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Plus Top Dan

Help with Pots & Capacitators...........

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Hello everyone,

 

I have a 2006 epiphone Les Paul standard and would like to replace the pickups as I find them a little muddy sounding with not much room between muddy and bright!! I'm pretty sure I want to replace them with either Gibson Burstbuckers (#1 in the neck and #2 in the bridge)or the Gibson '57s. While i'm at it I feel it would be beneficial to replace the stock pots with better quality CTS ones.

 

Can you offer me some advice about pots and capacitors please? I'm pretty sure I would go for the linear poots at 500k. 500k would seem to keep me nearer the brighter tone range (is this correct?)The pots i've seen are CTS ones which i've been informed are of high quality.

 

I've seen some sprague orange drop capacitors also and i've been told that 0.22 would also keep me in the brighter range. However, i've seen them rated at 0.22 at different readings. :-k what is the difference between 0.22 @ 400v & 0.22 @100v???

 

As I want the pickups to still be quite bright I feel that 500k pots and 0.22 caps are the right way to go, can somebody please either confirm or correct my education on this?

 

Sorry for all the questions but guitar electrickey and wiring is all new to me, i've always been a player of guitars but am new to fidgeting with them!! :)

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Dan,

 

CTS are good pots as are Bourns and aftermarket Alphas.

If you go with CTS you will need to open up your holes slightly. Tape over the holes with masking tape. (prevents chipping)

After that a rolled up piece of sandpaper should do the trick.

 

As to brightness:

Yes to 500k pots. I don't know why so many people are getting this wrong lately.

The higher the number the brighter the pot.

As to capacitors.....The lower the number the less high end that is sent to ground as the tone is rolled back.

 

Don't believe me! If you disagree then go look it up at any one of a dozen reputable websites or dealers.

This is why 250k pots are often used with .047μF caps on single coil Fenders. It is to darken up otherwise very bright pickups. (Much brighter than P-90s or Humbuckers)

 

Things that many people do not realize:

Forget about Linear vs. Audio volumes for a minute. I base my choice on how I want my controls to function.

Linear is a 50% taper.

What most do not realize is that Audio pot tapers are not all the same. They will also act differently depending on the wiring scheme. 50's or modern...Independent volumes or dependent volumes.

 

Audio Taper Pots:

They can be purchased as a 10% taper, 14%-18% taper, 20% taper, 25%-30% taper or the 30% TVTs. (True Vintage Taper)

Unfortunately, manufactures neither tell you this nor do they list their log tapers.

This is why some people will do a 50's wiring job and complain that the volume falls off completely below 8.

They bought CTS pots...but ...they were inexpensive 10% audio tapers and they used them for volumes.

(They were 10% TAPER...this is not the same as 10% tolerance)

 

As to capacitors:

.022μF are pretty standard for humbuckers. They will darken up a fair amount. If you do not anticipate playing in a darker vein then some will use .015μF (most often for the neck PU) Wide open they are all the same.

Completely rolled off the .015μF will send less high end to ground so the roll down on the taper is more gradual.

 

Voltage:

Some say that the more dielectric material in a cap ( higher voltage) has an effect on the sound....beats me!

Your guitar runs on such a small voltage that 100v or better is more than enough.

I normally use what is available. I often use Russian Pio caps. 200v to 400v. Some like 600v but they are larger and take up much more room in the cavity.

 

Well, I guess I've run on enough for now. I'll end by saying that my preferences are:

 

50's Dependent wiring

Switchcraft toggle and jack.

500k Linear CTS Volumes or RS Superpot volumes (RS Superpots are almost 30% taper audio pots)

Inexpensive CTS 500k Audio tone pot ...10% taper...( I find I get a smoother tone roll off with the lesser % taper audio tone pot)

PIO caps...Although if I'm doing Modern wiring scheme for others I like the orange drops.

Modern Dependent is stock on most Epiphones and Gibsons.

 

Keep in mind the percentages I am talking about are percentage of taper...NOT percentage of production tolerances.

