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

jk60LPTH

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The deep dive that Adinol posted is based on a law developed based on the work of a physician/physiologist and a psychologist/physicist in the 1800's, the Weber-Fechner Law. The law basically states that the response of a sense organ is proportional to the logarithm of the stimulus. In simple terms, at lower levels of audio a smaller change in source audio level is required for the same perceived change in audio level than at higher levels of source audio where a much larger change in the source audio level is required for the same perceived level of change.
The law is accurate over most of the range of human hearing, but at the extremes deviates slightly, however, considering the tools available at Weber and Fechner's time their law was remarkably accurate.
 

lostmarble

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try a no load pot on your tone and i aways use 0.022 bummblebee on a standard
 

MyGuitar

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10% std audio tapers are a little bit to "audio" for guitars. In my opinion around 20-25% works better. It is a compromise between std 10% audio taper and std 50% linear taper. Some manufacturers (including Bourns) are marking this "audio" % number following way: 10A500K = 10% audio taper 500kohm resistance. Or 15A250K = 15% audio taper 250kohm resistance, or A1 to A6 at the end of value. A1 = 5%, A2 = 10%, A3 = 15%, A4 = 20%, A5 = 25%, A6 = 30%. For example 1MA2 = 10% audio taper 1mohm resistance.
All the same with reversed "left hand" audio tapers, marked C, for example 25C100K - 25% reversed audio taper 100kohm resistance (or 100KC5).
So named "linear" tapers are different too, midpoint is 50%, but tapers in between midpoint and sides can be different, so named "S" tapers (generally used in EQs). Really linear taper is just marked 0B (or B0 at the end). But marked 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B (or B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 at the end) are more and more "S" tapers. Look for more info here: https://www.bourns.com/docs/product-datasheets/PDB24.pdf
 

Sct13

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To simplify

Whatever taper best best provides a slope of volume swell or roll off without getting muddy as the roll off occurs. This coupled with the taper actually being a taper and NOT an on/ off switch at position 5 ....thats all that is necessary.

Most players of rock and blues, while playing live ....will not be able to control these to the minutia. I roll off and on to "about" 5 up to about 10.... and then off.....there is very little time to control that knob to 2 or 7, realistically....

What is massively important is that the tone does not change when rolling off from 10 to 5 and 5 to 1 ....just less volume ....

A really well made pot can seem increase gain at 9 and 10 ....but its not adding anything ....it just no longer grounding signal, its "wide open" there is no (or very little resistance) so the amp input is getting all the volts that pick up is putting out....

How do we know which pots will do this for a humbucker....? Audition a bunch and get to know how to actually adjust you volume when you play.....

Depending on what your looking for in tone 500k pots can a do do get up to 560k they are just not "rated" above 500k ....therin lies the beast ....
 

guitardon

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Woa, this is a lot of information. I have seen posts about “they’re using this or that pot” on the forum. This thread has been an education. I really don’t totally get it, when I play the pots in my guitar work just fine but I never realized all the possibilities. From what I’m reading, tone pots have less change as you turn the knob. And volume pots change the volume starting at maybe two o’clock on 10 percent pots. What are they putting in CS guitars. At least that is what it seems like what y’all saying. I appreciate all the experts that have chimed in.
 

IGRocker

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Another forum dealer for the pots is Jonesy. I've got a couple of his and am very happy.
+1. I have one of his harnesses in a Strat and it is fantastic. I plan on buying another for my next Les Paul
 


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