1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Soldering for noobs

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Guitarfreak, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Are all pots the same until you wire them to be either volume or tone? i.e. can I buy three of these...v link v ... and replace my existing volume/volume/tone with them?

    link removed
  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    If you are asking are the same type of pots used for volume or tone controls the answer is yes. Tone controls are wired differently using a capicator to ground to roll off highs. All pots are not the same however. You want to use audio taper pots for guitars. Why are you considering a 1 meg pot? There are some differing opinions re: these, a lot of people feel that they are brittle sounding. Is that the pot recommended for the pickup you are using? Most single coil styles use 250K, most humbuckers 500k. CTS (brand) pots are very commonly used and the average cost is about $5.00. (Gibson and Fender)
    There are also 300K pots available for single coils supposedly having more headroom or open sounding. So if you are replacing old ones check the rating of the existing pots, it should be stamped on the back of them. You will also need new caps unless you plan on using the old ones. Why would you?
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I am upgrading to 1m because I have very high output pickups now and they tend to be somewhat dark sounding. I chose 1m so I will bleed less treble to ground. What are the caps? And why must they be changed as well?
  4. RecordingNewb

    RecordingNewb Active Member

    Capacitors come in varying gauges, with .47 and .22 being the most common. The thicker the gauge of the cap, the more low end your guitar will have. Before trying the 1m caps, which will most likely sound like garbage, try a lighter cap. It's a much easier/less involved soldering job, and if it doesn't get you what you're after, then you can proceed with new pots.

    You can also wire a .001 cap to your volume pot, which compensates for the loss of high end as you roll the volume back.

    Just my $.02
  5. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Caps = "Tone controls are wired differently using a capicator to ground to roll off highs." Did you ever look at a wiring diagram for the modification you are trying to do? If you just change pots you will not have tone control without capacitors. The value of the cap. will set how much rolloff you will get in the upper end. Varies from .001 to .055 the higher the number more treble is cut. Link to capacitors
    Link removed

    If you follow the link in my first post you scroll around they also sell prewired tone pots. There are also "Tonestyler" tone control available @ $99.00 supposedly the "best." No clue as to their claims.

    Here is a simple wiring diagram for volume tone pot set up (scroll down)
    You would probably get more traffic re: this if you edited the title to something about guitar tone and volume pots, since technically this is not a question about how to solder..
  6. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    OHH cap = capacitor!

    Sheesh, pot and caps, all this lingo starts to sound like a gangster movie 8)
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    OK sorry I have to weight in on this one.

    There is a lot of bad info going on here.

    First this topic has nothing to do with acutal soldering?

    Second you are talking about a low pass filter- the cap and the resistor make a low pass filter.

    Third the cap units are typically micro farads
    ie --0.47uF thats important. Thats 10^-6...
    so 0.000 00047F

    The basics.
    F = 1/(2*PI*R*C)
    The bigger the R or C value the lower the 3dB roll off frequency will be. So if you choose 1meg Ohm
    and 0.47uF the cut off Freq will be 0.34 Hz????

    audio taper or Log pot is not a bad idea, but not essential.
  8. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Does a low pass filter cut treble response? I thought so.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    One way of figuring how much difference a high resistance pot will make is to simply disconnect the tone control. Passive tone controls work by draining high frequencies to ground (passing the low frequencies through). By disconnecting the tone control you are getting the max high frequency.

    Another point - many caps used in guitars are rated at +-20%. There can be a very large difference in the tone of two "identical" caps. This is a cause of a lot of the difference in "identical" solid body guitars. If you collect a bunch of different caps of various brands and values, you can have yourself a fun rainy afternoon by soldering a couple of alligator clips to your tone control and swapping them out. I'm not a big believer in one brand/kind of cap vs. another. But finding one with just the right capacitance can make a guitar fit your style very well.
  10. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    My buddy was talking the other day about no load tone pots, some type of modification to the pot itself, scraping away the carbon so when its wide open there is almost no load at all. Not sure how thats done exactly.
  11. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Are you talking about shorting out the pot?
  12. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    You know I'm not certain exactly what he was describing, I am not really a "techie". Would a shorted out pot be considered no load? And would that be harmful as a tone pot?
  13. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    It would not hurt anything, just raise the 3dB frequency of the low pass filter. It would have less effect.
  14. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Yeah it has nothing to do with soldering lol. I just didn't like the sound of 'pot for noobs' ...or did I?

    So how do I decide what capacitor to get? Just to clarify, do different capacitors make the guitar sound different even when the tone control is wide open? I rarely if ever make use of my tone knob because my guitar tone tends to be bassy, I end up cutting the volume down 5-10% too and that helps to cut through some of the mud as well. Although maybe with pots that have less bleed I will finally find a use for the tone pot :)

    BTW jg, here is a link that might explain that no load pot you were talking about.

  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    What you are doing when you scrape the carbon off of the last little bit of the pot surface is to create an open (the opposite of short) circuit when the pot is "wide open" Usually when the pot is wide open you have the full resistance (e.g. 500K ohms) in series with a capacitor draining some of the signal to ground. Since the resistance of the pot controls how much of the signal is drained. (Higher resistance means less drain. Open circuit means no drain.) The capacitor controls which frequencies are drained. All capacitors let only high frequencies through. The value determines the frequency that they start passing through. From the guitar electronics link you provided:
    By the way - "Guitar electronics basics" is a better title for the thread.
  16. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Thanks bob, open circuit- that makes much more sense ;)

    How do you decide what cap? Well first calculate what you want your cut off frequencies (-3dB) to be.

    Then pick a type of capacitor that will be linear (less likely to introduce distortion) in that frequency range. Typically good audio caps are: polystyrene, silvered mica, and some NPO ceramics.

    Possible types to avoid for this app might be tantalum, Metallised film caps. However I should note these might sound just fine if you have no other choice- there are lot of variables here.

    Its subjective in the end, and we often have to use what we have. However if I was buying a cap for this project I would look for a polystyrene first.
  17. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    How is that calculated? Some kind of function of the cap rating and the pot rating I'd assume?
  18. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    F = 1/(2*PI*R*C)

    For example:
    You want a 3kHz (3dB roll off) low pass filter,
    Your Pot is 10k Ohm
    3kHz = 1/(2*3.14*10kOhms*C)
    Therefore C =
    C= 1/(2*3.14*10k*3k)
    C= 5.31nF
    Choosing typical values
    5.6nF and 10K pot

    The voltage rating on cap could be as low as 10V however 25V is the same price and size.

    The power rating of the pot could as low as 1/4W but 1/2W is readily found.
  19. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Here are the links re: soldering well worth reading carefully. Cuz I know you are A.D.D., Guitarfreak (Ok its just some humor already!)
    Check this out

    They might help

    Besides I thought a soldering thread should have at least one real reference to soldering.

Share This Page