Advice on Les Paul volume pot

DrSax

Member
Messages
6,609
So, I use my bridge pup 95% of the time, and ride my volume control all the time for dynamics, especially when using a boost or drive pedal. I like the way my pedals react when I clean up the signal for rhythm stuff, then volume knob full on for leads.

However, I feel like I can do better electronics wise on the volume control. It isn’t a smooth enough taper for me, I have to turn it almost halfway down for it to start reacting. It seems difficult to dial in, not sensitive enough to slight tweaks.

I have no idea what’s in there now, other than it’s a totally stock 1988 Les Paul Standard. My number one for 25+years. I’ve always just dealt with this issue because I’m stubborn and resist change lol.

Is there a better pot I could put in there that wouldn’t effect the tone otherwise? Thanks
 

lemonman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,080
Sounds like you have original, linear taper volume pots. Most prefer audio taper pots; audio taper makes most of the change happen right at the top, between 8 and 10. The most common value recommended is 500k, but you probably have (nominal) 300k pots, which are darker sounding than 500k. If you don't want brighter/more open when on 10, your option would be 250k audio taper pots. All the Gibson 300k pots I've measured were in the 220-270k range.

You want it to sound exactly the same? Measure the value of your current volume pot wide open, then get some 250K long shaft audio taper pots & find one that matches your number as close as possible.
 

nl128

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,199
I use the 500k Superpots from RS Guitarworks. I like the taper that they have and the solid feel when I turn the knob, not too hard or easy to turn. I tried different pots, found these and now all my guitars have them.
Same here.
R&S super pots are great. I’ve put them in every guitar I own .
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,268
.

If you like the tone of your pickup and it's just the taper, make sure to measure the actual kohms of that pot you are swapping and find as close to it as possible. 500k pots have a 20% range and it matters from min to max. Find one higher kohms if you want brighter, lower end of the spec for darker.

.
 

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,899
Sounds like you have original, linear taper volume pots. Most prefer audio taper pots; audio taper makes most of the change happen right at the top, between 8 and 10. The most common value recommended is 500k, but you probably have (nominal) 300k pots, which are darker sounding than 500k. If you don't want brighter/more open when on 10, your option would be 250k audio taper pots. All the Gibson 300k pots I've measured were in the 220-270k range.

You want it to sound exactly the same? Measure the value of your current volume pot wide open, then get some 250K long shaft audio taper pots & find one that matches your number as close as possible.
300k audio CTS pots are available, just buy them from a vendor that tests them for value. There is one I have seen on Ebay, can't remember the exact name. That is, if you want to keep the 300k pots, but want audio taper. For 500k audio, I would suggest one of the custom vintage taper CTS pots that are all over the place, closer tolerance and you can get them tested, and the vintage audio taper is better than the stock CTS audio taper for guitars. Dimarzio, Hamer, and some others fit this type. RS also have custom taper CTS that are tested, they have a taper that is their own custom type.
Al
 

DrSax

Member
Messages
6,609
Sounds like you have original, linear taper volume pots. Most prefer audio taper pots; audio taper makes most of the change happen right at the top, between 8 and 10. The most common value recommended is 500k, but you probably have (nominal) 300k pots, which are darker sounding than 500k. If you don't want brighter/more open when on 10, your option would be 250k audio taper pots. All the Gibson 300k pots I've measured were in the 220-270k range.

You want it to sound exactly the same? Measure the value of your current volume pot wide open, then get some 250K long shaft audio taper pots & find one that matches your number as close as possible.
Yeah, I do like the current sound/tone, though it could be I don’t know what I’m missing with the 500k if indeed I don’t have those now. Maybe I’ll have my guy measure them now and go from there...
 

VintagePlayerStrat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,575
Yeah, I do like the current sound/tone, though it could be I don’t know what I’m missing with the 500k if indeed I don’t have those now. Maybe I’ll have my guy measure them now and go from there...
You can probably measure them yourself if you have a multimeter. Several vids online will help you out. Just do a little Google search if interested.

The RS Guitarworks stuff is great. Sounds like you have linear taper and you'd want to go audio taper. Good luck!
 

lemonman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,080
300k audio CTS pots are available, just buy them from a vendor that tests them for value. There is one I have seen on Ebay, can't remember the exact name. That is, if you want to keep the 300k pots, but want audio taper. For 500k audio, I would suggest one of the custom vintage taper CTS pots that are all over the place, closer tolerance and you can get them tested, and the vintage audio taper is better than the stock CTS audio taper for guitars. Dimarzio, Hamer, and some others fit this type. RS also have custom taper CTS that are tested, they have a taper that is their own custom type.
Al
Interesting, I'd not seen 300k audio taper pots available before, but it's been a while since I looked. Nice to have the option available!
 

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,899
Interesting, I'd not seen 300k audio taper pots available before, but it's been a while since I looked. Nice to have the option available!
Art of Tone is the shop that carries tested CTS pots that I spoke of, I saw them on Ebay but they may have a website, too. You can buy high reading pots, or even low reading pots of all guitar values from them. it costs a bit more for the testing, but you don't have to audition a bunch of pots to get some good ones.
Al
 

Axis29

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,478
I became a big fan of the CTS Vintage Taper pots. They react more like my old Gibson ES-340 did.

They are supposedly 30% taper pots... Basically a great split between audio and linear. You get a change in tone right away, but it's not quite as extreme as a regular audio taper. The taper is very usable down into the lower numbers. I also like the lower tension as well!

I believe they are similar to the RS Super Pots and some of the other higher dollar offerings.

I've tried a few different kinds over the years, Bourns, Alphas and different CTS as well as some custom made ones recently and the CTS Vintage Taper are my go-to.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,000
I use the 500k Superpots from RS Guitarworks. I like the taper that they have and the solid feel when I turn the knob, not too hard or easy to turn. I tried different pots, found these and now all my guitars have them.
Same. I've tried CTS as well, but the RS pots are worth it for the volumes. The taper is really, really good.
 

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,899
I became a big fan of the CTS Vintage Taper pots. They react more like my old Gibson ES-340 did.

They are supposedly 30% taper pots... Basically a great split between audio and linear. You get a change in tone right away, but it's not quite as extreme as a regular audio taper. The taper is very usable down into the lower numbers. I also like the lower tension as well!

I believe they are similar to the RS Super Pots and some of the other higher dollar offerings.

I've tried a few different kinds over the years, Bourns, Alphas and different CTS as well as some custom made ones recently and the CTS Vintage Taper are my go-to.
The taper is 30% Audio. Still an audio taper, just a different one, and more like what was used in the 50's-60's audio pots. There used to be even more audio tapers, but they've pared them down these days, the stock CTS is 10%, and they are the ones that have the more abrupt taper that some like, but many don't. The Dimarzio pots are the vintage dish-back CTS pots, and have a similar vintage audio taper, I like those and they are not much more than a regular CTS. These days there are a lot more options for pots with a better taper than a few years ago, there's also MojoTone and Emerson, most of them have tighter tolerance too, so they won't measure as far off as a stock CTS might (20% tolerance).
Al
 




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