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Thread: Fender Frontman 65R volume mod

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    Fender Frontman 65R volume mod

    Looking for a volume mod for this frontman 65R. Something with a little more control. Seems to jump to full vol. at 4 or 5.
    I remember seeing something a couple of years ago...thanks

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    I doubt that it will be as 'easy' as simply changing to a diggerent potentiometer (taper/ resistance)

    The one currently installed is a 50K A taper.

    The problem is that it is part of an opamp circuit.

    fender frontman 65R Normal Volume Control.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    I doubt that it will be as 'easy' as simply changing to a diggerent potentiometer (taper/ resistance)

    The one currently installed is a 50K A taper.

    The problem is that it is part of an opamp circuit.

    fender frontman 65R Normal Volume Control.pdf

    I found this but you know better than I...
    https://sites.google.com/site/robertotricks/home-1/home

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link.

    If you take note, there is a lot more that is done to the circuit than 'simply changing a pot'.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz P Bass View Post
    Thanks for the link.

    If you take note, there is a lot more that is done to the circuit than 'simply changing a pot'.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes, I realize what he's done, but I thought I'd run it by you to see if it makes sense...don't what to give it a shot
    and then not really accomplish anything...thanks

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Fender, like many others, uses a grounded wiper pot as if it were two, the right half attenuating passive and the left half NFB/active gain .

    The perfect pot would be one with an "S" curve, made of unobtanium (I had to pay in advance for 5000 tracks to get them although I only ordered 500), 90% manufacturers use a linear pot there.

    Fender uses a Log one, but way too high value, so as soon as you rotate it a little the right half stops attenuating .

    Replacing R15 with 10K will give you a much smoother "start", try it, no need to mod anything else.

    The Mod suggested disconnects the NFB side, sets first Op Amp gain to full all the time (which will cause problems with hot humbuckers or pedals) and wires the pot like a conventional volume pot.

    Smoother? .... no doubt, but the input stage becomes prone to overload (what does not appear in the simulation )

    The 33 ohm resistor is not needed, he might as well have used a wire link.

    He also lost the bright cap effect created by C8 for 2 reasons:
    a) he disconnected it from the volume pot.
    b) anyway he shorted it with the 33 ohms resistor (which bto boot should be a wire link).

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Fender, like many others, uses a grounded wiper pot as if it were two, the right half attenuating passive and the left half NFB/active gain .

    The perfect pot would be one with an "S" curve, made of unobtanium (I had to pay in advance for 5000 tracks to get them although I only ordered 500), 90% manufacturers use a linear pot there.

    Fender uses a Log one, but way too high value, so as soon as you rotate it a little the right half stops attenuating .

    Replacing R15 with 10K will give you a much smoother "start", try it, no need to mod anything else.

    The Mod suggested disconnects the NFB side, sets first Op Amp gain to full all the time (which will cause problems with hot humbuckers or pedals) and wires the pot like a conventional volume pot.

    Smoother? .... no doubt, but the input stage becomes prone to overload (what does not appear in the simulation )

    The 33 ohm resistor is not needed, he might as well have used a wire link.

    He also lost the bright cap effect created by C8 for 2 reasons:
    a) he disconnected it from the volume pot.
    b) anyway he shorted it with the 33 ohms resistor (which bto boot should be a wire link).

    Thanks I'll give it a shot and let everybody know how it turns out...thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by themusic View Post
    Thanks I'll give it a shot and let everybody know how it turns out...thanks again

    Drop in a 10k last night...way better...thanks everybody

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Good to know, good to know.

    Thanks for the update.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Fender, like many others, uses a grounded wiper pot as if it were two, the right half attenuating passive and the left half NFB/active gain .....

    Replacing R15 with 10K will give you a much smoother "start", try it, no need to mod anything else.

    etc...etc....
    Quote Originally Posted by themusic View Post
    Thanks I'll give it a shot and let everybody know how it turns out...thanks again

    Drop in a 10k last night...way better...thanks everybody

    So as I see it, all you had to do is replace R15 with a 10K and the volume control is way improved in its response? I'm curious about this because my 65R has the similar issue where it increases volume so rapidly (but not jumpy) from 0-2, and although the schematic calls for an audio taper pot, reading it with an ohm meter says its acting like a linear taper! I suspect replacing the pot with the correct 50K audio taper would fix it, but would the 10k (R15) further improve it as well?

