500k Pot Questions

Gutch220

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Guitar in question - 2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Hi, I've been thinking about swapping out my 300k pots to 500k pots (does this make a notice able difference?).......but I encountered several variables that I thought would be good to ask about as to what to buy.
Firstly, the length, there are 3/8" bushings and 1/2" bushings, what about shaft length? My guitar has the metal plate between the wood body and pots so I'm thinking I'd need the 1/2" bushing.

What about shaft length and whether or not it's a split shaft or not?

What about taper? Linear or audio? In other electronics I have (like volume pedals) I prefer linear tapers since it seems smother an less of an on/off switch

I've heard good things about CTS pots, but are there other "better" ones, or are CTS the gold standard. Do companies measure the pots before hand?

As for installing, is it a matter of removing the old one and soldering in the new one the same way? I noticed that wires that aren't necessarily ground wires are soldered to the back of the pot (as if the shielding is soldered to the pot, I'll post a photo later today).

So, can a link(s) be posted to the exact pot I will need?

Thanks, I know this I a lot of questions
 

CerebralGasket

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All the questions you asked except for the pot shaft length and type are a matter of personal preference. I have never felt the need to swap out pots on a Gibson unless it was damaged beyond repair.

You should remove a pot to see what type and length the shafts are in your guitar. All the Gibsons that I have owned in the past have split shafts with splines. Pots with long shafts are compatible with all Les Pauls whether they have a maple cap or not. Many pots will provide an extra spacer nut for use inside the control cavity to allow for adjustment of how high the shaft sits above the top.

Audio vs linear taper, value, etc is all subjective.

One pot is not "better" than another. Some have tighter tolerances and measure closer to the specified value of said pot.

All connections soldered to the back of the pot casing are ground. With the vintage cloth covered style wiring, the outer braided shielding is ground and the inner conductor is the hot.
 
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irocdave12

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If you have the metal ground plate the pots will be 3/4 inch shaft length. Most Gibsons use that size anyway plate or no plate. The bushings you talk about are usually associated with tuners not pots. There are metric pots and standard pots. Import guitars are usually metric and need to be drilled out larger to use the standard pots. USA Gibson’s will have standard pots already. Most people choose the audio taper pots. You can’t go wrong with CTS pots. Check out RS guitarworks they got everything you need.
 

Gutch220

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yea, but I was looking for more subjective input, peoples' experiences. And I have read about them, but I don't assume I've learned everything. The reason I only have one post is because I rarely -if ever- do any work on guitars; only amps.

It seems like audio taper is much more common than linear.

It seems like these would be good.

The main thing I'd like to know is, through your own experiences, does switching from 300k to 500k make a significant noticeable difference? Does the difference come through with different amps more/less?

Thanks



20190817_095641.jpg
 
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Gtarzan81

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yea, but I was looking for more subjective input, peoples' experiences. And I have read about them, but I don't assume I've learned everything. The reason I only have one post is because I rarely -if ever- do any work on guitars; only amps.

It seems like audio taper is much more common than linear.

It seems like these would be good.

The main thing I'd like to know is, through your own experiences, does switching from 300k to 500k make a significant noticeable difference? Does the difference come through with different amps more/less?

Thanks
I like linear taper for volumes. Otherwise you get a big jump from 8-10.
 

Roxy13

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Your guitar, more likely than not, uses long shaft pots. I have it in my head that only the Historic Reissues use short shaft, but the best way to tell of course is to pull out your pots and find out. I have no idea what vintage Gibsons use, but probably short shaft?

You should do some reading about Modern vs. 50's wiring as well to see if you can decide which you prefer.

Most use 0.022 uF caps in both positions or one 0.022 uF on the bridge and a 0.015 uF on the neck. I have some each way in my own guitars. But, if you are only wiring up one guitar then that is worth investigating as well. I do have one guitar that has a 0.018 uF on the neck.

I either use CTS pots from The Art of Tone or the VIPots from Vintage Inspired Pickups if I'm using US spec pots (which I almost always do).
 

PierM

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The main thing I'd like to know is, through your own experiences, does switching from 300k to 500k make a significant noticeable difference? Does the difference come through with different amps more/less?

Thanks



View attachment 400177
Of course it does make a difference, and that’s not subjective, it’s physics.

A raw pickup signal (without circuits in the middle) has all its frequency spectrum available. A 300K resistance is lower than a 500K, which means that more high frequencies are being spilled to ground (this is what a pot does). This means that a 500K pot will give you back the higher spectrum of your pickups (because the resistance its higher does preserve more), making the guitar brighter.
 
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tolm

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I usually go with 500K pots with both humbuckers and P90s - often the 550K Bare Knuckle recommend. Normally I’ve had that done for me by a local tech.

On the rare occasion I’ve changed pots myself (often done pickups but not often the whole harness!) one occasion was to switch out a 330K pot used on the neck pickup of a Firebird for a 500K one as I felt the neck pickup sounded too dark. It certainly worked for brightening that sound so it definitely can/will make a difference.

I guess the question is, what are you wanting to achieve?
 

