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Thread: Which Pots with APS-1's

  1. #1
    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Which Pots with APS-1's

    Hi guys,

    I have a Lite Ash Strat which came with APS-1's as stock.

    Great pickups for the blues I like to play, however, I have decided to upgrade the pots and 5 way switch.

    Changing the switch isn't a problem and the make of pots will be CTS, my only concern is the standard pots are 500k whilst I thought single coil strats had 250k pots. I understand the 250k pots will give a warmer sound than the 500k pots (please correct me if I'm wrong).

    Is there any reason why I need to have 500k pots as per stock?



    I have .022 caps on both tone pots. Standard wiring excludes tone adjustment on the bridge so I will be changing this to operate from the first pot. I've noticed from the Fender wiring diagrams that most Strats only have one capacitor with a link to the second pot.



    Is there any benefit in this or is it just because the Lite Ash has the 500k pots on single coil pickups?

    Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Wi66Pro; 09-22-2008 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Add pictures

  2. #2
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    i have aps2's loaded in a strat and i use 250k pots and i am very happy with the tone

    fender shares the cap so they only have to use one on a guitar rather than two, just a cost saving measure

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Thanks Jeremy, and here's me thinking there was a much deeper scientific reason for the two caps. Should have realized it was just down to money.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    no problem and welcome to the forum!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Just one more question.

    You may notice from the picture above the capacitor on the middle pot is connected to the middle tab, whilst the Fender American Standard (see drawing above) has it connected to the outside tab.

    Is there any reason / benefit or disadvantage in connecting this way?

  6. #6
    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Are you sure they're 500k? They sure don't have the output that they should if they had them. I'm not sure because I've never even opened my pick guard (I own a Lite Ash Stratocaster), but I'd assume 250k (I've never measured) due to the difference in output between that and my Schecter C-1 Classic.
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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    the pots in that pic are 500k for sure

    the c1 classic has humbuckers, a jazz and jb if they are stock, they are going to be significantly higher output than the aps1. 500k pots will give you a little more output than 250k pots but the bigger difference is in tone.


    as far as the tone cap, ive done it both ways and honestly it may make a little difference but i dont have a preference for one or the other

  8. #8
    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    the pots in that pic are 500k for sure

    the c1 classic has humbuckers, a jazz and jb if they are stock, they are going to be significantly higher output than the aps1. 500k pots will give you a little more output than 250k pots but the bigger difference is in tone.

    as far as the tone cap, ive done it both ways and honestly it may make a little difference but i dont have a preference for one or the other
    I was just wondering because my Schecter C-1 Classic seems to be twice the output.

    Maybe it's me. That would be interesting though: turns out my ears love the way it sounds, so maybe I like bright guitars....
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    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Wow, so they are 500k! I learned something new today. I guess that's what I get for assuming they're 250k (i.e. what Seymour recommends). Then again, I like the way they sound and how punchy they are, so I'll definitely remember this!

    I checked Fender's website: the diagram says 500k. It's not the exact same as the diagram posted in this thread, for what it's worth, but I was checking for the pot values, not the wiring itself....
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    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Here's the wiring diagram for the Lite Ash


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    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Quote Originally Posted by Wi66Pro View Post
    Here's the wiring diagram for the Lite Ash
    Yeah, I know, I just got done looking at it
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Quote Originally Posted by Wi66Pro View Post

    Is there any reason why I need to have 500k pots as per stock?
    If you like how it sounds now, there's no reason to change to 250k pots.
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    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Now that's a very good point. I suppose I'm more concerned that having the 500k pots I'm restricting the full potential of the Seymour Duncan APS-1's.

    Not having sufficient experience in how different configurations impact on the tone it's useful to get feedback from players who may have been there, read the book and bought the t-shirt.

    I've noticed a difference with the CTS pots for sure, having full control over all the tonal range defiantly makes a difference. However, if the 250's would provide a warmer bluesy tone then that would be even better.

    Is there any advantage in mixing them, maybe a 500k for the volume and 250's for the tone pots?

  14. #14
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    the values you use will determine how much high end is in the sound. 250k pots will be warmer than the 500k. you can mix and match values as you please

  15. #15
    Senior Member Wi66Pro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Thanks Jeremy, I'll experiment and see how things progress from there.

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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Did you notice in that diagram that the volume pot is labelled "B500K" but the tone pots are labelled "D500K"? It would be worth finding out what the difference is - my guess is taper but "B" usually means a linear taper pot and that doesn't make much sense for a volume pot.

    IMHO there's no advantage to using 250K tone pots with a 500K volume pot. You can always turn your tone pot(s) down on a 500K pot and find the spot right where a 250K pot would be.

    The volume pot is a different story. A 500K volume pot adjusted to 1/2 the resistance doesn't "look" the same to a pickup as a 250K pot on "10". The pickup "sees" the entire value of the pot between the top wiper and ground (impedance) regardless of where the wiper is. 500K presents a bigger impedance and will sound brighter with more volume.

    Do you like the tone with the volume up at "10" and the tone controls at "10"? I'm sure it would be too bright for me with my APS-2 loaded Strat (all 250K audio taper pots) and my amps, but it might be perfect for you. If you don't like that tone, I'd try replacing the volume pot only with a 250K.