 

Willy

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that was thorough. i'll add my les paul preferences:

 

(rs modern)

 

rs superpots (volume)

rs 500k (tone)

.015 neck cap

.022 bridge cap

modern wiring

 

quick note- some people will tell you that the cap material matters (ceramic, paper in oil, whatever). i'd disagree with that for the most part. only the value really matters. having said that, after going through all that trouble, i wouldn't but a .03 cent ceramic cap in there- i'd put something decent but i probably wouldn't pay for those $50 caps you'll find. unless i super insisted on "the best". you can experiement in a les paul, but i'd spend a little for a semi or hollow because i never want to go back in there again.

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Excellent, informative post Willy (not that this is unusual). Yep, when ordering pots from common retailers/suppliers, one never really knows the actual specifications of those parts.

 

I stumbled across this sheet of taper charts from Alps, another major supplier of pots and switches:

Alps Pot Taper Charts

 

EDIT: ACK! This link has been corrected, I messed it up the first try.

 

Using an analog ohm meter to test/check new pots before installing them may prevent unwanted results.

 

There are a lot of different grades for many parts, and the chain of quality is something like: consumer, commercial/industrial, medical, military/aviation, aerospace.

When I was in industrial manufacturing maintenance we generally always used sealed pots to prevent problems due to infiltration of dust, moisture etc.

I've been using the common, ordinary open-cased pots in guitars, but add a couple of wraps of automotive pinstriping tape (because of it's narrow width) around them as an improvised dust shield.

 

I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen examples of multi-turn pots mentioned (so far). I have some mechanical digital counter displays for use with 10-turn pots.. maybe I'll make up a goof/hoax guitar with those mounted on it.. they're chrome cased, so they'd fit right in with a lot of other chrome hardware/accents.

Volume to 11 ain't nothin' compared to Volume to 999, heheh.

A 4x 50" speaker cab might be a bit problematic to move around though.

 

Bill

 

 

Dan,

CTS are good pots as are Bourns and aftermarket Alphas.

If you go with CTS you will need to open up your holes slightly. Tape over the holes with masking tape. (prevents chipping)

After that a rolled up piece of sandpaper should do the trick.

As to brightness:

Yes to 500k pots. I don't know why so many people are getting this wrong lately.

The higher the number the brighter the pot.

As to capacitors.....The lower the number the less high end that is sent to ground as the tone is rolled back.

Don't believe me! If you disagree then go look it up at any one of a dozen reputable websites or dealers.

This is why 250k pots are often used with .047μF caps on single coil Fenders. It is to darken up otherwise very bright pickups. (Much brighter than P-90s or Humbuckers)

Things that many people do not realize:

Forget about Linear vs. Audio volumes for a minute. I base my choice on how I want my controls to function.

Linear is a 50% taper.

What most do not realize is that Audio pot tapers are not all the same. They will also act differently depending on the wiring scheme. 50's or modern...Independent volumes or dependent volumes.

Audio Taper Pots:

They can be purchased as a 10% taper, 14%-18% taper, 20% taper, 25%-30% taper or the 30% TVTs. (True Vintage Taper)

Unfortunately, manufactures neither tell you this nor do they list their log tapers.

This is why some people will do a 50's wiring job and complain that the volume falls off completely below 8.

They bought CTS pots...but ...they were inexpensive 10% audio tapers and they used them for volumes.

(They were 10% TAPER...this is not the same as 10% tolerance)

As to capacitors:

.022μF are pretty standard for humbuckers. They will darken up a fair amount. If you do not anticipate playing in a darker vein then some will use .015μF (most often for the neck PU) Wide open they are all the same.

Completely rolled off the .015μF will send less high end to ground so the roll down on the taper is more gradual.

Voltage:

Some say that the more dielectric material in a cap ( higher voltage) has an effect on the sound....beats me!

Your guitar runs on such a small voltage that 100v or better is more than enough.

I normally use what is available. I often use Russian Pio caps. 200v to 400v. Some like 600v but they are larger and take up much more room in the cavity.

Well, I guess I've run on enough for now. I'll end by saying that my preferences are:

 

50's Dependent wiring

Switchcraft toggle and jack.

500k Linear CTS Volumes or RS Superpot volumes (RS Superpots are almost 30% taper audio pots)

Inexpensive CTS 500k Audio tone pot ...10% taper...( I find I get a smoother tone roll off with the lesser % taper audio tone pot)

PIO caps...Although if I'm doing Modern wiring scheme for others I like the orange drops.

