Best Centralab replicas?

LawDaddy

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IIRC, Centralabs pots had a low-torque feel. Is that correct? If so wouldn't the Bourns low-torque pots get you in the ballpark, feel-wise? I get them for about $4/ea from Mouser:

PDB241-GTR03-504A2 Bourns Potentiometers

I don't know about the taper, but they are my favorite pots on two of my LPs.
 

Quill

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Hey, maybe the Bourns pots are worth a try. I've found it quite frustrating that I can't seem to get the feel I'm after in an upgraded pot - yet I have a PRS that has an incredibly loose volume pot, completely stock; the guitar has all kinds of high end, the pot has a very useful "jump" between 9 and 10 that works well as a boost, and then smooth roll-off from 8 down to zero - and I really doubt it's a $15-$25 part.

I have appreciated the sound and to some extent the tapers of the better pots I've tried - just never the feel. It's hard to find.
 

LawDaddy

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Hey, maybe the Bourns pots are worth a try. I've found it quite frustrating that I can't seem to get the feel I'm after in an upgraded pot - yet I have a PRS that has an incredibly loose volume pot, completely stock; the guitar has all kinds of high end, the pot has a very useful "jump" between 9 and 10 that works well as a boost, and then smooth roll-off from 8 down to zero - and I really doubt it's a $15-$25 part.

I have appreciated the sound and to some extent the tapers of the better pots I've tried - just never the feel. It's hard to find.

You are describing the feel of the Bourns exactly to me. And I like the taper better than some of the "custom" taper pots, especially when mixing the pickups in the middle position. Give them a try. Hard to go wrong at $4.20. :)
 

raul

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Dr. Vintage pots are the closest thing I have found to old Centralabs. Only pots I've installed that instantly felt "right" as opposed to feeling like a new pot.
 

Sterling # Sound

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Dr. Vintage pots are the closest thing I have found to old Centralabs. Only pots I've installed that instantly felt "right" as opposed to feeling like a new pot.

Are they selected CTS pots? Like RS Super Pots?
 

raul

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What I mean is that they are selected based on readout value, within tight tolerances.. but not necessarily a 1:1 copy of a Centralab.

The Dr. V pots are made to Rick's specs, so yes, they would have to be within tight tolerances. Rick would be the best bet for your questions though. Check out Dr. V's site for all the info on the pots, or send him an email.

Personally, when it comes to pots, I've never paid too much attention to the criteria/jargon that has now become standard when it comes to discussing pots. By that, I mean 5% or 10% tolerances, "matched sets", values over 500k, etc. Especially when you consider that the Gibson workers in the '50s never agonized about the values or which pot went in which position (neck or bridge?) they just grabbed a handful of pots out of the bin and soldered them in!

But, there are a definitely lot of crappy pots out there, so you definitely need to try various pots to find ones that work for you. I prefer the sound (taper) and feel (turning torque) of vintage Centralab pots. If your playing style is such that you adjust your volume and tone a lot while playing, you can't beat the feel of a nicely broken in vintage pot IMO. To me, the Dr. V pots react and sound the way a vintage pot does.
 

Sterling # Sound

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Raul, appreciate your insightful comments. I should definitely check these out some time.
 

zoork_1

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Some years ago I read that Hamer use(d) an excellent taper with a ratio close to Centralab's. So I mailed Hamer but never got any response... :-(
 

Sterling # Sound

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If you can find them. Only thing I dislike about them (maybe it has changed) is the low friction feel... which is too fast for me.
 

rabidhamster

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A lot of prs folks use a rubber washer on the pot under the knob for a friction adjustment
 

rabidhamster

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PRS is where its at for now. Still dont have the thick thick traces like the old school CRL stuff.

The problem with a company making a new replica of them is no company makes pots like they used to. So pretty much for a company or person to do it, they'd have to come up with the formula they used for a carbon composition trace at CRL, and then make a silk screen or some sort to deposit the layer thickly enough.
 

zoork_1

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I bought a complete harness with centralab pots and Sprauge Black Beauties for my R9. Superb control and feeling when rollin' of vol, etc.... :cool:
 

cooljuk

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oh boy! What timing. What until you guys see what I did yesterday. ;) I'll subscribe and post pix tonight.

Mike (or anyone, really) - regarding the TVTs - what do you think of the turning torque? The (burst era) Centralabs that I've used have all been much much looser. …but were also 50 years old. I'm in the process of having some look-alike / act-alike / feel-alike replicas made now and I don't know what to specify for the turning torque. Much appreciated.
 

lexluthier

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I've been using the newer Dimarzio/CTS pots, nice taper and feel, and don't cost a kings ransom. If you pop them open and take out the grease they turn even easier. I've got a bunch of NOS Centralabs, but I'd rather use those for really special guitars or restoration, the Dimarzio/CTS pots work fine for me and I use my volume pots a lot.
 

maverick08

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I like the torque on the TVT pots, they are reasonably smooth.

My only burst era guitar (a 1960 MM) has very loose centralabs, as you have described. I quite like them but they seem a bit too fast at times. A little bit more friction would be perfect for me.


oh boy! What timing. What until you guys see what I did yesterday. ;) I'll subscribe and post pix tonight.

Mike (or anyone, really) - regarding the TVTs - what do you think of the turning torque? The (burst era) Centralabs that I've used have all been much much looser. …but were also 50 years old. I'm in the process of having some look-alike / act-alike / feel-alike replicas made now and I don't know what to specify for the turning torque. Much appreciated.
 

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