CB91710

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I guess the question is, what are you wanting to achieve?
This is key.
If you like the way the guitar sounds now, you may not like it after the change.
Lower value pots are typically found in single coil guitars because they help restrain the brightness, though Gibson has generally used higher values with the P90.
The tone cap selection also impacts the tone... even if you're the kind of guy who never touches the tone pot. Effectively, a 250k tone pot will sound identical to a 500k tone pot at mid sweep (not exactly "5" but wherever the value reaches 250k)

Don't fix what ain't broke.... but if you actually want to impart a change, let us know what you want to do.
 

dodona

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Guitar in question - 2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Hi, I've been thinking about swapping out my 300k pots to 500k pots (does this make a notice able difference?)..
it will become slightly harsher.
 

Gutch220

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Don't fix what ain't broke.... but if you actually want to impart a change, let us know what you want to do.
It's definitely not broke. I am perfectly satisfied with what I've got now but I 'don't know what I don't know'.....maybe I would love 500k pots even more. It would be more of an experimental thing. And for only $10 per pot, it's a pretty cheap/reversible experiment. Right now I've got stock 490R/498T pick-ups and 300k pots. So 300k are to be darker, but since I play brighter amps (JCM800 2203, JCM900 4100, AC30) perhaps it balances out, but I'm also intrigued about the hotter signal I'd get with 500k pots. But I also have a germanium treble boost I really like which (I'm guessing) effects tone MUCH more than any potentiometer value in terms of boost/brightness.

But now you've got me thinking of the multitude of types of capacitors that I know nothing about, and down the rabbit hole I go. Is there a resource online which summarize the different types, sounds, pro/cons?

How do 490R/498T pick-ups compare to other common LP pick-ups? I don't have the luxury of trying many different types so perhaps somebody who owns different kinds will have good first-hand knowledge.
(Basically I have a bone-stock 2001 LP Std, there's no way I could afford to have a dozen Les Pauls with all different kinds of options)
 

zombiwoof

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The 3/8" bushing pots are standard short shaft, the shorter bushing ones (I thought they were 1/4") are made for Fender guitars that have pot shafts that only go through the plastic pickguard. The Fender labeled pots and some other CTS (like the 450 series) have the shorter bushings. Long shaft has the 3/4" length bushings.

Going from 300k to 500k will brighten the sound. I like audio pots all around. Gibsons with 300k usually already have 500k tone pots, so only replace the volumes unless you want to get better 500k's for the tones.

I would look for the audio pots with the custom or vintage audio taper, these have a smoother taper, like the pots in the 50's guitars. The Vintage audio taper is 30% audio taper, stock CTS these days have 10% audio taper, which is more abrupt in transition from dark to bright.
Al
 

irocdave12

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It's definitely not broke. I am perfectly satisfied with what I've got now but I 'don't know what I don't know'.....maybe I would love 500k pots even more. It would be more of an experimental thing. And for only $10 per pot, it's a pretty cheap/reversible experiment. Right now I've got stock 490R/498T pick-ups and 300k pots. So 300k are to be darker, but since I play brighter amps (JCM800 2203, JCM900 4100, AC30) perhaps it balances out, but I'm also intrigued about the hotter signal I'd get with 500k pots. But I also have a germanium treble boost I really like which (I'm guessing) effects tone MUCH more than any potentiometer value in terms of boost/brightness.

But now you've got me thinking of the multitude of types of capacitors that I know nothing about, and down the rabbit hole I go. Is there a resource online which summarize the different types, sounds, pro/cons?

How do 490R/498T pick-ups compare to other common LP pick-ups? I don't have the luxury of trying many different types so perhaps somebody who owns different kinds will have good first-hand knowledge.
(Basically I have a bone-stock 2001 LP Std, there's no way I could afford to have a dozen Les Pauls with all different kinds of options)
 

Cjsinla

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500k pots won’t give you extra gain. Also, you don’t need the grounding wire on the back of the pots when you have the metal plate, the plate is used to ground the pots.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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To address something asked that seems to have gone unanswered thus far: Split-shaft pots are splined, and are for use with push-on knobs, such as one finds on pretty much every Les Paul ever; solid-shaft pots are for use with that are secured by a set-screw , such as are used on Telecasters.

When I redid my Tele, I used audio on the volume & linear on the tone; when I redid my Sheraton, I went all-audio. I am happy with both.
 

laterider

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It's definitely not broke. I am perfectly satisfied with what I've got now but I 'don't know what I don't know'.....maybe I would love 500k pots even more. It would be more of an experimental thing. And for only $10 per pot, it's a pretty cheap/reversible experiment. Right now I've got stock 490R/498T pick-ups and 300k pots. So 300k are to be darker, but since I play brighter amps (JCM800 2203, JCM900 4100, AC30) perhaps it balances out, but I'm also intrigued about the hotter signal I'd get with 500k pots. But I also have a germanium treble boost I really like which (I'm guessing) effects tone MUCH more than any potentiometer value in terms of boost/brightness.

But now you've got me thinking of the multitude of types of capacitors that I know nothing about, and down the rabbit hole I go. Is there a resource online which summarize the different types, sounds, pro/cons?

How do 490R/498T pick-ups compare to other common LP pick-ups? I don't have the luxury of trying many different types so perhaps somebody who owns different kinds will have good first-hand knowledge.
(Basically I have a bone-stock 2001 LP Std, there's no way I could afford to have a dozen Les Pauls with all different kinds of options)

I am a big fan of the 490/498 pickups but with 500K pots. I found the tone with the 490/498 and 300K pots to have more mids then I like and pretty much feel like they are too muddy when overdriven, especially the bridge.
With 500k pots and 490/498 its so different to my ears and they sound perfect for over driven applications.
This is just me, YMMV.
 




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