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500k no load vol and tone pots: a good idea?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by SarahThustra, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. SarahThustra

    SarahThustra TDPRI Member

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    Hey, folks:

    My tele has a p90 in the neck (from GFS. LOVE IT) and a p90ish sc in the bridge, the Harmonic Design S90. HD recommends 500k pots, and I can see why. After installing it the other day, it just sounds kind of muddy with 250k. Soooo, I'm going to build up another control panel with 500k pots (this way I can keep my 250k, and drop it right back in, with my SD Broadcaster bridge if it turns out the the HD S90 isn't for me). The question is, do you think it's worthwhile and worth the (slight) extra expense to go with no-load pots? Am I right that no-load pots when wide open basically cut the pot out of the circuit, and everything will just be louder and brighter? Do you think no-loads are worth it, or just a load of BS?
     
  2. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity

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    What's the difference in costs, a buck or two? Even if it's a little more,
    it's not like you are doing it everyday.
    Somebody else might not like them or think they are worth it, but it's your tele
    so get it like you want it.
     
  3. JohnnyBloo13

    JohnnyBloo13 TDPRI Member

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    I think that the "no load" pots are a great idea. I put one in a Tele that I was changing the pickups in and really loved it, so much so that I changed all my Teles and Strats to "no load" tone pots.

    You are correct, when on 10 the tone pot is removed from the circuit.

    While you are in there you should experiment with some different tone caps.

    Good Luck and have fun.
     
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  5. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    I tried no load vol and tone in my strat. The volume didn't work for me. Full on lifts the wiper to break contact and that indentation bothered me when doing volume swells or just tryinging to adjust volume on the fly. I kept the no load in the tone and have added it to other guitars. The difference that I can hear between full on standard and no load pots is tiny but seems more pronounced on the tone pot.
     
  6. chrisgblues

    chrisgblues Tele-Afflicted

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    I read somewhere on this forum a long time ago that you shouldn't use a no-load pot for volume because once you turn it up to 10 it removes itself from the circuit and your volume cuts out completely. Not sure if I remember that correctly, perhaps someone else can verify. But apparently they work great for tone controls.

    JMHO.
     
  7. Chris Winsemius

    Chris Winsemius Tele-Meister

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    no-load-pot as volume-control > no sound......

    (volume-pot needs all 3 connections, most tone-controls only need two connections)
     
  8. SarahThustra

    SarahThustra TDPRI Member

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    Ahhhhhh, ok, glad I asked. I think I'll go no load for tone, load for vol. I, too, do a lot of volume swells, and it would suck to have the sound surprisingly cut out.

    Thanks, TDPRI!
     
  9. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    I think no load means the pot is out of the circuit not the pickup. When I had the no load volume I didn't like the fact that the knob would kind of stick in the full on position and not move as easy. The volume only cut off when turned down, like any other pot.
     
  10. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    The no-load will not work as a volume control.

    For one thing it has no top lug (open circuit) for where the signal goes into it, result deafening silence.
     
  11. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    I'm truly mystified. I bought two identical Fender no load pots from Angela and put one in the volume, one in the middle tone and a Fralin blender in the other tone position of my Strat. The no load in the volume worked fine. Help me.

    Sent from my iPad using TDPRI
     
  12. Bubbalou

    Bubbalou Tele-Meister

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    As others stated, do not use a No Load pot for volume but for tone it opens up the tone of the pickups when on 10 as the tone pot's load is removed thus reducing the Load on the pickup.
     
  13. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    Please don't think I'm wanting an argument. I have no doubt you guys know exactly what your talking about. I'm just trying to understand how I was able to use the no load for volume and have it work. Sorry I can't figure out how to post the URL on this iPad but if you go to Singlecoil.com under Guitar there is a PDF for: The "direct through" mod. That is where I got the idea to use a no load pot for the volume on my Strat. It worked like any other volume pot: full on= full volume, full off=equal no volume. Again, I'm continuing this discussion for the purpose of understanding what the heck I did. I've been out voted three to one by posters who obviously have more experience and knowledge than I do and I respect that.

