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Old 02-26-2013, 10:06 AM   #1
electric arrest
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5 way superswitch as a Volume selector

Have any of you heard of this being possible? Just adding several resistors to a standard pickup switch so you have a stepping volume selector? Would this work?
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Last edited by electric arrest : 02-26-2013 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Added a diagram
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:39 AM   #2
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Correction, those are all supposed to be kilo-ohm values
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:43 AM   #3
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It might work, but you would need to select the values in a logarhithmic fashion. You would start off with a small resistance, say 10 ohms, then 100, 1-k, 10-k and then 100-k ohms.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Oh right that makes sense. Am I right that the two resistors for each position should add to 500k if I want to emulate a 500k pot?
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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Well that's the theory. I'm not enitrely sure how one of these switches is supposed to be wired though, so I would wait and see what someone else says before making any decisions.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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Thanks.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
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I've heard of people doing stuff like this with capicators for tone control. Usually they use rotary switches, but those are essentially just like a 5-way switch flipped on its side. IIRC, PRS has that as a feature on some of their guitars.

IMHO, it's a cool idea to do this with the volume; it could really help with consistency when working with certain effects and it could be great for live work. And you can still include a master volume pot for swell effects, or just put a volume pedal at the front of your chain.

One more consideration when choosing the resistor values is whether you want to emulate a linear pot or audio taper. I don't have enough of an engineering background to calculate it on paper, so what I would do is take the pot I wanted to emulate and measure the resistance with a meter at the points I wanted to copy. I'd put the pot in a breadboard and actually wire it up to the guitar and signal chain--I'd bypass the volume pot in the guitar, re-routing signal to the pot in the breadboard. And after achieving the settings I wanted by ear, I'd disconnect the breaboard from the guitar to take the readings. There could be better ways; like I said, I'm not an engineer, but I have dabbled in electronics a bit, and I'm not a complete stranger to the control cavity

I don't really have time right now during my lunch break to diagram the whole thing out to answer your question about the values adding to 500. If no one's given you a good answer on that by the time I have the opportunity to look into that, then I'll take a crack at it.

In the meantime, take care.
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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Ok did a quick calculation along a log curve and put some close values in, as well as replaced a wire to where it should be. Any reviews of my idea for confirmation is still greatly appreciated!

Yeah Jetwash I like the varitone idea so that was kind of a basis. And I agree it would help with being more consistent with volumes, plus I do own a volume pedal I use a great deal.

Thanks for the suggestion on testing the pot with a breadboard and multimeter. I will probably do that before i decide on values but i'll leave these new ones on the diagram for now.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:00 AM   #9
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Hey, I'm back. It all looks logical to me. Including the resistors adding up to 500k. Give it a shot on the breadboard. Let us know how it works out, and pics of the science project would be cool, too.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:15 AM   #10
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Why do you want to do this?
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:58 AM   #11
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The plan is to replace my volume pot with a blend pot, add coil tapping push/pull to my tone pot, then use the pickup selector as volume. It makes it easier to switch volumes mid-performance for effects but more importantly its the only way the control setup works for my 2 Humbucker guitar without drilling or routing the cavity to make it larger.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:05 AM   #12
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Okay. Weird. Why not just get stacked dual concentric pots and make that your blend/volume?
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:09 AM   #13
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Because as far as I can tell, a blend pot has two sets controlled by one knob. I dont believe they make a concentric pot with a blend on one level and standard volume on another
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:52 PM   #14
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Okay. Well you're still shoving a lot of wires into that cavity. If it were me I might just remove the five-way switch entirely and replace it with a volume knob. It'll cost about four bucks and a little filling.
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:57 AM   #15
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Yeah but I dont want to fill and drill, I want it to look the same externally, and plus its a novel idea and now I just want to work out the puzzle haha
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:50 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by marjoriefish
Okay. Well you're still shoving a lot of wires into that cavity. If it were me I might just remove the five-way switch entirely and replace it with a volume knob. It'll cost about four bucks and a little filling.


Not really. You just have to solder the ends of the resistor onto the tabs on the switch. No extra wires required.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:01 AM   #17
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Not really. You just have to solder the ends of the resistor onto the tabs on the switch. No extra wires required.


Very true.

Spent today getting resistors and caps (the wrong caps haha) amongst other various parts. Took a multimeter to a 500k audio pot and sampled the resistances at 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent turn. It usually added up to 490kohm altogether (actual rating) but varied especially at 25% up to 519 combined (weird). So I tabbed them out and multiplied them to emulate a perfect 500k (probably not necessary).

Then took the closest values and put them out on a planning sheet for later, as I ordered the super switch and special pots from StewMac and I live in Vancouver so it might be a while. Also twisted together a Treble Bleed Mod just for kicks. Dont know if I am going to apply that.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:57 PM   #18
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New switch diagram, much better.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:10 PM   #19
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #20
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Im not sure how much you have done, but I really like this idea. Might be interesting to try something else with it, creative and usable. IDK about you guys, but there are spots I rarely use on the knob. Im often at full, 75%, 40%, or off. You could wire it so that you have an integrated killswitch or something. Could wire it full volume, off, 66%, off, 33%, off, or some variation. Would give less control, but might have some neat effects to be had flipping through them. if not this, I would at least consider 0%, 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%. By flipping the placement of the 0%, you can treat it more like a killswitch, and less like a knob.

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