1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

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

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

  1. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    4,198
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denmark
    CTS make some pretty good mini pots , they have the same sweep as the desired bigger ones , favored by many LP owners.
    They are also not cheap .
    Most people know pots can easily be ruined by heat.
    The mini pots even more so , really have to be careful with that iron.

    Using 24mm pots , are mostly because of tradition. The mfg just accept that guitar companies buy these , they really dont understand why they are preferred. Same with caps for amps.

    There is just no reason why they should be as big in size as in the old days. People think they look wrong if they are smaller , and so they make some only for guitar amps , that are bigger.......The internet is a powerful persuader , and some people will believe anything they hear/read
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
    Peltogyne, Bluesbird, Nickfl and 4 others like this.
  2. kodiakblair

    kodiakblair Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    239
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2019
    Location:
    Scotland
    You're not wrong there.

    CTS opened their Taiwan factory back in 1968. Guitar pots have been made there for decades, I've CTS pots dated 1983 and stamped "Taiwan". These days "CTS USA" refers to the threads and shaft sizes, not country of origin.

    Back to topic.

    I've no problem with mini pots :)
     
    Bluesbird, garrett, tintag27 and 2 others like this.
  3. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    4,205
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I've been waiting since 1995 for the miniature pots and enclosed switch in my MIJ to let me down. I think they'll still be going strong when I'm just a memory...
     
    Anacharsis, Boreas and tintag27 like this.
  4. Jazzerclean

    Jazzerclean Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    440
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2019
    Location:
    Au
    Hmmm, same reason people believe they can hear differences in capacitor materials paper in oil, orange drop.
    Small pots = generalisation of inferior/cheap quality.(not in my guitar)

    As a result, I have invented a raspberry placebo cap that comes with a matching full size rasberry pot yet to be marketed to muso believers for excessive amount of $$$$$$$'s It gives you super musician powers.

    Now how does that saying go? Ah yes, a fool
    and their money are easily parted.
     
  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    534
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2015
    Location:
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    OH NO ! ! ! Don't say that.
    You just completely annihilated the biggest placebo effect in the music world.
     
    Peltogyne, Bluesbird, Nickfl and 3 others like this.
  6. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    4,965
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Arlington, VA

    Umm, by who?
     
    Peltogyne likes this.
  7. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,102
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Location:
    England
    Nah, they would be called 'Original Vintage' and cost twice as much.
     
  8. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    2,378
    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Location:
    Exeter, England
    Most are made in the Far East now anyway, even CTS and Bourns. Nothing wrong with them at all, and these days the country of manufacture makes little or no difference to quality. If they were rubbish they wouldn't sell.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
    Bluesbird and Boreas like this.
  9. Javier668

    Javier668 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    189
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2020
    Location:
    Angol Chile South America
    Penis Complex, big is better.
     
  10. pinchegil

    pinchegil Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    198
    Joined:
    May 25, 2020
    Location:
    Roxborough Park, CO
    Like with anything, quality of construction there are crappy full size pots as well as well built mini pots, the materials of the shafts and bushing are what i look at, I look for brass/brass, they maintain the smooth feel over the brass/pot metal ones. Shaft diameter could also bee looked at as a durability issue, I have broken off a knob on a smaller diameter pot metal shaft pot. One other thought is accuracy +/- CTS, Alpha, Bourne are all pretty good with this, some of the no names not so much, this will affect tone, if a 500k pot is really only 400k there will be a difference, however, this difference might be your guitars mojo, so don't change them just to change them.
     
    garrett likes this.
  11. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    1,565
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    The cheapest tend to be minis, but not all minis are cheap and not all full size are good quality. I’ve started testing pots. If they are smooth, have the right tension and measure at the proper level with a smooth taper, I use them now - regardless of brand or size.
     
    Boreas, Bluesbird, garrett and 2 others like this.
  12. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,281
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    Because internet forums say so, and it just gets repeated with anecdotal evidence that the larger ones are better. Plus, if you hear it mentioned enough times, you can "hear" the difference. Same reason people prefer maple fretboards on a Fender because rosewood "dulls the tone".
     
