Anyone have experience with Alpha pots?

24 track

Doctor of Teleocity
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I frequently get calls from customers who want me to swap out the electronics on a new guitar because someone said they were cheap. My response is usually "I'll do it if you want me to, but I recommend keeping the stock stuff unless there's an actual problem to fix."

At least you recognize you're doing it for snootery, not because there's a difference :)

The cheap blade switches can be a problem, though. They fail a lot more often than the CRL or Oak-Grigsby switches, and it's not that rare for me to see a bad one on a new guitar.

I agree , I only do this to my own guitars , I see it as no difference to a pickup swap . its all snootery , but i was shocked to see my Squier Tele pick ups were dynomite and sounded outstanding.
 

stepvan

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I have next to no experience with wiring/soldering, but I've recently been trying to learn. I replaced some pots in my 70s Tele Custom clone, and was happy with the job I did. So I'm ready to move on to the next challenge.

I'm installing a Johnny Smith on an archtop of mine, and I want to install a single volume and a single tone on the pickguard. The problem is that I'm left-handed, and there's a very short supply of reverse taper pots right now. I know that CTS are the industry standard, but the only reverse-taper 500k pots I could find are Alpha brand, and I got them from WD.

Does anyone use Alpha brand pots on the reg? Are they complete trash, or are they as good as any other?

Also, I ordered a .047 oil and paper cap for the project (just because I didn't know any better), but after reading online for a bit last night, I'm wondering if I want a .022, instead. It'll be a jazz guitar, so I'll be likely to roll off the tone regularly, and it seems that the .022 might be better for that application. Thoughts?

Have used Alpha pots on plenty of guitars with no negative results
 

stepvan

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I've never had a problem with Alphas. They're robust and fairly priced.

The .022uf cap is the one you want for humbuckers; it keeps them from getting too muddy.

A cheap three-cent ceramic cap works just as well as a so-called Vintage Spec Creamy Endless Sustain SooperDooper Capacitater. Guitar circuits are passive, low voltage/current devices. Cap type has very little bearing on its operation as an audio frequency filter in this usage case.

In an amplifier, though (high voltages and current), cap type does matter.

Peegoo-Bumblebee-Cap-Suckers.jpg

Maybe cap type doesn't matter but does the fake rolex come with the free lunch?
 

Ebidis

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As an electrical engineer, and a guitarist, I've been dealing with every brand of pot ever found on the market for the last 60+ years. The only mystery to me is all of the interest in CTS pots. They are as susceptable to problems as all the others, and yet this (guitar) market is willing to pay a premium for them.
I have had problems with CTS pots recently. I wired 2 guitars with them, and they became scratchy after about a month.

I like the smooth lower friction feel of Bourns pots better anyway.

To answer the OP's question, I have never had a problem with Alpha pots.
 

Phrygian77

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I've used some of the 3/8" bushing Alphas in at least one amp build, and in a YGM-4 that had a few worn out pots. They are perfectly good. You can't just solder to they're backs though without scuffing them up, not that that is really an issue.

They are a bit too stiff for my taste, but I've still thought about trying the linear tapers in guitars since the CTS J taper pots that I like are getting hard to find.
 

hopdybob

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As an electrical engineer, and a guitarist, I've been dealing with every brand of pot ever found on the market for the last 60+ years. The only mystery to me is all of the interest in CTS pots. They are as susceptable to problems as all the others, and yet this (guitar) market is willing to pay a premium for them.
one brand that was working really above the CTS standard was from Dimarzio.
i got them in a G&L tribute, placed an order at the distributor of G&L and got CTS instead.
not as good i later found out, the CTS when turning from 10 to 0 had a huge drop of volume at 8 already
completely unusable for cleaning up the sound
 

Quexoz

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I use all Audio/Logarithmic taper pots, and do use Alpha brand quite a bit. It depends on the knurling of the stock knobs and diameter of hole and if I feel like drilling it out, etc.

