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View Full Version : 1 meg volume pot in a Tele?


strat6866
10-12-2009, 09:21 AM
..........rather than the stock 250k

What would be the advantage or disadvantage to this?

What affect does it have on the guitar??

Jim Collins
10-12-2009, 09:37 AM
If your streets are covered in two-inch thick ice, and even the plows can't get through, you might want a 1Meg volume pot. If you are frozen in, in the Arctic Ocean, and the icebreakers can't get there, you might want a 1Meg volume pot.

I say all of this as an avowed Telecaster devotee. It is my main guitar, and has been, for many years. A Telecaster with a 1Meg volume pot is the epitome of ice-pick-in-the-ear tone. When a Telecaster (single coil pickups) has a 1Meg volume pot, it gets extraordinarily bright at full volume. When you back off on the volume, just a little bit, you lose all kinds of treble, which is why a guitar like that has a treble bypass cap. The bypass cap is a compensation for the fact that the value of the volume pot is too large. Very often, such a guitar will have a .001uF bypass cap, which is actually quite large for that application. People complain of an apparent increase in brightness when they roll off the volume. To compensate for the fact that the bypass cap is too large, they will include a resistor, along with the bypass cap. This resistor is in parallel with that portion of the volume pot between the wiper and input. This lowers the overall resistance between those two points. Of course, that could be accomplished by having a lower value volume pot, in the first place.

Clearly, I have some prejudices, in this area. Before going with a 1Meg volume pot, ask yourself if you really want your Tele to be brighter than it is, at full volume. If you do want a brighter Tele, try a 500K volume pot and a 150pf bypass cap, instead of a 1Meg volume pot and a .001uF bypass cap. (.001uF = 1000pF.) This will give you added brightness at full volume, and the smaller bypass cap will preserve the highs has you roll off the volume, but it isn't large enough to let too many highs pas through.

imguitardan
10-12-2009, 09:44 AM
I have a 1 meg pot in my Tele in order to open up some dark Fralin SP43s (bridge is 25% overwound - which is ridiculous (other than that, these pups are fantastic)). The 1 meg helps. If you find yr tele dark, give it a shot. You may want to start with a 500k to see if that helps.

itkindaworks
10-12-2009, 09:49 AM
Yikes. I tried 500k in my tele and it's too brittle and bright, but you might have a different experience.

strat6866
10-12-2009, 09:49 AM
The reason I ask is that I just purchased a used Tele that had a 1 meg volume pot installed and I am not sure exactly what this does to tone. I have the original pot and may consider re-installing it but I don't know enough about the pots and caps to know what affect they have. It is a 52 RI Tele and I imagine that it was plenty bright enough with the original 250k pot so I 'm not sure why this mod was done.

Boris Bubbanov
10-12-2009, 11:38 AM
Don Mare did a thread on one of the forums, can't remember which, earlier this year offering a recipe that included the use of a 1 meg volume pot.

strat6866
10-12-2009, 11:42 AM
Don Mare did a thread on one of the forums, can't remember which, earlier this year offering a recipe that included the use of a 1 meg volume pot.

Please let me know if you are able to locate a link to the thread. Thanks.

strat6866
10-12-2009, 05:25 PM
Anyone else?

KennyM
10-12-2009, 05:29 PM
Weren't the 1 Meg pots for the Wide Range Humbuckers?

Big White Tele
10-12-2009, 05:37 PM
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-tech/150243-bakersfield-cbs-era-tele-wring-1-meg-volume-250k-tone.html

K-Line
10-12-2009, 05:56 PM
I wouldn't. What exactly do you want from the current setup? More treble, less, more punch. Try bypassing the tone pot for the bridge. It is cool, better than if you went with a 1 Meg.

buddyboy
10-12-2009, 06:08 PM
The best Tele I've ever owned had 1 meg pots, both vol and tone. It was a 1971. The wiring was stock. Those 70's Teles came with the 1 megs. I liked it a bunch more than the 1954 I had owned prior. You could get everything from Bloomfield to Gatton to Burton.

