Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

No-Load pots - No Crap Talk

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • No-Load pots - No Crap Talk

    If you are an oscilloscope jockey, it must make your day to look at the different wave pictures formed by comparing a no-load pot to a "regular" pot, But before you break out the champagne or light-up your favorite medication, you need to bring your head down to the real world where where real people live. As exciting as it may or may not be to see different waves on your screen, there is no audible sonic difference between these two different types of pots (comparing only quality pots of course...you shouldn't be wasting your money buying the really cheap ones anyway).

    On all of my builds (I have about 3 dozen) I install tone bypass switches. These are wired to take the tone pot and cap completely out of the circuit at a flip of a switch. Switching back and forth, I can instantly hear the difference between a guitar with only a vol pot and the same guitar with a vol and tone pot. With the tone pot on 10 (which is where the no-load pot is supposed to remove the pot's resistance) there is absolutely no difference when a "regular" tone pot is in the circuit or not. For all practical purposes (meaning what you hear when you are giging), a "regular" tone pot on 10 has no resistance and has no tonal effect on your guitar. All those beautiful highs that your pup is capable of generating are there in spades.

    I don't understand why anyone would go to the trouble trying to find no-load pots and paying the premium price for them. Unless it's all about cork sniffing. If I'm wrong, let me know. But don't give me any of that "I think it sounds better" emotional crap.

    You can talk til you're blue in the face about your BMW or your Lexus, or your Mercedes, or your -----, but when it comes right down to it, my car can go just as fast (or actually quite a bit faster as the law will allow) and just as comfortably as yours. So sniff away while I'm placing an extra $30,000 in my pocket. Just saying...I'm nowhere near being a cork sniffer...just too practical for that.

    A no-load pot is really just no better than a quality "regular" pot (like a CTS, Alpha, Fender, Duncan, Bourns, etc).

    Heck, if your band is playing and you accidentally bump your tone control and turn it from 10 down to 8, nobody, and I mean NOBODY will even notice (maybe, and that's a BIG MAYBE, you may). Certainly, no one, even you, will be able to hear the difference between a no-load pot on 10 and a regular pot on 10.
    Last edited by GuitarDoc; 08-12-2020, 06:21 PM.
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

  • #2
    I agree completely. I've done the same test. I'll add to that, that I did the 5-way rotary, with five different caps. From a dirt cheap tiny little ceramic disc, to a $22 Hovland. There was no difference in tone or sound quality. The caps were all matched for value in a temp & humidity controlled cal lab.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with this. But it sells a lot of guitars.
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan
      Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't use no-load pots anymore, but it's not because I don't think they make a difference. I've just found another way to get that extra clarity.

        Most of my guitars have a master volume and master tone. So just two pots.

        If I'm playing my guitars with humbuckers it's the neck humbucker that I use for my clean tones and for chords and it's the one I want more clarity from. I never need to turn the tone control down for it.

        But having a tone control to turn way down on my BRIDGE pickup to get Clapton's "woman tone" or Eric Johnson's "violin tone" or my own take on those tones is a must!

        So I disconnect the tone control from my NECK pickup on some of my guitars, and the NECK pickup on those guitars definitely sounds different and clearer.

        On single pickup Fender Esquires one of the selections of the three position switch is NO TONE CONTROL.

        That definitely sounds different than the setting with tone control included.

        More snap, more bite and seemingly slightly more output to the amp.




        “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

        Comment


        • #5
          Yup. IME, no in-the-mix difference between a dimed tone pot, even 250K, and a tone bypass.

          My primary guitar for nearly 20 years has been a Fender Esquire. These have had a stock tone pot bypass since 1950. No need to add a switch or a no load pot.

          In the mix, there is no difference worth note between positions 1 and 2, when the tone pot is dimed. Almost no audible difference played solo in a very quiet room, and really trying hard to hear it. None at all with a 500K pot.

          Great feature if you use it as intended – with the tone knob rolled off. Lets you flip back and forth between the sonic equivalent of full dime and your pre-set amount of tone knob rolloff.

          Useless feature if you set your tone knob to full up. Then, positions 1 and 2 are effectively identical.

          Volume controls – noticeable difference IME, especially with 250K pots – though it’s not HUGE. That said, if I want to brighten up the guitar, I opt for higher valued pots instead of no load pots. I don’t like the “click” on the no loads.
          Last edited by ItsaBass; 08-13-2020, 06:40 AM.
          Originally posted by LesStrat
          Yogi Berra was correct.
          Originally posted by JOLLY
          I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

          Comment


          • #6
            You're incorrect. Saying a regular tone pot on 10 is bypassed is like saying putting a cap in series with a resistor across ur output jack is bypassed lol! Which we know isn't true. I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a 500k tone on 10 and a 500k no load tone on 10, but I can tell the difference easily between my 250k no load tones on 10 vs on 9.5 with the cap in the circuit. Give it a rest with telling other people what they can and can't hear.
            Originally posted by NegativeEase
            I'd wager that Clint can best GuitarStv at Wat and WAAAT... but not Watts.

            I think in the International System of Units (SI) a "WAT" is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint besmirchment per hour

            and WAAAT is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint kilojoule of described Nirvana transgression per post.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a few guitars with a no tone pot setting.
              There is absolutely a tone shift. Because I have good hearing it is obvious to me.


              And I'm the only person I need to justify my choices to.

