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Weird volume pot issue

crazyneddie

Member
Messages
3,290
Hi team, happy holidays all around. I have a beautiful strat that came with a treble bleed on the volume pot. I wasn't sure I would like it and it really didn't suit me as I like tone of the strat with the volume rolled off a hair. I also found it a little honky about mid way through the volume pot.
So long story short I had the guitar setup and asked them to unsolder one leg of the treble bleed.
Well I am a little tone crazy. So I thought the resulting tone sounding a little different wide open MUST be my imagination imagining imaginary differences in the tone. (That was for the Zappa fans if you are scratching your head.)
Just now I realized that if my volume pot is on zero, when I bring it up it immediately goes up to full volume, then as you bring it up to about 1 it goes quiet again and then starts to roll on the volume.

What's wrong?

Thanks in advance and happy holidays to all - Ned
 

Jeff Gehring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,797
Sounds like the pot is messed up. If you can't troubleshoot it, take it back to "them" and show them what it's doing and ask them to get it right.
 

Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,680
not everyone knows how to correctly solder and unsolder.. even techs.... it's very easy to heat things to the point that the parts inside, made of plastic, can warp, causing very irregular performance, or complete failure... replace the pot....

Ron Kirn
 

crazyneddie

Member
Messages
3,290
Thanks guys, so consensus is that the pot is shot? Bummer. I did cheat on my usual setup shop and it looks like I paid the price. I had a guy who has a good rep and comes to your house setup this fiddle. It had a treble bleed on it, which I didn't really care for. So I asked him to unsolder one leg of the treble bleed. Looks like he may have damaged the pot? I was also pretty unhappy with the setup too so I guess that is that.
Bummer as I hate to wait my regular guy is the very best but they have your guitar for like a week for a setup and I need this guit for rehearsals and gigs.
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,223
OP, if you like the sound of a Strat with the volume turned back a little, which makes it sound less trebly, did you consider turning the tone down, either on your guitar or your amp, and trying that, before having the treble bleed circuit dismantled?
 

crazyneddie

Member
Messages
3,290
OP, if you like the sound of a Strat with the volume turned back a little, which makes it sound less trebly, did you consider turning the tone down, either on your guitar or your amp, and trying that, before having the treble bleed circuit dismantled?
Yes I use the tone knobs on my guitars extensively. There is a sweet spot I hear on some clean passages with the volume rolled off just a squeak.
I did not like how the treble bleed sounded pretty honky as the volume was rolled off at a certain point. I prefer a super high quality setup with really good pots and caps and that seems to work best for me.
 

theonemanband

Member
Messages
71
not everyone knows how to correctly solder and unsolder.. even techs.... it's very easy to heat things to the point that the parts inside, made of plastic, can warp, causing very irregular performance, or complete failure... replace the pot....

Ron Kirn
Ron, excellent point..........SERIOUS question; what IS the "correct" way to solder/unsolder, (in particular pots)?
I am fairly adroit with an iron but sometimes I can be a bit clumsy...........I reckon we could all learn something here.
 

Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,680
what IS the "correct" way to solder/unsolder,
First ya need enough heat.. most use a small soldering pencil.. usually of the Radio Shack genera... at 20 or even 40 wats.. they're marginally robust enough..

You must have enough heat to heat, not only the solder as ya touch it to the tip, but to heat the contact and wire to the 400+ temp required to allow the solder to flow. The solder has to flow, if it sits there like a big bubble. it's not gonna do the trick..

On a pots case, typically used as a ground (earth) point... the 40 watter is marginally strong enough.. I use a Weller 8200 solder gun 100/140 watt dual temp... I can't recall ever using it at the 100 watt setting...

to solder to a pot case, pickup base plate, or tremolo claw requires substantially more than a 40 watt tool can supply..

when you try to make a 40 watt tool work.. you must leave the tip in contact with the pot case, etc, long enough to heat the point of contact.. problem is, the rest of the pot assembly is acting as a heat sink, sucking away heat faster than it can be supplied... so the entire part gets so hot, the "guts" start deforming,or in the case of the baseplate, it melts the glue used to attach it to the pickup..

If ya use something like the Weller gun.. it "blasts" the point so rapidly, the solder melts and flows fast enough so the the rest of the case never gets too hot...

the best way to learn.. crawl up into the attic, dig out that old Pentium II computer .. salvage the power supply and solder and un-solder contacts until you get the hang of it... should take about a half a beer to do so...

also USE the correct solder... if ya go to a Hardware store and ask for solder, the chances are high they will direct ya to the plumbing section WRONG, WRONG, WRONG... you want solder intended for electrical work... specify it... usually a 60/40 blend, and rosin core...

Ron Kirn
 

crazyneddie

Member
Messages
3,290
Thanks for clearing that up......I just naturally assumed that you preferred crappy parts on your guitars...
No need to be a tool, merely pointing out that PIO caps and nice pots work better at retaining treble without the compromise of a treble bleed for me.
And the sound of the volume rolled off a touch isn't just less bright, it's very different. I think you need better parts in that guitar.
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,548
Timely thread....had a guy screw up the 25k pot on my active Duncans. Goes up and down, but at about 90% it has a dead spot and just crackles and cuts out. Full volume it comes back in. I've checked all the connections, wiggled everything, it was a brand new pot that came with the pickups.
 

theonemanband

Member
Messages
71
First ya need enough heat.. most use a small soldering pencil.. usually of the Radio Shack genera... at 20 or even 40 wats.. they're marginally robust enough..

