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Linear Taper Pots in Guild B-302

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jmlee, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I just got through re-wiring my 1978 Guild B-302 and made a change that I thought was worth reporting.

    When I first bought this bass off eBay, it was filthy and kind of disgusting on arrival. It also had been modded (badly). There was a microswitch in the midst of the volume and tone knobs that appeared to be pickup phase switch, and one of the volume pots pulled out to switch the pickups from parallel to series. The wiring was nasty: cold solder joints and electrical tape. And, to be honest, the series pickup setting was too fat and hot to be useful. So, I decided to take the bass more or less back to stock. I had a lovely, shiny new pickguard made by WD Music and got new CTS pots and big, high quality caps from Guitar Electronics. None of that's very exciting.

    Originally, I had intended to put one or more ToneStylers from Stellartone into the bass, adding some interest but keeping the vintage look. Don at Stellartone was an amazing help, writing me little essays on circuit design--but alas no ToneStylers to be had until sometime in September. After his tutorial, though, I replaced the two volume pots with 500k linear taper pots instead of the 250k audio taper pots which were stock. The caps are still .047 microfarad and the tone pots 250k audio taper.

    With the Guild single coil pickups (10k each), the 500k pots really opened up their sound and the linear taper gave a great deal more range for mixing of the two pickups than I ever had before with the selector switch in the middle position. And, no, the linear taper isn't any significant problem in controlling volume. It's perfectly manageable with the pickups individually--and after all, in the middle position of the selector, controlling volume from the bass is pretty much impossible in any case.

    So, for this sort of two pickup, two volume, two tone set-ups, I'd really recommend having a look at using linear taper pots for the two volumes.

  2. Yay! Another linear taper convert.
    I wish more people would see the light.
  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    We've been saying this here for ages but most people just don't get it. An audio taper pot only works as an audio taper when it's in a ACTIVE circuit where there is no loading on the pot!

    In a passive setup (which includes active basses where volume is passive and ahead of the preamp) linear actually gives you more of an "audio" taper than an audio taper pot because the loading on the pot changes it's taper.

    Anyway, pots are so cheap you can buy one of each kind and decide which one is the one YOU prefer.

    Here's some engineering if you want it:

  4. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Too hot to be useful? Didn't notice that the linear pot you put in was a VOLUME control?

    But seriously, some people really don't like the series/parallel thing in series (evidence all the hate for Fender S1 switch). Too "fat" deep and boomy they say. It is pretty over powering at times, but I still like the series/parallel push/pull volume mod. Especially if you have series on "pull" so normal controls are normal tone. I especially like series on a G&L where you can cut the bass tone down to bring the series setting tone under control.

    Just sayin.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    or in guitars, where there's significant compression and overdrive in the signal chain.

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