- Sep 13, 2009
- Reaction score
1st of all a 500K pot will have a tolerance rating on it 5%, 10%, or 20% typcially . In the old days the tolerances would likely less stringent due to manufacturing processes (ie more drift from the ideal). With today's modern processes, ISO certification and qualification testing done it's unlikely there's much drift.Back to pots and caps
I love watching Peter Green, Eric Clapton and others - when they are playing they are using the middle pickup selector and rolling volume back and forth to express the music they are playing even more
When I started trying to emulate the tone they were getting [tone=for want of a better word] I found when rolling off the volume it would dive... it took me a while to research why this was happening - leading me to this forum funnily enough.
Once I bought a soldering iron and started pulling pots I did find that the CTS pots even had different ranges, so matching them up really does make sense for example, say one volume pot reads 510 and the other 370 [it does happen] you'll find the tolerences are messed up enough to cause irritation at the most I guess, that's what I found.
So I started matching tolerences with volume pots and found that when they are very close the adjustment I make when playing are consistent.
I guess this is what we are looking for = consistency.
I probably would have easily spent 50 - 100 dollars on pots in the end, from Ebay and stewmac etc.. so to find someone who specializes in them and is matching them up etc, and providing the readings, to me is enticing. Certainly with capacitors too already soldered is just easy - specially if recommended - personally I do a lot of soldering myself these days - but for the person who buys stuff cheap they might find it hard going and end up making a mess [I know I did at first] - also caps is a subjective thing , I had the Russian caps and they were great, in the end I went for the repro bumble bees - same tone, but I admit I thought I was getting a real reproduction, not an encased 5cent cap... but that's another topic
Tone pots i'm not to fussed about, as I rarely touch them, but I can see that some people would want both pots on a Les Paul tone controls to be matched - makes sense to me.
Does Gibson tightly tolerate the pots they wack in?
So that being said a 500K pot with 20% tolerance can range from 400K to 600K, with 10% it can range from 450K to 550K. With 5% it's 475K to 525K. If it's outside of thoser ranges it's defective, period.
Gibson should not have to screen electronic components, that is a component manufacturer's job and is a normal expectation in the industry (I know, I'm in the industry we make Miltary Communicatiosn Equipment and it has to perform with tight specifications).
I did a quick search and surprisingly the CS Models show 500K 5% tolerance in the specs. (Couldn't see anything on my quick look at the THs and I've no idea what was spec'ed in years past) But that is certainly a decent pot. as far as tolernace goes provided they come from a good manufacturer.
What they don't show is the taper! Example - CTS 450G series guitar pots have 8 options to choose from.
I'd suspect this is more important than actual resistance values for adjustment. Especially if you like the "middle" position as it puts all four controls (2 DC & 2 AC)in parallel! The volumes would be 250K DC resistance across the pickups instead of 500K (at full volume) and paralleling would reduce the amount of total deviation from the readings between the two controls.
In the good ole days there wasn't much control on amplifiers except by playing with the amp's panel mounted controls, so many guitars had to use the contrtols on their guitars because they had no other option.
Today you can do a lot with your feet as well with remote controls available.
The input impedance of the amplifier is important as well, it is in parallel with your guitars controls. If the amps impedance is much greater than 1Mohm (solid state input) the effect of the controls will be different that of a old style tube amp that often has DC load across the input of a few hundred Kohm to 1Mohm.