The first of the new products to be put into use on one of my guitars is a 500k linear* push/push pot. I have been waiting for these to arrive to use on my La Cabronita S1 switch alternative wiring. The functionality/layout is identical to the push/pull pots with the added benefit of being easier to use with hard to grip knobs. The construction of these is slightly different – they have a 9.4mm brass shank, so you will need a 9.5mm hole in your guitar body/control plate.
I’m not a great fan of soldering, but I do think it’s a skill well worth acquiring. I knew this job was going to test my skill and patience as the tabs on the switch are very small and there is very little room in the cavity to fit the new capacitor circuit (stock wiring to the left). I decided it would be easiest to replace the entire loom. That way I could replace the original by just switching the pickup connections if I didn’t like the results.
I was surprised to find a solid shaft Alpha potentiometer fitted as standard. I thought Fender always used CTS pots, but it no longer seems to be the case. No complaints from me – I use Alpha pots in all my builds.
There are white, red (live) and bare (ground) wires. (Is the white wire a ground for the pickup cover?) The pickup wires were grounded together on the pot, which made it very easy to remove all in one go.
I wired the new components and capacitors together outside the guitar (wiring diagram). Tip – work centre out and bottom up, or you will find something in your way at an inconvenient moment! I used vintage cloth covered wire, just because I like the way it looks. I grounded everything to the bottom of the switch – it was actually easier than I anticipated – the tabs with more than one wire were the frustrating ones!
There is quite a bit extra wire on the pickups – if I was certain I was never selling this guitar or switching the pickups I would probably cut it back to free up some space in the cavity. As it is I rearranged the wires to give a little more room.
I think it took me an hour, start to finish. Someone with more dexterity/experience would take far less time.
So how does it sound?
All three positions produce noticeably different tones from the stock model with the switch engaged. I’m a fan of the cocked wah/Eldred mod, and the bridge circuit on this is, if I am not mistaken, a modified Eldred mod (2 x .0033uF capacitors in parallel). The honk is there when the circuit is engaged, even at low gain/light breakup. The neck position is slightly less pronounced however I’m pretty sure it will come into its own with gain. Definitely a worthwhile modification.
The picture of the off/on comparison was taken straight after fitting the knob – the pot can be lowered back into the body more, but I don’t think I’ll bother.
*I use linear pots for volume. I know Fender generally uses audio/log for both volume and tone, but as I am just a bedroom hack, having an even sweep throughout the volume range is more important to me than being able to clean up my amp by rolling off the volume a hair. YMMV.