As for their quality, I find them perfectly fine and I prefer them sometimes over CTS/Bournes. I have some in one guitar that outlasted the CTS pots in my other guitar that are getting scratchy now. Now the feel of them is a bit different. CTS (or was it Bournes?) = loose and easy for pinky swells, etc. Alpha a bit more snug, but not tight, not so good for fast swells.

Unless you want super-tight pots, a brand to stay away from is CF/Cherkfan. They work okay, but are super tight/stiff. Cheap Chinese junk. Feel like you spilled Elmers glue in them before installing. I gave these a shot a few projects back and they just feel terrible, stiff, sticky...but have worked fine for a few years now.

Want another suggestion? I put these Musiclily potentiometers in my "Tele" and they feel outstanding. Smooth, easy, low resistance turn, look like Fender/CTS clones. Can not speak for how long they will last yet, but they're cheap and work/feel excellent, depending on required sizing/knurling, etc. Unless these fail early on me, they will be my go to from now on. Very nice taper on them. Probably made by Alpha. :D The four I got clocked at 236-254 (250k audio).

indio-electronics-jpg

indio-electronics-jpg.917016
 
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somebodyelseuk

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Does anyone use Alpha brand pots on the reg? Are they complete trash, or are they as good as any other?

They are no better or worse than CTS pots.
The feel may be different, but how they or any other pot affects your tone is totally down to the resistance of the pot. Test it with a meter. Don't assume that what is stamped on the casing is exactly what it measures. This applies to ALL pots, no matter who makes them. They have a tolerance, and the difference in tone between the top and bottom of the spec is noticeable, on ALL pots.

I only replace pots if what is fitted measure more than 5% under. I use Alphas on Asian guitars, Bare Knuckles (custom made by CTS) in place of CTS, VIPots on CS Gibsons.
I NEVER replace pickups until the pots are right.
Capacitors... PIO, mylar, blah, blah, blah... I have 'em all. Can't tell the difference, other than the cheaper ones tend to be further from what they're stamped. I find where they are in the circuit makes more difference than what type they are.
 
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SbS

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I had originally mini Alphas in my Squier Standard Tele. I didn't like their feel, kinda too loose and swapped to CTS when replaced pickups. But they produce lot of different pots, so I wouldn't generalize.

Lot of Alphas in pedals I assembled. And probably in factory made ones too. They feel and work just fine.
 

Wound_Up

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I have next to no experience with wiring/soldering, but I've recently been trying to learn. I replaced some pots in my 70s Tele Custom clone, and was happy with the job I did. So I'm ready to move on to the next challenge.

I'm installing a Johnny Smith on an archtop of mine, and I want to install a single volume and a single tone on the pickguard. The problem is that I'm left-handed, and there's a very short supply of reverse taper pots right now. I know that CTS are the industry standard, but the only reverse-taper 500k pots I could find are Alpha brand, and I got them from WD.

Does anyone use Alpha brand pots on the reg? Are they complete trash, or are they as good as any other?

Also, I ordered a .047 oil and paper cap for the project (just because I didn't know any better), but after reading online for a bit last night, I'm wondering if I want a .022, instead. It'll be a jazz guitar, so I'll be likely to roll off the tone regularly, and it seems that the .022 might be better for that application. Thoughts?

They're perfectly fine.
 

Boreas

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I've been using Alphas for around 40 years. CTS pots are nothing special.

If Leo had used Alphas in his old guitars, everyone would prefer Alphas. There isn't alotta new, technology in pots.You don't pay more for "better" pots, you pay more for tighter tolerances.

I am finding the "basic" CTS pots to feel sloppy, but they still work. On my guitars, I prefer a pot with more torque, so am getting away from CTS. On amps, I prefer less torque. Unfortunately, there is no standardized torque spec between the manufacturers to compare. Plus, torque can change over time depending on the condition of the internal grease used.
 

Thumper

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+1 on the Alphas,

Caps are like ice cream, there are a lot of different flavors and the price is all over the place.

Sometimes an old ceramic high voltage cap will have just the right amount of gritty shizzle compared to a high dollar foil in oil piece of electronic kit and Sometimes …only that high dollar cap will will sound “right”.
 




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