              Comment


              • #8
                I can't help but wonder if this phenomenon might be pup specific. Like maybe it's highly noticeable with a JB/Jazz, but not so much with a pair of Distortions. Maybe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've done the load / no-load and I can hear a slight difference. It's more noticeable the larger the tone cap is. The Eric Johnson Strat, at least the first run anyway as I don't know about the current, had a 0.1uf tone cap. Yes, 0.1uf. When I had a SSS American Standard, I had changed the tone pot from .022uf to 0.1uf and I instantly could tell there was a shift even with the tone pot on 10. In my Les Paul, I disconnected the tone pot entirely from the neck pickup like Lew does and immediately could tell there was a difference in the tone, as he described.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That makes sense too. I almost always mod my guitars to .022 uf. Sometimes even .010 uf. Which would account for me not noticing a difference.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do not understand this post at all? I also have a bypass toggle on the 500k cts tone pot and .044 orange drop cap in one of my guitars and I can clearly hear the difference between "in" and "out." It is subtle but definitely real.

                      So: if you can't hear it, why do you keep installing the switches in your guitar? And: if you can't hear it why does that mean no one else can hear it? Finally: what does any of this have to do with expensive cars?

                      I am a very practical/thrifty/cheap dude. The guitar I am talking about is a Gibson MARAUDER for cripes sake! No corks are sniffed here!

                      If you want to say it is not a big difference, fine. But saying there is NO difference just sounds like you just can't hear it or your rig somehow hides that difference? My wife can smell things I cannot smell. For a long time I thought she was full of BS. But it has become clear over the years that her sense of smell is much more keen than mine. And my hearing is much more sensitive than hers.

                      I don't know how much no-load pots even cost but if someone prefers them then more power to them. You know, a lot of guys claim all pickups sound the same too! Does that mean anyone who buys SD pickups is a cork-sniffer falling for marketing hype?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post
                        You're incorrect. Saying a regular tone pot on 10 is bypassed is like saying putting a cap in series with a resistor across ur output jack is bypassed lol! Which we know isn't true. I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a 500k tone on 10 and a 500k no load tone on 10, but I can tell the difference easily between my 250k no load tones on 10 vs on 9.5 with the cap in the circuit. Give it a rest with telling other people what they can and can't hear.
                        Clint, you obviously did NOT read my post. I didn't say a regular tone pot is bypassed on 10. I said I have a switch on my guitar that bypasses the tone pot. So...

                        YOU give it a rest until you can learn to read.

                        You, yes even you with your God's-gift-to-mankind hearing, cannot hear the difference between a dimed regular pot and a dimed no-load pot when you're playing with a band at a gig. If you tell me any different, you are an out and out liar. Just like you can't hear any tones above 20,000 hz (even if you say you can...unless you actually are not human).
                        Originally Posted by IanBallard
                        Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          To re-state what I said earlier (since someone specifically asked after my post), the purpose of such switches is not to switch between tone on 10 and no tone pot at all. There is, quite literally, no point in doing that. It's to switch between tone on, for example, 7 and no tone pot at all (sonically equivalent to 10, in the real world), without having to find exactly the same tone setting again. You pre-set your tone knob, and you can then switch it in or out with a flick.

                          I can indeed hear a difference between tone on 10 and no tone pot at all...IF I am specifically listening for it, IF I am in a sonically pure environment, playing solo, and IF I have 250K pots. Then, the difference is barely audible with a 250K pot, and inaudible with a 500K pot or higher. And this is not a real world scenario.

                          But...my big question about no load pots. Yes, they click out of the circuit on 10...but when you click them back in, are they giving you what would be 10 on a normal pot? Or are they giving you what would be 9, or 9.5 on a normal pot?

                          Also to re-state: I believe, based on trial and error, that removing the pot's load from the circuit has a far larger tonal effect in regards to the volume pot than to the tone pots. I do see some utility in no-load volume pots...although as I said, I prefer to just get a higher valued pot, myself, and run it down a bit if needed. I don't need the "click" to satisfy me.
                          Originally posted by LesStrat
                          Yogi Berra was correct.
                          Originally posted by JOLLY
                          I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Fender Esquire has one pickup and a three way selector switch.

                            One setting is the single pickup with tone control, one setting is that pickup without a tone control and the third setting has a capacitor on that pickup that shunts most of the treble to ground and makes the guitar super bassy.

                            Even Leo Fender, who couldn't play the guitar, could hear that a pickup sounded different without a tone control connected to the circuit.

                            So he made one of the settings on the switch omit the tone control.

                            There's a difference. No doubt about it.

                            You guys are arguing about something that people knew 70 years ago: a 250K tone pot bleeds some treble to ground even when it's turned all the way up, and the pickup sounds brighter and a little stronger when you remove that tone control from the circuit.

                            “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ItsaBass View Post
                              But...my big question about no load pots. Yes, they click out of the circuit on 10...but when you click them back in, are they giving you what would be 10 on a normal pot? Or are they giving you what would be 9, or 9.5 on a normal pot?
                              To answer this part, it would be 9 or 9.5 on a normal pot when clicked in to the circuit, at least from what I can tell from measurements. I only every bought one no-load. Every other one I used I made by opening it and cutting the trace right before the wiper.

                              And it's OK that it's 9 or 9.5 when rolled down and clicked in (though I never felt a click myself) because at that point, rolling off with the tone control is wanted. If it's on 10, nope.

                              They mostly became popular in the 80's when the Superstrats were the rage. Guys wanted the single volume control feel and bite but have the tone control there so their techs would cut the trace, or in some cases just disconnect the thing (Angus Young's SG's are like that).

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X