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  #1  
Old 06-23-2022, 10:42 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Default Tone pot question.

I've got a scratchy pot on one of my pickups, and am planning to change it. I seem to remember hearing something about different tone pots affecting the tone differently but cant remember much more than that. As well I'm wondering if I could intentionally mismatch them, use different pots on the neck and bridge to change the sound of the pickups, or would that cause me trouble in the middle position?
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2022, 03:46 AM
TiffanyGuitar TiffanyGuitar is offline
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The general rule is use a 250k pot for single coils and 500k pot for hum buckers. You will find posts online that suggest more unusual pots (like 300k pots or 1 Meg Pots) but I have never messed with those. I would stick with the values you have. Most likely, if you have a Les Paul style guitar, they are 500k. Just stick with what you have and don’t go down the “what happens to the tone if I do something different” rabbit hole. I have found it does not change things that radically, so concentrate on repairing it and just play.

You might be able to fix it using contact cleaner so you do t even have to replace it. If you do replace it, buy a CTS brand pot. Make sure you get the right shaft size to match what you have. It probably would not cost much to have someone do it for you if you haven’t soldered before.
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Old 06-24-2022, 04:22 AM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiffanyGuitar View Post
The general rule is use a 250k pot for single coils and 500k pot for hum buckers. You will find posts online that suggest more unusual pots (like 300k pots or 1 Meg Pots) but I have never messed with those. I would stick with the values you have. Most likely, if you have a Les Paul style guitar, they are 500k. Just stick with what you have and don’t go down the “what happens to the tone if I do something different” rabbit hole. I have found it does not change things that radically, so concentrate on repairing it and just play.

You might be able to fix it using contact cleaner so you do t even have to replace it. If you do replace it, buy a CTS brand pot. Make sure you get the right shaft size to match what you have. It probably would not cost much to have someone do it for you if you haven’t soldered before.
Ok thanks. I will try cleaning first, the guitar has P-90's so I'm not sure what they would use for that. On that particular guitar I wouldnt mind getting the bridge pickup to sound a bit darker relative to the neck pickup, I've thought of maybe installing a low noise version in the bridge to tame the highs a little bit, but figured maybe the pots might be manipulated to get the same effect.

I've soldered before, never on a guitar though.
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2022, 06:09 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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Just use some Deoxit on that scratchy pot, and that should help.

if you can, remove the pot from where it's anchored, and spray just a blast of deoxit in the little opening, and sweep the pot from 0 to 10 for a 90 seconds,

do a second blast and repeat sweeping, that usually solves this.
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2022, 06:29 AM
TiffanyGuitar TiffanyGuitar is offline
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Sorry, meant to say that in my original answer. P90s are also generally 500k.
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Old 06-24-2022, 09:28 AM
ChrisN ChrisN is offline
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Don't forget to consider the pot's taper, as well.
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Old 06-24-2022, 01:19 PM
Paleolith54 Paleolith54 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
Ok thanks. I will try cleaning first, the guitar has P-90's so I'm not sure what they would use for that. On that particular guitar I wouldnt mind getting the bridge pickup to sound a bit darker relative to the neck pickup, I've thought of maybe installing a low noise version in the bridge to tame the highs a little bit, but figured maybe the pots might be manipulated to get the same effect.

I've soldered before, never on a guitar though.
Deoxit. This is one link, Amazon and tons of others sell it.

https://www.radioshack.com/products/...SABEgL0efD_BwE
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2022, 10:47 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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I changed the pots in my '76 Gibson ES-345 back in '83... went for a more linear taper with them.

I have the guitar out on a stand most of the time, and, being a semi-hollow body, dust gets in through the F holes. The pots will get scratchy, especially if I haven't been playing that guitar much.

A tech told me to just work the pot, from 0-10, back and forth a BUNCH of times, and that should take care of it... so far it's worked every time, for nearly 40 years now! I seriously doubt your pots are "bad"... the De-Oxit is a good thing to have around, but I would wager that just working those knobs, back and forth, will do the trick...

Unless you REALLY want to spend money and time with it...
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2022, 10:56 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
I've got a scratchy pot on one of my pickups, and am planning to change it. I seem to remember hearing something about different tone pots affecting the tone differently but cant remember much more than that. As well I'm wondering if I could intentionally mismatch them, use different pots on the neck and bridge to change the sound of the pickups, or would that cause me trouble in the middle position?
…generally speaking 250K pots are for single coils and 500K pots are for humbuckers…..as far as using different pots for the bridge and neck?…..never mix never worry….but there are no hard fast rules and if you’re handy with a soldering iron it’s an inexpensive way to experiment…
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2022, 05:01 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseth View Post
I changed the pots in my '76 Gibson ES-345 back in '83... went for a more linear taper with them.

I have the guitar out on a stand most of the time, and, being a semi-hollow body, dust gets in through the F holes. The pots will get scratchy, especially if I haven't been playing that guitar much.

A tech told me to just work the pot, from 0-10, back and forth a BUNCH of times, and that should take care of it... so far it's worked every time, for nearly 40 years now! I seriously doubt your pots are "bad"... the De-Oxit is a good thing to have around, but I would wager that just working those knobs, back and forth, will do the trick...

Unless you REALLY want to spend money and time with it...
I tryed this... and it worked. Just rolled it back and forth about 50 times and it cleaned right up. Thanks!
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2022, 05:10 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Patrick View Post
…generally speaking 250K pots are for single coils and 500K pots are for humbuckers…..as far as using different pots for the bridge and neck?…..never mix never worry….but there are no hard fast rules and if you’re handy with a soldering iron it’s an inexpensive way to experiment…
Yeah, I did more research and if I've got this straight the 250k pots are supposed to add warmth, while the 500k pots add brightness. My guitar has 500k pots, so theoreticly if I changed out the bridge to a 250k I'd lose some highs on that pickup and get the bridge and neck pickup to sound more similar. I might try it at some point.
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2022, 05:52 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
I tryed this... and it worked. Just rolled it back and forth about 50 times and it cleaned right up. Thanks!

COOL! If it comes back, get some dexoit and clean it up with that. you should be all set.

I have a '95 Les Paul, w/thousands of hours of use. as yet, I have not had to change any pots, just some of that stuff now and then, it's magical and good to have on hand.
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Gibson SJ200
Taylor Grand Symphony
Taylor 514CE-NY
Taylor 814CE Deluxe V-Class
Guild F1512
Alvarez DY74 Snowflake ('78)
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2022, 11:45 AM
jseth jseth is offline
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Cool Yep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
I tryed this... and it worked. Just rolled it back and forth about 50 times and it cleaned right up. Thanks!
Great! Had a strong sense that this would do the trick...

I LOVE IT when a plan works out!!!
__________________
"A very little bit of grace,
in my beggar's palm.
A slow sense of self worth diminishing;
It doesn't feel good to steal.
but it never feels good to kneel,
with no place to belong,
with very little grace in my beggar's palm... "

"A Little More (Love, Grace, Freedom and Peace)" (J.S.Sherman)
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