Best pot replacement for GCB95 Crybaby and switching inductor

Toppalini

Member
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1,084
Hey guys I just got a couple crybabys for modding purposes. One of them came in decent shape and is working, the other has a horrible scratchy pot and must be changed first things first.

I'm going to be getting wilson FX pots. There are 3 main contenders; the ICAR taper cleanable pot, a sealed pot that's a recreation of 'allen bradley wah' pot (no idea about that), and a dunlop hot potz. And also the econo-wah pot is an option too, that's what I tried last time.

Now I'm going to be picking up all these pots. But I'd rather put the one I want in first instead of swapping them all out and trying them. So my main question is; which of these pots is going to theoretically give me a nice vintage type sound. I've heard good things about the Hot Potz, they're cheap, and come with wires on them it looks like in case I end up chopping too much could probably come in handy. But I'm not sure if the hot potz is going to give me the sound I want or what the deal is with the taper.

I'm leaning towards just starting with the ICAR but am curious about the allen bradley one. Also I'm not totally sure how important having the ICAR taper or how important the taper is... I definitely liked the sound of the econo-wah pot, but I do believe it's different. Also I've never actually heard a stock crybaby without a scratchy pot.

Also would swapping the fasel inductor for a NOS stack of dimes inductor (350mh SOD not sure what all that means) be a worthwhile thing to do or a good idea? And how difficult? Never soldered on a circuit board, and not really sure if this is going to be worth it or if it's going to give me a sound I like, not sure what exactly it'll do.

I eventually want to get into modding the circuitboard more but I don't really know what's what on the board, and need to just start with these simpler mods, the pot being necessary, and the inductor being a practice thing that might be cool.
 

Moderato

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4,788
100k ohm potentiometers within tolerances doesnt change your sound* but the difference you hear from an original icar vs modern ones are due to the very different tapers, so if you want an icar-style (abrupt shift from dark to more open sounds) fulltone is by far the best replica, while for modern ones (my AB has basically the same taper of the closed dunlop hot potz, referring to the "bigger" old ones) dunlop is ok but I dont have experience with the current "mini" ones they are using.

*vintage potentiometers are way out of spec, most often due also to wear, and that changes tone, all my icars are 200+k ohm (and fulltone here is covering also), while my AB is 140+k ohm
 
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Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
100k ohm potentiometers within tolerances doesnt change your sound* but the difference you hear from an original icar vs modern ones are due to the very different tapers, so if you want an icar-style (abrupt shift from dark to more open soundse) fulltone is by far the best replica, while for modern ones (my AB has basically the same taper of the closed dunlop hot potz, referring to the "bigger" old ones) dunlop is ok but I dont have experience with the current "mini" ones they are using.

*vintage potentiometers are way out of spec, most often due also to wear, and that changes tone, all my icars are 200+k ohm (and fulltone here is covering also), while my AB is 140+k ohm
the current wah I'm using has a replaced pot, not sure if it's ICAR taper or not, but the wah sounds great. Also the wah itself may be heavily modded, it's hard to tell what's going on. Someone added a second jack in an attempt to make it a volume/wah, but it didn't work out well. Looks cool though. But I'm not sure if it's even the original circuit board in there or what he did to it, or whether he modded the circuit at all. Not sure if I can identify the pot.

I was going to get a whole bunch of wilson pots, and the other inductor he has... but then I decided just to get one replacement pot, the allen bradley one, pretty sure it's icar. That other wah is definitely not modded and has a newer stock pot. I believe the wah would be somewhere in the 2000s, it says 'rev. 2' on it but doesn't have a battery slot (I was looking for older ones). The modded one is definitely 90s.

I'm going to just see how I like that other wah with a new pot in it, and then decide what sort of modding I want to do from there.. Decided I don't need to totally stock up on wah pots right now!
 

joegagan

Member
Messages
581
Thank you @Albion9 . Appreciate it.
@Moderato , great points, your findings are similar to mine. In 12 years of selling wah pots, I've heard many stories and seen many instances of resistance going high over time.

The current square hotpotz in Dunlop wahs is plastic element , made by CTS. First seen in 2015 in the crybaby mini, it has gradually been adopted throughout Dunlop's
20220531_222430.jpg
lineup. It's the first departure from the fast ramp hotpotz (1 and 2) recipe that basically had been unchanged since the Thomas spec for US made crybaby /vox since approx 1970.
They expanded the taper so that it now resembles standard audio or icar.
If you study this sloppy chart you can see that i have 3 examples of the modern "square" hotpotz, it's even more spread out than Castledine's icar replica!. There is a standard hotpotz 2 in there for reference, note the rapid transition , which is what I call "fast ramp".
 

joegagan

Member
Messages
581
Could I have made that into a pretty excel spreadsheet or easy to digest ramp graphic? Yes.
I like to leave it semi-cryptic, it weeds out the freeloaders.
 
