SG in need of new volume pots

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by gip111, Sep 11, 2019 at 8:22 PM.

  1. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    First time here in this forum and just got myself a new (used) 2004 faded brown SG. This is a totally different animal, coming from Fender strats and teles. I did get it at a superb price due to the volume pots being shot. No contact cleaner can save these and my question is, what are the right pots for these guitars? 500K, 300K, long or short stem? I have no issues replacing them, just want to get the right ones.
    Thanks in advance.

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  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    My 2004 SG Special Faded has the stock pots which are 300K.
     
  3. flognoth

    flognoth Active Member

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    The traditional spec is 500k pots.

    From the very late 70's-ish to around 2012-ish Gibson would often use 300k pots too. Upgrading to 500k pots is a common modification. There's a lot of posts about 300k pots sounding muddy with humbuckers and others liking them. I personally use 500k pots.

    For a SG you want short shaft pots.
     
  4. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    Wow, you guys are fast. Thanks
     
  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG!

    And congratulations on a fine choice of guitar.
    If you are used to playing Fender guitars, the Gibson is indeed
    a different animal. But IMHO there should be no barriers for
    the musician. They sound different from one another, but both types
    are very useful and that's why they are all still in production after
    so many decades of hard rock and cool jazz, punk and thrash,
    blues and metal, and all the rest.

    I also believe that 500k pots will serve you best.
    I am the proud owner of a 2007 Gibson SG special faded brown
    which I dearly love. I bonded with mine more than ten years ago,
    but she's still the Queen of my music room. I have other instruments
    I play, but always return to Queen Luna, and this always reaffirms my
    allegiance.

    The Gibson faded finish is thinner and softer than what you find on
    most guitars. But that's why the price of the faded specials is so reasonable.
    The Gibson deep gloss that you see on more expensive guitars is lovely,
    but it requires a lot more factory time... which the buyer has to pay for,
    and then some. I don't know if the thinner finish contributes to the awesome
    tone of the faded specials, but something does. They sound great
    and everyone knows it, even those who must have the gloss and the inlays
    and all those things.

    So when you buy a faded special, you get all the rawk and kerang,
    you get the hum bucker tone and energy, and the Gibson neck scale
    and 12" radius, you get a very lightweight guitar, and you pay a lot less.
    Hard to beat.
    Luna & Orange short rig 12-24-17@100.jpg
     
  6. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Welcome, nice SG.

    Use a Log (audio) potentiometer for the volume control.
     
    flognoth likes this.
  7. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    Col Mustard,
    Nice write up, thank you and I love your setup with the little orange amp.

    Going through some older posts there seems to be different opinions on wether to use 500 or 300k. Me I just want to stay as close as possible to stock. I haven't checked the resistance on the pots yet but seems 500k is the one used the most?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 12:15 PM
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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  9. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    500k offers you the best set of options. Mine actually came with 1 Meg. The higher the value the more brilliance you will get in your tone. Best advice I can give is to go with 500k, and if it feels a little bright either dial back the amp tone a touch, or as a permanent fix, wire a 1 Meg fixed resistor straight across the volume pot - one end to the other. That will make the combination about 330k.
     
  10. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    Nice SG, and Welcome to the board. :smile:
     
  11. volktar

    volktar Member

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    As someone that is constantly modding guitars, I would NEVER go below 500k for buckers. It just gets too dark. 250 for SC, 500+ for HB. While you're at it, might want to look at no-load tone pots. When you set em at 10, they drop out of the circuit and give you a volume boost. It's great for driving tube amps for leads. I added some in my Tele and wont ever go back.
     
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  12. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    I think I will go with the 500k pots. I'll post results in a week or two after I replace them. Thanks for all the comments.
     
  13. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    I read on the Gibson website as having 300k as well, just does not state what year.
     
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I had a few SG Specials from early to mid 2000’s and they all had 300K pots and was only answering the question what was stock in those from my own experience with them.

    I see nothing wrong with changing them to 500K as others suggested. It’s a matter of personal preference.
     
  15. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    I don't recall the exact specifics although I do remember this -

    I was measuring some pots removed from a stock Gibson that were labeled 500 k,
    and they measured 300 k ohms total.

    I'm sure they were Audio Taper.

    Its too bad you can't measure the pots you have because its likely they're matched to the pickups that they were connected to.

    A key issue is for them to be Audio Taper and to be wired accordingly so they function as expected in the heat of the moment.

    Ideally they should sound half volume when turned 1/3 of the way down.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019 at 1:51 AM
  16. gip111

    gip111 New Member

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    With the pickups connected, I'm sure I won't get the right readings and I won't be de-soldering anything till I have the new pots on hand to finish the job, seems 500k is the way to go. For now I'll keep noodling with the guitar trying to get used to the neck, just feels so different for me.
     
  17. Semla

    Semla Member

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    Linear 500k short shaft CTS pots for the volume. That will be my only recommendation..
     
  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Log, not linear. With linear all the action happens on the final quarter turn.
     

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