Modern Dependent is stock on most Epiphones and Gibsons.

 

Keep in mind the percentages I am talking about are percentage of taper...NOT percentage of production tolerances.

 

Willy

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Great info Willy and Lefty Bill..........Perhaps when Rob RaSTuS has time, he can add this info on the DIY Thread, subsection "Poteniometers and Caps."

 

O.P. Plus Top Dan, there's good info on that pinned thread for you...........

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Thanks again everyone, [thumbup]

 

I'm slowly narrowing my decisions down. I'm going to order a a pair of Seymour Duncan SH-1 '59 pickups with nickel covers. I'm going to get a 0.22 cap for the bridge pickup.

 

My remaining decisions are:

 

Do I get a 0.22 or a 0.15 cap for the neck pickup?

Do I go for Linear or audio pots? I want the volume and tone to respond evenly to the turning of the pots, I don't want everything to be in a small percetage of the turn.

 

Any opinions welcome!! (again!!) :rolleyes:

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-.015 cap (but some caps are cheap enough that you may as well try both)

-audio (i like the rs superpots myself, but they are relatively pricey)

 

what kind of magnet is the 59? i heard it was an alnico 3, but the website doesn't say.

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Well, I guess I've run on enough for now. I'll end by saying that my preferences are:

 

50's Dependent wiring

Switchcraft toggle and jack.

500k Linear CTS Volumes or RS Superpot volumes (RS Superpots are almost 30% taper audio pots)

 

My preferences are:

Independent volume controls - allows me to blend both PU's in many increments

Bridge HB/P-90 - 250K pots with .022 cap on tone

Neck HB/P-90 - 500K pots with .022 cap on tone

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What wiring scheme are you considering?

Will you be making and installing it yourself or having it done?

 

Willy

 

Willy, Not sure about the wiring. I was going to leave the wiring as it is. The pickups are single connectors so i'm not going to get any coil tapping or splitting done. Would the wiring make a difference as to my choices??? <_<

 

I thought about doing it myself but I think (due to my inexperience) I'll probably ask my local guitar shop to do all the work. I beleive the holes for the pots will need to be drilled a little bigger to accommodate the CTS pots, so i'd rather give the shop my guitar and get them to do it all and set it up while it's in there.

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Would the wiring make a difference as to my choices???

 

Not so much in terms of pot choices. Your best volume tapers will still come from either Linear pots,

Rs super pots (close to 30% audio taper) or at least a high tolerance audio taper pot @ 20% taper. I explained my preferences above.

 

Audio pots are the preference for tone pots. 10% or 20% should be just fine.

 

The reason I ask is just a matter of utility.

This is reflected by the four basic wiring schemes:

http://www.dominocs.com/AshBassGuitar/WireLibrary-Gibson.html

They are the first four on the link. Modern Dependent (stock), Modern Independent, 50's Dependent and 50's Independent.

 

Each has it's own advantages. Each has it's own disadvantages.

As you are taking it to a professional for upgrades, he/she should be able to explain the differences to you.

 

As Blueman said, he likes Independent. (also a favorite of RaSTuS) Probably Modern Independent.

In time, you will decide what works best for you.

 

Willy

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Not so much in terms of pot choices. Your best volume tapers will still come from either Linear pots,

Rs super pots (close to 30% audio taper) or at least a high tolerance audio taper pot @ 20% taper. I explained my preferences above.

 

Audio pots are the preference for tone pots. 10% or 20% should be just fine.

 

The reason I ask is just a matter of utility.

This is reflected by the four basic wiring schemes:

http://www.dominocs.com/AshBassGuitar/WireLibrary-Gibson.html

They are the first four on the link. Modern Dependent (stock), Modern Independent, 50's Dependent and 50's Independent.

 

Each has it's own advantages. Each has it's own disadvantages.

As you are taking it to a professional for upgrades, he/she should be able to explain the differences to you.

 

As Blueman said, he likes Independent. (also a favorite of RaSTuS) Probably Modern Independent.

In time, you will decide what works best for you.

