2018 Traditional Pot Values?

Classicplayer

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My 2018 Les Paul Traditional in appearance is a first rate beauty in Honeyburst and it features Burstbucker 1 and II pickups. The guitar is broad-toned and seems balanced. I'm wondering what the volume pot values are because the tone starts to darken up once I see “9” on the neck volume and “8.5” on the bridge. Is this an issue belonging to the pots only or could it be the stock Burstbucker I & II.....or both?


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Juan Wayne

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One side of it is, as @ARandall said, modern wiring. Going for 50s does help your case.

Another thing is that if I remember correctly, 2018s have 500k volume pots. 500k pots, when compared to lower values like 300k, tend to make this treble-sucking situation worse. This is due to the immense series resistance you apply to the circuit as you roll down the volume.

I've found 300k volume pots to be much more gently balanced than 500k pots on LPs, to the point my LPs are the only guitars I own that don't have treble bleeds. And no, you won't miss the hair of extra treble that comes with 500k volume pots. People make it seem as if it were night and day, which is not true.
 

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One side of it is, as @ARandall said, modern wiring. Going for 50s does help your case.

Another thing is that if I remember correctly, 2018s have 500k volume pots. 500k pots, when compared to lower values like 300k, tend to make this treble-sucking situation worse. This is due to the immense series resistance you apply to the circuit as you roll down the volume.

I've found 300k volume pots to be much more gently balanced than 500k pots on LPs, to the point my LPs are the only guitars I own that don't have treble bleeds. And no, you won't miss the hair of extra treble that comes with 500k volume pots. People make it seem as if it were night and day, which is not true.

I think this may explain why my 2000 Classic pots (300k vol. 550k tone) can be roll'd down further than my 2018 Trad which most likely has 500k throughout and cannot be rolled down very much at all.


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ACEit

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specs says they should be 500k .. but the same was for my 2017 trad ... and I find out they put 300 K volumes instead...
the guitar had a lot of "growl"... but was really muddy... I rewired it with a set of 500k cts and PIO caps, '50 style... now it's a completely different beast.
Trying to find out the tone I like best I swapped many pickups.. and many magnets on them... with the stock wiring they all sound almost the same....as the wiring is a bottleneck... as soon as I trashed it I can really appreciate the difference between each set
 

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One side of it is, as @ARandall said, modern wiring. Going for 50s does help your case.

Another thing is that if I remember correctly, 2018s have 500k volume pots. 500k pots, when compared to lower values like 300k, tend to make this treble-sucking situation worse. This is due to the immense series resistance you apply to the circuit as you roll down the volume.

I've found 300k volume pots to be much more gently balanced than 500k pots on LPs, to the point my LPs are the only guitars I own that don't have treble bleeds. And no, you won't miss the hair of extra treble that comes with 500k volume pots. People make it seem as if it were night and day, which is not true.
It's because 300k pots start out darker so there is less range to roll off
 

Juan Wayne

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It's because 300k pots start out darker so there is less range to roll off
That's something that has been blown out of proportion over the years and is not all that accurate.

To put it into raw numbers, and all other variables being constant, 500k over 300k does increase the treble but only by a slight, and only a slight amount, which depends on the rest of the circuit. This is in the region of a couple hundred Hertz shift of the resonant peak, and with about 1dB increase of said peak. That's it.

This becomes not only negated but actually quite worsened the moment the volume goes below 9, and it is basically due to the huge amount of series resistance the 500k pot imposes on the circuit compared to the 300k pot.

50's wiring does help, but it also makes the frequency response more uneven as you go down the taper, which is especially noticeable in the way the resonant peak varies along the taper. The 300k pot is way more consistent in this regard as well.

All in all, the difference in behavior has little to do with the initial amount of treble. It's the nature of the circuit, and how unstable RLC circuits can become when you mess with just one variable.
 

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That's something that has been blown out of proportion over the years and is not all that accurate.

To put it into raw numbers, and all other variables being constant, 500k over 300k does increase the treble but only by a slight, and only a slight amount, which depends on the rest of the circuit. This is in the region of a couple hundred Hertz shift of the resonant peak, and with about 1dB increase of said peak. That's it.

This becomes not only negated but actually quite worsened the moment the volume goes below 9, and it is basically due to the huge amount of series resistance the 500k pot imposes on the circuit compared to the 300k pot.

50's wiring does help, but it also makes the frequency response more uneven as you go down the taper, which is especially noticeable in the way the resonant peak varies along the taper. The 300k pot is way more consistent in this regard as well.

All in all, the difference in behavior has little to do with the initial amount of treble. It's the nature of the circuit, and how unstable RLC circuits can become when you mess with just one variable.

Then, why does Gibson put the 500K pots in so many of their guitars? What players would be more likely to have an advantage 500k over 300k?


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AudioWonderland

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That's something that has been blown out of proportion over the years and is not all that accurate.

To put it into raw numbers, and all other variables being constant, 500k over 300k does increase the treble but only by a slight, and only a slight amount, which depends on the rest of the circuit. This is in the region of a couple hundred Hertz shift of the resonant peak, and with about 1dB increase of said peak. That's it.

This becomes not only negated but actually quite worsened the moment the volume goes below 9, and it is basically due to the huge amount of series resistance the 500k pot imposes on the circuit compared to the 300k pot.

50's wiring does help, but it also makes the frequency response more uneven as you go down the taper, which is especially noticeable in the way the resonant peak varies along the taper. The 300k pot is way more consistent in this regard as well.

All in all, the difference in behavior has little to do with the initial amount of treble. It's the nature of the circuit, and how unstable RLC circuits can become when you mess with just one variable.
In regards to 300 vs 500, the difference in perceived brightness ia not subtle at all. The taper of the pot impacts a lot of this as well
 

Juan Wayne

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In regards to 300 vs 500, the difference in perceived brightness ia not subtle at all. The taper of the pot impacts a lot of this as well
All I'm presenting you with is cold hard math, and those numbers are not wrong.

Psychoacoustics are another very different beast though (and a fascinating one to get into if you have the time). Try making the same adjustments I mentioned on any other environment you're not familiar with, and the results will most likely be subtle, because as a fact of actual electronics and to our hearing system, they are.

On this scenario though, expectancy becomes a big thing, and it's a case analogous to experiments like the famous cheese vs body odor test. The brain adjusts itself according to expectancy in the same way it'll adjust to expect varying results when changing capacitor types or swapping a PCB for PTP wiring. When there's nothing there'll be some, and when there's some it'll simply interpret a shitload.

It's in our nature, it's the topic of deep and intensive research and it's absolutely fascinating to look into, but none of us is free from it.

Now taper I never mentioned because it's irrelevant here. Taper is a correlation between physical movement and resistance variation, which has nothing to do with the frequency transfer function of the system. Plotting the frequency curve vs kOhms on a pot will yield identical results, no matter how those kOhms are physically distributed on the rotation range.

Then, why does Gibson put the 500K pots in so many of their guitars? What players would be more likely to have an advantage 500k over 300k?


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Probably for the same reason their necks break or Fender's bridges are still held by screws, 66% of which are useless to begin with. They tried with the 300k pots, and they were being yanked off left and right.

500k pots are simply more popular, no matter how I feel or think about it. We're a traditionalist crowd, we carry on with myths for generations (and ironically the internets have madde this phenomenon stronger than ever) and let's be fair, most of us aren't engineers or luthiers, so questioning these issues goes, more often than not, simply nowhere, and I would never be arrogant enough to believe anything I say will ever change that.

Hell I've argued here, and I shit you not, over cable insulation. I had a long, at moments kinda heated argument, about the sonic differences between cloth-insulated wire and plastic insulated wire, and at one point I simply gave up out of sheer boredom and frustration.

In the eyes of that person, cloth covered wire still sounds warmer.

Besides, 500k pots do start slightly brighter on 10, I'm not saying that part is wrong, I'm only pointing out the degree at which it's been overblown and how that is also taken away much more quickly compared to 300k pots. And of course, the volume on 10 is generally your first impression of the guitar. Then it'll turn to mud, but could you imagine if they even dared adding a treble bleed to compensate for that?

Nah, they let the customer spend their extra 150 bucks on a "boutique" wiring made outta stuff you can buy for pennies and save themselves the shitshow.
 

AudioWonderland

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All I'm presenting you with is cold hard math, and those numbers are not wrong.

Psychoacoustics are another very different beast though (and a fascinating one to get into if you have the time). Try making the same adjustments I mentioned on any other environment you're not familiar with, and the results will most likely be subtle, because as a fact of actual electronics and to our hearing system, they are.

On this scenario though, expectancy becomes a big thing, and it's a case analogous to experiments like the famous cheese vs body odor test. The brain adjusts itself according to expectancy in the same way it'll adjust to expect varying results when changing capacitor types or swapping a PCB for PTP wiring. When there's nothing there'll be some, and when there's some it'll simply interpret a shitload.

It's in our nature, it's the topic of deep and intensive research and it's absolutely fascinating to look into, but none of us is free from it.

Now taper I never mentioned because it's irrelevant here. Taper is a correlation between physical movement and resistance variation, which has nothing to do with the frequency transfer function of the system. Plotting the frequency curve vs kOhms on a pot will yield identical results, no matter how those kOhms are physically distributed on the rotation range.



Probably for the same reason their necks break or Fender's bridges are still held by screws, 66% of which are useless to begin with. They tried with the 300k pots, and they were being yanked off left and right.

500k pots are simply more popular, no matter how I feel or think about it. We're a traditionalist crowd, we carry on with myths for generations (and ironically the internets have madde this phenomenon stronger than ever) and let's be fair, most of us aren't engineers or luthiers, so questioning these issues goes, more often than not, simply nowhere, and I would never be arrogant enough to believe anything I say will ever change that.

Hell I've argued here, and I shit you not, over cable insulation. I had a long, at moments kinda heated argument, about the sonic differences between cloth-insulated wire and plastic insulated wire, and at one point I simply gave up out of sheer boredom and frustration.