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joegagan

Member
Messages
581
Hey guys I just got a couple crybabys for modding purposes. One of them came in decent shape and is working, the other has a horrible scratchy pot and must be changed first things first.

I'm going to be getting wilson FX pots. There are 3 main contenders; the ICAR taper cleanable pot, a sealed pot that's a recreation of 'allen bradley wah' pot (no idea about that), and a dunlop hot potz. And also the econo-wah pot is an option too, that's what I tried last time.

Now I'm going to be picking up all these pots. But I'd rather put the one I want in first instead of swapping them all out and trying them. So my main question is; which of these pots is going to theoretically give me a nice vintage type sound. I've heard good things about the Hot Potz, they're cheap, and come with wires on them it looks like in case I end up chopping too much could probably come in handy. But I'm not sure if the hot potz is going to give me the sound I want or what the deal is with the taper.

I'm leaning towards just starting with the ICAR but am curious about the allen bradley one. Also I'm not totally sure how important having the ICAR taper or how important the taper is... I definitely liked the sound of the econo-wah pot, but I do believe it's different. Also I've never actually heard a stock crybaby without a scratchy pot.

Also would swapping the fasel inductor for a NOS stack of dimes inductor (350mh SOD not sure what all that means) be a worthwhile thing to do or a good idea? And how difficult? Never soldered on a circuit board, and not really sure if this is going to be worth it or if it's going to give me a sound I like, not sure what exactly it'll do.

I eventually want to get into modding the circuitboard more but I don't really know what's what on the board, and need to just start with these simpler mods, the pot being necessary, and the inductor being a practice thing that might be cool.
I haven't tried the Wilson pots, Kevin is a good friend and has great quality.
The hotpotz you mention is a fast ramp pot, the opposite of a more spread out taper such as audio or icar . Some people believe the vintage icar was simply audio , I agree in a general sense, all mfgrs have their own take on audio and how they layer up their tracks to make the taper. CTS is typically "different" in their feel.

For learning about modding, I recommend stinkfoot as a great starting point. 2. Beware of hype. There is much fallacious wah mod info out there, especially with regard to components. Mojo alert.

The 350 mH inductor is lower inductance than the standard 500 to 650 mH range found in most wahs. The 350 will move the frequency center upward. You'll lose some low end. This can be compensated for by increasing the value of the cap between inductor and Q2 , some people call this the sweep cap, I wish I could call it the frequency cap.
 
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Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
I haven't tried the Wilson pots, Kevin is a good friend and has great quality.
The hotpotz you mention is a fast ramp pot, the opposite of a more spread out taper such as audio or icar . Some people believe the vintage icar was simply audio , I agree in a general sense, all mfgrs have their own take on audio and how they layer up their tracks to make the taper. CTS is typically "different" in their feel.

For learning about modding, I recommend stinkfoot as a great starting point. 2. Beware of hype. There is much fallacious wah mod info out there, especially with regard to components. Mojo alert.

The 350 mH inductor is lower inductance than the standard 500 to 650 mH range found in most wahs. The 350 will move the frequency center upward. You'll lose some low end. This can be compensated for by increasing the value of the cap between inductor and Q2 , some people call this the sweep cap, I wish I could call it the frequency cap.
I ended up going with the allen bradley wah pot, and didn't get any other gear like the inductor. I'm going to make threads on here asking for help before I do any modding, to make sure I understand what to switch and what to switch it with.

I decided the inductors on these wahs will be fine, the one I'm using is older and has a black fasel inductor that looks kind of weird, the other one has a sort of fancy looking red one. Not that the looks really matter. But I'm sure they will be fine!

The mods I'm looking to do on the circuit will hopefully give me a little more mid range and a wider sweep, because it bothers me when wahs go too quickly from bass to highs and don't have as much mids. And it wouldn't hurt to darken up the whole sweep of the dunlop crybabys to sound more vox like... I did move the teeth up on my pot a bit to reduce some treble, but that was because it was going to toe down treble tones too early.

The last wilson wah I got had a different pot in it (these were wh10 clones not crybaby style) and it was going to toe down in mid position. After a while I realized the problem and was able to tune it to where it goes to treble in the toe down only. But that pot also now goes into bass well before heel is down, and there's only a small mid sweep. So it's really hard to get a deeper wah sound, there's only a tiny physical sweep between low and mid before you go to the highs. My crybaby is kind of the same way. But I like to be able to get multiple wah sounds, like wahing from bass-mid instead of bass-treble, or going bass-mid-treble... if that makes sense.
 

joegagan

Member
Messages
581
I never tried a wh10 but if I did it would be a Wilson.

