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  1. #1
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default Volume Pot question

    About a year ago I had someone at the music store change out the factory volume pot on my Kramer because there was no swell to it. The volume just cut out when you turned it down to a certain point.

    Problem is I've never liked the one he recommended and installed. It swells OK but the tone is total garbage the minute you turn it down to say 7 from 10. And when you get down to around 3 or 4 it's awful. Extremely tinty and thin sounding.

    Question: Does the installed Frankie pickup have anything to do with the tone issue? Or did this guy (who I've always been very happy with) give me a shitty volume pot?

    I need to fix this issue if possible. It's driving me nuts.
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  2. #2
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    Default

    Hmmmm. That's a loaded question. There's not a whole lot to a pot, and as long as it's a typical music store 500K, then theoretically it should not really affect "tone" at all. The swell intensity can be a little more pronounced most notably while rolling up or down. By any chance did your Kramer have a Seymour Duncan JB? He may have suggested a different style to compensate for this.
    I'm not trashing the JB first and foremost because they sound great full up, but I am far from an enthusiast when rolled off, especially in the lower range you mentioned. They sound pretty dead to me when I try to roll off to a cleaner sound anywhere below about 4. At least on my mid 80's ones.

    Back to the pot itself, there could be an issue with the taper curve, or even an out of spec resistance, either from manufacture, or heat damage from soldering in which can happen more than you realize, but usually that results in what you originally switched out.
    What make is the pot? Is it a Bourns, an Alfa, a D'imarzio?
    From my experience, Bourns and Dimarzio both offer a great quality pot. Alfa are kind of run of the mill, tend to be prone to dust and getting scratchy.
    Let me know...I find this interesting. It's hard to nail without actually hearing it, but I have a hunch I know what you're dealing with.
    Get back, with a couple of the specifics I asked about, and I'll have a better idea.
    JJ
    Last edited by we die young; 07.31.13 at 11:40 AM.

  3. #3
    Baluchitherium
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    From my experience, Bourns and Dimarzio both offer a great quality pot. Alfa are kind of run of the mill, tend to be prone to dust and getting scratchy.
    What WDY said. One of my guitars as DiMarzio pots with 0.022 microFarad tone caps (a capacitor for brighter sound). Good tone and even swelling.

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  4. #4
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Hmmmm. That's a loaded question. There's not a whole lot to a pot, and as long as it's a typical music store 500K, then theoretically it should not really affect "tone" at all. The swell intensity can be a little more pronounced most notably while rolling up or down. By any chance did your Kramer have a Seymour Duncan JB? He may have suggested a different style to compensate for this.
    I'm not trashing the JB first and foremost because they sound great full up, but I am far from an enthusiast when rolled off, especially in the lower range you mentioned. They sound pretty dead to me when I try to roll off to a cleaner sound anywhere below about 4. At least on my mid 80's ones.

    Back to the pot itself, there could be an issue with the taper curve, or even an out of spec resistance, either from manufacture, or heat damage from soldering in which can happen more than you realize, but usually that results in what you originally switched out.
    What make is the pot? Is it a Bourns, an Alfa, a D'imarzio?
    From my experience, Bourns and Dimarzio both offer a great quality pot. Alfa are kind of run of the mill, tend to be prone to dust and getting scratchy.
    Let me know...I find this interesting. It's hard to nail without actually hearing it, but I have a hunch I know what you're dealing with.
    Get back, with a couple of the specifics I asked about, and I'll have a better idea.
    JJ
    Appreciate the response.

    I've emailed the guy who installed it so I can get the correct info. Waiting to hear back.
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  5. #5
    5150 GilmourD's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 07:30 AM
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    Default

    Sounds like he put a treble compensation kit (a resistor and capacitor across the outer lugs of the volume pot) in there and you don't like it.

    Open her up and see if that's the case.

  6. #6
    Eruption AFU's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 09:00 AM
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    Default

    I am a fan of dimarzio anything. I used their 500k pots exclusively. I've recently converted to Bournes low friction pots. Like you favorite broken in pot without being scratchy because its new!. Swells beautifully too.

    I had an old 500k pot I used by accident one time. Kinda cut highs and overall volume a bit. I think I ruined it with too much heat from the soldering iron.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFU View Post
    I am a fan of dimarzio anything. I used their 500k pots exclusively. I've recently converted to Bournes low friction pots. Like you favorite broken in pot without being scratchy because its new!. Swells beautifully too.

    I had an old 500k pot I used by accident one time. Kinda cut highs and overall volume a bit. I think I ruined it with too much heat from the soldering iron.
    Dimarzio have a great selection of pots and are of great quality. Can't go wrong with them.
    Yeah, heat can pooch a pot in no time! You either lose the high end, or you get drop out on the bottom, or, the mech will get stiff. When you turn the pot, it'll feel rough, or close to freezing up because the lube will cook out of the shaft bushings.

    Just as a sidebar, I always suggest to those who start working on guitar's electronics to invest in a basestation style adjustable temp soldering iron.
    it may not look high tech, but it's no nonsense and actually kicks my Weller's ass for small piece work.
    I use a Velleman with a fine tip for the majority of the fine soldering in a guitar. Weller are great too. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg for one...50 bucks will get you a great tool, and make your projects so much more enjoyable knowing you aren't overheating parts, or having solder ball up or spatter all over, potentially pocking the finish of your guitar.
    Last edited by we die young; 08.04.13 at 06:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default

    I heard back from my setup guy. He says the pot he used is a Bourns Premium 500k. He says a change to a 250k could be less tinny.


