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  1. #1

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    I’m wondering if anyone knows of a source for high quality mini potentiometers. It appears that I need to replace an audio taper mini pot for a pickguard mounted volume control for a Heritage Johnny Smith guitar. This will be the second time so it would be nice to find something that will last.

    The one that came with the guitar (not sure if it was the original) was scratchy and acted like an on/off switch (linear taper?). The current pot appears to have caused a loss of volume. I have checked continuity from the pickup (Bartolini 5J) to the output jack and all is well. And, the resistance across the pickup appears to be in spec. So, I’m suspecting the pot.

    I assume it’s a 500k ohm pot, but I’m being lazy so I haven’t unsoldered one of the leads yet to take a valid resistance measurement.

    From what I can tell, the pots with higher build quality and tighter tolerances are all full sized and not able to fit under a pickguard. So, any leads on higher quality mini pots would be appreciated. It seems strange that we spend a lot of money on really nice pickups but then route the signal through cheap, poor quality pots.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    check out amplified parts in az...great outfit...they have bourns mini's..great quality

    Search | Amplified Parts

    other suggestion might be to get rid of that kind of pot altogether and get a schatten thumbwheel pot..stew mac sells them...lots of guys use'm here


    luck

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 03-31-2020 at 03:36 PM. Reason: sp-

  4. #3

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    Try mouser.com. If they don't have it, you don't need it.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    check out amplified parts in az...great outfit...they have bourns mini's..great quality

    Search | Amplified Parts

    other suggestion might be to get rid of that kind of pot all together and get a schatten thumbwheel pot..stew mac sells them...lots of guys use'm here


    luck

    cheers
    Thanks for the lead and idea about using Schattens. I have those on other guitars and they have been trouble free. Just have to figure out what to do with the hole in the pickguard. Frankly, though, I’ve never been a fan of the stock pickguard. It has a plastic like finish to it and the color doesn’t match the top of the guitar. So, it would be a great excuse to have a new pickguard made!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Try mouser.com. If they don't have it, you don't need it.
    This is very true! I have been to their website in the past and it’s best to know what you’re looking for. Otherwise, it’s a vast black hole that you could spend hours in. Thanks for the lead!

  7. #6

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    For fewer choices, check Guitar Parts Resources:
    Guitar Parts Factory - Mini Potentiometers

  8. #7

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    Digi-key call the support number.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    For fewer choices, check Guitar Parts Resources:
    Guitar Parts Factory - Mini Potentiometers
    Another good place to source guitar electronics parts. Not sure why I didn’t remember them. Actually I like getting lost on the Mouser website!

  10. #9

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    Thanks for all your help! Ordered some Bourns mini pots from Amplified Parts. Now onto soldering whenever the order shows up. Everything else in the circuit checked out, so I am hoping the new pot will solve the reduced volume problem.

    I do like the idea of a new, more aesthetically pleasing pickguard with a Schatten thumbwheel but will try the new mini pot first.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Frankly, though, I’ve never been a fan of the stock pickguard. It has a plastic like finish to it and the color doesn’t match the top of the guitar. So, it would be a great excuse to have a new pickguard made!
    Aren't those guards wood?

  12. #11

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    You could just leave the pot in the pickguard, unconnected, to fill the hole, and use Schatten thumbwheels in the f hole. I don't like pickguards much in general, and tend to remove them. That's why I don't like pickguard mounted pickups. I prefer to either mount them on the neck, or just use Blu-Tack to attach them to the top up against the neck. That's easily reversible, and I think it sounds better having the pickup coupled to the top to some extent. But certainly not everyone will want to go that route. As long as it works for you, it's a good solution, whatever it may be.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Aren't those guards wood?
    Yes, it is wood. The finish is some kind of really shiny laminate material that looks like plastic.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    You could just leave the pot in the pickguard, unconnected, to fill the hole, and use Schatten thumbwheels in the f hole. I don't like pickguards much in general, and tend to remove them. That's why I don't like pickguard mounted pickups. I prefer to either mount them on the neck, or just use Blu-Tack to attach them to the top up against the neck. That's easily reversible, and I think it sounds better having the pickup coupled to the top to some extent. But certainly not everyone will want to go that route. As long as it works for you, it's a good solution, whatever it may be.
    After looking around for flame maple pickguard blanks last night and not finding anything to my liking, I decided to just go with the new Bourns mini pot in the current pickguard. It’s the least amount of work for now.