The amazing thing about wah pots is they all sound different. Even when comparing 100K to 100K, even when the tapers look near identical on paper after measuring carefully. I did a 6 pot shootout years back , exact same wah, same amp, same guitar, same camera location etc. The differences were quite wide and the votes were all over the map
 

joegagan

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Messages
581
 

Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
I never tried a wh10 but if I did it would be a Wilson.

The amazing thing about wah pots is they all sound different. Even when comparing 100K to 100K, even when the tapers look near identical on paper after measuring carefully. I did a 6 pot shootout years back , exact same wah, same amp, same guitar, same camera location etc. The differences were quite wide and the votes were all over the map
So I got a really nice Wilson pot, the Allen Bradley one. But there was a tab sticking out of the pot which I assumed was a feature (and it was). However what I didn't know... you're supposed to clip the tab to fit your wah. I just forced the pot into place, destroying the pot in the process. I contacted Kevin to ask him if the tab sticking out was a mistake, and to see if I had in fact destroyed the pot. If there was a mistake having the tab stick out then I'd feel entitled to a replacement, but he explained you're supposed to clip it... he offered to send a new pot, but since I just made a mistake, I'll eat the cost. And he might be nice enough to send a new one on the next order to surprise me! He's a cool guy.

My solders were much much better on this pot, but one of them was a little messed up. Put a little too much on and it got runny, on the last join, whereas the others looked super professional and perfect. It turns out that pot wasn't a great fit for my crybaby anyway. I got the pot working a little bit after bending in tab and tightening it back down, but the pot was damaged I think, kept cutting out.

I was worried that there might be a different problem with the pedal since the output jack input is really sticky, but I think I just ruined the pot.

But I did get a hear of how this pedal sounds, and well, I don't exactly like it that much. I think I need to mod the circuit board.

https://www.wah-wah.co.uk/diy.html I want to do some mods here but will probably make a new thread first to make sure I've understood what to switch. The ones I wanted to do are the 'vocal' mod and 'midrange' mod, especially the midrange mod. It says remove the 1k5 resistor with a larger value between 1k8-2k7. I found 1k8 and 2k resistors, but just curious what other values there are for this slot as I know nothing.

Also I'm not sure what the vocal mod exactly means. It says to switch it with a higher value, 68k, or that some clyde mccoys would use a 100k resistor here. But not entirely sure what it means by 'vocal'. Anyway these are the mods I'm probably going to run with!
 

Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
I never tried a wh10 but if I did it would be a Wilson.

The amazing thing about wah pots is they all sound different. Even when comparing 100K to 100K, even when the tapers look near identical on paper after measuring carefully. I did a 6 pot shootout years back , exact same wah, same amp, same guitar, same camera location etc. The differences were quite wide and the votes were all over the map
I have 2 of the ten spot 2 wh10 clones he makes. One has his expensive special sealed pot and the other, his clone of the original wh10 pot which is cheaper. Both the pots sound a bit different.

I didn't quite take great care of my first wilson wah and the sealed pot got scratchy, though I was able to fix that with contact cleaner and running it down into the pot. I got a few replacement pots, and a new ten spot just in case I screwed up. All the wires are blue and thin so I'm a little worried about changing the pot, could easily get confused. But then the sealed pot ended up working again after getting cleaned, and I noticed that wah was physically a bit worn out, which I'm going to re examine why it seems a bit sticky. Also I unscrewed the treadle resistance screw and can't get it back in... just needs work.

Anyway his wahs are great, but I've been wanting a more vintage crybaby tone lately than a Frusciante tone that's great for funk and wild lead. But I want to make these crybabies my own, I want them to sound the way I want them, and get some good practice modding.

Can't say enough good things about Wilson wahs or Wilson's stuff in general. Really fantastic and at an agreeable price point for a working guy.
 

joegagan

Member
Messages
581
you'll get better at soldering. keep doing it.
the vocal mod R is the resistor parallel the inductor. normally 33k. study stinkfoot and other wah mod sites.
 

MrFigg

Member
Messages
97
I have a Jen wah I got around ‘87. They were made in Italy in the same factory as Vox. After a lot of use the pot was unbearably crackly so I had it replaced. The new pot never fitted correctly and the pedal wasn’t smooth. I had since met a friend who’s hobby was fixing old guitars and building amps and compressors and the like. I’d kept the old pot so I gave it to him to look at. Apparently they’re pretty easy to open up and clean out. Bit of Vaseline and close ‘em up again. He put it back into my wah and it works again as new. Just a thought.
 

maxbrothman

Member
Messages
539
I have done the true bypass mods on mine... and I now regret it.