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    Last edited by Five Aces; 05-22-2015 at 04:11 AM.

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    As far as I can see from the post, that 10K change did the trick.

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    Great! I'd like to give this R15 change a try when I have a chance.

    Any chance you would know if a similar resistor change can be done on the Gain Channel? (The Gain pot only, not on the volume pot... that one seems ok).... If so, which resistor & aprox. what value would do it?

    My preference would be nice to calm down the Gain Control pot so it increases at a less rapid rate, too.

    Thanks....

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    Juan, you're damn right. I put the Roberto trick in some weeks ago and at first sight it seemed to work. But when I was practising with my spouse last week (she's playing tenor sax) i noticed the amp was cranking all the time, regardless which volume I'd choosen. It did even not calm down when I turned down the guitars volume. So I dismounted this "trick" and gave the 10K a try. And it works! Hallelujah! It is not that one can now turn the volume pot from 1 to 10 with a linear "curve", but between 1 and 3 you can regulate the volume quite nicely and, more important, absolutely controlled with no unexpected jumps in it. Thank you so much

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    Finally got around to doing that volume mod on my Frontman 65R (changed R15 to 10K) and forgot to report back.

    I'm glad to say it did indeed do the trick! It gives you a more controlled volume in the 0-3 range instead of jumping out at you!

    Thanks ! ! ! ! !

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post

    Fender uses a Log one, but way too high value, so as soon as you rotate it a little the right half stops attenuating .

    Replacing R15 with 10K will give you a much smoother "start", try it, no need to mod anything else.
    Hi J M

    Interesting but where can you get these pots Fender (uk) don't do them and Fender (us) don't do them and even when they did they were charging approx $7- $8 each plus p&p for something that cost then less than a $1 to buy.
    You seem to be the man with the knowledge can you help, it's a Frontman 65r (Type PR 557)
    I would have just fitted normal 16mm pots but there is no room, any ideas?
    Many thanks
    Stephen

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    Quote Originally Posted by curryman86 View Post
    Hi J M

    Interesting but where can you get these pots Fender (uk) don't do them and Fender (us) don't do them and even when they did they were charging approx $7- $8 each plus p&p for something that cost then less than a $1 to buy.
    You seem to be the man with the knowledge can you help, it's a Frontman 65r (Type PR 557)
    I would have just fitted normal 16mm pots but there is no room, any ideas?
    Many thanks
    Stephen
    Just as they said, there is no need to change the 50K pot at all! Just replace R15 with a 10K resistor and leave the pot as is. It is enough to do the job! I was quite satisfied with the results, It smoothed out the lower range of the volume such that 0-3 was more controlled...

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    Another alternative... master volume inserted in efx loop (send & return before pwr amp).

    I jiffy box, 2 jack plugs (with cut down covers), 1 pot, scrap wire and a bit of mucking about !


    Hey presto master vol... as long as your not using the loop.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Most of the pots on this amp are shot, that is why I want to replace them, as stated in my post these are unavailable

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    Old Timer oc disorder's Avatar
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    Dunno how hard you are looking ???
    Fender Amp Potentiometers | Parts Is Parts - Guitar Parts, Amplifier Parts, Korg Keyboard Parts

    treb c50k 0069524000 DISCONTINUED, NO LONGER AVAILABLE
    bass B50K 006268000
    norm vol A50k 0037323000
    Drive C100K 0037324000
    Drive Vol A50k 0037323000
    treb C100k 0037324000
    mid B50k 006268000
    Bass B25k 0049402000
    Reverb B50k 006268000

    http://darrenriley.com/store/fender-...0r-0069524049/

    Fender Control 50K 30C FM65R/210R 0069524049 Fender part# 0069524049 (same as 0069524000)

    http://darrenriley.com/store/fender-...0r-0062680000/

    Fender Control Snapin 50K B FM65R/210R 0062680049

    etc

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    Last edited by oc disorder; 05-03-2016 at 11:06 AM.

