Tapered pots, how they work and is one better than the other

guitardon

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Hello all, I’ve been hanging around the forum on and off for years but not much the last few years so I havent followed all the newer changes. I see lots on posts about the tapered pots and other things like potted and un-potted pups. I can see where changes to pups would make a difference but I don’t understand how pots can translate to better sound. I would appreciate if someone would fill me in.
 

guitardon

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Generally speaking, there are two types of tapers for guitar pots... audio and linear. They respond to turning differently, but full out on 10 at 500Kohms they will sound the same. Check this out.

https://www.hoaglandcustom.com/2017/05/15/hello-world/



If you really want to nerd out, there's this...

https://www.amplifiedparts.com/tech-articles/potentiometer-taper-charts
Great article, thanks. So what did it hey use in the 50’s? Is the point on forum that they come stock with audio taper for volume and folks prefer linear taper for volume? Or the other way around or what?
 

Rocco Crocco

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Conventional wisdom is to use audio taper for volume and linear taper for tone. Audio pots have a more gradual taper. People have different preferences. I like audio taper for volume. I don't know what they used in the 50's but I am sure someone else will chime in.
 

guitardon

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Conventional wisdom is to use audio taper for volume and linear taper for tone. Audio pots have a more gradual taper. People have different preferences. I like audio taper for volume. I don't know what they used in the 50's but I am sure someone else will chime in.
Thanks. Just seems to me I’ve seen it pop up here in there on the the forum. I do remember people saying Gibson or they change the pots. So I assumed it had to do with audio versus linear taper. Thanks for responding
 
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Kennoyce

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I'm pretty sure what you are talking about is that the Audio taper used in pots has changed from what was used in the 50s. Audio taper basically means that the resistance of the pot changes in a logarithmic manner. In the 50s the standard audio taper used in pots followed a different logarithmic curve than the audio taper used in modern pots. I know there are some specialized places to get audio taper pots like what was used in the 50s, but I don't know who makes them off the top of my head.
 

guitardon

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I'm pretty sure what you are talking about is that the Audio taper used in pots has changed from what was used in the 50s. Audio taper basically means that the resistance of the pot changes in a logarithmic manner. In the 50s the standard audio taper used in pots followed a different logarithmic curve than the audio taper used in modern pots. I know there are some specialized places to get audio taper pots like what was used in the 50s, but I don't know who makes them off the top of my head.
Wow, What type do recent CS have. If they are not like the ones in the 50’s I guess they can include them in another year and claim the new models are more historically correct and justification for a price increase.
 

strat1701

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If you can find them, get a MSSC holy grail harness. If you want taper, there is no substitute IMHO. I have them in 2 of my guitars, world of difference.

The 60th anniversary R9's from 2019 were the first to have 'new' electronics and un-potted custom buckers. They're better than the previous historic and TH reissues electronics. I've yet to play a 2020 reissue so I dunno if they were improved from the 2019 ones.

I sum it up like, pre-2019 reissues/TH/CC runs you had ZERO taper from 0-3 on the knob, then a bit more from 4-6 and then past 8 it was all the same. Very small difference. Post 2019, I noticed a difference for sure in the 7-10 range.

Nothing comapres to the lower end taper the aftermarket electronics give you though, my MSSC harness is noticeably different from 0-2.
 

Kennoyce

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Wow, What type do recent CS have. If they are not like the ones in the 50’s I guess they can include them in another year and claim the new models are more historically correct and justification for a price increase.
Unfortunately, this is not my area of expertise, I know it is something that is talked about, and I know that there are a few pots on the market that have the same taper as the 50s LPs, but I couldn't tell you which manufacturers do or don't have it.
 

guitardon

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If you can find them, get a MSSC holy grail harness. If you want taper, there is no substitute IMHO. I have them in 2 of my guitars, world of difference.

The 60th anniversary R9's from 2019 were the first to have 'new' electronics and un-potted custom buckers. They're better than the previous historic and TH reissues electronics. I've yet to play a 2020 reissue so I dunno if they were improved from the 2019 ones.

I sum it up like, pre-2019 reissues/TH/CC runs you had ZERO taper from 0-3 on the knob, then a bit more from 4-6 and then past 8 it was all the same. Very small difference. Post 2019, I noticed a difference for sure in the 7-10 range.

Nothing comapres to the lower end taper the aftermarket electronics give you though, my MSSC harness is noticeably different from 0-2.
Thanks, this was the type of answer I was looking for. So if I understand this correctly the ones Gibson puts in has no difference from 0 to 3 and 7 to 10 so there’s very little adjustability. Although I do think I hear a difference in the 7 to 10 range when I’m lowering my volume. I don’t think I want to change mine I like to keep my guitar stock and it’s not driving me crazy. But it’s something I wanted to know in case I ever change my mind. So thanks.
 

guitardon

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Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind if I ever want to change them.
I now realize my subject was vague, I meant to ask for an explanation of tapered pots. I read here and there something about tapered pots and wanted to know what was up. Another member filled me in about the different types of pots and the number value where you can hear a difference. I don’t plan on changing anything for now. Sorry for my misleading title of this post. I’ve never delved into the electronics. I see all the time that this pot has different ohms than another pots. Same with pups. People are saying I like this one and that. Again I like to keep mine stock
 

goldtop0

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For many years I thought that audio taper was the gradual incremental 1 2 3 etc increase to 10.........that is wrong, that's linear taper as I now know.
 

guitardon

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Well I hate to argue with the experts but the post that said no gain til #3 on the volume knob and no affect after you reach #7. That isn’t the case with my 2018. The sound kicked in at 2 and consistently through 10. There was not a leveling at 7 and not going higher. What am I missing?
 

MCT

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'58-'60 LP Standards, as far as I know, all used audio taper pots, with a 10% taper. The "vintage taper" marketing for a lot of aftermarket pots is 25-30% taper, which is NOT what vintage LP's were. Which taper is better is a matter of opinion, but the fact is that Centralab pots in Bursts were C2's, which was a 10% taper.
 

Sct13

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Wiring ....don't forget "how" they are wired together....it must be "50's wiring" to work properly....if they are wired 70's or modern, there is a noticeable blanket thrown over the highs as you turn the pots down....as the these frequencies are shunted differently.

Also .....the audio taper that were made in the 50's had a kick in the end ....(some, not all) where the pot seems to open wide as if kicking in the Nitrus Oxide ....Some CTS pots have this. Its as if all resistance drops out and you get pure pickup.

Traynor Amps used a pot that did this on some of their amp's (I have one from 1967) Where it actually does go past 11 .....
 


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