    Usable volume range is a whole other beast, and it has to do with taper. At least on the last couple decades, Gibson has used linear taper on their 300k pot, and audio on their 500k. That's why the 500k pots get a bit crazy around 7, that's how they're supposed to be while the linears should behave constantly all the way. This will also depend on how the amps reacts as you raise the volume, how the signal is compressed and how much gain you're dealing with.
     
  9. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    What do you mean by "crazy"?


    Classicplayer
     
  10. Juan Wayne

    Juan Wayne Senior Member

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    I'm referring to what you said about how those 300k pots, which are linear, are easier to quickly dial in, which audio pots, 500k in you case, take a bit of precision, since the taper kicks in at some point around 6-8.

    For me, those pots start sloooowly raising the volume and crunching things as bit as you go 3... 4... 5... 6... then all the sudden you go past that and they get all twitchy, like there's nothing in-between "6 is clean and over 8 is murder-level gain", that kind of crazy.

    It depends on the approach of "audio" for every manufacturer, but that's what some audio tapers are like, which of course depends of the rig you use as well. On my old I-need-every-drop-of-gain-available days, they were useful, but now anything too far from linear is dead below 7 to me, while linears are second nature, and I can take advantage of them from 0.5 to 10, every setting being a different shade of gain.
     
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  11. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    Am I glad I leave everything on 10!
    :D

    Serious question, 'cause that's the type of "dial-a-tone" I would like to achieve eventually:
    In TSRTS, playing SIBLY, do you think Page uses 300K's or 500K's?
     
  12. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Premium Member

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    In talking with some other members in here and from my own experience it looks like Gibson may have attempted (at least some of the time) to match the pot values with the pickups used.

    My case in point is my Shaws. Turns out after the re wind they are extremely bright! Dave from Sigil Pickups has confirmed that he finds them bright as well.

    My 82 came with 300K pots all around. It sounded rather mellow and nice and I blamed it on the worn down frets.

    Fast forward to today and it has had a re fret, the Shaws re wound to remove the wax potting, and a Tone Man 500K wire job.

    It was so loud and bright it can make your ears bleed!

    I don't know how many consider that the tone cap is siphoning off a bit of treble all the time, even on 10.

    The tone cap is wired to the pickup leg and is in the signal path all the time. On 10 it has 500K of resistance to push through, but it is still functioning on the treble.

    So it made me wonder if Gibson knew the Shaws were bright in my case, so they used 300K pots to allow the tone cap to siphon off more treble all the time to counter the brightness..... That would be an easy way to 'dial in' the tone of this model, or any other.

    I put a 1 meg resistor across my bridge tone for just that reason. Knocks the 500K down to around 330K and allows the tone cap to filter off more highs to take some edge off the top.

     
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  13. Bobby Mahogany

    Bobby Mahogany Senior Member

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    My '78 Custom has 300K's as well.
     
  14. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Premium Member

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    Yup! Mine was by no means exclusive, it's just the only one i own.... A rather limited sample. :D

    But the same would work for you if you found yours dark or muddy, 500K pots could be the first and easiest thing to try to brighten it up.

    78 would be T-Tops, right? Dave from Sigil wound me a T-Top clone that is brash and loud! It needed that resistor and a cover to tame it.:run:

    Could be a similar thing under the hood with yours. Having the 300K's makes it pleasant to live with! :D
     
  15. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    I'm never sure about whether I "fit the mold" of most Les Paul players when it comes to using my volume pots. I always start with my volumes set between 7 to 10 and consistently ending up around +-8. I know that there are some who start at 10 and some who like to start below 4 to 5 and move upwards. By starting at low numbers, I never felt like I'm hearing the full frequency response from my pickups (Seths in my #1 and 490R/BB PRO in #2). That is my reason for starting at the higher end of the pot's sweep. It may be that over the many years of playing, I've developed my picking dynamics enough to allow for some volume adjustments when combined with my switching back and forth between neck and bridge......kinda' old school, I know.


    Classicplayer
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  16. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Premium Member

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    That's why you're a Classic Player! :applause:

    Using volume knobs for expression and tone shaping has got to be as old as the electric guitar itself!

    Folks have been using it since the first old man yelled 'Turn it Down!' back in the 50's! :laugh2:
     
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  17. Classicplayer

    Classicplayer Senior Member

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    DarrellV,

    You are toooooo funny!

    Classicplayer
     
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  18. NewDayHappy

    NewDayHappy Senior Member

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    I think pots also depend on your pickups too. If you have really high output pickups, 300k pots may tame them more and give them more articulation. If you have low output pickups, 500k may liven them up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  19. grayd8

    grayd8 Senior Member

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    Generally if I'm playing something dynamic like Hotel California or Ramble on I have the neck at 5-6 and the bridge at 7-8. This gives
    me the ability to go from clean to overdrive with the flip of the toggle switch.

    I usually reserve the 9-10 range for something with the tones rolled almost all the way back like Sunshine of your love or Sweet Child.
     
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  20. Coldacre

    Coldacre Senior Member

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    500k CentraLab pots on all 50's bursts. most definitely the latter.
     
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