You must have enough heat to heat, not only the solder as ya touch it to the tip, but to heat the contact and wire to the 400+ temp required to allow the solder to flow. The solder has to flow, if it sits there like a big bubble. it's not gonna do the trick..

On a pots case, typically used as a ground (earth) point... the 40 watter is marginally strong enough.. I use a Weller 8200 solder gun 100/140 watt dual temp... I can't recall ever using it at the 100 watt setting...

to solder to a pot case, pickup base plate, or tremolo claw requires substantially more than a 40 watt tool can supply..

when you try to make a 40 watt tool work.. you must leave the tip in contact with the pot case, etc, long enough to heat the point of contact.. problem is, the rest of the pot assembly is acting as a heat sink, sucking away heat faster than it can be supplied... so the entire part gets so hot, the "guts" start deforming,or in the case of the baseplate, it melts the glue used to attach it to the pickup..

If ya use something like the Weller gun.. it "blasts" the point so rapidly, the solder melts and flows fast enough so the the rest of the case never gets too hot...

the best way to learn.. crawl up into the attic, dig out that old Pentium II computer .. salvage the power supply and solder and un-solder contacts until you get the hang of it... should take about a half a beer to do so...

also USE the correct solder... if ya go to a Hardware store and ask for solder, the chances are high they will direct ya to the plumbing section WRONG, WRONG, WRONG... you want solder intended for electrical work... specify it... usually a 60/40 blend, and rosin core...

Ron Kirn
Nice one Ron, good information!! I think maybe my occasional issues could be caused by my (Antex) iron which is only 25watts; I am going to order an adjustable 50watt in the new year.

To the OP (crazyneddie), why don't you take onboard the above information, and have a go at replacing your guitar pots with new ones, YOURSELF. Don't forget to make a note, or take a photo of the connections before you start; that way, it's pretty foolproof and the worst that can happen is you'll screw up another pot! The best, is that you will have the satisfaction of getting your guitar EXACTLY as YOU want it AND, you will have learned a new skill too!!
 
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Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,680
. . . merely pointing out that PIO caps and nice pots work better at retaining treble without the compromise of a treble bleed for me.
While the "for me" acts as a qualifier, I might point out that in an engineering context, retaining treble would be purely a function of the values of those components and have nothing to do with the mechanical architecture.

The "for me" suggests that the ever-present influence of prior knowledge may be in play. < Do not disregard that, and that is not a Diss.. often it is far more important for your music (that's what this is all about) that "you" choose something rumored, but unproven to yield specific results, than to not.. that stuff gets in your head and if you don't pursue your desires.. you will be second guessing your choices forever..

It actually does not matter if, in a laboratory setting, the sonic results of a "mod" can be validated, if you think it did, it did... thus the validation of "for me"...

My goal is simply to help some make those decisions seriously encumbered by real information. :p

While the differing values can effect the pup's response.. unless you have precision equipment to measure the various metrics necessary, and the knowledge of the math required to use that data to compute that information to predict that response, such is totally useless... any variation would be purely a matter of chance. Thus a 3 cent chiclet may result in a final "voice" you prefer, and a 1000.00 Deulund pio gold foil, actually make it sound worse... however considering the influence of confirmation bias, if you know which cap is installed, you're gonna hear what you expect.

And I know there are "guys" out there that are thinking, "Oh no, not me, I can remain completely neutral in my determinations. . ."... Well .. that goes against everything the Field of Psychology has learned about the inner workings of the mind since Freud did his thing and Pavlov was playing with his pooches. Sorry, but you "macho men" are as subject to subconscious prejudices as anyone..

Just replacing one cap with another of exactly the same metrics but a different construction would/could have NO advantage or disadvantage relative to the sound coming from the circuit. And similarly "high quality" pots and those of more pedestrian heritage are simply resistors, resistors whose value may be altered by rotating the knob... thus they just allow electrons to flow, or restrict their passage... it depends upon the value. If you rotate a 250K pot to a value of 146K (as an example) it doesn't matter if it's at 144 or 147.. it's close enough... However if you're in a research lab in CERN, searching for what the Higgs Boson is made of... your "dialed in" chosen value needs to be perfectly stable, and repeatable, over and over again...

Precision pots, are of ZERO advantage in a guitar.. they do have an application in situations where precise settings at high stability are required, like in that CERN laboratory, or other scientific applications, but in a guitar, where ya just turn the booger until ya hear what ya like and stop.. they do nothing more than separate you from your money. The single most important quality in a pot is reliability... In that respect, the "industry standards" are fine, and spending 20.00 for a "high reliability" pot will gain you nothing over a 5.00 CTS as an example.

As for the caps.. no one want's to "pop the hood" and see a 3 cent POS in there.. and there are plenty of quality pieces available for a few bux.. I use a high end cap in my guitars, simply because "you" want to see 'em in there... no harm, no foul...but I betcha there aren't many other makers that will reveal that kinda little factoid.. :D

rk
 

SgtThump

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,160
Its pretty hard to mess up a pot with heat when youre only lifting a leg of a cap. IMO of course
 






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