No-load Tone/vol pots in combination with disparate pickups

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by MatsEriksson, Sep 27, 2021.

  1. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    I've read up on all posts here, on No-Load tone pots as well as - quite recent - to go into no-load vol pots, or disconnecting all of them via a bypass switch to go directly to the output jack. But I found no conclusive answer.

    Like I wonder if some pickups, single coils sounds the best at 250 K pots, and HBs sounds the best with 500 K pots, and some pickups sound harsh and icepicky with anything above 250K why exacerbate the shrillness with running them direct out, with no-load pots, or switching directly to the ouput jack?

    Then they - may - sound very different, and more often than not, detrimental to the tone. What do you say about this? I've just asked the tech support the other day of JBE pickups (Joe Barden Engineering) and he replied that all of JBE pickups, HB and "single coils" should be run through 250K and doesn't benefit from either no-load, or bypass switching them directly to the output jack...however it's clear that some other does...

    What do you say?
     
  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,908
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    All of this, including "benefit", is subjective. No pickup will be harmed by your using any value of potentiometer. I have a Tele with 500k pots and low-output single coils (because it has a B-bender on it and I wanted it to sound bright like a pedal steel can); i sounds different from my other Tele with 250k's and slightly hotter single-coils, but they both sound fine. Jazzmaster pickups (also single coils) traditionally come paired with 1meg pots, but mine has 250k's and can still get unbearably bright (for me) if I let it. My guitars with PAF-type humbuckers have 500k's which is typical, but plenty of people go higher or lower depending on what they want out of it.

    My Esquire's "bridge position" on the switch bypasses the controls and goes straight to the jack. Yeah, it gets really bright and you may find it shrill. But it's made to cut through an already-loud situation (and it does sound better louder).

    (I assume something like that is what you're referring to; never heard of a no-load pot used as a volume control)
     
    Billy3 likes this.
  3. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,281
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    No-load pot can't be used as a volume pot!

    A pot works as a variable voltage divider if used as a volume pot, but as a rheostat (variable resistor) in the tone spot.
    The no load position on on the pot's rotation is actually a position where the circuit is open - so it takes that rheostat (and the load it presents) out of the circuit.
    Used as a volume pot, the open circuit position would mean there's no sound at all at the beginning of the volume pot's rotation.

    If you want to take the volume pot completely out of the circuit, you need some kind of "blower switch" that bypasses it - could be done with Esquire wiring, with a mini switch, or with a push-pull pot
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
    TokyoPortrait, Billy3 and moosie like this.
  4. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    I have, since some 7-8 years ago.



    Dual gang wafers...
     
  5. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,281
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    That's not really a "no load pot", as sold by Fender, though...
     
    beanluc likes this.
  6. tomasz

    tomasz Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    345
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    Europe
    I'd say one thing - it's all personal preference! I recently switched to vintage tarpered pots and am exploring a new world of sounds with them. So, whatever just inspires you, cling on it!:)
     
    MatsEriksson likes this.
  7. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    Look, I never said that the same tone no-load pot can be used as a vol pot. I told you that no-load vol pots do exist, regardless of that Fender builds them or not. They don't.
     
  8. bebopbrain

    bebopbrain Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    187
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2021
    Location:
    New York City
    The tone pot is wired as a variable resistor. What is the difference between 1M and 250K? Not much. The 1M has all the sounds the 250K plus sounds with a little more treble.

    If you use your tone pot on 10 and want more treble, consider higher resistance. If you never use your pot on 10, a smaller value pot might give you finer control.

    I say go big and use 1M or a no load tone pot.
     
  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    18,537
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    A lot of players are used to the taper of a 250k for their single coil guitars. Sure, all the same resistance value points exists (and then some) with a 1meg pot, but where? Where on the taper, and physically where on the knob? Point is, it's not easy, not familiar.

    A no-load tone is easy. Dime it, done. Want your regular 250k back? Roll back a wee bit.

    Also your comment "a little more treble"... in the context of Fender singles, it's a LOT more.
     
    Timbresmith1 likes this.
  10. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well, if we skip the technical details of any no-load pot, being it tone or volume, let's skip that whole thing then, and go for a switch that bypasses them both in one go, which would be simpler technically, but with the drawback that you might have to drill a hole for a new switch on the pickguard. Or fancy wiring with a push pull pot, or two.

    I mean, a switch like that would produce the same results as a no-load tone or no-load vol pot doesn't it?

    I've felt that ceramic pickups like JBE and others doesn't fare that well when giving no-load options, being it done with pots or switches. Agreed, it's not "a little more treble" but in that case, it's a lot more, and frankly, even a tad more total output. But that is, if you have a switch that bypasses both vol and tone.

    Also, it is combined and added up frequency output and balance when combined with - say - a tap or split humbucker that always goes a bit down in volume, when using split, but up in frequency, and the high treble is louder. When in tap/split mode you can mitigate the volume drop with switching a "bypass-all-pots" switch anyway, it gets a tad louder, and of course, another kick for the high end treble. So you can balance the output volume a little bit better. But that depends on so many things, the design of the pickup in the first place, and may work with some pickups, and some not at all.

    As you said, that on a strat, where you can experiment with the pickguard, and have a lot of space, it's easier to experiment with this, and not ruin original vintage guitars, with drilling holes. Just buy another pickguard, mix and match pickups, and switches and no-load pots if you'd like. Which is what I've done.
     
  11. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    What I did was, basically, this one:

    Skärmavbild 2021-09-28 kl. 07.43.41.png
     
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    18,537
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Sorry, I don't have access to my wiring library at the moment, so I'll describe what I do.

    A better approach for a direct-to-jack switch (DPDT push=pull or mini toggle) is to run the signal through one side before hitting vol input. Then vol output goes through the other side, to jack. Engage the switch, and signal goes to jack, with both vol pot connections being broken.


    Lifting grounds as you show is not necessary, and also causes noise (ungrounded metal in a guitar cavity is like an ungrounded shield). Also, with your scenario, you're still going through half the vol pot (one resistor). You can still turn down the volume. You won't get it to cut out completely, but you aren't bypassing it.
     
    MatsEriksson likes this.
  13. Timbresmith1

    Timbresmith1 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,435
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Location:
    Central TX
    Barden’s are pretty bright.

    I would agree with their technician that they don’t benefit by being made brighter by higher value pots. ; )
     
    MatsEriksson likes this.
  14. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    ... or no-load, neither tone nor vol...
     
  15. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    Mind you that the vol pot depitced is reverse (upside down, or from bottom up) to the push pull pot. The lugs reads 3,2,1 on the vol pot but on the push pull tone it reads 1,2,3 lug order. The right way so to speak. I said I basically did that, but not following it to a tee. No noise at all since it is ...Yes ...Joe Barden pickups, and they are - sort of - silent and no coil split but coil tap...

    Here's a demonstration with noisy single strat pickups anyway, and when he uses position 4 it's silent:

     
  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    18,537
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    Pos 4 is always silent if rwrp. It's when the bypass is engaged that the wiring will be noisy.

    And it's still not a bypass, going thru the ungrounded vol pot.
     
  17. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,945
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    It is not noisier when he pulls it in the video. He doesn't lift ground, otherwise it would hum even more than it did before. Whatever noise there is/was before on any single coiled guitar is there too of course. Now the 4 pos is silent, as you said always, and is the same silence when he lifts the pull push switch. Nothing is exacerbated.
     
  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    18,537
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    I'm just explaining what the circuit does, that you posted. Electronics isn't subjective.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.