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Unread 10-12-2012, 10:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pots and Capacitors

OK- building on my previous thread about the pickup swap on a 1989 SG '62 reissue, I have been doing some research. Down below is a picture of my wiring harness and ceramic capacitors for reference. So I was figuring out what all the numbers mean, and assuming the value of the soldered-over numbers, it appears I have 2 CTS volume pots R13787 and 2 CTS tone pots R13788.

Those numbers tell me they are CTS made (R137) and produced in 1987/88 (87/88). So far so good. Then I have the 2 tone pots with the numbers 440-70-041, and two volume pots with the numbers 440-70-028. Finally, the 2 ceramic capacitors with the values of Mp 203M , 100V.

OK. Now I have sent an email to CTS (for which I think is a dead end) and searched the net about these 440 number codes. So far, I can find no information about the 440 prefix, but using the site vintageguitarsandbass.com , I can find information on the numbers AFTER 440. What this tell me is: The tone pots xxx-70-041 have a linear(?) resistance of ONLY 100K, while the volume pots xxx-70-028 have a linear(?) resistance of 300K. I am not sure if any of these numbers might be affected by the 440 prefix, as this website only references Gibbos up to 1981, and don't include my particular SG.

As far as the capacitors- i have read stuff but I still don't quite understand what those numbers mean.

Thank you to those of you who have recommended the 500K pots in my previous entry.

My questions are:

1)Does the 440 prefix have any bearing on the actual resistance of the pots labeled?

2)Does the 300K volume/ 100K indicate a sufficiently lacking capability?

3)Should I swap out all for 500K, both Volume and Tone? (or as 1 guy did, go up as far as a 1K?

4)Linear vs.Tapered? I'd ideally prefer a smooth, calibrated roll on/off and not a big jump between an indicated 8 to 10 on the dials(unless the jump takes me to a solid "11" )

5)It'd be easy to swap the entire harness, so any recommendations on what would give a dynamic, clear, blasting sound if I am going to '57/'57+ classics or burstbuckers 3/5....and, incidentally, im having a hell of a time deciding how to go-- angus pups seem like the same as the alnico5's..are they?

6)Capacitors... what do my crap ceramics mean? maybe it isn't relevant. If swapping to 500k+ what is DYNAMITE?

7)Buying an entire harness, CTS or someone else? I want DD tits on my girl. I hear the Martin setup is nice, any and all feedback on this is appreciated- and buying a prefab setup is nice as the entire thing is being swapped out.

8)What I'm shooting for tone-wise, pardon the profanity, I want my guitar to ****ING ROCK!!!

I think that about covers it.....

Thank you Thank you Thank you for any and all responses in advance.
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File Type: jpg IMG_1053.jpg (97.1 KB, 13 views)

Last edited by GusYoung; 10-13-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 10:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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from googling 440 means 500K

I would just use 500K pots and .022 caps.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Tele-

I admit I may have missed something on my own Google searches- but when I looked up 440 I saw just one post where a guy "said" 440 meant 500 (and apparently 440 Ohms= 500K), but no actual spec reference. Then on that other website it said the other numbers reach a value of 100k/300k, so I am unsure what to go on. Both are saying opposing things. I don't understand the capacitor thing. If mine aren't .022, what are they? It would be nice to save the money and not have to swap anything other than the pickups.

Is there any chance you could link me to the post you refer to? Thanks again.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 10:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You'll get a lot of input on this subject... everybody has their own thoughts on it, and experience too. And if your own guts are fine (which it looks like they are) why rock the boat (unless it's a boat gig).

If you want to just skip all the research and buy a drop-in kit made by guys who have already got their facts on the subject just check on RS guitar works or Martin SixString.

I bought the kit from Martin SixString, they have a number of alternatives and explain really well what they all mean in terms of tone. The kit I bought was about $100, and it fit in easily and all I had to do was solder on the wires from each pup and the string ground.

The only trouble I had was that the shafts were a little shorter than my old ones, so I had to remove all but one washer and even then the nuts on the guitar top engaged only just enough of the threads. But it worked. Also the shafts are "fine knurled" and my old (Alpha) ones were 'coarse knurled' so the knobs didn't fit. check that carefully, you might have to order a set of knobs to fit your new CTS pots.

Here's a link to a cheaper kit with 500 K pots where you do all the soldering:

STEWMAC.COM : Wiring Kit for Gibson SG

and a link to the same place for knobs

STEWMAC.COM : Bell Knob

and I'll attach a few photos of my Martin SixString kit. I'll tell you something... I love the sound I get from my SG with all the upgrades I've done.
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File Type: jpg Luna MartinSixStrWiring@100.jpg (75.0 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Luna Top @100.jpg (55.7 KB, 10 views)
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Unread 10-13-2012, 11:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you have a multimeter and don't mind desoldering a few leads, you can measure the value of the pots. You can even determine if they are audio taper or linear taper.

