volumes interaction in middle position

ACEit

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I swapped the original PCB on my trad for a set of "vintage" cts and quality caps, wired '50 style.
on all my gibsons when in middle position if you have both volumes at 10 the sound is a bit "dull" ( I don't know how to better describe it ) and when you roll back one of the volumes at 9 the sound "open up" whith a sligthly increase in volume... turning down the volume more make things going as expected.

In this case with both volume at 10 the drop in loudess between midlle and the other two positions is more evident and the sound is totally lifless... rolling back the volume solve the situation as above BUT it seems that the pickup that remains at 10 prevail immediatly over the other one... so if you turn down neck at 9 there will be quite no difference between middle position and bridge alone... and the reverse.

Let's say that cts "vintage" are CRAP. they should be best of both world between linear and logaritmic, with a ramp of 70/30.. but it makes almost impossible to control volume as it all happens from 10 to 7.
Moreover the set is perfectly balanced.... I mean... ALL the pots intended for 500k are around 470k ( from 470k to 473k )... the result is that it darkened the sound ..especially at the bridge....
I wanted to try them but is just a waste of money...

:shock:


the question is... WHY all "two humbucker" guitars behave that way in middle position ... ?

there is a way to solve the matter ?
 

DarrellV

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My 82 Standard does the same thing. I usually crack one of the volumes back a whisker to clear it up as you say. It's all OEM stuff so I know it's not me.

I've always attributed the loss and compression of the volume to phase interaction between the 2 pups.

Each pup is seeing the same signal, but from a different point on the string. The neck getting a stronger signal with more fundamental than the bridge pup, which would see more overtones than fundamental.

Since every sound we hear can be reduced to a few simple wave-forms what makes them all sound different to us is primarily the result of the overtones (and partials) surrounding the fundamental pitch.

What you have in this case is the fundamental tone rich, and more powerful, neck pup squashing the finer overtones of the bridge pup making the guitar sound sort of dead and lifeless. Rolling back on one of the knobs unbalances the strength of one pup and lets the other dominate a bit more, bringing it's sound more to the front.
 

ARandall

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You have 2 pickups in parallel. Electrically they will cancel or comb some frequencies out. Its called physics......maybe you need to invent a parallel universe machine and escape to where the physical laws of matter are different.
This occurrence is the same as any strat or tele forum when you ask people what switch positions they like, and some hate the notch ones just as much as some like them. Either don't use that switch position or accept that you'll have to do tweaking to get something you like.

And all pickups are a bit different in the middle. Some make very pleasing tones and others don't - and this is even for people that like the typical 'cluck' tone. Height adjustments of the pickups change this too.

As to the pots - there are many tapers......if you don't happen to like a certain taper it certainly doesn't mean the pot is useless or crap. I remember this amusing time two threads were complaining about pot taper and how useless the stock taper was and how those pots were junk and never should have been even thought of in the first place (they both had quite the rant). Ironically each person wanted what the other had as stock.

And the typical tolerance is about 5 or 10% for most pots. Yours are in spec for 500k.
 

Classicplayer

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I have Seth Lovers in my Classic. Volume pots are the stock 300K jobs. My very attractive tone is achieved by running the bridge volume between 8 to 9. The neck volume between 7.5 and 8. I have yet to get a Page-like middle tone. Mine is way more full and more useful for my needs. If I switch to neck only or bridge only, I find my tone there too and without having to tweak either volume control.
It took me quite some time to figure out what the "organic" middle tone position is for this particular Les Paul. It involved setting pickup heights and testing them again and again with various spots on each volume control and then again when in middle position. The effort seems to be worth it and I have forgotten about achieving my favorite middle tones for Page and Bloomfield.

