Gibson Custom 355 Volume Pot Value Question 300k or 500K?

stacanova

Member
Messages
73
Hello All,
I've posted this in the Gibson Forum & emailed Gibson Customer Service a week or so ago (no responses yet).

I've ordered some aftermarket pickups to try some different pickups on my 355, they won't be here for a few weeks, but I'm trying to figure out the values of the volume & tone pots (possibly the Caps also) currently in the guitar, so I can figure out if I need to consider changing those as well, and get them ordered ahead of time?

Here's the guitar info.
Model: ES55AEBBG1

Serial Number: CS253332

This is the best photo I could take of it, if it helps?

Thanks!
36162691_pots1(CROPPED).jpg.afb20a4f37b7abce261e809269f62142.jpg
 

supergenius365

Disclaimer: Not an actual supergenius
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,976
I was under the impression that Gibson uses 300K.
Do you have a volt meter? They are pretty cheap. You could test the pots yourself.

Side note/rant: I know they used 500K in the Good Ole Days when guitars were better, but Gibson switched for a reason. Going to 300K probably doesn’t save any money. I like the 300K pots I installed in my Epi Sheraton. The guitar sounds great. I PERSONALLY wouldn’t get too worked up about changing the pots unless they are defective.
 

Tidbit

Member
Messages
1,330
Changing the value of a pot depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I have a Custom Les from 78 that sounded very good but a little dull. Some time later I bought a 79 Standard when I wanted to retire the custom from small, sketchy bar gigs and it sounded like the 78 but was brighter and had more "zing". Gibson used pot values all over the place and it turned out the Custom had 300k pots. I switched them to 500k and the two guitars are pretty much interchangeable sound wise.
I changed them only because I wanted a "brighter" sounding guitar.
 

Tidbit

Member
Messages
1,330
I'll also add that for sh1tz and giggles I also changed out the little disc caps for the same value Paper in Oil caps. That yielded absolutely no change in the sound whatsoever.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
30,125
The pot value is the maximum resistance shown to the tone circuit. The higher the value, the less high frequency is lost with the tone control up full. If you want all the treble out of the pickup, you can even use pots that switch the tone circuit out full up... I digress.

While values ARE all over the place, the nominal value of Gibson pots should still be 500k. Yours may vary anywhere between 250-500, which will reduce the brightness of the pickups full up. Most winders assume 500k pots. So, yeah, I'd measure and replace any that don't reach 500k.
 

stacanova

Member
Messages
73
I was under the impression that Gibson uses 300K.
Do you have a volt meter? They are pretty cheap. You could test the pots yourself.

Side note/rant: I know they used 500K in the Good Ole Days when guitars were better, but Gibson switched for a reason. Going to 300K probably doesn’t save any money. I like the 300K pots I installed in my Epi Sheraton. The guitar sounds great. I PERSONALLY wouldn’t get too worked up about changing the pots unless they are defective.

Thanks for your response.
Unfortunately, I don't currently have a volt meter.
I'm also not sure how I would get the volt meter on the pots, without disassembling?
I will also be having the Tech I use do the swap out of the pickups for me, since I suck at soldering and would prefer it to be done more professionally than I am capable of (especially with the challenges the 355 design presents).

My goal is to get as close to a "Vintage PAF sound" as I can, to compare and contrast between it and the guitar I'm leaving standard, with the Classic 57's.

If all the values match what "vintage wiring" should be, then I think it should be an accurate representation.
 

stacanova

Member
Messages
73
I'll also add that for sh1tz and giggles I also changed out the little disc caps for the same value Paper in Oil caps. That yielded absolutely no change in the sound whatsoever.

Thanks for the response.
I'm trying for a close to "Vintage PAF" sound as I can manage, to compare and contrast, so I figured if everything was at least the same values to "Vintage Style wiring", that should be a fair enough comparison?
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,065
If you're going for vintage style I'd use 500k.

Is it a mono 355?
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,065
Yes, it is a Mono 355.
Here's a photo.
1080x360

Gorgeous! I have a cherry and a walnut, but they do look incredible in black.

The stereo looms are weird, and you definitely want 500k in there. I'd still use them for a mono 355 though.
 

Tidbit

Member
Messages
1,330
Thanks for the response.
I'm trying for a close to "Vintage PAF" sound as I can manage, to compare and contrast, so I figured if everything was at least the same values to "Vintage Style wiring", that should be a fair enough comparison?

Go 500k. Don't worry about the caps unless you want the "look".
 

colinesquire

Member
Messages
1,121
Hello All,
I've posted this in the Gibson Forum & emailed Gibson Customer Service a week or so ago (no responses yet).

I've ordered some aftermarket pickups to try some different pickups on my 355, they won't be here for a few weeks, but I'm trying to figure out the values of the volume & tone pots (possibly the Caps also) currently in the guitar, so I can figure out if I need to consider changing those as well, and get them ordered ahead of time?

Here's the guitar info.
Model: ES55AEBBG1

Serial Number: CS253332

This is the best photo I could take of it, if it helps?

Thanks!
36162691_pots1(CROPPED).jpg.afb20a4f37b7abce261e809269f62142.jpg
450s is a 500k audio taper cts pot code. So you are good! Not sure what the remaining numbers are - probably specific to Gibson’s ordering
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,858
My goal is to get as close to a "Vintage PAF sound" as I can, to compare and contrast between it and the guitar I'm leaving standard, with the Classic 57's..

You do know that '57's are potted while PAF's are not, right ? A5 magnets vs A2, 3, 4 ? I chased that rabbit some time ago, swapping magnets in the '57's etc but you'll never get the airy definition of a good PAF as long as it's potted. Add '50's wiring and it's a whole new day.
 

MrGibson

Member
Messages
1,225
I started a couple of threads around this subject a few weeks back.

PAFs open up with 500 k volume pots. The difference can be quite dramatic, partly due to the fact that a "300k" pot could in reality measure 250k.

For a period of about 30 years or so most Gibson guitars came with 300k pots, but in the last 10 years they are mostly 500k again (just like they were in the 50s).

During the "dark age" 300k pots were often combined with other types of humbuckers having more top end, like for example the Super humbuckers aka "Tar-backs" that got bright ceramic magnets.

Magnets play a huge role in defining the EQ of a pickup. A2 magnets combined with low resistance volume pots have comparatively low treble response. Even though they could sound good with everything on 10 through a cranked Marshall or a clean silverface Twin Reverb, people that make use of the guitar volume control may find 300k pots too dark.

Regarding wax potting; The Classic 57s (A2) I have opened were very lightly potted, wax almost not visible.
 
Messages
3,943
I don’t remember what pots came in my ‘10 ES-355. I changed them because they were linear taper pots and I prefer audio taper. I built a new harness with 500K audio taper pots. Except for the pot taper the sound was pretty much the same So I assumed the original pots were 500K, but I didn’t measure them.
 

stacanova

Member
Messages
73
You do know that '57's are potted while PAF's are not, right ? A5 magnets vs A2, 3, 4 ? I chased that rabbit some time ago, swapping magnets in the '57's etc but you'll never get the airy definition of a good PAF as long as it's potted. Add '50's wiring and it's a whole new day.
The Pickups I ordered to try are not potted, so hopefully they will give me a pretty decent representation?
 




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