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Author Topic: RS-4 Pots  (Read 1828 times)
fritferret
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« on: April 20, 2010, 02:12:11 AM »

does anyone know how larrivee wires their left-handed guitars?  are lefty pots used?  if not, how are the righty pots wired?  i  have two rs-4's but know nothing about wiring.  i'm just a player, not a ttech of anykind.  i've read that the guitars orientation makes a difference with how well the pots work, so righty pots might not work correctly in a lefty guitar.  is this right?  i've never heard a righty rs4 played while manipulating the controls so i can't tell if mine work normally or if mine guitars haev a shorter sweep, for example.

apparently none of the major guitar builders (w/ the exception of prs) actually use lefty pots, so i'm not knocking larrivee if they don't use lefty pots.  just wondering if i should consider getting some lefty pots to make my rs4's even more awesome.

thanks for the help!
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bel
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 02:40:56 AM »

The RS-4 right handed uses two of the "super pots" by RS Guitar works for the volume, and two standard CTS 0686 pots for the tone pots. The RS pots are exactly the same as the CTS pots with a few differences. The RS pots have a tighter tolerance (5%) and usually fall around the 550kohm range, the taper on the pot is audio taper but it is matched to an old 1950's pot, there is also a retainer clip which helps keep the shaft in place if you remove the knobs. I dont actually find the retainer clip does anything myself.

There are two common varieties of pots: long shaft and short shaft. Short shaft are more common, but carve top makers now mostly use long shaft because they can reach though a carve top. The RS-4 uses long shaft.

RS Guitar works does not make a left handed version of the long shaft Super Pot, and CTS has never made Long shaft lefty pot. However, they do make a short shaft lefty pot. Basically the RS-4 left pots are hand made at larrivee from a sacrificial donor lefty short shaft pot, and a recipient long shaft righty pot. Both pots are completely disasembled, and the carbon wiper from the shorty is placed in the long shaft pot. The process is time consuming but makes the only true lefty long shaft audio taper pot out there. So the lefty versus doesnt actually have the RS guitar works pots, but does have true lefty pots - and proper left handed knobs as well with the numbers reversed. If you pop open the back cavity of a lefty RS-4, the back of the pots will say 0686 on them, but sometimes there is a "LH" written with felt on the back of the pot.

bel
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fritferret
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 02:49:11 AM »

wow, great reply.  you thoroughly answered that.  larrivee goes above and beyond!  i asked this same question on the gear page, because i was looking for fast answer because i'm going to have some new pickups installed shortly and was thinking if the pots need to be switched out, i might as well have it done then.  no need!  i have one rs-4 w/ lollars, i'm going to ordering another rs-4 shortly with the larrivee pickups, and i'm having my rs4 (w/ lollars as well currently) equipped with some tom short marc ford tombuckers.  should be quite the tone army!

thanks again!  i'm going to post you reply on the gear page so people know just how good larrivee is.

b
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 02:51:10 AM »

A pot is a pot it all depends on were you attach the wire and which lug you ground for the volumn pot.As for the RS pots I'm not impressed at all but I'm not building them.
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 04:02:20 AM »

I agree completely. A pot is just a variable resistor - The make doesnt impart anything on the tone. What does impact the tone is the resistance value of the pot. What makes the RS pots good is that they are "consistantly" slightly above 500k, which is the sweet spot for many humbuckers. The taper on the pot is very important as well. The RS ones have a very even taper meaning that that you volume knob goes 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 ... not 10-9-8-2-1. In other words: useable :> There are several premium pots out there including RS, Doctor Vintage, and I think even glendale makes them now. They all work on one principle: higher tolerance. The standard CTS pot is +/- 20% meaning a 500k pot can range from around 400kohms to 600kohms. Thats a hugh difference and noticible to the ear. The premium pots are generally +/-5% tolerance and cost more for CTS to produce thus thier increased cost.
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Cybercanyon
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 07:38:41 AM »

Additional info:

Not all pots are the same.  If you use a pot with a linear taper, you can switch the wiring on the terminals for left or right (CCW vs CW) use since the resistive material is constant at both ends.  With a standard audio taper pot you can't change the terminals for left or right use because it is logarithmic like our hearing.  The resistive material is a logarithmic taper.  For left hand users you would need a reverse taper (anti-log) pot.  You can use a linear pot for an audio volume control for right or left hand users, however the volume response wouldn't sound right.  A pseudo audio volume pot can be made with a linear taper pot by padding one side or the other with a fixed resistor for right or left hand users.  This works but is not ideal.  Custom pots can be made with various tapers for various uses.

