Solder-Free CTS Push/Pull Pots
CTS has been the go-to maker of pots for the American guitar industry for decades. For much of that time they didn't make a Double-Pole Double-Throw (DPDT) push/pull pot, so makers often went elsewhere (ToneShapers used Bourns push/pulls in the past).
Then several years ago CTS released a new DPDT push/pull pot, and we were happy to see it. Gauging from their popularity, it seems the market was really ready for these pots.
We ordered some, and had them made with our signature 1/2" bushing lengths. But we found them awkward to solder to. They have a circuit board (PCB) attached with holes in it, that wires must be soldered into. This is not that easy, since the holes don't hold the wire in position, and you have to be careful that the wire doesn't protrude through the holes such that it makes contact with the pot casing. Otherwise you ground contacts that you're not looking to ground, which can send you chasing your tail as you try to figure out why your guitar's not working right.
So we thought, wouldn't it be cool to replace the CTS circuit board with one of our own design, that has screw-down terminal blocks. This makes soldering unnecessary, making the pot much easier to install.
It took some doing, but in the end CTS allowed us to ship PCBs to their manufacturing facility, where they installed them on our pots.
We sent them two versions of the circuit boards - one that has the 9 solder-free connection points, but adds no additional functionality (this unit - PP01 - will fit in a Tele cavity, and therefore into just about any other guitar cavity):
And we made a second, enhanced version (PP02), and while it's also solder-free, it adds these features:
- Choose 500k or 250k - the pot loading of the circuit can be selected at the flick of a switch, so you can optimize it tonally for the circuit you're building.
- It has a built-in treble-bleed network that can be enabled or bypassed, if the unit is used as a volume control. Engaging the treble-bleed switch means that when you roll down the volume, your tone remains consistent. Otherwise you get some treble roll-off that accompanies the volume roll-off.
- It has three capacitors built in that can be used singly or in combination to create seven different capacitance settings, so that if you use the unit as a tone control, you can easily customize it's treble roll-off characteristics to suit your taste.
Both pots are available individually or in bulk packs, and we have several full wiring kits that include these pots as well. Pretty cool stuff!