Les Paul Volume Pot - gradual taper?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner: Guitar & Bass Technical Discussi' started by lpaul626, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. lpaul626

    lpaul626 Silver Supporting Member

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    After noticing the bridge volume pot was cutting in and out on my Les Paul Std, I decided to replace the pot with a Gibson pot I had lying around from another LP. After installing the pot, I noticed that, instead of a gradual decrease in volume, the volume would basically cut out at 7 or so. There was a gradual taper with the previous pot.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    you likely replaced your linear taper 300k volume with an audio taper 500k that had been a tone pot.

    now try it with the distortion on; i'll bet you find the new 500k audio pot cleans up better and sweeps more evenly from "0" to "10" than the original, as well as having a little more clarity.
     
  3. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    The replacement pot is probably a linear. If it's annoying you could replace it with an audio (taper) pot.
     
  4. lpaul626

    lpaul626 Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys!
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    yeah, that was clear as mud, wasn't it? :messedup

    your original pot was a linear, and the replacement you put in was an audio taper.

    audio tapers drop off fast from "10" when the amp is clean, but work perfectly with distortion.

    linears work perfectly when the amp is clean, but do nothing until they're halfway down and then fall off at "2" with distortion.

    for most blues and rock players, audio tapers are the better choice, and 500k pots will sound clearer for humbuckers than 300k pots.

    thus, removing the stock gibson volumes and installing 500k audios is a routine upgrade that you happened to do by accident.
     
  6. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    What Walter said.

    Your original pots were linear, and it sounds like the one you replaced it with was an audio, which though they (they, referring to the audio pot currently installed) have the effect you describe of dramatic early volume drop when playing clean, is considered an asset to give you a quick cleanup when playing distorted without having to roll down to the bottom half just to clean it up.
     
  7. hangten

    hangten Silver Supporting Member

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    Walter
    When you say audio tapers work perfectly with distortion, are you referring to a cranked amp (power tube dist) or a clean amp with a distortion pedal in front of it ?

    thx,
    Aram
     
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    some distortion types (tube pre and power amp) clean up better than other types (solid state, pedals), but audios work better for either type than linears.
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I'm no expert in amps and pedals, but I have played some pedals that didn't want to clean up easy. With overdriven tubes, the clipping is naturally going to be directly linked to the strength of the signal coming in - lower the guitar volume, lower the amplitude of the incoming signal, lessen the clipping and distortion.

    I speculate that these pedals and preamps that don't clean up well will simply reshape any incoming waves to a distorted sound, somewhat regardless of how strong the signal that hits the circuit is. They are likely more of a constant wave modifier (if that's a usable term) then they are a true overdrive or clipping, if that makes sense. This type of distortion won't easily clean up unless you adjust it's controls, regardless of where you set you guitar's volume.

    Again, this is just a guess based on observations, and not by any knowledge of how the innards of the effects are actually designed.
     
  10. hangten

    hangten Silver Supporting Member

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    thanks guys - I have a tele that cleans up great with the vol knob, and am trying to get there with my LP and heritage 535.

    tangential question: I am left-handed and I have some reverse taper audio pots. If wire them up the same was I would wire regular pots, I should get the result of having full counterclockwise rotation be "10"...correct?
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    if you mean wiring them up left-handed, as in mirror-image to how i would wire them in my righty guitar, then yes.

    pots wired opposite from their designed taper will just have no taper at all, acting like on-off switches. "10" will still be "10", and "0" will still be "0", and still in the same directions as the correct-taper pots, but you'll get nothing useful in between.
     
  12. lpaul626

    lpaul626 Silver Supporting Member

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    I actually picked up a 300K linear taper pot from GC and it works perfectly. Thanks!
     
  13. hangten

    hangten Silver Supporting Member

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    great - this answers my question - thanks!!
     
  14. Billy Penn

    Billy Penn Member

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    If you are going to change out pots then check RS Guitar Works. I have them in all my guitars and they have a silky feel and really nice, gradual taper. They work great for me.
     

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