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    Hi oc, I looked very hard, just like you have done and I thank you for it.
    Unfortunately the pots you have found I also found but they are the wrong type
    Yes I could fit them then change all the knobs but why should I have to, I believe fender should hold these parts in stock.
    I believe I have now sourced these pots, I'm waiting for them to arrive, once I have checked them they will be available at half fenders price
    Thanks again oc for your efforts
    Kind regards

    Curryman86

    Picture of the correct type pot with knurled shaft ........
    .
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Old Timer oc disorder's Avatar
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    Thanks for filling me in. Would have thought when the part has the amp model number next to it (not all did) it would be the correct part.

    So they are still C.T.S. pots ! The 296 series.

    http://www.ctscorp.com/wp-content/up...015/11/296.pdf

    I'll have to look harder next time !

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    The Darren Riley links were the correct type (knurled shaft).

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    Sorry g1 they are not all correct for my amp plus at $9.95 they can stick'em where the sun don't shine, mine are coming in at half that price

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curryman86 View Post
    Sorry g1 they are not all correct for my amp ,mine are coming in at half that price
    So where are you getting them from?

    Please share the source.

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    Jazz P Bass,
    "I believe I have now sourced these pots, I'm waiting for them to arrive, once I have checked them they will be available at half fenders price."

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    Member Emeritus Forever Steve A.'s Avatar
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    I skipped most of these posts and didn't look up the schematic but I used an entirely different approach to my very similar Princeton 112+ and 65 amps: I added a master volume pot to the feedback loop of the last IC stage before the FX loop. I wired the MV as a variable resistor which at full volume was maybe 25% higher than the stock value to allow for more volume from the clean channel. (I mounted the added MV on the back panel.) It worked for me...

    Steve Ahola

    P.S. Okay here are some specifics. I would replace R59 with a 50k linear pot in series with a 12k to 22k fixed resistor, and might tweak the taper and range with a larger resistor (120k?) across the pot terminals. With the added pot on the back panel it is easy to experiment with different values.



    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is FM65R schematic...


    fm-65r-schematic.pdf

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 05-07-2016 at 01:36 PM.

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Nice & elegant, Steve.

    Thanks for posting that.

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    Member Emeritus Forever Steve A.'s Avatar
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    On the PCB it works better to replace R59 with a large value resistor and wrap the flying leads to the added pot around the legs of the resistor.

    The Princeton 112+ had a horrendous POP when turning it off so one reason adding the MV was to make it more stage-friendly. The Princeton 65 wasn't quite as loud and I would hope that Fender finally solved that problem with the Frontman 65.

    Steve Ahola

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    I just came up with a very simple and cheap way to make the volume control easier to deal with and to reduce the HISS. I put a 250k ohm pot in line with the hot wire in the 1/4 inch plug. I put that end in the amp and turned everything on. In the "0" ohm position the amp is normal. Same jumpy volume control and same hiss. As I added resistance with the pot, the volume came down and started to act like a 'normal' amp. I also noticed I was able to use the treble and bass knobs without adding to the much reduced hiss I was hearing.

    Feeling very satisfied with myself, I removed the cable/pot from the amp and guitar to see what resistance I had that gave me results I liked. It turns out that 45k ohms is the magic number. So a simple way to deal with this would be to solder a 45k ohm resister in series with the 'tip' lead. How easy can this get???

    I'm of course not going to do that. I'm about to assemble a 1/4 inch jack and plug along with a 250 kohm pot into a small black plastic box. The new volume attenuator will live with the amp permanently. I'm doing it this way because I love having knobs to turn. Short commercial here, Blue Star Musick sells a Schattner Black Box for $40.00 that will do the same thing.

    That's it from here. Have a great time with your FM 65 R

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Aces View Post
    Just as they said, there is no need to change the 50K pot at all! Just replace R15 with a 10K resistor and leave the pot as is. It is enough to do the job! I was quite satisfied with the results, It smoothed out the lower range of the volume such that 0-3 was more controlled...
    BUMP: R15 is in series with C9. Aren't you introducing tone/sound changes when R15 is replaced by 10 kOhms?
    (I have a Princeton 112+ and a Champ 25 (hybrid amp), both with this volume-issue)

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    Last edited by fastfolkert; 08-15-2016 at 03:56 PM. Reason: typo

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    hi all!
    I am the author of the robertotrick, and I am still struggling with this amplifier: I still do not like the response of the volume pot. It goes up too quickly and this behaviour is not suitable for home playing.
    BTW .. do not replace R15 2.2k resistor with a 10k resistor: this modification reduces definitely the loudness of the amplifier by 2dB and decreases the output power delivered to the speaker (you will not be able to use the 65W), see drawing hereunder.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As you can see, howevere there is no tone change, so you might still go for this option, if you don't mind to lose some watts on the output.

