Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1955 Vol & Tone Pot Values

1

Trying to get my '55 Convertible tone control working properly I found that both volume and tone pots measure a tad over 1Mohms, there is a resistor at the volume pot and a .02uF cap at the tone pot wiper to ground. The cap's value now measures .2 - no surprise with old wax caps, but I wouldn't expect pots to 'stretch' in value.

Trying to search it up all I find is references to 500Kohm pots for volume and tone pots on guitars form this era. I can't find any reference to other models with single DeArmond pickups however.

Has anybody seen this 2 x 1Mohm pot arrangement before?

P.S. pretty sure they are original to the guitar - maybe you measured pots in your 6199 from the same batch Paul Setzer?

2

While you're in there... might you try and grab a pot date code from these? I'm always looking to add data points to the research!

3

Sure did Ed, both pots identical markings - 137343 (CTS, 34th week of 1953?)

Here's the other thing - that resistor appears to be marked 47K (haven't measured it yet) and it is across the output and wiper (input) of the volume pot...I think. Just got the tone thing back in so the volume is the next one I'll work on. Tone control doesn't do much even with a new cap, a truly confusing setup.

4

Thanks Doppler.... great stuff! What's the batch?

5

Ser# 15837 - first batch I think? In the database Link

Geoff

6

Looking at that resistor across the volume pot it would result in a non-linear ~45k pot, except in full volume position where it remains ~1M (might have mis-calculated this...). A way of 'taming' a howling DeArmond beast? All the more curious now to learn if other '55 guitars have this wiring?

7

Does this look familiar to anyone with a mid-50s single pickup Gretsch?

8

I'll see if I can find my notes on this...if in fact i took any. If not I'll open it back up and do so. My tone control works and sounds good to me.

 photo 1336444386.jpg

9

Ser# 15837 - first batch I think? In the database Link

Geoff

– Doppler

I've only found one Convertible specimen with an earlier serial number (two numbers earlier than yours). Your guitar is super early!

10

Does this look familiar to anyone with a mid-50s single pickup Gretsch?

– Doppler

Did Gretsch usually wire up the Volume control backwards like that? From the photo it looks like your drawing is correct, but that variable load on the pickup is a nightmare from an impedance standpoint.

11

I've only found one Convertible specimen with an earlier serial number (two numbers earlier than yours). Your guitar is super early!

– kc_eddie_b

Thanks Ed, that's good to know...not exactly the most sought-after model it seems but they sure are rare, and I love it!

Geoff

12

I'll see if I can find my notes on this...if in fact i took any. If not I'll open it back up and do so. My tone control works and sounds good to me.

 photo 1336444386.jpg

– Setzer

Looks exactly the same tone/volume circuit as my guitar Paul - but I'm assuming they are 1M pots. I wonder if your cap has 'widened' to around .2uF as well, good to hear that your tone control still works anyhow.

13

You are going to getting rid of that ancient , now useless drifted cap right? At .2 that 's definitely not going to let your tone control work as it should. Anywho in another thread Billy Zoom said that they used 1 meg pots with the original dearmonds and there was a resistor involved but that the pickups sounded better with the resistor removed. I can't remember the thread now

14

Yes no doubt it will be better with the resistor out of the way, it basically tames the thing by the look of it and we don't want that do we now!

Re: tone cap yes, I replaced it with a new .022 and it's functional now. I'll be buggered if I know how Paul's is still working but maybe his tone cap has lived in a more favourable climate or something.

15

They most likely used a 1 meg for clarity. The higher the pot value the clearer the pickup will sound. although I'm baffled why they'd use a 47k across the input & output lugs of the pot.. they might have been trying to throttle it back a tad..

16

I'm baffled why they'd use a 47k across the input & output lugs of the pot.. they might have been trying to throttle it back a tad..

That's exactly the effect. Easily bypassed and it makes a noticeable difference.

As to why, the only thing I can think of would be to make the guitars a little less prone to overdrive the low powered amps of the era.

17

I'm baffled why they'd use a 47k across the input & output lugs of the pot.. they might have been trying to throttle it back a tad..

That's exactly the effect. Easily bypassed and it makes a noticeable difference.

As to why, the only thing I can think of would be to make the guitars a little less prone to overdrive the low powered amps of the era.

– Afire

If I've drawn the circuit correctly above, the 47k resistor is automatically bypassed when the volume pot is at full volume position. So at least at full volume it does precisely nothing to tame the output. Also, turning the volume down becomes a more gradual affair as a result of the resistor in place, so I don't think it's to tame the output after all - rather, it might be there to approximate a flat-ish frequency response as volume is progressively turned down. Please correct me if you think I've got it wrong, I'm easily confused!

18

I've only found one Convertible specimen with an earlier serial number (two numbers earlier than yours). Your guitar is super early!

– kc_eddie_b

Ed, there was also that 'prototype' Convertible from an earlier mixed batch was there not? Weird model number like 6135 or something?


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