    Sent from my iPad using TDPRI
     
  14. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm not sure you had a no-load pot for that volume control.
    You may have been sold a set. The no-load looks like a conventional CTS pot.

    For one, very important, thing, the track of the no-load is /not/ connected to the top lug of the pot - a chunk of the carbon track has been cut away. The pickup is normally connected to the top lug and the output to the wiper and the ground to the bottom lug. Consequently you cannot get any sound through a no-load volume control.

    Using a no-load wiper and bottom lug, as one would normally do with a conventional control, the wiper disconnects from the track at "10" disconnecting the device from the circuit entirely. This works by "unloading" the pickup (a conventional control at 10 is only of interest to bats). The no-load tone control is a completely different animal.
     
  15. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for taking time to explain that. After your first post my first thought was that I couldn't have installed a no load pot like I remembered (it was more then a year ago) so I dug out the packing slip and that's what they said was shipped. It was from Mojotone by the way not Angela. It came out of my strat after a few months and I recently put it in a build I'm doing for my daughter as the tone control. It works just like the one I left in the strat tone position, the shaft lifts up slightly when full on. I'll figure it out someday. By the way, did you look at the Singlecoil.com article? Not that I can't believe someone would suggest something they never tried but he definitely recommends replacing the vol and tone with no load pots to achieve the same results as wiring the pickups directly to the jack. That's where I got the idea that a full on no load just bypassed the pot. Anyhow thanks for the helpful explanation.

    After I posted this last night this morning I looked at my latest Proguitarshop.com. This article says the same thing. Are there different kinds of no load pots?

    Sent from my iPad using TDPRIproguitarshop.com/andyscorner/ez-mods-potentiometers
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  16. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    What singlecoil.com article? - linkie please?

    I have absolutely no bloody idea how you can get signal sound through a no-load used as a volume control. It's science Jim, but not as we know it.

    I've got no-loads, the wiper disconnects, and never meets the top lug - it can only be used as a rheostat not a potentiometer (volume control).
     
  17. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    Nevermind

    Sorry about the no links and links that don't work. You can ref the article at Singlecoil.com>guitar>direct through mod. The article I saw this morning is at proguitarshop.com. If anyone with the TDPRI iPad app can help me with the posted URL not working I'd be grateful.

    Never mind. I just tried the link to Proguitar.com above and it worked this time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  18. rogb

    rogb Tele-Meister

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  19. Bubbalou

    Bubbalou Tele-Meister

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    The shaft lifting up in full on (10) Position sounds like they put a coating over the last 1/16" of an inch of the carbon trace instead of simply cutting or removing that section.
     
  20. dblues

    dblues Tele-Holic

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    Sorry about the confusion. When I was playing yesterday I noticed the shaft actually drops down slightly, not up. Should have edited my post.
     
  21. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks.

    There are two "mistakes" in that circuit.
    1) the hot signal goes to the disconnected top lug of the no-load vol pot. This lug never connects to the wiper on a no-load.
    2) the bottom lug of the vol pot is not shown as connected to ground/cold. The circuit does not get completed when either control is at "10". The "10" position is 'disconnect the wiper' i.e. no-load

    The selector shown in the layout is a 4-way. Good!
    The no-load tone control is correct. ".050MFD" = 50nF i.e. standard tele. Ok

    The only way to get sound out of that would be to roll both controls down to zero or thereabouts, the signal would have to pass through the capacitor in series.

    Bypassing the controls, which the DPDT would do, would result in a fairly different sound because you are now removing the pickup load and altering the LR (inductance-resistance) tone filter value, the next device in chain (pedal or amp) must now provide the resistive load (probably around 1MegOhm). A p-p vol pot would be my best choice to add a DPDT. like this. I have tried straight off the pickup and don't like it because it is too dependent on the first device load.
     
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