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Would you touch these with a barge pole?

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by slowerhand, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    I hear the difference. Is there another way to know?
     

  2. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    It's an personal observation...an opinion. Not a fact. You may hear it, other people may not. Simple as that. :D
     

  3. simoncroft

    simoncroft Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    61
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    Perception is a completely personal experience, which is frequently modified by a number of factors. One of these is expectation.

    Back in the 1980s, a Hi-Fi nut produced a number of devices, all of which were claimed to improve the quality of reproduced sound. None of them made any scientific sense. My friend Doug showed me some sort of 'gun' that improved the sound of CDs if you fired it at them before play. We both thought "what a load of rubbish", but we played a track on a CD, fired the 'gun', then played it again. It sounded better! Damn!

    We took the 'gun' apart. There was nothing in there that could influence a CD. (How could it?) We came to the conclusion that the enhanced detail we perceived was due to the greater attention we gave when listening a second time.

    I have no argument with anyone who perceives one thing to be different to another, and to express a preference. Whether that preference remains in a blind test is another issue. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, because as musicians we choose whatever instruments we feel happiest with.
     

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  5. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 21, 2011
    Lewes De.
    I m betting your right and the original pots are over or under value have you checked its ohms ?
     

  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    My '65 has the original Stackpole pots. When I was gigging it, I put modern CTS in it. The new pots sounded brighter to my ears. Playing live, it worked for me. I put the originals back in when I retired it. I preferred the sound of the CTS, but they went into my white Strat.
     
    Adam Wolfaardt likes this.

  7. slowerhand

    slowerhand Strat-Talker

    154
    Feb 26, 2010
    Bangkok
    I lent my 65 to a friend last month and he texted me that he was itching to swith out the harness. Since there were some issues with the pots (one doing nothing, the other two very hard to turn) and i was going to give them and the switch a thorough cleaning, I told him to go ahead. Both of us were shocked what a difference it made. So much more presence now. And the crazy thing is the resistance and cap values point in the opposite direction.

    Original (much darker) harness pots: V=260k, T=220k and 200k. Cap=.02mF (I assume non-original).

    Replacement harness (vastly much more presence): V=230k, T=220k and 220k. Cap=.047mF

    From the values the old one should be brighter but the difference is huge. It doesn't make any sense to me at all, and up until last week I would have thought it's all BS and psychoacoustics. I measured the capacitance of the pots themselves but those are several orders of magnitude smaller.
     

  8. slowerhand

    slowerhand Strat-Talker

    154
    Feb 26, 2010
    Bangkok
    That seems very credible. I think there could be something similar there to the Hawthorne effect in industrial psychology. No actual difference, but if you're told it's vintage the mere act of listening harder makes you notice more. I'm sure it happens, although in my own case, I often go in with opposing biases from what my perception ends up being. I've been immediately disappointed by expensive online purchases (where internet psychologists predict I will be biased to justify my purchase to myself). I've also been put off by hyped brands (like D'Pergo) and wanting to not like them, and then was blown away when I got to play one. I really didn't want to like it and then feel the urge to spend 12,000 on a Strat with the ugliest headstock I've ever seen, and associated with toys for the 1%ers. No doubt the best Strat I've ever played though. There was no hiding from that, and each position became like the new benchmark.

    In the end, music is for me about expressing/ conveying emotion, so whatever makes you feel good about an instrument is valid. It's not about sounding better to an audience, but about which guitars make you feel better when you play them.

    I have a D'Pergo on order now, but feel ambivalent about it. How important is tone to me vs. other things? I'm giving it a try, but I'm not convinced I'll end up bonding with what I think is a hideous, but magical sounding guitar, when I can have beautiful, great sounding ones instead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017

  9. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    I can turn my volume pot on my '56 strat down to 3 with no treble loss. With new cts pots you lose a ton of top end. I've has treble bleed caps/resistors in all of the other strats I've has until I got this one. I've had several people bring old strats to compare to mine and some of them moaned about treble loss. It turns out that they all had a replacement volume pot. I replaced their new pots with one of their old tone pots and every one of them could hear the difference. If there is a new pot on the market that works like my old stackpole I would be very happy to try it. Cts doesn't do it for me without a treble bleed
     

  10. BobbyS

    BobbyS Strat-Talker

    309
    Dec 11, 2011
    Los Lunas, NM
    magic makes people crazy
     

  11. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    I did say that some will say I'm crazy. I suspect that those people haven't tested these things as extensively as I have. this is my life. I'm obsessed with guitar sound and I make a living building and tweaking gear for some of the top musicians in france. I trust my ears
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    slowerhand and Mipstoo like this.

  12. slowerhand

    slowerhand Strat-Talker

    154
    Feb 26, 2010
    Bangkok
    Would you say the volume pot has the biggest effect then?

    Say you're making a new harness and your 3 pots have a range of values, say from 220 to 280k. If you want to preserve treble, should one use the pot with highest resistance as the volume pot? (Or vice versa?)
     

  13. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    In my experience the volume pot is where all the magic happens. One of my tone pots isn't original and it doesn't bother me at all. Bigger value pots will give a brighter sound. If you're more into the neck pickup than a 280-300k might be perfect but it will make the bridge pickups sound a bit thin. I'm pretty much hooked on the bridge pickup and my volume pot is 250k on the dot and works great for me. On my Les Paul I have vintage centralab pots with real vintage pickups my neck pickup sounds amazing with a 880k pot but sounds really really muddy with a 500k. The bridge pickups sounds big and fat with a 500k and ice picky with a 600k
     
    slowerhand likes this.

  14. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    It also depends on the DC resistance of your pickups. Over wound pickups that sound too bass or muddy will clean up great with a bigger value pot. Smaller value pots will make a low wind pickup sound more full
     
    fezz parka and slowerhand like this.

  15. slowerhand

    slowerhand Strat-Talker

    154
    Feb 26, 2010
    Bangkok
    Thanks. Useful things to try out.
     
    Adam Wolfaardt likes this.

  16. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    I have a partscaster that sounds amazing (to me). It has cheapass Alpha pots in it.
    I made my living playing, writing and recording music for film and T.V.. I trust my ears too. If it sounds good, it is good. :D
     
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  17. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    Have you tried an old stackpole to make an educated comparison?
     

  18. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Try reading my posts. I have the original Stackpole pots in my '65. So, I am educated as to them. Your ears might be better than your eyes.:D

     

  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter


  20. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    164
    Jan 2, 2017
    France
    If you haven't actually compared pots in the same guitars then you are the bringing anything constructive to the table. I actually find your angle quite insulting. I used my eyes? Really? One day when you have compared like I have then I will take you seriously
     

  21. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Wow. Its right there above. Stackpole vs. CTS in the same '65 Strat. Cornfield it is. LOL