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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Snake Oil??? The whole POT thing-audio,linear,vintage taper etc.

telewired
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Kansas City, Mo.

counting it all joy
May 16th, 2017 06:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Help me please....
I want to rewire my Epi 339---with a single V and single T control.
What pot out there has the smoothest taper through its entire range??
What is the Best Pot out there? Do I use Audio in both the volume and tone positions?
Also what exactly is VINTAGE TAPER that I am reading about from suppliers like Mojotone?

(This message was last edited by telewired at 08:40 PM, May 16th, 2017)

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

May 16th, 2017 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I like CTS and Alpha.


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Peegoo
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I've got my own

double-cross to bear
May 16th, 2017 08:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Vintage Taper" is a feature that allows the vendor to sell a pot for more than it's worth.

CTS and Alpha are good. Bourns is super good, but that comes at a price.

Go with audio/log taper for both volume and tone and you'll be good.



Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
May 16th, 2017 08:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Audio (logarithmic) taper is pretty much mandatory for volume controls, otherwise there will be too little sensitivity at the top (8-9-10) of the rotation and too much sensitivity at the bottom (1-2-3).

Tone pots can be either audio or linear. Linear makes more sense in theory, but audio works fine.

The one graph I have seen of pot billed as "True Vintage Taper" showed what I would call a piecewise linear characteristic. Can't see that it would make enough difference to get excited about.



catnineblue

LA , Calif

I try my best
May 16th, 2017 10:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

AES sells both CTS and Alpha. Best place for all your pots and pickups switches you name it.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

May 17th, 2017 05:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I like the three the Goo mentioned. For CTS I've been using Stew Mac because they've done a nice job of screening them. Sometimes CTS values vary quite a bit from pot to pot.

I didn't even know about vintage taper until this thread. My world is not moved by the knowledge.

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
May 17th, 2017 10:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

agreed with all the above. I don't even stock linear taper pots as I don't notice a difference when used for a tone pot. The cheap small economy pot from Allparts work just fine.

Leftee
Contributing Member
*****

VA

May 17th, 2017 11:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I can't remember the last time I bought a linear pot for a guitar application.

My beef (with less expensive guitars) is they always use standard taper pots and then they think they're doing us lefties a favor wiring them lefty. I always end up rewinding those righty.

Thankful Gibson didn't do that on my Les Paul.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
May 17th, 2017 07:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Sometimes CTS values vary quite a bit from pot to pot."

From what I understand CTS tolerances vary depending on the vendor. Some will be in the 10%+/- range and others will be in the 20%+/-.

I've seen some retailers that sell the 10% ones as "premium" and also for a "premium" price.

edit:
I have also seen the term "Vintage Taper" applied to the pots that are the 10%+/- tolerance spec.

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 09:42 PM, May 17th, 2017)

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

May 17th, 2017 08:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not snake oil, but effectively so since (in my experience) the taper affects very, very few people. The only people I've encountered who really feel strongly are the ones who habitually do pinky swells.

Linear taper is simple. It is linear electronically, but not necessarily to our ears.

Audio taper, or logarithmic, is designed to "sound linear". The catch is that having a truly logarithmic taper in a pot is complicated so it is often fudged by connecting different linear values. This means that not all audio taper pots are created the same... not even close.

CTS sometimes gets weird and has the immediate shut off effect. Alpha, though structurally not as nice as CTS, seems to do better at this. Bournes as well.

CTS doesn't simply make pots, but they make them to order for OEM or resale, that is why a Fender CTS pot is different from a Stew Mac CTS pot which is different from an All Parts CTS pot. My guess is that the glut of "vintage taper" and such are people attempting to source CTS pots that don't have that annoying habit of turning off all at once.

Personally, I don't really care on a guitar. On a bass I like to have a decent sweep since I play a J-Bass with the typical wiring to get the different tonal blends. I think I have alphas in there for that reason, but I don't remember.

vomer
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Broke Down

in the Brassicas
May 18th, 2017 02:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've just been working on a 60's SG and the pots in that are rock solid and smooth, no play at all in the shaft motion. I've never felt a modern (80's onwards) pot like that. Can anyone shed any light on why the SG's are so much better? They are original CTS, pot code 137.

"They don't make 'em like they used to, young 'un."



uncle stack-knob
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united kingdom

May 18th, 2017 10:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Don't forget that CTS made,and continue to make, pots to order...The "Bareknuckle Pickups" people have pots made for them by CTS for their own specs and need.(no affill).
Gibsons were always more money back in the day,than when compared to other makes.Could be that they were spending more on stuff like the electrics components (relatively).

Stack-Knob.

catnineblue

LA , Calif

I try my best
May 18th, 2017 12:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't recall what make pots I have in the three strats I built. Think one has 500K. I use Alpha in my amps since CTS at least from what I've seen are the plastic shaft and not as smooth.

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

May 19th, 2017 07:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Can anyone shed any light on why the SG's are so much better? "

Better than what? LPs use the long shaft pots and SGs don't, so maybe that is the difference?

vomer
Contributing Member
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Broke Down

in the Brassicas
May 20th, 2017 02:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Better than what?"

Better than anything I've felt since I started working on guitars a few years ago now. The brass shafts feel secure in the bearing, and don't have any play up-down or side to side. I just pulled a knob off my Sheraton with CTS pots to compare, and also compared with some new Fender CTS pots. The old ones on the SG are rock solid. Its like someone back then said, like vomer, I too am OCD about neat engineering and I want the best brass plain bearing and shaft you can produce.

Maybe I should have been an engineer, I like a nice tight tolerance ;)


twangdoodles

michigan usa

May 20th, 2017 03:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I could say the same about the pots in my '84 les paul...

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

May 20th, 2017 06:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Interesting. I have noticed that the pots that are mounted with the clip washer in the back do feel a bit smoother and don't have the up and down play you're talking about. That seems to be going away bit by bit. Perhaps just a combination of that and being nicely broken in?

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Snake Oil??? The whole POT thing-audio,linear,vintage taper etc.




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