CTS Push Pull Pots

duckbunny

Member
Messages
3,526
I use one in a Mahogany & RW HxH "Tele/LP" to split a 36th anniversary bridge pickup. I like it, and am pleased that after all these years I've found a push-pull pot that I don't have to hold my breath when using, for fear of crumbling. They're not cheap, but they are very well made. I have two more that are now going into two Strats.

-db
 

JimGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
992
I just recently installed 4 of them in a Les Paul. I've only used that guitar on one gig after installing them but they seem fine. The audio taper is about the same as any other you'd get where most of volume drop happens between 7-10 on the volume. (I was hoping it would a little more gradual but that seems impossible to find in audio taper pots anywhere, especially with a DPDT push/pull.) Solid construction for the most part. My knobs were a little loose on these but that was easily remedied.

I actually did ruin a couple but probably says more about me than the pots. There are circuit traces on the flat part and I managed to create a short that I couldn't undo. I was making connections not only to the holes but also the small joints (the 2x6 grid) as it's a convenient place to join terminals together. I must of broke or melted a trace or who knows what. But fortunately I was able to snap that piece off and replace it with one from another pot (that I'd previously bought that was the wrong shaft size). So be careful soldering to 2x6 grid, it's less forgiving than the holes.
 

Quarter

Member
Messages
1,595
So be careful soldering to 2x6 grid, it's less forgiving than the holes.
Thanks for the heads up, thats good to know! I've got a good Hakko soldering station and a little bit of electronics soldering experience, so should be good.
 

JimGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
992
Have you tried "vintage taper" pots? CTS-TVT or Dimarzio, for eg.
I haven't. Thanks for mentioning I took at look at the CTS-TVT. Might pick some up. Unfortunately I don't see those with a DPDT though. But once I've had a little time with the wiring options I have now I might find I'm only using a subset of them so I might go to the vintage taper ones on the volumes and keep the tones DPDT.
 

kanegon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
477
They're not sprung like the old CTS SPDT pots, but they're much better built. Lower tolerance, zero wiggle and I think slightly shorter throw. Height wise, they're just as big as Alphas and much fatter. In facts, I had to clear any wire from the side of the barrel to fit into my Tele. Almost an overkill just for a coil tap switch. I would have gotten it just for being solid shaft if nothing else, push-pulls with solid shafts are rare. One challenge was where to add capacitors. Here's how I mounted a 470 Orange Drop:



 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,062
I would have gotten it just for being solid shaft if nothing else, push-pulls with solid shafts are rare.
Bourns has push-pulls with solid shafts. I like them better than the CTS; Mouser sells them:

http://www.mouser.com/Search/Refine.aspx?Keyword=PDB183-gtr02

One thing about the CTS, they're the only ones I know of that you can actually buy with 24-spline split shafts. Bourns makes such a thing, but nobody stocks them.

Mouser stocks Bourns push-push pots with 24-spline shafts, but the knobs necessarily 'sit' higher than normal or push-pulls...so they look funny unless you replace all the pots on the guitar with them.
 
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kanegon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
477
Bourns has push-pulls with solid shafts. I like them better than the CTS; Mouser sells them:
Why do you prefer the Bournes? I looked into the Bourne option but didn't find any that were full-sized, SAE, as well as solid shaft. With CTS, I don't have to use any extra washers and brass sleeve, it's a perfect compliment to the other pot(s) that are also CTS. My only issues with the new CTS is that it's bigger and the connection board makes the soldering a little harder and more delicate.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,062
By "full-size" do you mean the pot body? The Bourns are 17mm rather than 24mm, that's true, but I don't see how it matters. They are 3/8" SAE thread, same bushing length as typical CTS pots (they come in long-bushing style for LPs too).

They are 6mm shafts, as you note. It seems like half the time I want 6mm and half I want 0.250, but I've got some stainless steel tubing I use that makes up the difference perfectly - a dab of JB Weld on the ID and it's on for good. I think if I could only have one size, I'd take the 6mm since I can use it for both knobs, but you can't use 0.250 for metric.

