Were the lower rated pots responsible for people thinking Norlins were flat sounding?

LostintheBardo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I've heard quite a few people say that changing the pots to 500k really opened the guitar up tonally? I've got a 1982 standard I'm really interested in but can't play before I buy as I live in NZ. If I did get it then changing the pots is probably the first thing I will do.
 

Elmore

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
327
Reaction score
468
I changed the pots in my 1987 to 500K and put in Jensen paper in oil caps. Opened up the guitar very much. Try changing pots before you change pickups. I recommend 500K audio taper all around.
 

DarrellV

What's up, Doc?
Premium Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
34,632
Reaction score
93,701
I've heard quite a few people say that changing the pots to 500k really opened the guitar up tonally? I've got a 1982 standard I'm really interested in but can't play before I buy as I live in NZ. If I did get it then changing the pots is probably the first thing I will do.
If they haven't been changed that should have Shaws in it. I have an 82 that I put 500K pots in.

So bright and clear its scary. I now use the tone controls as I should instead of running everything wide open as I did with the old pots.

Check the fretwork on it too.

These came with low wide frets that tend to mellow the sound as well, and if worn down flat, can choke the highs right out of the strings.

Worn out low - wides....

I had mine re fretted with medium jumbos and between the new frets and pots my guitar came alive. So much brighter and clearer that I didn't recognize it.

But I got used to it, and use the tone and volumes now. I have room to do that and it works as it should.
 

LostintheBardo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
If they haven't been changed that should have Shaws in it. I have an 82 that I put 500K pots in.

So bright and clear its scary. I now use the tone controls as I should instead of running everything wide open as I did with the old pots.

Check the fretwork on it too.

These came with low wide frets that tend to mellow the sound as well, and if worn down flat, can choke the highs right out of the strings.

Worn out low - wides....

I had mine re fretted with medium jumbos and between the new frets and pots my guitar came alive. So much brighter and clearer that I didn't recognize it.

But I got used to it, and use the tone and volumes now. I have room to do that and it works as it should.
Was that refret SS?
 

LostintheBardo

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
The ad claims the frets are wide-medium but not sure how tall they mean by "medium."
 

DarrellV

What's up, Doc?
Premium Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
34,632
Reaction score
93,701
Was that refret SS?
No, I went with conventional medium jumbos. It's the crown that made the difference. Less fret touching string = more string response and sustain.



The ad claims the frets are wide-medium but not sure how tall they mean by "medium."
I'd guess that the 'wide' description is accurate. These are not 'fretless wonder' frets, they have some height to them normally.

I didn't mind them actually, it's just that mine were so worn down there was nothing left to crown.
 

bblooz

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Messages
3,346
Reaction score
1,903
I've heard quite a few people say that changing the pots to 500k really opened the guitar up tonally? I've got a 1982 standard I'm really interested in but can't play before I buy as I live in NZ. If I did get it then changing the pots is probably the first thing I will do.
Nice - let us know if you get it and share some pix!
 

kakerlak

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
2,152
Reaction score
1,215
Does pot value affect tone at all with the controls dimed, or is it only in the range of adjustment that the value comes into play?

I've always assumed that, with everything on 10, the pickups are nominally direct to the jack (realizing there's likely some inherent slight resistance coming from the signal path through the wiring harness, etc.).

I'll admit that I've absolutely hated every humbucker Gibson from '76 to '80 or so -- they always sounded muddy/mushy. The '76 L5-S and '79 ES-347 were the very worst, but bookending all those ones I didn't like were a '74 SG Custom that sounded much livelier and an '82 SG that really sounds pretty darn good, despite being loaded with epoxy-backed pickups.

Educate me!
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
14,543
Reaction score
10,797
Whilst the signal does have a direct line to the jack, there is also a parallel resistor (the pot) to ground. As the signal is highly biased toward heading to ground its value is critically important.

In the case of the volume, it is a voltage divider. So you don't nominally get any more signal flowing with a higher rated pot. Nor does the value alter the way the signal falls away as you turn down (an audio pot will have the same sort of taper be it 250 or 500).
No, what happens in the volume position is rather like the effect of a heavy muffler (or several) in the exhaust of a car - it inhibits engine performance.
The pickup itself has a natural resonant frequency.....its inbuilt tendency to produce a signal based on a curve. But the volume pot resistor is a load on that ability.....dragging it back. As mentioned, the signal wants to go to ground, so the higher the value the less load there is.
Below is the typical resonant peak curve for a pickup....with the effect of differing value pots in there.

This is a simplistic view of what is happening.

And obviously, there is no way of regaining the lost treble. Nor with the volume pot can you mimic the value of lower pots with the twist of a knob.
The tone pot value is 'more forgiving' in a way. It simply rolls off the top end based on the value of the capacitor. Once again you load the pickup fractionally with the parallel path to ground - you always have some slight effect, even at 10. The 'no load' tone pot is a way of removing this loading at 10. In the detent position the tone pot/cap is no longer part of the circuit.
This loading also comes into play based on how the tone is wired onto the volume pot too. Its why 50's wiring works for treble retention. (edit) with modern - you are effectively making your volume pot value lower and loading the pickup much more as you roll the volume down.

The tone function is however more 'linear' in its operation. Turn the pot of a 500k tone down to 250k, and you have a 250k on 10. So you can always put in the higher value in this position and have all the lower values in there too.
 
Last edited:

simon connor

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
126
Reaction score
178
I have an 87 ES 335. I always loved it, but someone suggested I have the pots checked for their values and possibly upgrade to 500K. I did that - they were 300K - and oh my gosh, the difference was like night and day. It was like there had been a thick blanket over the speaker (of the amp) and someone had taken it off. The part I liked the best with the new pots was that now If I dial back the volume, I am also dialing back the distortion. It was a complete transformation of an already great guitar. I can't recommend it highly enough. And to think I went 30 years before doing it. Thank you MLP!
 

pmonk

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
2,532
Reaction score
1,755
I replaced the pots on my Heritage 80 with the MSSC Holy Grail and Shaws sound a 1000 times better
 


Latest Threads



Top