BTW, Col, I really like the look of that harness. It's very clean and looks like a nicely assembled harness.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Col Mustard View Post
If you want to just skip all the research and buy a drop-in kit made by guys who have already got their facts on the subject just check on RS guitar works or Martin SixString.
ColM, the inside of my 61 RI looks almost like yours except I sourced the CTS pots locally, and got the same caps on eBay. The only difference is in the values of the caps, which are the same a RSGuitarworks uses, which is .022 for the bridge, and .015 for the neck pickup. That way, the neck pickup doesn't get so muffled as your turn down the tone.

If you're handy at soldering, buying everything separately and doing it yourself saves a ton of money.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 11:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusYoung View Post
Thanks Tele-

I admit I may have missed something on my own Google searches- but when I looked up 440 I saw just one post where a guy "said" 440 meant 500 (and apparently 440 Ohms= 500K), but no actual spec reference. Then on that other website it said the other numbers reach a value of 100k/300k, so I am unsure what to go on. Both are saying opposing things. I don't understand the capacitor thing. If mine aren't .022, what are they? It would be nice to save the money and not have to swap anything other than the pickups.

Is there any chance you could link me to the post you refer to? Thanks again.
Values on pots, especially 500k, vary a lot. I've seen 440k pots before. The guys at my favorite haunt will let me sit down with a multimeter to finf the ones I like, which are closest to, or a tad over 500k. If this isn't something you care to, or want to do, then getting the pots, caps, or an entire pre-wired setup from somewhere like RSGuitarworks is your best bet.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 11:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusYoung View Post
Thanks Tele-

I admit I may have missed something on my own Google searches- but when I looked up 440 I saw just one post where a guy "said" 440 meant 500 (and apparently 440 Ohms= 500K), but no actual spec reference. Then on that other website it said the other numbers reach a value of 100k/300k, so I am unsure what to go on. Both are saying opposing things. I don't understand the capacitor thing. If mine aren't .022, what are they? It would be nice to save the money and not have to swap anything other than the pickups.

Is there any chance you could link me to the post you refer to? Thanks again.
from this thread. granted its just one dude saying it but it makes sense to me.
Dating from pot codes... - Gibson Guitar Board

as for caps most are either .022 or .047. Ive seen .033 in a squier cvc (really cool IMO) but in general those are the 2 values most often used.

in my book Guitar Electronics for Musicians there is a diagram that shows a 300K pot with a 100k pot so that is a possible combination too.

I use 250K for Tele singles and 500K for p90s and humbuckers.
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Unread 10-15-2012, 05:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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just an update, I checked the pots in my 70s Tribute which are all 500K according to the Gibson spec sheet. The wierd part is they use linear on the volumes and non-linear on the tones.

the numbers are:

volume
440-70028
1144 (which Im assuming means 44th week of 2011)

tone
440-70035
1206 (6th week of 2012)
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Unread 10-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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oh and the tone caps are ceramic disk vishay brand .022 with a 20% tolerance. the Only 'problem' with ceramic can be high tolerance (they could be .025 for example) but as long as the value doesnt drift theres nothing sonically 'wrong' with them. I dont plan on changing them to mylar or PIO unless Im rewiring for other reasons.
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Unread 10-16-2012, 01:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks Angry Tele!

I received a rapid and unexpected response from the CTS Corporation, for which I am very grateful. Kudos to them as a company. Here is what the individual wrote me regarding the pots:

"The 440-70028 part is a 300k pot with an HD taper which is basically linear.
I cannot find any records of the 440-70-041. It may have been built under a different part number but I cannot locate anything.
If you can put an ohm meter across the two outside terminals you can get the resistance value.
To determine if the taper is linear, you can put the pot in the 50% rotation position. If you measure the resistance between the left and the center terminal, the resistance value will be about 1/2 of the resistance value you measured across the outside terminals.
If it is not approximately 1/2 the value, then it is some sort of audio taper.
Sorry I can't be more specific on the 440-70-041"

Hopefully this information helps anyone it may be relevant to. Cheers!
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Unread 10-16-2012, 03:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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mine measure 535 and 495
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Unread 10-17-2012, 12:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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CTS stands for Chicago Telephone Supply. I'm amazed that they're still in business, since telephones have morphed into Personal Companions and don't use any parts like they used to. Maybe they should change their name to Central Technologies & Stereo... Potentiometers are really a 19th century technology. I'm also amazed that we keep having this same discussion about the pots & caps etc. Some FAQ seem to be asked frequently...
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