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Slide Pots


mattharris75
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Has anyone ever used slide pots rather than rotary pots as guitar tone/volume controls. There seems to be a nearly limitless number of options out there. I'm looking for some that would be fairly compact and work well in this application. I don't see why a slide pot with the proper resistance wouldn't work just fine. Any positives or negatives here, or anyone that has experience doing this that can give me a source for ones that you have used and have worked well?

Edited by mattharris75
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No reason it wouldn't work. I don't recall looking for any to replace guitar pots, but when I have looked at slide pots, I don't recall seeing any 250k or 500k values. Plus, remember that volume pots have a logorithmic taper, so you'd need that feature as well. The only downside I could see is volume swells with your pinky becoming near impossible, but it might introduce a way of doing them as part of the strumming motion, like if the slide pot was almost perpendicular to the strings.

peace,

russ

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One other thing to consider is cutting the slots for the slider post to fit through (VERY difficult to do neatly, especially if you're putting them in to wood).

My personal preference is probably just the good old rotary knob - sliders are more expensive and more fragile, plus because the post fits through an open slot they attract more dust and crap into the innards than a regular rotary pot does, making them less long-lasting in harsh environments. You'd probably end up bumping the controls a lot while playing too.

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The shorter life span from dirt is a good point and a possibility, but "short life span" is relative, and if you want it that badly, replacing a pot every couple of years might not be such a bad thing.

As for cutting the slots cleanly, that really is not hard to do. What I do is put a 1/32" diameter spiral downcut bit into my dremel, which is mounted in a dremel router base. I then clamp a straight edge to the top of the guitar, angled the same angle that you want the slot, spaced the appropriate distance from where the slot will be. Then I just mark the start and end of the slot, and make a couple of passes with the dremel. If it needs to be wider, just slide the straight edge over a little more, and make some more passes. If done correctly, the finished product can be tight fitting and very neat. I've only done this once, with no practice and I couldn't have asked for better results.

A note though: take slow, shallow passes so you don't burn your bit up, because you definitely could considering the possible depth of the slot.

peace,

russ

Edited by thegarehanman
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I looked through Mouser's catalog online and found what I was looking for. FYI, they do have 250K and 500K slider pots. Those were easy to find. It was harder finding a 25K pot, because I'm probably going to use EMG's on the bass I'm planning it for. But they did have that as well, just not as many options. These will be used on the side of the guitar to 'hide' the controls. As for log pots, I believe those are also called 'audio' pots. Is that correct Russ? Linear and Audio are the two types I've been seeing. I'm sure you could use either kind but, since we hear logarythmically, using a linear pot could make the controls seem a little odd to use.

I'm going to look around a little more and then probably order a couple to test with.

The pickup configuration I'm likely going with is an EMG - PJ set. So, I'll use a mini rotary pot for the master tone control, and use two slider pots (30 or 60mm throw, I'm not sure which yet) next to each other for the volume controls for each pickup.

Edited by mattharris75
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Well, couldn't find any audio taper pots (log pots) with the right resistance value on mouser, but I finally managed to dig up some 25K audio taper slide pots on cascade electronics and immediately ordered 4 of them. So, about this time next year I should be far enough along in my bass project to test it and let you guys know how it works out. :D

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They should work fine and in most cases they should last as long as a standard pot. Keep in mind that these types of slide switches are used in applications that are far more destructive than guitar building. I used to use these types of switches in machining and that environment is a billion times harder than sitting in a protected enclosure with some minor beer spillage.

You could also pick up a cheep broach and create the perfect hole for a switch like that. It’s the same process for making a hole for a Fender style switch and it takes away a lot of the possibility of error. If that dremel catches in the wood you could really foul up the face of your guitar. The broach doesn’t have any spinning motion to it so it would prevent a lot of potential headaches.

Example

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