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View Full Version : Single coils with 500k pot?


Random Hero
06-10-2011, 03:44 AM
Anyone here done it? Your thoughts?

gmann
06-10-2011, 04:12 AM
Well all my P90's guitars have 500K pots. If you're asking about Teles and Strats no I haven't but no reason why it wouldn't work.

shane88
06-10-2011, 04:40 AM
crazy idea - as if single coils ain't bright enough w/ 250k

Rumblur
06-10-2011, 05:42 AM
Not as crazy as you think.

I have a 1000k pot on the bridge pickup in my Strat. It gives me a gnarly Tele bite. The downside is - there's almost no tone change from 10-3, and from 3-1 it's just mud. But that sweet spot about 3.5 is reallllllllllly nice....

Random Hero
06-10-2011, 06:00 AM
Actually, I don't find these singles in my Strat that bright. Plus, the hum would benefit for sure.

Did I read correctly that James Tyler puts 500k pots in HSS guitars or is that info totally wide of the mark?

chervokas
06-10-2011, 07:38 AM
I've never loved any of the standard singles I've used loaded at 500K ohm, especially in the bridge position (it can work better in the neck position). As Gmann notes P90 type singles are commonly loaded w/ 500K ohm pots and that seems to work great for me on my 1949 lap steel. But there are really no rules here. Try some different values, mix different volume and tone values until you find a combination you like for those pickups in that guitar.

Rumblr, sounds like the taper on your volume pot is bad, or bad for the application. Is it an audio or linear taper pot?

Changing pot values moves the resonant peak of the pickup/pot circuit. The higher the pot resistance the higher circuit's resonant peak both in amplitude and frequency. The capacitance of the cable you're using will matter to (changing capacitances will also tune the resonant frequency). So if you're using higher capacitance cable you may find you like higher resistance pots but if you then switch to low capacitance cable you'll have a tone that's very bright. You just have to experiement with component values to find what you like for your rig. I have bright guitars, bright amps and low cap cable so perhaps it's not surprising that I haven't liked singles with 500K ohm pots.

Random Hero
06-10-2011, 08:06 AM
Interesting thanks. I'm using Evidence and Klotz cables so I dunno where that lies in terms of capacitance?

chervokas
06-10-2011, 08:18 AM
Interesting thanks. I'm using Evidence and Klotz cables so I dunno where that lies in terms of capacitance?

The Klotz I dunno. The Evidence is in the mid range, mid 30s pF/ft which is about average, neither high nor low capacitance as guitar cables go.

Walter Broes
06-10-2011, 08:33 AM
As stated above, there are no rules, and 500K and 1 Meg work just fine for single coils. (Jazzmasters, for example come with 1 Meg stock).

For 1 Meg pots, you might want to get linear ones, because on Audio taper pots, the taper will be lousy with 1 Meg, you'll have pretty much an on/off switch.

The whole logic of audio taper pots in a guitar doesn't really compute by the way, because a guitar applies them the wrong way around, your volume controls are wide open most of the time, while an audio taper pot was designed for signals you turn up from zero, not down from full-up.

SMark
06-10-2011, 08:35 AM
I've done it many times with success. It really depends on your pickups, your amp, and whether or not you like to use the tone controls on your guitar.

Random Hero
06-10-2011, 09:41 AM
I don't mind having to use the tone controls. My amp is actually relatively dark - definitely not bright. The guitar I'm thinking of doing it on is a 2010 US Std Strat and I do find the singles less than glassy sounding. If I were to put a 500k volume in, how many wires would I have to move to the new pot?

buddastrat
06-10-2011, 09:49 AM
You could get those old Dimarzio Virtual vintage pickups, I think they were designed around 500K. Real singles would be awful with 500K (in most cases), to my ears. I find, the 60 cycle hum more noticeable the brighter the sound. It's more annoying on the bridge pickup, than when on the neck. Because if you get more clarity, you hear more of that hum as well. So 500K will probably accentuate that as well. I just always like 250K pots on strats, the taper is usually so nice. You lose the sweet swells.

Maybe your pots are low? Did you make sure they're reading at least 250K or so? Get some 300K pots. Some of those come in around 320K or so and that might be all you need.
If this is the same guitar, and you said the humbucker was dark, maybe it's the guitar? The neck or body is just soakin' the highs up?

SixDemonBag
06-10-2011, 09:58 AM
It's funny this thread has come up, a I was thinking about doing this today.

I've recently gotten a jazzmaster. I love it's ballsy, glassy neck bite. It's made me realize my strat is quite dark (Bill Lawrence L-200/298's). Think
I'm going to swap out with 500k pots.

Also the tone control issue. I have that with my jazzy. Does nothing down to about 3, then wham. So should I swap it out for a linear pot, correct?

Thanks

Random Hero
06-10-2011, 10:03 AM
You could get those old Dimarzio Virtual vintage pickups, I think they were designed around 500K. Real singles would be awful with 500K (in most cases), to my ears. I find, the 60 cycle hum more noticeable the brighter the sound. It's more annoying on the bridge pickup, than when on the neck. Because if you get more clarity, you hear more of that hum as well. So 500K will probably accentuate that as well. I just always like 250K pots on strats, the taper is usually so nice. You lose the sweet swells.