In the eyes of that person, cloth covered wire still sounds warmer.

Besides, 500k pots do start slightly brighter on 10, I'm not saying that part is wrong, I'm only pointing out the degree at which it's been overblown and how that is also taken away much more quickly compared to 300k pots. And of course, the volume on 10 is generally your first impression of the guitar. Then it'll turn to mud, but could you imagine if they even dared adding a treble bleed to compensate for that?

Nah, they let the customer spend their extra 150 bucks on a "boutique" wiring made outta stuff you can buy for pennies and save themselves the shitshow.
There is a difference between theory and real world. A small difference can still be significant. We can talk expectancy if you like but 250k vs 500k makes a very audible difference everything else being equal. Sure you could adjust the eq but that is not always an option for example when balancing your strat to work with the rig that needs to work with a lp also
 

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There is a difference between theory and real world. A small difference can still be significant. We can talk expectancy if you like but 250k vs 500k makes a very audible difference everything else being equal. Sure you could adjust the eq but that is not always an option for example when balancing your strat to work with the rig that needs to work with a lp also
I will repeat myself once more for the sake of clarity, just in case someone else stumbles upon this thread at some point and leaves more confused that they were when they arrived here, but I beg of you, read what I'm saying before eagerly jumping into trying to counterpoint just for the fuck of it:

I'm not arguing your point!

A 500k potentiometer will objectively "sound brighter" than a 250k potentiometer, both on 10, both on the same circuit; that is a fact, and it is something that can easily be determined by analizing the circuit and then actually corroborated by performing real world testing. Again, we agree here!

The magnitude of this however, is not as relevant for the matter of the original question, which is what I was originally replying to, and I mention this for two reasons:

1- 1dB is one dB, even when that 1dB is located somewhere around 2.5kHz which, according to the well known Fletcher-Munson curves, lands right where out hearing system is most sensitive, depending of course on gender, age and not to be ignored, predisposition to end result. I'm not being an ironic ass here, these are tested factors with several biologic and evolutionary explanations.

2- The topic here was treble loss as the volume is turned down, to which I presented one very relevant factor that such an issue can be attributed to. Your reply disregarding this proposition by stating that it's simply a lack of range to roll off from the get go is wrong, not because there is no such difference, but because the treble loss that occurs with a 500k pot is way more significant than that of a 300k pot, compared to the difference that can be attributed to the initial conditions.

Take a Fender Jaguar as an example if my stupid theory is not enough. People don't simply ditch 1M volume pots because of how bright they "sound", they do so because the thing is unusable below 9, a much more extreme case of what I'm saying here, and due to the exact same reason.

This is not a thing of theory vs real world. The infamous "difference between theory and real world " is the science equivalent to to "liar liar pants on fire", it's like arguing the earth is flat 'cause you can see the edge, that there's no such thing as solar wind 'cause the flag on the moon is right there where they left it, and is exactly what I was referring to when I said I once argued the sonic properties of insulation on a cable and in a way, I think I lost.
 

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What puzzles me though, is the relationship between volume numbers (1 to 10) on Les Paul volume controls. To get my first impression of a new (to me) Les Paul is to put the volumes @ 10 to start. Next I begin turning them down to lower numbers to see where the bright sound on “10” diminishes to almost no edge to the tone. At the point I'm hearing a smooth balanced tone. Turning down further is where the tone muddies up some....not liking what I hear. However, I'm playing in my living room or rec room. it works for me

Next I turn my up my amp, but instead of starting @10 on the guitar because it’s way too loud for the room, I drop guitar volume to around +-7. Now @ 7 I find that I don't have that really bright tone as described above. It's not quite that smooth tone either....not liking what I hear again. I think at this point if I turned my amp up to 3/4 volume, I'd regain that bright tone!? Again, way too loud. When I read about people playing with guitar volume at less than 4, I wonder at what volume their amp s turned up?

Will I benefit more with the 300k or the 500k pots in the 2nd. scenario?


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What puzzles me though, is the relationship between volume numbers (1 to 10) on Les Paul volume controls. To get my first impression of a new (to me) Les Paul is to put the volumes @ 10 to start. Next I begin turning them down to lower numbers to see where the bright sound on “10” diminishes to almost no edge to the tone. At the point I'm hearing a smooth balanced tone. Turning down further is where the tone muddies up some....not liking what I hear. However, I'm playing in my living room or rec room. it works for me

Next I turn my up my amp, but instead of starting @10 on the guitar because it’s way too loud for the room, I drop guitar volume to around +-7. Now @ 7 I find that I don't have that really bright tone as described above. It's not quite that smooth tone either....not liking what I hear again. I think at this point if I turned my amp up to 3/4 volume, I'd regain that bright tone!? Again, way too loud. When I read about people playing with guitar volume at less than 4, I wonder at what volume their amp s turned up?

Will I benefit more with the 300k or the 500k pots in the 2nd. scenario?


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The best advice I can give you brother is to try it ALL. Ya know? Get in there and experiment. :cheers2:
 


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