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Old May 12th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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quick pot value question

what are the sizes for volume and tone pots on most teles? i know humbuckers often take higher values (500k) but for 2 single coils what is the standard? both 250k?

thanks very much

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Old May 12th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there
Yep, standard is 250K. As an aside, when I build a tele I like to use a .033 tone capacitor instead of the .047 and I use a .001 cap for volume roll off. It's just a matter of preference. My ear tells me the .047 cap cuts into the mids when rolled down.
(ps. I use Sprague orange drop caps and CTS pots exclusively)
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Old May 12th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would add that while 250K is standard and most people think they work best, Fender actually used 1 meg pots on both the volume and tone, combined with a .001 treble bleed cap, from about 68 to 82 or so. l have a 68 and a 75 tele with 1 megs and while they are nice guitars, I prefer to use 250K on the tele style guitars I build.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 11:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like a 250k pot with a .002uF cap for volume roll off. The .002uF cap seems to keep the treble/mid relationship for about 1/2 of a rotation of the volume knob. I never really figured out what I like for a tone cap, I use .1uF all the time, but I like .022uF best I think.

On the vol pot, I usually take a 500k pot and solder in a 470k resister in parallel across the outside connectors - this brings the resistance to just under 250k. The older pots I have measured off of old guitars with 250k pots (fenders and others) generally measured about 230k.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 07:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanx guys that's helped alot.

While i've got you here could someone give me a quick explanation of what a capacitor does on volume and tone? I have no clue with electronics!

cheers in advance
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Old May 13th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowie86 View Post
Thanx guys that's helped alot.

While i've got you here could someone give me a quick explanation of what a capacitor does on volume and tone? I have no clue with electronics!

cheers in advance
What the cap does:
When the volume pot, without the cap on the pot, is used it sounds like you are also dropping the tone control at the same time. The volume pot will attenuate the higher frequencies at a higher rate than lower frequencies. This is most noticeable in the first part of the pot's rotation. The cap allows the higher frequencies to remain unattenuated and the pot will then control the volume of the upper-mids and below. The way the ear hears this is that you get the change in volume without a change in the tone of the guitar.

On the cap size:
If you use a small cap - like a .001uF - you will actually get a little thinner sound when you lower the volume. If you use a bigger cap - like a .01uF - the tapper of the volume decrease moves lower into the pots rotation; so what you hear is that that the volume pot's rotation has less of an effect. If someone does a lot of volume swells - mostly something that one would do with a strat control layout - having a big cap is really cool because the pot works more like a variable on/off switch. I think on a Tele, most people would be very happy with a cap value on a 250k pot of .001uF to .005uF - I like .002uF myself.

Some interesting mods I like:
In one Tele, I have one of those Hot Alnico-3 Fender Hiway-1 pickup sets. The output of those pickups is pretty high for a Tele, and the sound is very beefy. I love the sound of those, but if you want a traditional Tele sound - it's just not there: The Fender Hot Alnico-3 neck pickup actually sounds very much like a mini-humbucker. So what I do with that guitar is that I use a .001uF cap on the pot and that will allow me to get a thinner/lighter sound just by backing off the volume like 1/20th/1/10th of a turn - just a little turn: This works great to turn my fat Tele tone into a traditional Tele tone. This mod is about the more useful thing since I can use this 1 Tele to cover thick as well as lighter tone situations. And it works great that way - sort of the exact opposite of the tone control where the volume control pot actually thins out the sound if the cap is on the small side. This does not work that well with humbuckers since the mids are just too thick and would require a more complicated tone 'filter'.

One more thing - there are lots of different kinds of caps. Ceramic disk caps are not a good choice for this kind of circuit. Ceramic caps tend to have an asymmetric tapper across the range of hi-low frequencies - that just sounds wrong unless it is used to simulate a parasitic loss in a circuit. I recommend using a very common polyester 'green' cap - same kind as the tone control. They seem to give more symmetrical frequency response for their range.

So, that cap does a lot if , but it's pretty subtle on some pickups.
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