    So I'm not sure what to do here. Sounds like I have a pot I would want but what can I say, I think it sounds like shit when turned down.
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  9. #9
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    Default

    That's odd for sure. Unfortunately, I don't use use the Frankie pickup, but being a moderate output pickup, I can't envision it needing anything other than a typical 500k. I will say i agree to a point with what you were told about possibly using a 250k. On a pickup a buddy wound for me with similar characteristics of the Frankie, I used a 250k for several years, but I switched to a 500, and I just think it sounds better. You could have a bad pot.....Would you be able to snap a pic of the install? I have one suspicion, but if you can put up a clear shot of the pot connections then I'll have a better idea to address it.
    JJ

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Default Volume Pot question

    Maybe you should try the 250? That's what I think concerning the tinny sound.

    My problem with this discussion is me and my playing style. I rarely mess with my volume and tone knobs during a performance. I keep them wide open at all times and control volume and guitar tones with a volume pedal and effect switching. I do know what I'm talking about, but I'm not a "volume knob wizard" like Jimmy Page...or even Eddie. Take my advice with a grain of salt.

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  11. #11
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    Default

    I agree Marc. I usually keep mine up full too, except for when not playing, but rely on picking technique to soften my notes, but then I play through an old JMP non master amp. pretty tough not to either use the volume, or a volume pedal on a higher gain amp. I just have one thought concerning the wiring. What I know of the typical Frankie/500k volume is when rolled off, it cleans up nice, and has a nice mellow chime to it, kinda like an old PAF would. What I'm thinking is there's something not right in the pot or the wiring to it. Much like the other discussion in another thread. This pickup should sound decent throughout the volume range, with a 500k... not get all thin, and tin out a 7. I'd expect that far lower, like 2, or 3 at most. At 7. there should still be the ability to get some crunch with a harder attack. I'm thinking:
    a)The pot got overheated during install.
    b)There is some wiring to the wrong terminals (though unlikely if done professionally....but I have seen it. Everyone can have an off day)
    c)There is simply a resistance problem in this particular pot.

    If all this checks out, then i guess a 250K it is, but I wouldn't think it necessary.

  12. #12
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 05:49 PM
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    I have three EVH Frank pickups and they all sound great to me with 500k pots...two of them are Bourns. Granted I don't roll the volume off very much either.
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  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    I have three EVH Frank pickups and they all sound great to me with 500k pots...two of them are Bourns. Granted I don't roll the volume off very much either.
    Yeah, exactly. Same here. I just think at only 7 it should't go thin and tinny with a 500K....Just supposed to clean up a little. Should still have plenty of balls, but just be a little more reliant on your attack than full up, if that makes sense. I have seen this on guitars that have the pickup hot incorrectly wired to the right hand terminal instead of the left, the or at least the pot's left terminal attached to the back. That can kill the output big time. Same as having the pickup hot to the middle, and the jack tip hot to the left. I've not crossed a Bournes pot's wiring, but depending on the design, you will either have no volume variance, or you can have a lot less output, to the point of turning down the volume any almost halves the output sounding thin and tinny...Not near where it should be.

    I have a hard time believing a pro would have wired it wrong, or overheated it, but like I said, I've seen it done. Maybe they simply did not had their head in their work....It seems funny, but it CAN be that simple.

  14. #14
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    11.17.17 @ 12:11 PM
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    Default

    I just stumbled onto this online in the description of the guitar:


    "Kramer has also added a what they call a "treble bleed" mod to the volume controls to keep that sparkle when you back down the decibels."



    Again, I'm using a pot that replaced the factory pot. What to make of this??
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Down View Post
    I just stumbled onto this online in the description of the guitar:


    "Kramer has also added a what they call a "treble bleed" mod to the volume controls to keep that sparkle when you back down the decibels."



    Again, I'm using a pot that replaced the factory pot. What to make of this??
    Dunno, except if the treble bleed was rewired (not sure with yours) onto the new pot. it basically should look something like this if it's there.

    The bad thing is a cap alone can sometimes cause the sound to go all tinny and bright, which kind of sounds like your complaint. to compensate for this, there is often a resistor placed in series to reduce this and keep the tinny highs to a minimum.
    Here's another pic of how it should look if there's a resistor in place.


    I have this config. on a Gibby LP Jr. clone with Dimarzio Distortions, and wouldn't have it any other way. it's also a recommended mod for JB's which have a notorious rep for going kinda flat sounding when rolling off the volume, which is why I originally asked the question if the guitar originally had a JB.

    If you are having issues with it getting thin and tinny, then that would totally make sense if the cap and/or resistor was transferred over to the new pot.
    Now you could have just a cap, which would be way too bright and thin on rolloff for the EVH pickup...Or the resistor if there is one got overheated, and cooked out, and isn't doing it's job to counter the cap's excessive brightness.
    if you do not have either of these in place, then my suggestion would be to look at the wiring, compare it to an online diagram, or instructions if you have them. I believe this is the typical 1 wire (plus the braided ground) hookup. You mentioned someone wiring this up for you, but there could be a short, cold joint, or bridging somewhere like a stray braid of wire touching another contact point on the pot, or even down by the jack, either happening during the rewire, or just coincidentally, like if the jack was loose at some point, it could have spun pulling the wire.... which could be causing this.



    If all looks good as far as routing, then I'd use a soldering iron, and reheat the joints to make sure you've got good conductivity. A cold joint can be an issue, and also cause problems with the volume off full.

    From what I know of the EVH, it's a lot like the SD 59, it cleans up nice when rolled off but retains it's fullness with just the typical standard connection.
    Good luck, and keep us posted.
    Last edited by we die young; 08.12.13 at 05:43 PM.

 

 

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