Best Pots

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Ardis, Jul 19, 2005.


  1. Ardis

    Ardis Member

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    Just taking an informal poll, as I have little experience with different brands of potentiometers and caps. What do you think are the best pots and caps for Gibson guitars?

    Thanks.
     
  2. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    CTS are the best you can find these days.

    RS Guitarworks have some serious kits for your guitar.

    give it a try :AOK
     
  3. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I wouldn't actually recommend CTS any more. I'm still using them (until I can find a suitable replacement type) but I have had some problems with poor quality on the most recent couple of batches I've had.

    Worst, a major weakness in the pot assembly that causes the shaft to push the back off the pot and the whole thing fall apart when fitting the knob (on split shafts). And I wouldn't say I'm pushing excessively hard, or any more so than in the past.

    They also feel rougher and cruder to turn, as if the shaft is loose in the bushing, and/or not lubricated properly. There seems to have been a fall in the machining or materials quality. I've also noticed that the nuts have been changed from milled to stamped - a small thing, but says a lot. I had one nut actually strip itself while tightening.

    I'm not at all happy about this, I've been using them for years and never had any problems until recently. I will be taking my money elsewhere as soon as I can though.
     
  4. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    Yes, i know about some recent problems with CTS pots, but as you said you found a few bad ones in a batch.

    If one buys a tested and measured set of pots, i don't think that there would be a problem.

    I'm sure that RS or any other CTS retailer must have found bad pots in their batches, too. (and an increasing number of bad ones is definately ringing a bell)

    But the 'end user' should recieve a good pot after all.


    So i'd better rephrase;
    CTS are the best till something better comes up... ;)
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I wouldn't describe it like that.

    I would say I've had at least two bad batches, a few of which failed under mechanical pressure - I don't think I noticed this problem more than about a year ago, but all the ones I've had recently have been poor. The other pots from these batches all looked and felt the same (cheaper and nastier than CTS pots used to be), even though they didn't actually break - this may have something to do with the fact that I now routinely support the back of the pot casing while pushing the knob on. This is a real pain on something like a Strat, where to do that you have to take the pickguard off. Easy enough if you've already taken the guard off to work under it, but not if you've just pulled the knob to clean under it or something.

    I'm quite certain the product quality has been cheapened - I'm not going on one or two pots, it's dozens. It's a real shame, as they were easy to get, not expensive, and until now reliable.
     
  6. Ardis

    Ardis Member

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    Thanks for your input, fellas. Besides CTS, are there other brands worth considering? How are the Gibson-branded pots? Or the ones that StewMac sells?
     
  7. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    I won't disagree with you John since you have a personal experience, but the pots i got from RS (twice) were the older ones with the closed back and of course no mechanical failure issues.

    But even some new-tech CTS pots i got from Warmoth "withstood" many knob changes without any failure.

    So that's what i mean when i say that a CTS pot set bought from a reseller should be OK.
    And that is because they should test them before selling them as units or sets.

    Maybe you weren't quite lucky with the batches you got...

    But definately, the new ones look much cheaper than the oldies... :(
     
  8. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    I have 5 or so older CTS 500K pots with brass shafts. I just bought a couple of CTS 250K pots for a strat upgrade, and noticed that the shafts are silver colored. The feel when rotating the shafts on the new ones was not as smooth or as solid feeling compared to the older ones.
     
  9. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Silver Supporting Member

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    Hamer USA's pots are killer, I'm not sure you can purchase them though.
     
  10. Bloozcat

    Bloozcat Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, CTS pots are now being made in China. At least that's what I've heard from two different sources. Apparently there are Chinese made pots out there that look the same as the CTS pots as well. From what I read on Lord Valve's site, the unmarked Chinese pots are made in the same plant as the CTS marked ones. Lord Valve had some of the unmarked pots for sale a while ago.

    CGE pots are pretty good, at least they were the last time I used them. Nationals were ok, but weren't as good as the older CTS pots.

    The last two batches of CTS pots I got from Allparts were just fine. As a matter of fact, the tolerances were better than usual on both the 250k and 500k pots. Normally, I get a number of them that are on the lower end of the tolerance varriance of +/- 10% (some even as low as 217k/421k respectively).
     
  11. Turbozag

    Turbozag Senior Member

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    I hesitate to mention this..

    But we've told a couple people, so it'll get out anyway...

    At RS Guitarworks, we have designed and had CTS build the prototypes of what we consider the ultimate pots for guitar!

    They are CTS made with brass shafts, a special taper designed specifically for guitar, have tolerances that are TWICE as good as the ones available now, and will be a "special" target resistance...

    We have the prototypes and blueprints. They rock! But they probably won't be available until September!

    Hang in there!

    And yes, we have a HUGE bucket of rejected CTS pots which are brand new from the factory!!!
     
  12. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    I hope you're gonna have long bushing models for thick wood . :AOK
     
  13. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    This is great news. Will they be available easily in the UK? (dumb question probably, but I've never bought any RS stuff before - the stock CTS were fine).

    It's not CTS I have the issue with, it's the quality of their most recent pots. If they're capable of making a quality part for someone to spec, I'll buy it. Even if it costs more. I'd rather do a job right the first time around.

    FWIW, have they got the circlip above the bushing too?
     
  14. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    C'mon September.....smoooooth taper, smoooooth taper, no sudden drop off at "8", smoooooth taper.
     
  15. reallylost

    reallylost Member

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    Yes - please!!!!

    John.
     
  16. larrylover

    larrylover Member

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    Alessandro, the amp maker, has had pots custom made for him. They are expensive, but very, very good sounding and have a smooth, even taper.
     
  17. rewog

    rewog Member

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    $50-00 each ? Wow.
    Are they worth it ?
    Does a pot make a noticable difference to tone ?
    I have heard before that carbon pots are the best, but generally not available these days. If these made a worthwhile contribution to the guitars tone, I would try a set.
     
  18. Gravity

    Gravity Member

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    P&G make great pots! Though I think conductive plastic is a bit of overkill in most guitars. At $50-75 per peice....
     
  19. larrylover

    larrylover Member

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    Alessandro is $40-$50 each. Are they worth it? The tapers are smooth, there is more clarity and openness with his pots.
     
  20. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Like Ron said, much new stuff has too sudden a taper, coming on too strong around 8-9. I hope the custom RS pots solve this, and aren't overly expensive. Cheers.
     

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