Where do you buy your pots and switches?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Oldguitarguy, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Sep 27, 2014
    North Pole
    That site is based in Hong Kong - shipping is the same worldwide.....it's not American.....I thought maybe it might be cheaper for ya?
    MrYeats, dbrian66 and beagle like this.
  2. downrazor11

    downrazor11 Squier Talker

    Mar 3, 2019
    I almost exclusively use 'dime' size pots, as the cycle-life and build quality has improved dramatically over the last 15 years to rival the full-size CTS pots.

    The research I have done leads me to believe the bad rap they have is probably due to a combination of poor quality control of the pots (10+ years ago), and mishandling/improper soldering techniques when being built into guitars at some of the budget guitar manufacturer factories in asia (again, 10+ years ago), both of these factors have tightened up and todays dime-size pot example is much better in terms of build fit and finish, quality of build components (carbon trace manufacturing techniques, consistency of traces, etc.), being within spec, and in overall expected cycles/performance.

    To the question at hand, for most of my 'short-shaft' stuff, I use TT electronics P160 series (with a conductive plastic element, 100,000 cycle life), for 'long-shaft' (or 'push-pull') I use Bourns PDB181 series (specifically for guitar, carbon trace, 15,000 cycle life), and if I need full-size I use CTS 450G series (For guitar, carbon trace, 10,000 cycle life). I get the 'dime-size' pots at mouser.com, and I get the CTS pots from 'the Art of Tone' on eBay.

    For the pickup selector switches I use Alpha SL11803F series (Au-plated wiper across Au-plated trace, 10,000 cycle life), and if I need traditional blade or superswitches I use Oak-Grigsby (Au-plated blade between Au-plated contacts, 20,000 cycle life). The Oak-Grigsby can be found at 'the Art of Tone', the Alpha I usually have to hunt for (but costs half as much as OG, and 1/3 as much as CRL). [For reference: Au=gold, Ag=silver]

    I am a fan of the 'Alpha'-branded selector switches, they have great quality control and i have never had any issues with them, BUT there are a ton of unbranded PCB-backed switches that look alot like Alpha switches, I would say do not use the unbranded switches (or any unbranded component really) at all.

    For wire, I use 24-AWG stranded Ag-plated copper wire with a PTFE or ETFE jacket (MIL-W-22759). This stuff is awesome, it is well insulated, flexible, compact, and easily soldered OR crimped. I get this from eBay. I have used pushback wire on some builds but I generally don't for my own because I use crimp connections often, and tinned copper isn't specc'd for crimping, at least it isn't according to NASA, as the tinned metal doesn't compress well in a crimp. It is fine for soldered point-to-point stuff though. You can also find pushback wire at 'the Art of Tone'.

    If you want my useful sources/documentation on any of this stuff above, feel free to PM me.

    I have no affiliation with 'the Art of Tone', I just find their prices to be reasonable. I do make pickguards and harnesses, and do a lot of component/tech work on electrics.

    Here are some component pics:



    I hope that helps!
  3. Angry Possum

    Angry Possum Squier-holic

    Oct 30, 2019
    Squier Town NY
    MrYeats and dbrian66 like this.
  4. downrazor11

    downrazor11 Squier Talker

    Mar 3, 2019
    YMMV, of course..

    ..But who knows what you are getting with this seller, the pots are unbranded. Unbranded often times means they were too far out of spec, or had some other defect, which prevented them from carrying the brand name, after which they get tossed, or worse sold as part of a 'bulk components' lot for a fraction of what the same quantity of brand-name individual units would go for..

    I'm not saying that is what is happening here, I am just saying that I would never put that in my guitar..
    MrYeats and dbrian66 like this.
  5. Oldguitarguy

    Oldguitarguy Squier-Nut

    Mar 2, 2019
    Thanks for all the help. I ended up getting Alpha pots and switches from GM. Good prices and fair combined shipping off eBay. Some places only had a few of the things I needed but GM had them all.
  6. MrYeats and dbrian66 like this.