Why do miniature pots have such a bad rep with modders?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by cmm71, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. cmm71

    cmm71 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Hey All, I have been modding guitars since the 80s and I always believed CTS to be the mac-daddy, gold-standard for pots. I recently used some Bournes miniature pots and they felt great and seemed to really match up with the CTS in quality. I bought myself a CIJ Fender today, made in 1997, and it came with the standard miniature pots and enclosed switch that come stock in most Japanese Fenders. I was all set to change them but the soldering is very clean and tidy. They're not plastic, they're not flimsy. I left them alone. Where did miniature pots get this rep of being inferior? I'm just as guilty as everyone else. Maybe I'm just starting to question things...
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    There are some smooth mini's out there. I modded a DRRI once wiring it point to point, and used the minis that were in it. They were great! Had a few guitar mini's that were good too. I think it's more about the quality than the size. But one thing about mini's is the sweep is tighter inside the case, (ie: a slight rotation adjusts more resistance in a smaller sweep) does that make for more adjustment difficulty?
     
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  3. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Obviously, there are good ones and bad ones.
     
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  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Because bigger pots mean bigger tone. Just like capacitors and wire.

    [eye roll]
     
  5. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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  6. Dan_Pomykalski

    Dan_Pomykalski Tele-Meister

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    I kind of wonder this myself. Everyone always says swapping out the “cheap Asian pots” is necessary in lower cost instruments. Once I began building amps and pedals, I couldn’t help but notice everyone was using the same pots other people said were junk...
     
  7. Dan_Pomykalski

    Dan_Pomykalski Tele-Meister

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    Guilty...
     
  8. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've only replaced mini pots upon customer request, if they've gone bad, or when I had good big pots kicking around and I was still naive enough to believe that good = better. That was a long time ago.
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would never install or leave mini pots in a good guitar.

    Why?
    No clue.
     
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  10. bluescaster72

    bluescaster72 Tele-Holic

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    If I was building a guitar no I wouldn't use them probably . but there is nothing wrong them either . Honestly never had an issue in any guitar or with the import switches either . Long as they work and everything sounds good why bother with them?
     
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  11. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    Because when you open the control cavity, there's a whiff of contaminated stale air coming out for too much empty space in there. You could get a mortal chinese pot virus from that. C-19 is nothing compared to it.

    Now imagine your 音色 ! ! ! Beware ...
     
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    In my experience, they seem to work just as well as larger ones. However, if you use your pots a great deal, I could see where the shorter sweep circumference could wear out the carbon track sooner. So if it lasts 10 years vs. 15 for a CTS, who cares? I have not found them to be noisy or sloppy. It would be interesting to measure the accuracy and consistency of the tapers compared with larger pots. All things being equal, I find the larger pots easier to solder.
     
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  13. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Meister

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    The cheapo pots may/may not be desirable, but there are certainly problems with the switches and jacks. I just shotgun the whole thing with CTS/CRL/Switchcraft and there will be no issues.
     
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  14. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Holic

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    I own an Ibanez AR300 that had mini pots. Replaced them with large CTS pots and the mini caps with an orange drop, and it made a difference in sound quality. Not an amazing difference, but a difference
     
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  15. garrett

    garrett Tele-Afflicted

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    I think most people are just familiar with the crappy cheap ones that come with crappy cheap guitars.

    I agree the Bourns minis are quite nice. Solid build and I actually like their smooth feel better than the high end, full size CTS. I wasn't fond of the taper for volume controls, though. They also don't come in as tight a tolerance as you can get with the fancier CTS ones.

    I used them for the tone controls when I rewired my Epiphone ES-339 to make install through the f holes easier. No regrets.

    I'm using one for the bridge tone control on my latest Strat build, because I figure why buy another pot when I already had a perfectly good one in the parts bin.
     
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  16. Ebidis

    Ebidis Tele-Afflicted

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    If Fender and Gibson had used mini pots in the '50s and '60s, then everyone would be putting mini pots in their guitars.
     
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  17. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Generally, the mini's found in guitars are not bournes, they are rather hit our miss...
     
  18. Squier by Squier

    Squier by Squier Tele-Meister

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    I've done this myself too. I think it's a first and one of the easiest steps on a neverending quest. The path is paved with beliefs and false hopes with good amount of self-delusion.

    I suppose all the pots are still Asian, no matter the brand. Only some are more expensive. Wouldn't be too worried though, until it creates severe financial issues / deep agony.

    Most of the hobbies go like that. And such is life.
     
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  19. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    Because visually identifying physically small pots is easy and actually understanding how guitar electronics work is... actually also pretty easy, but harder than saying "those mini pots are cheap garbage".
     
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  20. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Meister

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    "If Fender and Gibson had used mini pots in the '50s and '60s, then everyone would be putting mini pots in their guitars."

    Wrong. Mini pots existed back then and were considered very low quality. They would all have disappeared by now into the dustbin of history.
     
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