Also, the loudest electric guitar I've ever owned. Same amp, same volume, this Tele was much louder than all my others (Strats, 1961 Dot Neck, 1959 345).

Every guitar stands on it's own merits. Try one and decide for yourself.

I've got a very nice 2007 Nashville B-Bender now. I'm tempted to drop 1 meg's in it.

I like Tele's to twang. If I want balls, I'll play something else.

Boris Bubbanov
10-12-2009, 06:09 PM
Weren't the 1 Meg pots for the Wide Range Humbuckers?

Inexplicably, Fender used 1 Meg pots on '69 style Thinlines while using 250K pots for the Wide Rangers. :huh

Most guitars with Wide Rangers (or these recent reissue "Mild Rangers") do best with a 500 K pot.

I have a MIM '69 Thinline Reissue, and I could not wait to rip the 1 meg pots out of there. I've now got 250K pots, .033 uf capacitor, Keystones and a 4 way switch offering both parallel and series wiring.

imguitardan
10-12-2009, 09:00 PM
I may be wrong about this but I believe that a 1 meg pot would open up the treble a bit and have a different taper than a 500k or 250k. As Fender single coils are brighter, 250k pots will limit some of the highs. As Gibson style Humbuckers are darker, 500k pots will open them up some. 1 Meg pots would open them up even more.

Mike Fleming
10-12-2009, 09:09 PM
The pickup, volume pot and cable are an inductor, resistor and capacitor, and when they work together in the circuit that is guitar-cord-amp, they have a resonance. For the average standard tele with a 250k volume pot and say an 18 foot regular cable plugged into a twin, the resonant peak is usually somewhere around 3khz, and significant in size. If you substute a higher value for the volume pot, this peak at 3k increases in size; with a 1meg pot, the peak could be twice as high as with a 250k pot.

Also, a change in the capacitance of the cable will shift the resonant peak; more capacitance (eg. a longer cable) shifts the peak lower in frequency, and less capacitance shifts it higher. This is worth keeping in mind when you have a 1 meg pot; since the resonant peak is so much more pronounced, it's shift will also be more noticable when you change out cables of different capacitance (different lengths of the same cable or different capacitance/foot).

(By the way this is all assuming the volume pot and tone pot are on 10. As they get turned down they damp the resonant peak, and when the tone pot is on zero it actually introduces a new lower resonant peak.)

One of the TDPRI guys Terry Downs has a great writeup somewhere of pickups and cables with graphs of response under various conditions. Once I find it I'll post a link.

EDIT: here it is: http://terrydownsmusic.com/technotes/guitarcables/guitarcables.htm

shark_bite
10-12-2009, 09:57 PM
Oh man I had a 69RI for a while too. Never understood why it was so unmanageable at real life volume. Then someone told me to replace the pots and saddles. I did it to prove to him things like pots and saddles don't make an audible difference on tone (this was back when I knew everything).

Yeah. I learned a thing or two in that little experiment.

strat6866
10-13-2009, 05:22 AM
The guitar actually came with the 1 meg volume pot and was installed by the previous owner. Maybe the Fred Stuart pups he put in were too dark.

Anyways, with the original pups back in now, the tone is pretty bright and the volume drops pretty quickly and loses bass and mids when the volume is dialed down.

I think I need to restore the original pots and wiring to original.

I wouldn't. What exactly do you want from the current setup? More treble, less, more punch. Try bypassing the tone pot for the bridge. It is cool, better than if you went with a 1 Meg.

Jon Silberman
10-13-2009, 07:28 AM
If your streets are covered in two-inch thick ice, and even the plows can't get through, you might want a 1Meg volume pot. If you are frozen in, in the Arctic Ocean, and the icebreakers can't get there, you might want a 1Meg volume pot.
5 years ago, Jim, when you warned me about it, I remember to this day the exact phrase you used: "it's like staring into the sun." ;)

strat6866
10-13-2009, 08:11 AM
Yeah, I think I will be un-doing the 1 meg mod.