Needing a POTS tutorial.

Mossberg152

Squier-Meister
Jun 13, 2022
102
Lorain, Ohio
Hello all. Happy Thanksgiving!

As the title says, I need a tutorial, or education about POTS. I have been trying to read up on them, but am having a hard time keeping simple things simple on this. I am asking because I intend to start trying my hand at changing things up! I want to start with simple things like POTS and maybe some inexpensive pickups. This conversation can go for either one of those things, although I am going to start with my questions about POTS. I would only be looking at Single Coil pickups right now.

From what I understand, good quality pots of the small size are as good as good quality pots of the larger size, they are just smaller. Poor quality pots can be either size and are just inferior products.

250 k pots are generally thought of as used for single coils, while the 500k pots are generally used for for humbuckers.

There may or may not be different pots for volume vs tone.

There are 2 brands of pots that are highly regarded and a bunch that are not highly regarded. I cannot recall off the top of my head what those two brands are, but if I saw it mentioned here, they would be familiar names that I would recognize.

So, Please tell me what of the above is true and what is total crap. Any other pieces of info a "new to modding" guy should know would also be appreciated info.

Thanks fellas, and again, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Mossberg.
 

DougMen

Dr. Squier
Jun 8, 2017
8,880
Honolulu, HI
Hello all. Happy Thanksgiving!

As the title says, I need a tutorial, or education about POTS. I have been trying to read up on them, but am having a hard time keeping simple things simple on this. I am asking because I intend to start trying my hand at changing things up! I want to start with simple things like POTS and maybe some inexpensive pickups. This conversation can go for either one of those things, although I am going to start with my questions about POTS. I would only be looking at Single Coil pickups right now.

From what I understand, good quality pots of the small size are as good as good quality pots of the larger size, they are just smaller. Poor quality pots can be either size and are just inferior products.

250 k pots are generally thought of as used for single coils, while the 500k pots are generally used for for humbuckers.

There may or may not be different pots for volume vs tone.

There are 2 brands of pots that are highly regarded and a bunch that are not highly regarded. I cannot recall off the top of my head what those two brands are, but if I saw it mentioned here, they would be familiar names that I would recognize.

So, Please tell me what of the above is true and what is total crap. Any other pieces of info a "new to modding" guy should know would also be appreciated info.

Thanks fellas, and again, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Mossberg.
You're pretty much right about all, although some HB guitars have 1M pots, and some SC ones have 500K. The higher the value, the brighter the sound. So, if you have a dark sounding Strat or Tele and want to make it brighter, then put some 500K pots in. Ditto for HBs. If you want to make your LP brighter, then put some 1M pots in. Audio taper will give a smoother taper from top to bottom, while linear taper will tend to be erratic, with very little change with a big twist of the pot, and then a big jump right at the end. However, many lower cost guitars have linear taper pots. As far as brand names, the most popular for guitar are CTS and Bourns, with split shafts for Strat and other push on style knobs, and solid shaft for Tele and other set screw style ones.
 
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Mossberg152

Squier-Meister
Jun 13, 2022
102
Lorain, Ohio
Ok. Dougmen and Dave, that was a LOT of information. On the one hand, the taper pots sound like they are not the most consistent, but that video makes the taper pots sound better?

Are the pots used for VOLUME and for TONE the exact same things? Maybe a better question is: are Tone and Volume pots interchangeable? Or maybe another way: if I bought 2 identical pots, would they both go into the guitar and when wired up correctly, do what the typical TONE pot and VOLUME pot do, as expected of Tone and Volume pots? Is really the big differentiators the Ohm value and whether it is "linear taper" vs Vintage Taper ?

Yes, CTS was one of the brands I have heard positive things about, along with ALPHA. Now BOURNS is thrown in the mix as well... I don't recall reading about that brand yet. Homework Time, I guess!

Thanks, and keep the info flowing! I like learning from people who know more than me!

Mossberg.
 

DougMen

Dr. Squier
Jun 8, 2017
8,880
Honolulu, HI
Ok. Dougmen and Dave, that was a LOT of information. On the one hand, the taper pots sound like they are not the most consistent, but that video makes the taper pots sound better?

Are the pots used for VOLUME and for TONE the exact same things? Maybe a better question is: are Tone and Volume pots interchangeable? Or maybe another way: if I bought 2 identical pots, would they both go into the guitar and when wired up correctly, do what the typical TONE pot and VOLUME pot do, as expected of Tone and Volume pots? Is really the big differentiators the Ohm value and whether it is "linear taper" vs Vintage Taper ?

Yes, CTS was one of the brands I have heard positive things about, along with ALPHA. Now BOURNS is thrown in the mix as well... I don't recall reading about that brand yet. Homework Time, I guess!

Thanks, and keep the info flowing! I like learning from people who know more than me!

Mossberg.
It's how the pot is wired that determines whether it's volume or tone. Before it's wired, there's no difference. Alps is another brand of pots that I've seen used a lot in audio/stereo gear, but not in guitars.
 

Dave M

Squier-Nut
Feb 27, 2017
956
Mira Loma, CA
yep.....also the top of the pot, you have different spline count, that would matter what knobs you would use, 24 splines(course) vs 18 splines (fine)...hows that for more info... LOL....
All in all , the more you progress in playing, different guitars, and if you use the volume knob alot ,,,you'll acquire a preference for what you like.
Read about treble bleed to really add to the mix....
 


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