CTS vs Bourns pots?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by TheoDog, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    just picked up a new Epi DOT.
    Last one I had I just rewired and swapped caps and was happy enough. I didn't have upgrade pits at the time and didn't want to go through the hassle of F-hole style operation again.
    But now, I am thinking I will upgrade the pots and switch when I swap out the caps.
    Anyone have a strong opinion of CTS vs Bourns. All measurements equally, we are really just talking about feel.
    But also, if there is a worthwhile consideration of audio vs linear vs "vintage" or custom taper.

    And don't bother suggesting an RS kit. Although I know it is a great product, I don't intend to pay >$100 for what I can get for <$50 in parts.
     
  2. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    CTS pots are way harder to turn than Bourns. But apparently Bourns have a high failure rate unless you're real careful when soldering to their housings. I haven't had any trouble with Bourns pots failing, but I use their push/pull pots and don't need to ground anything to the pot housing itself.
     
  3. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    I have had several bad Bournes Pots. There does seem to be some quality control issues.
    I use CTS most of the time, almost never have issues.
    Bournes do turn slightly easier, but it seems like a non factor.
     
  4. Judas68fr

    Judas68fr Member

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    Unless you have the strength of a snail, both will feel the same to be honest... Buy the cheaper ones and play!
     
  5. UncleLarry

    UncleLarry Member

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    I like the turning resistance of CTS, especially on a Strat, where wild strumming can easily spin a loose volume knob to almost off. I usually just put one drop of Deoxit or WD-40 on the CTS pot shaft and it slightly loosens and smooths out the turning tightness but gives it just enough resistance to keep it from being accidentally moved with aggressive playing.
     
  6. Deed_Poll

    Deed_Poll Member

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  7. Miracle Man

    Miracle Man Member

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    This! +1. I've never had a CTS pot fail.
     
  8. dbx

    dbx Member

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    Where do you get your push/pull Bourns pots? Why don't you need to ground to the case? I have to replace a push/pull pot and have been looking for a good source.

    Thanks...
     
  9. dbx

    dbx Member

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    The difference between audio and linear taper is the rate of change of volume or tone in the rotation of the pot. Audio taper is more gradual, linear isn't. Custom is probably a mix of the two...I'm sure you'll get a mix of responses on what type is preferred for volume or tone controls...
     
  10. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Actually no one has cared to comment on that part. I am wondering if linear might be a useful choice for a tone control.
     
  11. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    I just put a Tele together with two push pull pots (phase switch, and bridge pickup tap switch). I bought Bourns pots because I wanted a quality put. Instead, I have the two noisiest push/pulls I've ever used. They make terrible noises when I engage the switches and give me grief even when left alone from time to time. The wiring is totally clean and solid and I've never had this issue on any guitar before or with any other pot. I'm going to remove them and throw in some CTS pots.
     
  12. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    I think from either Stew Mac or Mojo Tone. Can't remember. But there's a tab at the bottom of the housing; it sticks off from everything else. I solder all of the ground connections to that tab. It's easy to heat up with the iron and won't cook the pot internals.

    The pots I've used have not been noisy at all. They are almost too easy to turn, though. But I find the CTS stuff too stiff for quick violin-type swells.
     
  13. dbx

    dbx Member

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    Ah...got it, neat trick, I'll try grounding to that tab (wondered if that served a purpose), thanks for the tip.

    :cool:
     
  14. imbuedblue

    imbuedblue Member

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    A linear pot for the tone control will put all of the action in the first 20% of the rotation and function more like an on/off switch.

    You might consider trying a linear pot for the volume control though. Jazzmasters come stock like this. A linear for the volume control gives a more gradual fade down in volume. It can be really useful for getting different shades using the middle position in a Gibson-style double volume situation. But, you won't get that quick cleanup from 10 to 7 like with an audio pot.
     
  15. rummy

    rummy Member

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    I tried Bourns one time, and I didn't like the feel. I guess I'm used to the feel of the CTS.
     
  16. dju

    dju Member

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  17. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    They are fine.
     
  18. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    I can't do the CTS stuff anymore, at least not for the volume pot. I need something that turns super easy. I tend to turn the volume all the way down really quick, and the CTS stuff just isn't the pot for the job.

    For someone who doesn't want to bump the volume accidentally (or breathe heavy on it, in the case of the Bourns YJM Duncan pots), the CTS is a much better choice. For tone knobs where people set it and forget it (i.e. no wah-wah antics with the tone knob), the CTS is also a better choice.
     
  19. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Just to throw this out there fwiw....lately I've been using DiMarzio pots for volume controls....smooth action, perfect taper, and turn super easy, which I like....I don't know if DiMarzio actually makes them, or if someone else does, but they're perfect!
     
  20. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    That's good to know about the Dimarzio pots-- those are CTS pots rebranded for Dimarzio, right? I never bought them because I figured they'd be as stiff as the CTS branded stuff.
     

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