Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why do those Dry Zs sound so good? - About those Super Real Pots

Greco Super Real Custom 1980 with split block inlays
I admit it. I did something bad with my 1980 Greco Custom. I sold the Dry-Z pickups and replaced them with some PU-2 pickups. DRY-Zs are the bees knees but PU-2s are dear to my heart as well and I guess needed the money that the sale brought in.

So out came the Z's and in went the PU-2s. Sounded great, if lacking the upper mid bite of the Zs. Then I got to thinking why not replace the stock Greco volume and tone pots with 500k pots and wire it 50's style. You are probably thinking "why?" at this point since of course the Super Real guitars had 500k pots like the old Gibsons.  But did they?

Bye bye Zs, hello PU-2
For some reason Kanda Shokai went with the odd combo of 300k volume and 100k tone pots for the Super Real series. As far as I have seen this was the way it was until late 1981.

The catalog says the 300k volume pots "have a smooth volume change" while preserving the highs and the 100k tone pots "give a sharp tone change." My experience is that they definitely do give a sharp change from having a nice balanced high end at 10 to pretty much no hi-end at 8.

For all the mystique of DRY-Zs and how they sound so good, please remember that if you are listening to them through 300k volume and 100k tone pots on "10" it is more or less equivalent to a 500k volume pot at 8.5 and a tone control on 6.5. That is a sweet spot for some nice tones on an LP and the DRY-Z works well in that zone. Change the pots to 500k all around and it opens up some nice tonal areas for the neck and bridge and also gives a bit more output on the volume.

From 1980 Catalog

Just in case you came this far and still need some more proof, here are some pot-shots for you with meter readings....

Tone measuring in at 90.3K fully open

Volume measuring in at 331K fully open

Tone pot: Here the leading "1" means 100K
Volume pot: Here the leading "3" means 300K

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