I like the Bournes switch better; I don't care for the PCB on the CTS. And as you note, the CTS is rather bulky. Otherwise, it's pretty much a wash I guess.
 

Lewguitar

Member
Messages
5,665
Great info guys.

My Strat has a Duncan Hot Tapped Tele pickup for the bridge pickup.

I don't have a middle pickup in it and use a 5 way Strat switch to get 5 sounds out of two pickups:

1. Hot bridge 2. Hot bridge and neck 3. Neck 4. Vintage bridge and neck 5. Vintage bridge

But I want to put a middle pickup in it again and I need an off/on switch to add it to any of the selections on the 5 way switch.

I haven't liked any push/pull pots I've used in the past so I was planning on adding a switch.

Now, I think I'll try a CTS push/pull tone control instead.
 

kanegon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
477
Great info guys.

My Strat has a Duncan Hot Tapped Tele pickup for the bridge pickup.

I don't have a middle pickup in it and use a 5 way Strat switch to get 5 sounds out of two pickups:

1. Hot bridge 2. Hot bridge and neck 3. Neck 4. Vintage bridge and neck 5. Vintage bridge

But I want to put a middle pickup in it again and I need an off/on switch to add it to any of the selections on the 5 way switch.

I haven't liked any push/pull pots I've used in the past so I was planning on adding a switch.

Now, I think I'll try a CTS push/pull tone control instead.
That's the route I'd go. I've got a 3 way mini toggle that'll add the bridge or neck to any position in parallel or series, but for simple dpdt, the new push pulls feels more solid; robust. Tore the shaft out of an Alpha push pull once trying to remove the knob...The mini toggle requires more effort and feels more frail. The new CTS actually feels better - if you can live with the extended look. I use it to split the neckbucker.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,062
There's also the Fender S-1 pot/switch. It's 4PDT, and I like it a lot - it's the cleanest solution, cosmetically - with a few caveats:
  • You have to be cool with the knob choices available, which come down to Strat volume (no tone) knobs in black, parchment, and 'aged white'; chrome flat-tops (Tele, Pee Bass), and a weird Jay Bass knob with no line on the top.
  • Your guitar has to support the available shaft styles - they make 250K and 500K, knurled and solid, short (Strat/Tele) and longer (Gibson-style) bushings - but not all combinations of options exist.
  • They're expensive, some variations much more than others.
I have one in all my Strats - in most of them, it adds the bridge pickup to whatever is selected by the 5-way. In one, it selects between the taps on the pickups (tapped Duncan QPs). I also use one to go from series to parallel on a Pee Bass.
 

tdiers

Member
Messages
1
I have one in all my Strats - in most of them, it adds the bridge pickup to whatever is selected by the 5-way. In one, it selects between the taps on the pickups (tapped Duncan QPs). I also use one to go from series to parallel on a Pee Bass.
Do you have a diagram on how you wired the CTS DPDT pot for adding the bridge pickup? I've been looking for days and can't find one. The different layout compared to standard push/pulls is confusing me. I have a G&L Tribute Legacy (similar to strat) with DiMarzio Fast Track Strat pickups. I'm replacing an Alpha push/pull pot (the taper really sucks, it's either on or off).
 

Mincer

Member
Messages
4,550
There's also the Fender S-1 pot/switch. It's 4PDT, and I like it a lot - it's the cleanest solution, cosmetically - with a few caveats:
  • You have to be cool with the knob choices available, which come down to Strat volume (no tone) knobs in black, parchment, and 'aged white'; chrome flat-tops (Tele, Pee Bass), and a weird Jay Bass knob with no line on the top.
  • Your guitar has to support the available shaft styles - they make 250K and 500K, knurled and solid, short (Strat/Tele) and longer (Gibson-style) bushings - but not all combinations of options exist.
  • They're expensive, some variations much more than others.
I have one in all my Strats - in most of them, it adds the bridge pickup to whatever is selected by the 5-way. In one, it selects between the taps on the pickups (tapped Duncan QPs). I also use one to go from series to parallel on a Pee Bass.
I use an S1 switch to split the coils on a 2 HB Music Man. It really is an elegant solution.
 




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