Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Mixing pot values of tone and volume

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by onceagriffon, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    Apr 22, 2006
    Man work has kept me so busy I haven't posted in months, anyway here is a question, bear with me: I recently put a Duncan Alnico II Strat pup in my Tele neck position. I had had 500K pots in it for a noisless neck pup and when I swapped to the standard SC I played it that way at first, but then put back in 250s "just because they are what are used for SCs". The bridge sounds great but the neck pup seems darker than with the 500k tone and lost some snap. I was always able to get the bridge where I wanted with the 500k tone by rolling the it back some. So what would the effect be of using a 250 volume and a 500K tone? Sounds plausible to me but I just wondered about any pit-falls. It would be easy to un-do, but y time is greatly restricted these days and I would rather play than tinker, thought?

  2. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 31, 2007
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    Sorry I don't have an answer for you as I have recently been wondering about the same thing myself. I'm interested to read the responses.

  3. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    Apr 22, 2006
    I have done some research and it seems there are a great mnay factors some of which may varry from guitar to guitar, If no one else chimes in I may give it a try if I don't have to work tomorrow

  4. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2004
    trumansburg, ny
    the sd alnico II strat pup is not going to have the "snap" of an alnico 5 for starters. by putting a 250k in the circuit, whether tone or volume, you're probably inhibiting the signal from the pup to the amp.

    id leave the 500k in the volume and use the tone (500k) to back off the highs on either neck or bridge pup. i think you'll improve the overall signal of everything.

    i see many great guitarists constantly using their tone/vol knobs throughout their performance; sometimes from passage to passage.

    i control my tone mostly from the tone knob, after i get the amp dialed in, as i dont want to really interrupt my concentration by having to constantly go back to the amp to make any minor adjustments.

    it just seem more practical to me.


    good luck.

    rand z

  5. spankdplank

    spankdplank Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 19, 2007
    Houston, Tx.
    I do this all the time. I have teles that have pots ranging from 250 to 1 meg, including some with a 500/250 pot mix. 250/250 is the standard, until the late 60's, when they switched to 1 meg/1meg through the 70's. 500/500 is my favorite, but 500/250 works really well. Generally, the higher the pot value the brighter and more open the pickup will sound. The trade off is that single coils with higher pot values will not have as smooth and usable of a pot taper, and they can be ice-picky sounding. Mixing pot value is no problem. 500/250 sounds brighter than 250/250, but not as bright as 500/500. It really is a nice middle ground and works really well to add some snap to a dull neck pup, without making the bridge pup painfully bright. I usually use the higher value pot on the volume, but I don't think it matters and I think 250/500 should sound the same as 500/250. Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008

  6. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 12, 2005
    Fullerton, CA
    I also recommend using 500k all throughout if you liked the snap it had. Then simply use the tone control to dial it back some if it is too bright in the bridge spot.

    Another compromise would be to use 330k pots... I believe there are still places you can buy them, try for those with high tolerances to ensure its close to the upper end of 330k values.

  7. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 15, 2006
    Santa Fe, NM
    Some pot combinations are strange....but work well.
    The old Teisco Gold Foil pickups (i.e. Ry Cooder & David Lindley) use a 100K volume pot and a 500K tone pot.


  8. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    Apr 22, 2006
    Thanks folks time to heat up the soldering iron!

  9. tdowns

    tdowns Former Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    It sounds like you liked the neck with 500K, but you like the bridge with 250K.
    You could always use a 500K volume pot, and connect a 500K fixed resistor across the bridge pickup. That way you would have a 500K load for the neck PU, and when you switch in the bridge with the 500K resistor, your get (2) 500Ks in parallel which equals 250K. Best of both worlds.

    You can always use a 500K tone and dial it in just like it was 250K.

    There are really no rules or pitfalls with pot selection between 250K, to 1MEG for tone or volume. Anything much below 250K wipes out the treble resonance pretty bad. It's all subjective.

  10. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    Apr 22, 2006
    Put in the 500K tone

    And it sounds the buisness so far. I didn't get to it until later in the evening so I could not give it too much of a work out I'll report more later!

  11. graphs

    graphs Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 10, 2007
    i have a squier tele with a humbucker in the neck and put a 250k pot in the volume but have a 500k push/pull for the tone and coil split. it sounds pretty good! it's a little dark with just the humbucker but with both 500's i found the bridge too bright and not as useable.

  12. onceagriffon

    onceagriffon Tele-Meister

    Apr 22, 2006
    Well Here is the final verdict. Pretty good with the 500 tone and 250 volume but still not quite enough snap. So I went back to just 500s in both spots sounds very nice and I can roll back on the tone when using just the bridge pup. Maybe its the wood/construction of my Tele? I never put much belief in the whole different tone because of the wood or build theory, but this guitar has always been a bit dark. Never muddy really, just dark it would have been great for Jazz I suppose (Jazz and Tele?). As I have added things: a vintage three saddle bridge ,AV bridge pup and now the SD Strat neck pup, it has ended up very twangy. Hmmm....go figure, maybe I need to re-think the effect of wood on a solid body's tone? Anyway through my 1960 KAY amp it sounds real cool, I can't wait until my Blues Jr is out of the shop!
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008

  13. woodman

    woodman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free + Supporter

    Nov 28, 2004
    Mint Hill, NC
    if i were you, grif, i would listen to this cat here:

    so simple, yet elegant in that it nails the solution to your dilemma as stated. once again, TD blows my mind and leaves it layin' by the side o' the road! :cool:

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