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Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by keano, Jan 12, 2008.
Does it give it more ouptut? Bigger tone?
It'll be a little brighter, and that's about it. The output won't be any higher, since at max volume the resistance of the pot is essentially 0, no matter what the max resistance is.
Sometimes those 300k pots have a linear taper instead of the audio taper they normally have. To tell the honest truth, i"m not sure how linear taper pots in a guitar are at all workable, but there are a few models that use them successfully. I even had one.
Pretty much all Gibson volumes have been 300k linear for the last 35 years. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, in the passive guitar volume arrangement linear gives a much more even fade from about 10-2, especially when balancing neck and bridge in the middle position. Then it cuts out fairly rapidly from 1-0. I personally prefer linear over audio for volumes, but I'm probably in the minority. If you're playing anything overdriven, the audio pot offers the quick clean-up fade from around 10-7, then a slower change area from 7-3, then a smoother fade out from 3-0. Most people seem to prefer audio in my experience. Audio pots often get fit with a treble bleed cap or cap/resistor combo to keep the treble up as you pan down, yet linear pots don't seem to have quite as much need for it.
So switch to 500k and you'll get a bit more brightness / high end. You would still have the option of using linear or audio in 500k pots, and that's just personal preference. If you like the way your volumes work now, stay with linear, if you want the more rapid roll off at the top and a smoother fade out at the bottom, go with audio.
I actually like the 300k linear pots for some pickups and it's true that they don't seem to need the bypass cap because of such a gradual increase in resistance when you turn it down. Hey, if you need more highs go to a 500k.
my experience is that if you play clean jazz or bass, the linear volumes will behave "linearly", that is, will evenly sweep from 0 to 10. if you play blues, rock, or anything with compressed or overdriven amp tones, the audio's will act linear, cleaning up nicely and giving useful tones throughout their range. in those circumstances, linears tend to just get muddy, and then drop off as they are turned down.
That's my experience as well. The reason I like linear volumes is because I play fairly clean, and they just work smoother for that. Shift in to overdrive and the audio pots definitely end up giving a more consistent fade.
I would add that what are sold as "300K" or "500K" pots are actually pots with values around, but not exactly at, those figures. Often, if you don't want to go from, say, 300 to 500, if you're working with a top notch supplier, you can ask them to cherry-pick you a pot that's deliberately at the high or low end of the value.
For example, I just ordered an electronics upgrade kit from RS for my LP. It's a relatively dark sounding all mahogany LP so after confirming in advance by email that they're happy to do it for you, I specified that one of the two volume pots (I'm intending it for the neck PUP volume control) be cherry-picked at 530-540K (the pot equivalent of "going to 11" ).
This characteristic of off-the-shelf pots is also why a guitar can sound so different, and not always better, when replacing cheap stock pots (say, Alphas) with quality replacement pots (say, CTSs). Depending on the luck of the draw, you could find yourself going from 280K to 220K and that's a difference you will hear.