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The impact of a 1meg volume pot in a Les Paul.

Grenville

Member
Messages
2,789
I'm always on the lookout for ways to get utmost clarity from the neck pickup in my Les Paul.

One thing I did recently was to swap out the 500k volume pot in neck position with a 1meg. The difference is nice, but subtle.

I do, however, seem to be getting a quiet but noticeable high-pitched whine/interference when on this pickup - is it reasonable to expect more susceptibility to interference like this with a 1meg pot?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,724
is it reasonable to expect more susceptibility to interference like this with a 1meg pot?
possibly.

did you keep the 500k tone pot? if so a better idea is to put a 500k audio volume in and open up the tone pot, to 1M or even a no-load type.

you'll get the same clarity increase but the 500k audio volume works better for turning up and down.

what year les paul is it?
 

Grenville

Member
Messages
2,789
Thanks Walter. I've disconnected the tone pot, actually.

This pot (Emerson Pro CTS) is great for turning up and down, superb for swells.

The guitar is a 1980 Tokai Reborn Old, old LP specs. ;)
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,724
This pot (Emerson Pro CTS) is great for turning up and down, superb for swells.
with a 1M audio volume, no tone pot?

if that's working for you then keep it; a bit of extra noise on the margins might just be the price.
 

Grenville

Member
Messages
2,789
A follow up - the 1meg pot was short-shaft and all the other pots long shaft, so I went and double checked the wiring to ensure all was secure, reflowed the solder slightly on the braid onto the back of the pot.

No more noise, and the taper/response for volume swells is superb.

I recommend this mod - I've never heard of anyone else doing it!

P.S. thanks for weighing in, Walter!
 

Juan Wayne

Member
Messages
679
I'm glad it worked out, bad shielding/grounding is the mother of all noises. Now, this makes me think of two things.

First, that if you went as far as removing the tone AND doubling the volume pot, you must have really had a lack of treble/brightness on the neck, which makes me wonder if it couldn't have been solved on a less intrusive way, like lowering the pickup to let it "breathe" a bit.

The other thing is, how much treble do you lose when dialing back the volume? I mean, when you go down half the taper, it's like having a whole 500k pot in series with the rest of the circuit. That's one hell of a low-pass filter you're making there.
 

iMac

Member
Messages
18
I actually just threw a 1 meg in the neck of my les paul and added a 250K to the bridge. I grew up on single coils so I have always found that les pauls lack some clarity in the neck. I think it is a great way to run the tone circuit and it will likely stay. I have to run the brights up on the amp to get the response I want out of the neck and it leaves the bridge a little on the bright side. With the new volume pots the pickups balance extremely well and I don't have to work the eq on the amp or the tone circuit as much. It's a subtle difference, but a difference in the right direction. YMMV
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,724
i gotta say though, usually 1M pots are not great for volumes;

they're super-bright on "10" but then drop off and get muddy as soon as you roll them back a little. (the nature of a volume pot circuit means that the higher the pot value, when you turn it down you get way more resistance in series with the signal)

pickup a jazzmaster or jaguar and you'll find they get dull and quiet as soon as you nudge the volume down to even "9".

that's the tradeoff; 250k pots by contrast are darker at full up but have a more even sweep with less treble loss from there when you turn them down.
 

iMac

Member
Messages
18
I have found that simple treble bleed circuits work for me. I just run a 680pF cap on the volume pot. Thus far rolling down the volume maintains the clarity pretty well. I’ll live with the setup for a while to determine if it has any shortcomings, but so far it seems like all positives.
 

Grenville

Member
Messages
2,789
Almost exactly two years after my first post...

I missed having a tone control, so put that back.

However I rewired the neck pickup so the coils were in parallel instead of in series.

There's the clarity I've been looking for. Did the same trick to my recently acquired Bacchus BFV (ie inauthentic (but sure feels and plays good) Flying V).

Lovely. ;)
 

iMac

Member
Messages
18
Almost exactly two years after my first post...

I missed having a tone control, so put that back.

However I rewired the neck pickup so the coils were in parallel instead of in series.

There's the clarity I've been looking for.



That is something I haven’t tried. I have a couple other humbucker equipped guitars that I could try this with. Maybe use a push/pull pot to bounce between series and parallel.

Les Paul’s seem to be the most vulnerable to a muddy sounding neck pickup. Other humbucker guitars are thick sounding in the neck position, but nowhere close to a traditional les Paul. At least in my experience
 




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