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigroberto View Post
    hi all!
    I am the author of the robertotrick, and I am still struggling with this amplifier: I still do not like the response of the volume pot. It goes up too quickly and this behaviour is not suitable for home playing.
    BTW .. do not replace R15 2.2k resistor with a 10k resistor: this modification reduces definitely the loudness of the amplifier by 2dB and decreases the output power delivered to the speaker (you will not be able to use the 65W), see drawing hereunder.
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	41903

    As you can see, howevere there is no tone change, so you might still go for this option, if you don't mind to lose some watts on the output.
    Have you simply tried putting an pad pot in the effects loop?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigroberto View Post
    hi all!
    I am the author of the robertotrick, and I am still struggling with this amplifier: I still do not like the response of the volume pot. It goes up too quickly and this behaviour is not suitable for home playing.
    BTW .. do not replace R15 2.2k resistor with a 10k resistor: this modification reduces definitely the loudness of the amplifier by 2dB and decreases the output power delivered to the speaker (you will not be able to use the 65W), see drawing hereunder.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.PNG 
Views:	259 
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ID:	41903

    As you can see, howevere there is no tone change, so you might still go for this option, if you don't mind to lose some watts on the output.
    OK.... I had done the mod a while back and the results were acceptable to me as far as smoothing out the 0-3 volume response. But I couldn't tell if it reduced any output power since I've rarely used my 65R volume above 3-4 !! (Did a few tests at 6-7 and that was way freaking loud!!)
    So, given your comment...
    "As you can see, however, there is no tone change, so you might still go for this option, if you don't mind to lose some watts on the output".
    ..what would that equate to in terms of actual output watts? Might I only be getting 60W output? Or 50W output? or would I likely even notice an audible difference?

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    Last edited by Five Aces; 02-26-2017 at 07:49 AM. Reason: clarity

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    If all else stays the same, the difference between 60 watts and 30 watts is only 3 decibels. That is just enough to hear, not much difference at all. For reference, the typical two jack input like on a Fender Twin Reverb or something is 6db. You would never hear the difference between 65w and 60 w.

    An amp only puts out its rated wattage when it is maxed. You are not playing at max levels, by your complaint that the volume is not responsive in the low range as you would prefer. In other words worrying about a few watts is like bemoaning your car is rouch at low speeds, but fixing it would mean it no longer will go 100 mph, only 80.
    Changing that resistor may smooth the control response, but it also makes it so it no longer can be turned all the way up. That is the only cost. But you don't want it all the way up anyway. And 2db would be difficult to hear as a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    If all else stays the same, the difference between 60 watts and 30 watts is only 3 decibels. That is just enough to hear, not much difference at all. For reference, the typical two jack input like on a Fender Twin Reverb or something is 6db. You would never hear the difference between 65w and 60 w.

    An amp only puts out its rated wattage when it is maxed. You are not playing at max levels, by your complaint that the volume is not responsive in the low range as you would prefer. In other words worrying about a few watts is like bemoaning your car is rouch at low speeds, but fixing it would mean it no longer will go 100 mph, only 80.
    Changing that resistor may smooth the control response, but it also makes it so it no longer can be turned all the way up. That is the only cost. But you don't want it all the way up anyway. And 2db would be difficult to hear as a difference.
    My "complaint" that the volume is not responsive in the low range was not meant really as a complaint. ..... and more as a preference because at home, as while practicing, where you just want to tweak in a low volume setting, that proverbial touchy volume control comes into play.
    Indeed I've had no concerns as to weather I can put out 30w or 60 w....more of a curiosity what that may have equated to. You are right, if I never use it to full power, and it works for me, the numbers are only numbers.
    So many users get hung up on that output power number when comparing amps. IMHO It all boils down to what you hear and if you like it!

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