SG Special Vol Pots

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by sgtbeefheart, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Last weekend, I took my special to a jam,
    and got to crank it for the first time.

    I connected it to my amp, via a switching pedal,
    as the footswitch on my amp makes a loud crack
    when changing from clean channel to gain channel.

    I discovered that the switch pedal makes the tone as
    muddy as I've ever heard, so that came out.

    After that, I was very very impressed by the sound, and
    of course, as a result, I played the best I have in a while.

    One thing puzzled me though, about the volume pots.

    The volume went up dramatically from 0-3, but after that
    it was difficult to hear any change at all.

    It was very loud on 3, so it may not really matter, but I'd
    like to hear other member's thoughts.

    Is it worth changing the pots, or should I just ignore the
    redundant "airspace" on the knobs?
     
  2. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    What year Special? Sounds like Linear Taper pots to me..if you like the way your Junior behaves, it's due to the fact that it has 500K Audio Taper pots..and yes, that is what the fuss is all about..Linear taper pots are more like an on/off switch to me, whereas audio taper have a distinct up curve in volume per every number on the knob..
    Totally worth the upgrade Sarge, and cheaply done as well.
     
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  3. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I did that on a Tokai Jr that I used to own.

    I did it then because strange things happened when
    I used the controls.

    It's a '96 with 490/498 pups.

    I was toying with the idea of installing '57s from my
    LP copy into it, but it would be a real hassle, and after
    hearing it properly for the first time on Saturday, I was
    so impressed I'm leaving the pups as they are.

    I will likely change the pots.

    Is it true that the knobs won't fit CTS pots?
     
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  4. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so..unless they were fine spline pots, which are usually metric/import...Every knob I've put on a CTS pot, vintage or modern fit nice and snug.
    They might even be CTS pots in your '96! Not sure when they switched to the shite "Gibson" marked ones.. My '96 R8 I used to own had CTS pots, and so does my '95 SG-I..but are still 300K linear taper..
    Having made the switch before myself on that very pickup combo, let me say you will be beyond pleased! Really opens them up..the 490R will be VERY similar in sound to a '57 through a 500K pot..and really adds that extra "Zip and Zing" to the 498T as well..(AND have usable controls) can't go wrong!:thumb:
     
  5. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Since my Special is behind me, and there is a screwdriver
    inches from my left hand, I've just checked.

    The pots are totally blank.
     
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  6. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    Ahh..yep, time to swap 'em out! You won't be sorry.:thumb:
     
  7. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  8. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    I've just tried to swap them for CTS 500k Audio Tapers.

    I didn't get very far.

    I have a soldering gun (100w), and a normal iron (25w).

    Neither of them will melt the large blobs on the pot casing.

    Any Ideas anyone?
     
  9. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    The 100watter should do it..you really gotta heat 'em up, then carefully, but firmly pull the braided wire out of the puddle..:thumb:
     
  10. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    That's what I thought, but the problem is that the instructions for the
    gun say no more than 10 seconds at a time, and I've already pushed
    that.

    Maybe I need a better tool.
     
  11. Gemini75

    Gemini75 Active Member

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    Try some 1M pots.
     
  12. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Why, do they not need soldering? :)
     
  13. Slim Guitar

    Slim Guitar Member

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    "Neither of them will melt the large blobs on the pot casing"

    Make sure that you have got a small blob of solder on the iron before you touch it on to the back of the pot, that makes sure that you have all over heat transfer and after a few seconds lift the existing wires off.

    PS. Don't give them a savage pull! I did once and got a dose of molten solder up my right nostril
    It took the smile off my face I can tell you!!
     
  14. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, sounds logical, I'll try that.
     
  15. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    Well, I found a solution, sandpaper.

    I used it on the tip of the 25w iron, and it worked almost
    instantly.

    I've removed the pots, now I'm wondering if I have to do
    this to the unused lug,

    [​IMG]

    I haven't seen that before.
     
  16. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    Your iron may not have been tinned properly...sounds like you fixed that..and YES, you gotta bend that lug up and solder to pot case...it's a GROUND, or earth to our European brothers and sisters..however, there will be an unused lug that can be clipped off..but that's only if you choose..make sure that one doesn't touch anything bare! Also a good idea to turn the pots to ZERO before you put the heat on them.
    And when in doubt, just replicate what you see before you dismantle the harness...:thumb:
     
  17. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    The iron had a thick black coat on, I was quite surprised to see that
    it was copper. :)

    I only bought new Vol pots, hoping the tone pots would be OK, but
    not realising that the pots had plastic bases with removable lugs, I
    melted the plastic parts the lugs were attached to.

    So, after buying two pots and two SPRAGUE VITAMIN Q caps, I now
    need two more pots, bringing the cost close to the pre-built harness
    that I decided was too expensive. :applause:

    I'm thinking that I can use 500k Audio Taper for the tone, is that OK?

    I took pics before I removed anything.
     
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  18. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, you want 500K audio taper for tone..very distinct roll off..:thumb:
     

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