When to use linear taper or audio taper pots?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by GuitarInnovations, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. GuitarInnovations

    GuitarInnovations Member

    Messages:
    1,319
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    From a quick search, the consensus is to use audio taper pots for tone controls.

    What about volume controls?

    Also, what pots are considered the best available today?
     
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

    Messages:
    14,560
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    14 Megameters from Groong Tehp
    Audio taper for the treble-cut control, Volume is user preference.
    I prefer Linear taper for volume, but many will like Audio, because it allows you to "clean up" with less rolling back than a Linear taper.

    Here's a visual example:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  3. Dan40

    Dan40 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    928
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Location:
    Richmond, Va
    I like an audio taper (10%) for volume because it allows a quicker cleanup from 10 down to 8 and then a gradual volume reduction from 8 on down. They also make a vintage audio taper (30%) and other custom audio tapers that react a little slower and more like a linear taper.
     
    bigtone23, EL34 and Killed_by_Death like this.
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    35,408
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    if you play crunchy and like to work the clean to crunch transition from the guitar then you want audio taper volumes

    if you play clean jazz or bass you want linear taper volumes.

    you want audio taper for tones regardless.
     
  5. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Messages:
    4,976
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Denver CO
    I agree with everything said thus far.
    As far as the best pots... It mostly comes down to CTS and Bournes.
    Best reliability? Best size? Best tolerance? Best performance? Both companies have many products and are pretty much the same as each other.
    Best feel? Bournes are usually smoother, looser, faster feeling. CTS tend to be stiffer, but that can be fixed/personalized with a drop of naphtha and some rotation of the control until your personal feel happens.
    There's a lot of personal preference at play. Fortunately, pots are fairly cheap and easy to experiment and change out. I like both companies the same. I don't care for super loose pots in positions that get bumped (like Strat volumes).
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  6. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Always use Audio pots.
     
    matt1969 likes this.
  7. 70 Mach 1

    70 Mach 1 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2016
    Location:
    Oyster Bay NY
    I tried Linear volume once and quickly put it back to audio. Because like mentioned it was too much of a fuss to lower the vol.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    35,408
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    the CTS that feel easy/loose tend to be the ones with the "vintage style" dimpled back with the spindle poking through, while the "flatback" ones tend towards being stiff.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    bigtone23 likes this.
  9. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Audio and Bournes
     
  10. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

    Messages:
    1,932
    Joined:
    May 14, 2017
    I use audio for both. I'm super sick-and-tired of the crap audio pots sold by just about everyone. I find the taper, whatever is advertised, to be unreliable and I rarely end up with the smooth progression I want. Because pots are "throwback" items, all the ones I've tried are built way worse than any other component on a guitar. While there's a general knee-jerk preference for CTS pots, I find Bourns to be markedly smoother. Honestly, though, I wish some other company would take on pot-building, because Bourns, CTS, and Alpha are all junk. You can see that by looking at them. And god only knows why the tolerances are so broad in a component where the actual value is quite significant. Honestly, if I get a smooth pot of the right value for my guitar, I don't even fight for a proper taper anymore. I'd love to see some startup put the "big boys" out of the pot business.
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  11. bob-i

    bob-i Member

    Messages:
    8,273
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Central NJ
  12. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

    Messages:
    17,638
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Detroit Burbs, MI
    after years of playing mostly at home, clean amp and dirt pedals
    with a volume pedal...I tend to keep all my guitar controls maxed and leave them...yes,,,i said it

    I would remove them and wire my pups straight to switch and jack if not for the 4 gaping holes it would leave

    that said, ive been upgrading electronics in my guits and have bought cts audio tapers
     
  13. galibier_un

    galibier_un Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,112
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado
    Well, you could just leave all the controls in place and bypass them if this is your preference :D

    ... Thom
     
    jturner likes this.
  14. mildew

    mildew Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Recently i was installing a tone pot, and the only one i had available with push/push was a linear. DUH!!! - now i know why you always use audio for tone. It has zero effect from 10 to 1, then all the treble vanishes from 1 to 0 :)

    (since im a "tone always on 10" player i have not actually replaced it yet)
     
    walterw likes this.
  15. matt1969

    matt1969 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Location:
    Philly Suburbs
    Linear pots act like on/off switches when used for volume controls. No variabllity.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    35,408
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    with overdrive

    when the sound is totally clean linear volumes work just fine, evenly controlling the volume throughout the sweep
     
    bigtone23 likes this.
  17. RicOkc

    RicOkc Member

    Messages:
    1,339
    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Same here.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice