550K pots brighter than 500K???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by clay49, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. clay49

    clay49 Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Birmingham, AL
    Recently picked up an Ian Anderson Standard Special (Humbuckers) and I really love it, but it's a bit too bright (all mahogany, tele body, rosewood board...should be bright with that equation).

    At any rate, I was going to try out a set of '57 classics, but after I got the Anderson pickup out, I could not get the braided lead of the '57 classic back into the wiring channel, WWWAAAYYY too narrow for all the braided cables crammed into such a narrow channel...I'm talking No. 2 wooden pencil narrow! The 3-way toggle is wired with vintage braided wire as well, so you end up with 5-vintage braided leads crammed into a 4-vintage braided cable sized whole.

    At any rate, in order for me to try some other pickups (which is what I do with all my guitars...what can I say, I'm a "tinkerer"), I'm going to either have to disconnect all these fat wires and figured out a way to route out the channel, or start over and re-wire the switch with reasonably sized wire, which is probaby the easiest. And, I figured, while I'm at it, I'd swap out the pots for either 450 or 500K, if that would "un-brighten" the sound a touch.

  2. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    Santa Barbara, Marin, Chico, CA
    Hey Clay -

    I understand your issue. I'd recommend you call or email Ian - he's really friendly and knowledgeable, he'll have some insights on how to get you the tone you're looking for, and maybe an easy way to enlarge that hole you're trying to insert the output wires through. Ian's used to tone tweaking for clients - some cats want it brighter, some less, some higher output ..... you get what I'm saying.

    Ian's an excellent resource - use him. If you need his phone number, PM me.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.

    Oh, I agree - swapping 550k pots for 500k will tame the brightness a bit.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  3. cugel

    cugel Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    eugene oregon
    i take it that it has 550ks now? well you could try 350s, or 250 k pots, or a different tone cap. i am surprised that its overly bright sounding. should sound like a good les paul. i would think those changes are your best bet to really tame brightness rather than change pickups. if you do want to change the pickups, just have them re-wired with higher guage wire; should be fairly easy technically as you said but a total PITA regardless.
  4. David Collins

    David Collins Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI
    If you are trying to ascertain whether lowering the value of the volume pots will tame the brightness to meet your liking, just turn down the tone knob a bit. Any settings in the upper half of the tone control will deliver the exact same end result as you would achieve by lowering the volume pot value. Then if you find a position that sounds right you can meter the tone pot, and with some simple resistance calculations determine what value pots would deliver that same effect at 10 (or you could just leave the tone set where you like it).

    Switching from 550 to 500 will have some effect, but it will be very, very, very tiny - roughly the equivalent of turnin your tone down from 10 to 9.5.

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