Maybe your pots are low? Did you make sure they're reading at least 250K or so? Get some 300K pots. Some of those come in around 320K or so and that might be all you need.
If this is the same guitar, and you said the humbucker was dark, maybe it's the guitar? The neck or body is just soakin' the highs up?

I do actually think my Strat is dark. I'm gonna try it, I can always go back.

How many wires will need to be soldered?

909one
06-10-2011, 11:35 AM
Jaguars have 1M pots. They are bright as hell. I switched mine out for 250k and it sounds much better, actually more like a Tele now. On the other hand, on my Tele, I put a 5 position super switch on there. I wired one position to be neck only, completely bypassing the tone and volume controls. Sometimes the neck position gets lost in the mix, so having the option to make it very bright works well. There are no rules. Experiment with different pot values and you will discover what you like.

Random Hero
06-10-2011, 02:25 PM
If the 500K pot/s are too bright for you, try a bigger cap.

I could put a 470k/510k resistor on the switch to enable the singles to see around 250k, right?

wizard333
06-10-2011, 04:30 PM
I like 500k better on the neck/middle position. I do a wiring trick so the bridge alone sees 250k.

Random Hero
06-11-2011, 05:47 AM
I like 500k better on the neck/middle position. I do a wiring trick so the bridge alone sees 250k.

Brighter/spankier I suspect?

dlc1953
06-11-2011, 10:38 AM
I just this week had all 3 500k's switched out on my Strat. Had them put in a year or so ago when I ran 2 Little 59's and a SC. But just switched to 2 vintage range SC and the 1 L59. Man the things were way to bright and tinny sounding. Funny thing is now even the L59 sounds warmer and more full.

Random Hero
06-11-2011, 03:22 PM
Ok, I put a 500k in and I'm happy. I much prefer the HB tone and I've found the singles have brightened up too. They were dark to my ear so I'm pleased with the results!

Quick question though; my soldering isn't the best skill that I have but I'm pretty sure it's all OK. Would any problems be obvious? I've checked the noise and under gain it's next to non-existant on the HB and in the in-betweens and noisy on the singles which I guess is to be expected. Tonally, would I notice if something was amiss? It wouldn't sound like 90% as good as it should, if you know what I mean? It would either sound fine or terrible, I suspect?

wizard333
06-11-2011, 03:29 PM
Brighter/spankier I suspect?

Yep, more quack in the 2/4 positions with 500k.

Random Hero
06-11-2011, 03:38 PM
I sounds like a success story to me. If it works...

Hah, yeah I know, although I get kinda anal about these things. I'm pretty sure, from what I've read, that if the joint is bad it would be pretty obvious. Thin sounding, weak sounding. I don't know if it can sound "kinda ok" if you know what I mean. It seems like it's somewhat black and white...

Austinrocks
06-11-2011, 03:55 PM
look at the schematics for the guitars, my fender deluxe HSS fat strat has a 1 meg pot in the volume and two 500 K pots for the tone controls, the volume has a 220 restistor to get the audio taper, my LPs have split coils sound great with a 500K pots, its easy to darken bright tone, hard to go the other way.

nrandall85
06-11-2011, 04:07 PM
I have 1 Meg pots in my Jaguar with sd phat cats. While I could saw down trees with treble if I wanted to, I really enjoy the extra brightness on tap. Tone control still darkens things up if needed, and the guitar works especially well when another band member uses buckers.

tazzboy
06-11-2011, 04:49 PM
Single Coils I use a 250K
Humbuckers I use a 500K

Walter Broes
06-11-2011, 05:35 PM
tazzboy, that's not entirely true. Strat pickups usually use 250K, but Fender built plenty of telecasters with 1 Meg pickups, JM's come stock with those, Gibson's single coils come with 500K pots, and so on and so forth.

Random Hero
06-11-2011, 07:35 PM
tazzboy, that's not entirely true. Strat pickups usually use 250K, but Fender built plenty of telecasters with 1 Meg pickups, JM's come stock with those, Gibson's single coils come with 500K pots, and so on and so forth.

Tele with 1Meg? Talk about snap.

Random Hero
06-12-2011, 12:31 PM
So it would be obvious if I hadn't done it correctly, right?

nrandall85
06-12-2011, 01:30 PM
So it would be obvious if I hadn't done it correctly, right?

Yep. You would notice something right away. Feels good to know how to do stuff like that on your own, eh?

Random Hero
06-12-2011, 02:28 PM
It does actually yeah.

Random Hero
06-12-2011, 05:06 PM
Just measured the resistance with a short cable. I guess if I wired it incorrectly I wouldn't be getting the correct reading :)

doesitmatter
06-13-2011, 01:24 PM
Thinking about it for the blue lace sensor which is dark compared to a regular single coil.