    If for some strange reason, these new Bourns mini pots fail, I will follow your suggestion about leaving the old pot in place and installing a Schatten thumbwheel. I think that is an excellent approach and the thumbwheel will be well hidden. Will leave the pickup where it’s at for now though.

    I have a friend who makes flat top guitars and he does really nice binding work, so he is a resource I could reach out to if I decide to have a new pickguard made at some point down the road.

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

  15. #14

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    Hi All,

    I just wanted to let you know that the Bourns mini pot from Amplified Parts arrived this past Saturday and I got the soldering iron out yesterday and installed the new pot along with a new Pure Tone Multi-Contact output jack. Everything checked out continuity wise and when I plugged the guitar into my amp, the volume was restored and the volume ramped up smoothly without any problems. And, the pot mechanical action is very smooth. The new output jack also feels very secure when inserting the cable plug. So, at least at this point, I can recommend both the Bourns mini pots and the Pure Tone output jack. And, Amplified Parts was very quick with filling the order and shipping.

    Thanks for all your help and stay well!

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    For fewer choices, check Guitar Parts Resources:
    Guitar Parts Factory - Mini Potentiometers
    I have ordered from them on multiple occasions and have always had good results.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    I have ordered from them on multiple occasions and have always had good results.
    Same here. Good selection of parts, reasonable prices, and quick to ship.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Hi All,

    I just wanted to let you know that the Bourns mini pot from Amplified Parts arrived this past Saturday and I got the soldering iron out yesterday and installed the new pot along with a new Pure Tone Multi-Contact output jack. Everything checked out continuity wise and when I plugged the guitar into my amp, the volume was restored and the volume ramped up smoothly without any problems. And, the pot mechanical action is very smooth. The new output jack also feels very secure when inserting the cable plug. So, at least at this point, I can recommend both the Bourns mini pots and the Pure Tone output jack. And, Amplified Parts was very quick with filling the order and shipping.

    Thanks for all your help and stay well!
    HI ! Could you tell me which type/size/value pot you used for your guitar ?
    Thanks, Christian

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    HI ! Could you tell me which type/size/value pot you used for your guitar ?
    Thanks, Christian
    Hi Christian,

    Here is the pot I installed: Potentiometer - Bourns, Audio, Solid Shaft, Mini | Amplified Parts. I used a 500k ohm value. The Bourns part number is PDB181-GTR Series. There is a similar pot with a knurled shaft: Potentiometer - Bourns, Audio, Knurled Shaft, Mini | Amplified Parts. I chose the 500k ohm value because that was the value of the pot that was already installed and I wanted to retain the darker tone.

    Hope this helps!

    Bill

  20. #19

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    I changed the potentiometers on my Elferink tonemaster a while back. I emailed Frans Elferink and he suggested 500k ones, sending me this link.

    500K THUMBWHEEL POT | Guitar Parts Worldwide

    There is no need to have a new pickguard made, as it is very easy for a luthier to fill the holes with ebony. I did that with mine, and it is virtually invisible, unless you specifically look for it very close up. -- sorry for the uploader twisting the photos.

    Source for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201801-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201815-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201829-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201752-jpg

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I changed the potentiometers on my Elferink tonemaster a while back. I emailed Frans Elferink and he suggested 500k ones, sending me this link.

    500K THUMBWHEEL POT | Guitar Parts Worldwide

    There is no need to have a new pickguard made, as it is very easy for a luthier to fill the holes with ebony. I did that with mine, and it is virtually invisible, unless you specifically look for it very close up. -- sorry for the uploader twisting the photos.

    Source for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201801-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201815-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201829-jpgSource for High Quality Mini Potentiometers?-img_20200408_201752-jpg
    Beautiful guitar! Love the silking in the top. I’ve had my eye on Frans Moderne model for some time now and the Tonemaster is exquisite as well. Yes, that’s an excellent solution. The filled in holes are barely noticeable unless you’re zooming in and looking for them. My pickguard is blonde flamed maple but it’s just a matter of finding a maple wood blank with the same or similar grain pattern and aligning and finishing the plugs to match. I’ve also seen it done for output jack holes where the grain lines are actually painted onto the plug to match the surrounding wood. And, thanks for the link for the 500k ohm thumbwheel pots. Very useful for UK and European customers who would otherwise have to source them from StewMac in the US.