Vintage pots ratings

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by dean, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. dean

    dean Friend of Leo's

    I really wasn't sure where to ask this question, but I think I have a better chance here on the vintage thread. How likely is it for a vintage pot (say 1955-60) to be almost double the ohms indicated on the pot? E.g., is it likely to have a pair of pots that are listed at 250k that test in 500K+ range? Or a 500K pot that tests over 1000K? And if the pots were from a functioning guitar, what would the doubling of the ohms imply about the tone and volume of the guitar? Any opinions or comments? Thanks!
  2. mipstoo

    mipstoo TDPRI Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Rockingham Palace
    Most vintage pots read higher than what they indicate. I think that wear, most likely on the carbon layer, increases the resistance.
    What it implies is that lower potentiometer values give you less high end. Some 800K pots will give a very bright sound to the Tele, while a 250K will be mellow and sometimes get muddy. Of course it's a mater of taste, and the rest of the signal chain also effects high end. Single coils are often paired with 250k pots and humbuckers with 500k pots, but it's not a general rule.
  3. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Tele-Meister

    Oct 5, 2017
    On late '50s centralab pots (gibson) it's very common to see massively higher values than what's marked on the pot. On all the old fenders I've checked the values are generally pretty close to spec. I've seen more under the stated value by far. Only one pot out of a '62 strat was well over spec at around 300k. That's the highest value I've seen in a fender. I'm of the opinion that the pot value makes a significant difference in sound so I tend to test all the pots I have access to. I have tested quite a few in the last few years
  4. dean

    dean Friend of Leo's

    Thanks for the info - I really appreciate it.
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