Here is the deal, if scratchy, then fix it/replace it. However, the idea behind these pedals is that whatever tone suck might be going on, is actually part of the tone people are chasing with whatever rigs had them in the 60, 70s, etc. Like the pre-amp coloring your tone on a tape delay. So really what you should do is seek out a Wah that doesn't suck the tone if you want that type of Wah, rather than mod these other ones. I would rather have kept mine the way it was intended now that I know this and just got another Wah. I use the "Dunlop CAE" for that sort of transparent wahness and it has loads of settings for other tones with it.
 

Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
I have done the true bypass mods on mine... and I now regret it.

Here is the deal, if scratchy, then fix it/replace it. However, the idea behind these pedals is that whatever tone suck might be going on, is actually part of the tone people are chasing with whatever rigs had them in the 60, 70s, etc. Like the pre-amp coloring your tone on a tape delay. So really what you should do is seek out a Wah that doesn't suck the tone if you want that type of Wah, rather than mod these other ones. I would rather have kept mine the way it was intended now that I know this and just got another Wah. I use the "Dunlop CAE" for that sort of transparent wahness and it has loads of settings for other tones with it.
I think I said in this post or another that I'm not interested in doing the true bypass mod. It's expensive and looks a bit tricky, or at least getting a new switch would be expensive and rewiring sounds annoying.

I'm going to be switching some resistors and possibly switching the inductor but probably not. I messed up and wasted 20 bucks because I destroyed a pot trying to put it in (didn't clip the tab that I was supposed to...). So now I'm just going to use cheaper pots in the $10 range... I might give that pot another go since it's on sale.

The idea here is to modify the wah sound to have more mids and be more vocal. Whatever 'vocal' actually means; but mainly I want more mids. I'm a bit confused how to do this even after I've read how, which values to use, and I'll probably make a new thread on it.

I'll be starting with the vocal mod since it's the most straightforward, trying 100k or 68k resistors.
 

maxbrothman

Member
Messages
539
I think I said in this post or another that I'm not interested in doing the true bypass mod. It's expensive and looks a bit tricky, or at least getting a new switch would be expensive and rewiring sounds annoying.

I'm going to be switching some resistors and possibly switching the inductor but probably not. I messed up and wasted 20 bucks because I destroyed a pot trying to put it in (didn't clip the tab that I was supposed to...). So now I'm just going to use cheaper pots in the $10 range... I might give that pot another go since it's on sale.

The idea here is to modify the wah sound to have more mids and be more vocal. Whatever 'vocal' actually means; but mainly I want more mids. I'm a bit confused how to do this even after I've read how, which values to use, and I'll probably make a new thread on it.

I'll be starting with the vocal mod since it's the most straightforward, trying 100k or 68k resistors.
Wah mods are a great place to start doing any mods though. You learn a lot from them.
 

Toppalini

Member
Messages
1,084
Wah mods are a great place to start doing any mods though. You learn a lot from them.
That's what I was thinking I made a post asking about that. Especially the GCB95, they're cheap and looks like they're easy to remove circuit and mod. I'll be making a new post when I'm ready to start to make sure I know which I'm switching.

I got 2 old GCB95s, one was 40 and one was 55. The 40 dollar one is an old 90s, the circuit board is weird, and the guy added a weird second jack as a failed volume/wah mod. The cheaper, early 90s one works really well and has a nice, cleanable, 100k probably ICAR pot. The more expensive, slightly newer (still old no battery slot) came with a dirty pot. And I lost $21 breaking the pot. So it's now at about 75 total cost... I got some new pots so total cost, with the mods too, will be about the price of a new crybaby. But I'll get to put in my own pot, plus the mods, and valuable learning experience.

I'm waiting on modding the older one and using it in my rig now, sounds great, don't know if the wah circuit is modded, might post pics to ask. It's definitely an old pedal, early 90s, the jacks are board mounted but the circuit board and components look very 80s. Since I like it, I won't mess with it.

I'm going to put a non-icar econo-wah pot from wilson FX in it, and got a hot potz and another of the vintage style wilson pots as backups. Last time I put the econo-wah pot in it drastically changed tone in a good way, but I think there was some volume loss (possibly from sloppy soldering). But I had to give that wah back as it wasn't mine. It was lent to me with a scratchy pot, so I thought I didn't like the crybabys, but now I realize I do like them, and kind of regret spending like $600 total on other wahs.
 

Dirty Strings

Member
Messages
1,179

I just listened to the demos and read that entire thread. Thanks for posting the link.

I'm currently looking for a new pot for my early '90s Crybaby since my pot is a bit scratchy now. I picked 2 & 4 as my favorites as well.
 




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