Guitar Pots questions and good ones too :)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by tildeslash, Feb 14, 2008.


  1. tildeslash

    tildeslash Supporting Member

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    Who makes solid brass shaft 500k pots?
    Opinions of Dimarzio pots?
    Also are the RS Guitarworks 500k Super Potentiometer-Short the best?

    Not sure what to get RS or Dimarzio or something else?

    I am also open to high end pots but where to get them?

    I am going pot crazy.
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    If you just leave the strings alone to ring and primarily play the pots, you've got to have all the potentiometer bling you can afford. Most people tend to play the strings more than the pots though. :)

    Are you changing your pots because there's something wrong with the old ones, or is there a particular aspect of their function you hope to change?
     
  3. tildeslash

    tildeslash Supporting Member

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    I agree about the string but since I am putting together a new pickguard that I can easily just swap it out. So I am looking for some pots? That's all. I know Musiciansfriend sells the Dimarzio pots and then there is Guitarelectronics with the CTS and RS with their pots.

    So I am just looking for some guidance.
     
  4. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I've tried a few of the Dimarzio pots, and thought they were made rather cheap, and felt like it. I wouldn't trust them to last like a CTS pot would.

    I personally use the standard CTS pots. Odd part is that I couldn't tell you without looking trough my inventory which have brass sleeves and shafts. It seems rather random, but some values and lengths I order come with aluminum shafts and brass sleeves, or brass shafts and aluminum sleeves, all brass, and all aluminum. I've never been too personally concerned with the shaft and sleeve material, but some folks are.

    If you want all brass, I think places like RS order them that way from CTS. They sell for much more expensive than a standard CTS pot goes for, but if you want them all brass there may not be too many more options. I've never worked with Guitarelectronics, so I don't know anything about what they distribute, but in general CTS is a safe bet.
     
  5. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    I've only owned one DiMarzio pot. I bought it brand new in 1989. It was very noisey and and the sound was intermittent. On the other hand I love CTS pots. They're smooth and quiet. That's all I buy now.
     
  6. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    CTS are pretty much "it". The only better pots I know of are PEC - I use those in amps sometimes. They wouldn't fit in a lot of guitars! And I doubt you'd hear a difference.
     
  7. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Member

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    I always thought Dimarzios felt great but doing a witchhunt for high end loss in a guitar of mine found a 500k Dimarzio that only read 400k! in the 70's and 80's they were made by centralab but no more. I think the RS pots are the ticket. That said you only need the superpot if you use a gibson 50's style wiring scheme, that is tone cap on the middle lug of the volume pot as this pots main benefit is a modified taper for that specific application. is this a strat you are wiring? I find this orientaion too bright for fenders, so likely if you use a humbucker guitar with "modern Wiring" or a single coil guitar the regular RS CTS Pots (about $6 each) are the ticket as they tend to read very close to or just over their rating (eg 500k oe 250k). I have also had great experience from Allparts with their CTS Pots and the Fender branded CTS available from Sam Ash, allparts, guitar parts respurce, etc.
     
  8. thetone

    thetone Member

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    I just bought two pots with a tone cap from Jim at WCR pickups. They sound great and work great. I'm pretty sure the're all brass poles. He had an add in the dealers section.
     
  9. Wymore Guitars

    Wymore Guitars Member

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    CTS is the best pot for price versus quality IMHO. They can be found with both aluminum and brass shafts but otherwise the internals are the same. Either are plenty good for guitar work.

    My source sends me 500K with aluminum shafts and 250K with brass shafts. This makes it easy to tell them apart in a quick look. Typically they come +/- 10% tolerance. We check all ours when they come in and record the value on the back. We also have a way to adjust them so we can match really close in value. I'm not sure if this work really makes a difference but people seem to think so.

    I think Dimarzio used to be pretty good quality but Ihear a lot of negative things about them lately.
     
  10. rooster

    rooster Member

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    FWIW, I really like the RS Guitarworks Superpots. The taper is perfect, the resistance is always at least what they're billed at (something seriously lacking with CTS' normal offerings), and they sound great. I put them in all my guitars, and they're well worth the $$$.

    rooster.
     
  11. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    The Dimarzio pots are made by CTS, or at least the ones carried by LMI are. If you order CTS pots from them you get Dimarzio pots. I complained, and got them to make phonecalls to Dimarzio, and sure enough, they said CTS made their pots. LMI has a very good, longstanding rep, btw.
    The Dimarzios I've used worked fine, and are certainly better than Alphas.
     
  12. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Forgot to mention you can get Alessandro pots from AES (tubesandmore.com) for about $42. They are great pots, solid shaft, but VERY pricey.

    rooster.
     
  13. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    I love their pickups.
     
  14. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I love those pots - mainly because I charge $200 apiece to install them. Why? Because the sucker who bought them obviously has money to waste, and I try my best to meet my customer's needs. :rotflmao
     
  15. cmr415

    cmr415 Member

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    Hi guys,
    I currently have a DiMarzio 250k pot in my Heritage 575. I like the way it sounds, but Im not sure if it sounds "better" than the CTS that was there before. One thing I dont really like about it is the physical feel of the taper. It feels looser than the CTS. I seriously considered one of those Alessandro pots, but could not justify it in the end due to the extreme price difference.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i assume you use silver solder to get the purest tone out of them, right? :AOK
     
  17. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    No, no, at that point you'd have to go with oxygen free wire and unobtanium flux so the wires can "breathe."

    Seriously, the CTS pots that are made now are from overseas (my "Fender" packaged CTS pots said "Made in Taiwan") so they're not the same as they used to be - different design with a dimple in the back of the metal shell and the shaft shows through the back. Some have brass and some have aluminum shafts (more likely yellow and white pot metal alloy). Warmoth sent me what they billed as CTS pots but they had no label on them and had an exposed white nylon bushing in the back.

    I find what's actually important is the size of the nut and the tightness of the pot itself. Alpha pots fit in smaller holes in the pickguard/guitar top, so if you're replacing pots on an import you might not want to drill larger holes. Alphas are easier to turn, which is an advantage if you're using small tophat knobs that have less to grab onto. CTS pots have a tighter, smoother feel, but I prefer to use big hatbox speed knobs with those because they can be stiff. The CTS pots need a bigger hole, but a Tele control plate or Strat pickguard will already be drilled for that size.

    Also there's the issue of the knurling on the shaft, Alphas would have a finer knurl than CTS, so if you're re-using knobs that were on one type they may get loose on a different type of shaft.

    Just some practical issues to be aware of, none of these are really selling points.
     
  18. guitarstan

    guitarstan Member

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    If I understand you are saying the RS Super Pot may be too bright for a modern wired '59 Les Paul RI? And that a 250K CTS pot may be a better choice?

    I recently installed RS Super Pots in a 59 RI modern wiring and initially I thought it was way too bright. I have adapted to the brightness however if regular CTS 250K pots will take the edge off I will perform surgery again.
     
  19. gbnguitars

    gbnguitars Member

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    CTS makes the 450 series. You can specify any shaft length and material you would like.

    Don't buy from a guitar dealer, as you will get (as they say in the guitar world) the Vegas Screw Job.

    Instead, call Digi-Key (Mouser doesn't carry CTS).

    This part number on their website will get you started:

    450D504

    You can grab the data sheet and build your own part with any shaft, etc that you need.
     
  20. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Better yet - I now have access to a precision laser welder as needed. I can easily weld dissimilar metals to a polish in an argon filled chamber with no scaling. I could assemble harnesses laser welded together with 18k gold and put them up on eBay for $300 apiece, and they would probably sell! :dude
     

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