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top mounted pots

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top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:18 pm

Hello,
I am new to this forum. I have made several stringed instruments over the past 40 years. I have a lot of woodworking experience. I am now retired and getting into electrics. I recently made a solid body baritone ukulele. I am in the planning stages for some full size solid body electric guitars.
I would like to top mount the volume and tone pots. By that I mean no cavity on the back of the guitar. I would mount the pots in a top recess, say a 1" diameter hole, insert the pot, attach with screws or glue, and hide it with an oversize knob, say 1-1/2" diameter. Wire chases would be angled holes connecting to the other components or long side drilled holes that would later be plugged with matching wood.
Any experience, success, or downfalls with my method would be appreciated. Thank you
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Peter Wilcox » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:46 pm

The first problem I see with that is attaching the pot to the guitar. That attachment, and the pot casing itself, will take all the stress applied to the knob, acting as a lever arm and prone to tearing off with a push or bump. A better way, since you are going to use an oversize knob, would be to make an aluminum or sheet metal disk the size of the knob or slightly smaller, mount the pot in a hole in that in the usual manner, and then mount the disk with several screws around the edge, to the guitar.

Additionally, if you glue the pot to the guitar inside the hole, if you have to change the pot it could be difficult.

If you're going to have a tone control, you need to make sure there's room for the capacitor somewhere.

If you're going to have a solid body, drilling the routing holes from the pickups to the controls could be problematic. If you make a drop top (a separate, usually figured or contrasting, piece of wood glued on to the body), you can route channels in the body wood before you glue on the top.

I've made guitars and basses without back access by chambering the body, and using a Strat jack plate so I can get all the electronics in through the plate hole. These use a stacked pot so the volume and tone controls only need a single hole in the guitar.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:58 pm

Peter,
I like your solution. That is what I have in mind. Thanks for your reply.
Those are some beautiful guitars!
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:35 pm

I have attached photos of my electric baritone ukulele (same tuning as top 4 guitar strings). I was able to chase the wire from the pickup thru the endpin jack. No volume/tone controls. Body and neck are one piece of cherry. Body fins are walnut.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Rodger Knox » Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:00 pm

I used a matching wood cavity cover on the front on this one. Same idea, no covers on back.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Peter Wilcox » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:19 pm

Greg, your pics have not appeared. You may want to re-post, or figure out why they didn't get posted. Here's a tutorial on how to attach photos in this forum.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1656
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:31 pm

electric baritone uke back sm.jpg
Here are the pics.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Robert Smallwood » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:32 pm

Gibson did this..I think that's what you've got in mind. The guitar is chambered..it's that strat jackplate idea gibsonised...
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:59 pm

Cool design, Greg! Are you turning that idea into a guitar?
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:23 pm

Yea, among other shapes I have in mind. Currently I am designing a guitar in the shape of the state of Delaware, where I live.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Dan Smith » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:54 pm

You could use small diameter pots for a smaller cavity.
I have bought small diameter Bourns pots through Mouser. They seem to work fine.
Cool instrument Greg!
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:45 am

I may consider a small rectangular control plate like a Tele. Thin figured contrasting wood. Client wants single soapbar pickup, no need for a switch. Looking for economy pickups.
Should I be posting these other questions on other forums?
Thanks for all your responses!
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Barry Daniels » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:34 am

Everyone will see this post here. No need to double post into another section.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Eric Baack » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:48 pm

I've heard good things about the GFS P90s
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:31 pm

Thanks to everyone on this board.
Update on the guitar: I have a nice slab of cherry for the body, a repurposed maple neck with rosewood fretboard. tele style top loaded bridge, vintage tele bridge pickup (no neck pickup), & a thin piece of rosewood for the control plate. Plate will have volume and tone pots, no switch. Any thoughts on putting the jack in the control plate? That's one less body hole.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Peter Wilcox » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:55 pm

Greg Kindig wrote:Any thoughts on putting the jack in the control plate? That's one less body hole.

That's a good idea. Just make sure the control cavity is deep enough to accept the plug, and that the jack is at the tail end of the plate so the cable won't be in the way of the controls when you're playing..
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Rodger Knox » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:07 am

That's what I did, see the photo above.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:34 pm

Since I am not using stock plans, any tips or info sources on determining where to set the bridge? This is what I was going to do: Establish a point on the body at the scale length (25.5") and draw a perpendicular line. Set the bridge so that the center of the saddles adjustability range is on this line.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:56 am

Greg Kindig wrote:Set the bridge so that the center of the saddles adjustability range is on this line.

No, set the bridge so that the most forward part of the saddles' adjustability is on this line. Compensation for the saddles will always be behind this line.
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Re: top mounted pots

Postby Greg Kindig » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:58 am

I have a tele style bridge as pictured and the saddles' string lengths vary by 3/8" (with low E being longest). Any refinement on where to set the bridge?
Also regarding the neck pocket. Neck is 24 fret bolt on. My design has the flexibility of placing the neck so there is a full 3-sided pocket, partial 3-sided, or 2-sided, depending on how much guitar body I leave on the high E side. Any thoughts.
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