    Anacharsis, Peltogyne and hellopike like this.
  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,670
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Mini pots in cheap guitars feel cheap when using them -- they are a primary signal of a cheap guitar used by the guitar brands.
    If you've seen any of the 'blindfold challenges' on Andertons youtube channel over the years ... Lee will feel the tuners and pots to know if he is playing the cheap or dear model and give the correctly priced answer for the brand marketing.

    Bourns mini pots are not like Alpha mini pots used in the cheap guitars. Some cheap guitars may not even be Alpha mini pots. The traces on these pots are much thinner so the tracks wear out faster. Some have been described as screen printed traces that might be on a cheap t-shirt.

    I used to use CTS pots until Fender came out with the $13k EVH limited run Wolfgang in Relic white a few years back advertised as using Bourns pots and EVH toured all season with a guitar pulled from the same production batch of guitars. The number of volume swells he does in one concert multiplied by a touring season of concerts convinced me of the durability of Bourns -- while he could certainly have his guitar tech swap parts when they wore out, he was unlikely to choose parts that were going to fail rapidly. So I tried Bourns and liked the feel of them better than CTS pots.

    As far as guitar output tone ... it doesn't matter what pot you choose to use. The key importance is where it falls in the pot's factory spec ... they all have a 20% range. So if you try one pot at 550k vs a second at 450k or 275k vs 200k you'll have brighter vs darker tone. Often the pots and their wide actual values in a guitar will confuse A/B guitar testers with two 'identical' guitars except for a particular magic lumber feature they want to 'prove'... So save the exotic forests with careful potentiometer selection.

    .
     
    Gevalt and Peltogyne like this.
  14. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    1,074
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Paris, France
    I’ve done this upgrade before. But then I experienced some new CTS pots not performing as well as expected. Now I stand with « don’t fix anything that isn’t broken ». Still go for the CTS brand when I need a new pot though.
     
  15. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,736
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    england
    I once had a SG made in Japan by Rose Morris it had mini pots in it ,it is hard to explain the action of a potentiometer but these turned so smooth with a slight torque just the feel of them and the frequency from low to high was better than any CTS pots i have used in some cases with CTS pots volume drop outs when the pot had not even reached zero
    What i have noticed about the dimple CTS pots Fender use is the ones with the brass shaft are much better than the ones with chrome these are the ones i have had issues with maybe just a bad batch
     
  16. Tark1

    Tark1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    40
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2020
    Location:
    London UK
    You would almost always find small 16mm diameter pots in low cost guitars because they were the cheapest pot the manufacturers could fit that would still sort of work. These would be the cheapest small pots they could find. The track in these would not be made to a high quality - they might have over large landing zones at either end of the rotation. ALL pots have neutral metallised landing zones at either end of the track where rotating the pot shaft by say 10 degrees (sometimes much more) has no effect on resistance. Small cheap pots would not have carefully overlaid sections of track to produce a smooth logarithmic curve. It is a bit easier to make a larger track for larger pots. Today, if you are talking about relatively expensive small pots with plastic or cermet tracks, these are manufactured with greater precision.
     
    Gevalt likes this.
  17. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,119
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    Because they all have seen how things are done in Texas, and everything is bigger in Texas?
     
  18. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Meister

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    147
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2020
    Location:
    California Bay Area
    I'm going to install a bass-cut control on my Tele. I'll replace vol and tone with minis, and use a mini for the bass-cut, so that they'll all fit.

    If they don't feel good, I'll try a different brand of mini.

    It's possible one type of mini pots could sound faintly different than another type of mini pots, but I'm convinced there's no possible affect on sound from mini vs. fullsize pots which could outweigh what I'll get from the extra circuit control.
     
    Bluesbird likes this.
  19. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    5,252
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    When I installed Cavalier Firebird pickups in this ES-339, I created a new wiring harness and went with CTS mini pots. They were easy to get through the f-holes, work perfectly, and sound great. CTS minis are a good choice if you wish to or need to use smaller pots for a tight install - or any other reason.

    [​IMG]
     
    Boreas likes this.
  20. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    130
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Location:
    Southwestern, USA
    [​IMG]

    "You humans! When will you learn size doesn't matter? Just because something's important, doesn't mean it's not very small."
     
    Peltogyne likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.