Mike
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fritferret
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 12:25:16 PM »

A pot is a pot it all depends on were you attach the wire and which lug you ground for the volumn pot.As for the RS pots I'm not impressed at all but I'm not building them.

i couldn't disagree more.  often times, particularly on strat style guitars, the tone knobs for example, work basically as on/off switches.  the same thing pretty much goes for righty volume pots used in lefty guitars: the sweep is almost unsable.  perhaps this is not as much of a problem with guitars that use 500k pots, but if you use a guitar wired like this with 250 or 300k pots, you'll notice the difference right away if you'rea player that relies on the volume and tone knowbs for various tones  (like i do).  from my point of view, the larrivee pots are fantastc because they are the most usable pots i've ever had as a lefty player.  way to go larrivee!
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 06:53:47 PM »

A pot is a pot it all depends on were you attach the wire and which lug you ground for the volumn pot.As for the RS pots I'm not impressed at all but I'm not building them.

i couldn't disagree more.  often times, particularly on strat style guitars, the tone knobs for example, work basically as on/off switches.  the same thing pretty much goes for righty volume pots used in lefty guitars: the sweep is almost unsable.  perhaps this is not as much of a problem with guitars that use 500k pots, but if you use a guitar wired like this with 250 or 300k pots, you'll notice the difference right away if you'rea player that relies on the volume and tone knowbs for various tones  (like i do).  from my point of view, the larrivee pots are fantastc because they are the most usable pots i've ever had as a lefty player.  way to go larrivee!

I don't think unclrob was referring specifically to pots being used or wired "backwards" in lefty guitars; I've had the same experience (and frustration) with companies using right-handed pots, then wiring them "backwards."

I appreciate Larrivee going the extra mile on this, even though I am used to having the pot sweep the other way, because all of my Warmoths use regular pots and I wire them to work correctly (which means backwards on a lefty guitar) - but they work properly that way, and so I'm used to the direction of the sweep.

It does mean that on my Larrivee, I have to reorient myself and "think" differently about the controls - which I use a lot becasue they're so responsive! So it's worth it, and it's nice to have the matching numbers on the controls...keeps me from getting too confused!

So thank you Jean and Matthew for going the extra mile on this!
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 07:42:14 PM »

As for the tone pot acting as an on and off switch that says to me that its wired wrong.I match as close as possible every pot I put in a guitar,for that matter when I recieve them I put them on my multi meter and write the reading on the bottom of the pot.As for sweepability I have never had a problem.I also use a bass cap. for all my tone pots a .033 which give's me much more control over the tone.
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 07:45:44 PM »

Next time you wire a bass, try a .022 instead of the standard .047. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 08:10:19 PM »

Bel I have most of the bass players I do work for like the .033.I have use a Fender TBX with a .022 on the treble side and the .033 on the bass side with wonderful results.
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 08:30:25 PM »

Excellent thread. These are the "hidden factors" on the RS4 that many of us have been raving about for over a year now. This degree of workmanship is just not present on many of the Big Name custom shop guitars.

Unfortunately the majority of the buying public seem unaware of the top quality at Larrivee Electric and IMHO see a guitar thousands less than they are willing to spend thus buy the gibsons, fenders etc for the headstock name and assumption of a top end guitar. They are simply incorrect.
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2010, 10:03:30 PM »

As for the tone pot acting as an on and off switch that says to me that its wired wrong.

Exactly - using a standard (right-handed sweep) pot in a lefty guitar as a tone pot, and simply wiring the 3 lugs "backwards" will give you the effect of an "on-off" switch for the tone control; it's basically all or nothing.

I'm not sure if this just applies to audio taper pots or also to logarithmic pots, but I've purchased way too many guitars (including my very nice, Japanese made Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard and my MIA AmSer Strat!) that have been wired this way and it's just ridiculous. I always go in and switch the wires on the two outside lugs to fix this. On the AmSer Strat, even the parts sheet lists the same pots used in both the right-handed and left-handed guitars, but they wire the lefty ones "backwards," knowing d@mn well that it's going to work like crap! Same thing on MIM's too.
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1979 L-19
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