 

Willy

 

 

Thanks Again Willy,

 

Can you explain why it would be preferable to have linear controls for the volume and audio for the tone?

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Can you explain why it would be preferable to have linear controls for the volume and audio for the tone?

 

Actually, Audio pots will work for volumes if they are of 20% 0r 30% taper.

Some even prefer them if they are wiring 50's.

Otherwise, if you don't know what you are buying, it is safer to stick with Linear.

 

I have sound files of all the basic volume, tone and cap configurations. The problem is that if I posted them all this would become a very long thread. (this forum limits you to 2 sound or video clips per post.)

 

So, I'll just put up a couple of basics. These are Modern Dependent Wiring (Stock)...You decide!

****You May Want To Set Your Volume To 6 or 7 On A Scale of 10 To Hear What Is Going On.****

 

Linear Volume Pot:

 

ModernDepLinear.jpg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21424628/Gibson%20LP%20Redo/Complete%20Volume%20Count%20Ups/Modern%20Dependent/Modern%20Dep%20Linear%20Vol/Modern%20Dep%20Linear.mp3

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10% Taper Audio Volume Pot:

 

10TAPERVolModDep.jpg

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21424628/Gibson%20LP%20Redo/Complete%20Volume%20Count%20Ups/Modern%20Dependent/Modern%20Dep%2010%20%20Audio%20Vol/10%20TAPER%20Vol%20Mod%20Dep.mp3

 

I'll post the tone pots on the next post.

 

Willy

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Linear Tone Pot Roll Off: (no point in posting pics...volumes are identical)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21424628/Gibson%20LP%20Redo/Complete%20Volume%20Count%20Ups/Tone%20Tests%20.022%20Cap%2050s%20Dep/Linear%20Tone%20Pot/Linear%20Tone.mp3

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10% Taper Audio Tone Pot Roll Off:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21424628/Gibson%20LP%20Redo/Complete%20Volume%20Count%20Ups/Tone%20Tests%20.022%20Cap%2050s%20Dep/10%20TAPER%20Audio%20Tone%20Pot/10%20TAPER%20Audio%20Tone%20.mp3

 

Unfortunately, it is hard to tell from Mp3s but I'm setting in front of 500w of studio monitors listening to the original waves.

 

On the Linear Tone Pot most of the effective roll off is between 3 and 1.

On the Audio Tone Pot not too much happens between 10 and 8 but the rest of the roll off is much more even.

I'll choose the Audio pots for tone every time.

 

Willy

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-.015 cap (but some caps are cheap enough that you may as well try both)

-audio (i like the rs superpots myself, but they are relatively pricey)

 

what kind of magnet is the 59? i heard it was an alnico 3, but the website doesn't say.

 

'59's have A5's. The only HB that Duncan uses an A3 in is the bridge of the new Bonamassa signature PAF set.

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As Blueman said, he likes Independent. (also a favorite of RaSTuS) Probably Modern Independent.

In time, you will decide what works best for you.

 

Independent volumes gives you a huge variety of tone options with the toggle in the middle position. To me, that outweighs any other consideration. If your bridge PU is a little thin-sounding in a certain room or venue, flip to the middle position and dial in a little neck PU. Same for when the neck seems a little dark, just dial in some bridge PU.

 

Another thing I like to do is use the neck PU for rhythm and dial it down to 7 or 8, and keep the bridge PU on 10 for lead work. That way I can flip the toggle from neck to bridge for solos and get a volume boost.

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Willy, you've come up trumps again! Sorry to keep asking questions but i've learnt more in the last few days than I have in months!! [thumbup]

 

Regarding the capacitors i'm going to go 0.22 on both the neck and bridge pickups. If you were given the choice between the following what would you suggest:

 

2 x Sprague Orange Drops 0.022 @ 100v Poly Capacitors, Leads - Tinned copper with a Tolerance of 10% 225p

 

2 x Sprague Orange Drops 0.022 @ 400v Poly Capacitors, Leads - Tinned copper with a Tolerance of 10% 225p

 

2 x Sprague Film and Foil Capacitors 0.022 @ 200v Leads - Tinned copper with a Tolerance of 5% 225p.