Classicplayer
 

ACEit

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I know the "phisics" behind why in middle position there MAY be some frequencies interaction / cancellation...

the question was why with the original pcb it was manageable as my other guitar w/ the same PU config, and now with "quality" components and '50 wiring the middle position become "de facto" unusable... with volumes at 10 the sound is dull and loudness way lower.. and if I put one of the volumes at 9 I will have no differencies between the the single PU at 10 and the middle position... likethe PU at 9 virtually disappear.

I know about pot tolerance too.. I said that they are crap because the seller GUARANTEE they are selected in order to have a matched 500k set... and he ask an extra fee for it....

anyway... I'm thinking to order a set of bureknuckle mules and I will buy a couple of 550k pots for the volumes too.

:cool:
 

Thumpalumpacus

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I like the interaction of a Gibby's middle position. There are so many possibilities hiding right there.
 

sk8rat

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I have yet to find a good setting for the middle position. this thread is helpful. Ill have to experiment.
 

Kris Ford

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Maybe it was because PCB wasn't 50's wiring..maybe try modern wiring and see if it is any better?
Some guitars, 50's wiring is certainly a DOWNGRADE.
 

ARandall

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Maybe there is something at fault with the wiring itself.
If you have the identical components value wise then its only the joints or the wiring scheme that can be at issue.
But you said 'on all your Gibsons' - so for mine that didn't mean you were talking about 1 guitar that had changed, but why the middle position was bad overall.

And the pots is an issue between you and the seller with the guarantee - that bit of info certainly didn't make the first post.
And again, the taper and the values are personal - I tend to put 450-480 in all my bridge position pots.
 

ACEit

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I just tried to re-wire "modern style"..

the issue is still there.

moreover volumes have the same behaviour with the tone pots disconnetted.. so the matter is related to volume pots, selector switch and cables in between.
selector switch should be only a diverter so I tend to exclude it.

wiring is made with quality braided wire, mirroring the one on my R8... so I'm prone to exclude it too

:hmm:
 

ARandall

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The parallel issue is still what you describe.

When combining in the middle you get cancellation as I said before. Removing one pickup's volume reduces the cancellation hence you by default end up with a bit more signal.....its the same with OOP. Roll volumes back and the sound increases.
But also the nature of 2 pickups together is that it has less mids push....that is the bit that tends to be removed. Its a well known trait of that funky tone that you use the notch positions precisely because it doesn't cut nor sound as present.

So for 'all your Gibsons' you say that sound the same way in the middle - thats just life in the middle position.
 

elmo4234

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I find this especially on my epic les paul trad pro. Sometimes I almost hear a sort of volume swelling in the middle position. Really only bothers me when I am going for that woman tone though. Gonna try reducing the volume of one of the pickups to see if that works, as it did for you.

Cool to see others having this issue too, as I was worried there was something off with the guitar.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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I have yet to find a good setting for the middle position. this thread is helpful. Ill have to experiment.
My favorite is with the neck at about three or four, the bridge at six or seven, and tones wide-open, going into an amp that's got some sweating power tubes. Great rock rhythm tones, and enough slack to dial up a hot lead, with either pickup carrying the load.
 

heavypic

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Electronic component or wiring problems aside, I never start at '10' on the guitar volume/tone knobs. Start at 7 on the volume controls and dial-in your amp volume/EQ settings....then tweak volume and tone controls from the guitar for chords or leads as needed. Works in all pup positions even with factory wiring. Same goes for tone controls. Get the amp in the game... ...and then make minor pot tweaks up or down from the guitar T/V controls for more juice or tonal change during the song, or from song to song.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Electronic component or wiring problems aside, I never start at '10' on the guitar volume/tone knobs. Start at 7 on the volume controls and dial-in your amp volume/EQ settings....then tweak volume and tone controls from the guitar for chords or leads as needed. Works in all pup positions even with factory wiring. Same goes for tone controls. Get the amp in the game... ...and then make minor pot tweaks up or down from the guitar T/V controls for more juice or tonal change during the song, or from song to song.
A lot of wisdom in this post ... good stuff.
 


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