    Hope this helps,

    Chip
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  17. #17
    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Start View Post
    The volume pot is a different story. A 500K volume pot adjusted to 1/2 the resistance doesn't "look" the same to a pickup as a 250K pot on "10". The pickup "sees" the entire value of the pot between the top wiper and ground (impedance) regardless of where the wiper is. 500K presents a bigger impedance and will sound brighter with more volume.
    Uh, no. The pickup sees what the pot is registering regardless of what the pot is at full value. The pickup does not have extra-sensory perception. The reason why a 500k pot at 1/2 value is not going to be exactly like a 250k pot at 10 is because a 500k pot is not exactly 250k at 1/2. If it were a linear pot, sure, but it's not in this case. The value a pot reads is how the pickup reacts. If you take both a 500k and a 250k pot and adjust both so that the resistance is 200k, both will sound identical, or should (assuming we cancel out the imperfection inherent in the manufacturing process).

    As for warmer, here's a the cut and paste from a page that used to be on Seymour Duncan's website (figure 2 doesn't seem to load any more):

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Seymour Duncan Website
    Potentiometer Values
    (figure 1, figure 2)
    We often get calls from people asking what value of potentiometer that they should be using for the volume controls on their guitars. As a general rule of thumb, for single coil pickups we recommend 250k audio taper pots, and for humbuckers we generally recommend 500k audio taper pots. The most basic reason for these recommendations is that it allows a smooth swell in volume from zero to full out. The purpose of this article is to show you what effect changing the value of the pot can have on your pickup's tone. Let's start with the pickup itself: a single coil pickup like our SSL-1 Vintage for Stratocaster. The SSL-1 has a DC Resistance of approximately 6.5k and a resonant peak (the pickup's voice, or sweet spot) of about 10kHz. The characteristic of an SSL-1 (and other single coil pickups) is such that when a note is plucked, the tendency is for the tonal spectrum to leap towards the peak frequency, giving that characteristic "sparkle" in the attack. The amount of "sparkle" can range from minor to overkill depending on what value of potentiometer you use to "load" the pickup's circuit with. In figure 1 you can see the peak characteristics of an SSL-1 with different values of volume pots attached to it. The top curve indicates virtually no load, the second curve down indicates a 1meg pot, the third down is a 500k pot, the fourth is a 250k pot and the bottom curve represents a 100k pot. As you can see, the peak doesn't shift in frequency, but it does shift in amplitude. The difference between a no load state and the load induced by a 100k pot is 19dB (a significant difference)! In figure 2, we show the same settings as they relate to one of our SH-8b Invader™ pickups. You'll notice that in a high output pickup, the difference is not as great. As you reduce the amplitude of a pickup's peak frequency, the surrounding frequencies come into play more and more. This can give a more pleasing balance of frequencies, and is part of the reason for the guitar manufacturer's selection of the volume control's value. What does this mean to you? It means that if you like a pickup's basic character (its peak), you can further shape the tone by increasing or decreasing value of the pot in your guitar. Have fun in your tonal quests!
    It's how we hear it, not how it truly is in the strict sense of the frequencies. The higher the pot, the higher the load, the more total output of all frequencies. However, since a pickup's output peaks around the resonant frequency, that's how we hear it, since the resonant frequency (as the name suggests) is where it gets the most output. This is why an Invader (if I had archived these images back when I had archived the old Seymour Duncan website you'd see the chart) will always sound darker than a Jazz, almost no matter what pots are used, assuming they're both in the same position on the same guitar.

    So yes, 250k pots sound warmer.....

    We need a new smiley. One that's splitting hairs. Mainly for me
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  18. #18
    Showmasterologist Robert Delahunt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Found figure 2 on Google images. The link was from a website linking to that image, so I have the thumbnail, but that's about all she wrote....

    For what it's worth, if the resonant frequency is in the mids, you'd want to increase the pot value to make such a pickup warmer.
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  19. #19
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Fresh_Start's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    Quote Originally Posted by TwinReverb View Post
    Uh, no. The pickup sees what the pot is registering regardless of what the pot is at full value. The pickup does not have extra-sensory perception. The reason why a 500k pot at 1/2 value is not going to be exactly like a 250k pot at 10 is because a 500k pot is not exactly 250k at 1/2. If it were a linear pot, sure, but it's not in this case. The value a pot reads is how the pickup reacts. If you take both a 500k and a 250k pot and adjust both so that the resistance is 200k, both will sound identical, or should (assuming we cancel out the imperfection inherent in the manufacturing process).

    We need a new smiley. One that's splitting hairs. Mainly for me
    The resistance between the output of the pickup and ground (the load) is equal to what the "pot is registering" in a Gibson-style circuit. IOW the hot lead of the pickup is connected to the wiper of the volume pot. As the wiper moves, the resistance to ground changes.

    However, in Strat wiring the full value of the pot is always between the pickup's hot lead and ground. Also, note that the quoted text from S-D doesn't say that the "amount of sparkle" varies with the volume pot setting. It says "The amount of "sparkle" can range from minor to overkill depending on what value of potentiometer you use to "load" the pickup's circuit with."

    Now where's that smiley with all the split endz...

    Chip
    Last edited by Fresh_Start; 09-22-2008 at 08:40 PM.

  20. #20
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which Pots with APS-1's

    I'll be the "Prell" here and fix the split ends.

    Chip is correct as it pertains to a volume pot. TR is correct as it pertains to a tone pot. They're wired differently. A pup will always "see" the full value of the volume pot, but a 500k and 250k tone pot, both set on 200k, will sound identical.

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