 

Am I right in assuming a tolerance of 5% is 'better' than a tolerance of 10%? Also is there any reason why any of these options would not be suitable?

 

Thanks Again!! B)

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I have just purchased the very same SH 1 pups myself for my 08 LP Standard. Not trying upset the apple cart here, I found this site. jonseyblues.com. He offers DIY wiring

kits for many different guitars.

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I have just purchased the very same SH 1 pups myself for my 08 LP Standard. Not trying upset the apple cart here, I found this site. jonseyblues.com. He offers DIY wiring

kits for many different guitars.

 

Jonesy and I have had a few discussions about pots and caps. I don't post much on the "other" forum. I go by "Papa" when I do.

 

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/tonefreaks/171771-cts-ep086-500k-vs-rs-superpots-audioclips.html#post3299791

 

Jonesy and I see pretty much eye to eye. His harness work is first rate and he can build you any kind you like.

He also has a personal preference for 50's Dependent with Audio Volumes.

As a result he buys his pots from WD music. Like RS they are expensive. Their 10% production tolerance pots are also 20% Taper so they will work for Volumes. I just prefer Linear volumes. We both use Audio tones.

 

So, Copperhead, no upset apple carts here.

 

Dan,

Any of those caps will work just fine. In fact I keep several around for testing purposes.

That way you can try different values and hear what works for you.

 

IMG_1715-1.jpg...IMG_1721-1.jpg

 

Even on a semi hollow the parts can be tested ahead of time.

After all, they have to be assembled outside the guitar before installation anyway.

Here I was testing 400v Orange drops in both .022μF and .015μF configurations.

I have used both on some of my own guitars as well as others.

 

 

Willy

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Jonesy and I have had a few discussions about pots and caps. I don't post much on the "other" forum. I go by "Papa" when I do.

 

http://www.mylespaul...tml#post3299791

 

Jonesy and I see pretty much eye to eye. His harness work is first rate and he can build you any kind you like.

He also has a personal preference for 50's Dependent with Audio Volumes.

As a result he buys his pots from WD music. Like RS they are expensive. Their 10% production tolerance pots are also 20% Taper so they will work for Volumes. I just prefer Linears.

 

So, Copperhead, no upset apple carts here.

 

Dan,

Any of those caps will work just fine. In fact I keep several around for testing purposes.

That way you can try different values and hear what works for you.

 

IMG_1715-1.jpg...IMG_1721-1.jpg

 

Even on a semi hollow the parts can be tested ahead of time.

After all, they have to be assembled outside the guitar before installation anyway.

Here I was testing 400v Orange drops in both .022μF and .015μF configurations.

I have used both on some of my own guitars as well as others.

 

 

Willy

Don't want to hog up Dans post, thanks for the input Willy. I'll be placing an order with him soon. I'm planing to go with the 50's independent volume. Dan good luck with your project, Bob.

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Thanks again guys. I think i'm just going to keep with the 0.002 orange drops @ 100v and see how things go. If things don't sound right I can always change the caps out.

 

Either way, I can't honestly see how fitting SH-1'59s to my guitar and upgrading the pots and caps could leave me disapointed (famous last words!!)

 

Time to place an order I think............ :D/

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Thanks again to everyone who helped me out on this little project. Here's a quick update......

 

I have handed my Les Paul to the music shops technician/luthier to do an assesment and carry out the work.

 

His job list is.......

 

Install neck and bridge SD SH-1 '59 pickups

Upgrade all pots with CTS 500k split shaft linears

Upgrade capacitors with .022 Sprague Orange Drops

Restring with D'addario 10 gauge strings

Carry out set up and investigate buzz on high E & B strings beyond 15th fret.

 

He's very busy apparently but I should have my guitar back this time next week. I've also requested that I have the old pots and pickups returned to me.

 

I'll let you know the verdict on the 'upgrades'..........................

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I have handed my Les Paul to the music shops technician/luthier to do an assesment and carry out the work.

 

His job list is.......

 

Install neck and bridge SD SH-1 '59 pickups

Upgrade all pots with CTS 500k split shaft linears

Upgrade capacitors with .022 Sprague Orange Drops

 

Very nice!

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