bourns vs CTS pots

WilburBufferson

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I've always bought CTS on the assumption that they are the "gold standard" when it comes to pots. I am wiring up a guitar soon and read that the bourns have a looser feel to them (i.e., are less stiff). Is this the only difference between the two?
 

Vizcaster

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Both are top quality, although there are several different CTS pots depending on the source (for instance Fender branded CTS pots have a hole in the back with a plastic part showing, most of the other sources of CTS pots are completely closed on the back).

The more important difference to me is when you want a push-pull pot with a switch on the back, chances are it's going to be available from Bourns. And yes, they are easier to turn compared to CTS.

Personally I like the "Superpots" made by CTS sold through RS Guitarworks, it's a special taper that works very well for volume pots.
 

cmm71

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My most recent tele build I broke with tradition and used Bourns pots. I like them. They feel about equal in quality, if you can "feel" quality. I'll be using them again.
 

mojek

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Depends on what you prefer, the quality is equal. Burns are tighter, that's why I prefer original CTS pots in my 52 AV Telecaster:)
 

Doctorx33

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If you like low turn torque pots like me, check out Mojotones vintage series. I think they are made by CTS. Great taper and inexpensive.

Most or all of the Burns are low turn torque, most of the CTS pots are high torque.

In the high torque pots, they usually use a thick grease inside the pot. Depending on the pot, you can disassemble it and clean out the grease with contact cleaner. I've done this several times.
 

dan40

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Another Bourns pot user here also. Just be careful if your knobs are push on. Some sellers offer the Bourns in the course spline that you find with Alpha pots and many Fender knobs will not push on properly. There are fine spline versions available also that match up with CTS and will accept Fender knobs with no problem. If using a solid shaft pot, Bourns only come in 1/4" (6.35mm) shaft so a 6mm knob will not work.
 

WilburBufferson

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Another Bourns pot user here also. Just be careful if your knobs are push on. Some sellers offer the Bourns in the course spline that you find with Alpha pots and many Fender knobs will not push on properly. There are fine spline versions available also that match up with CTS and will accept Fender knobs with no problem. If using a solid shaft pot, Bourns only come in 1/4" (6.35mm) shaft so a 6mm knob will not work.

This is gold! I just checked and my knobs are fine spline and, as you guessed, the Bourns from the retailer I was considering are coarse. Problem averted, thanks!
 

jvin248

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.

I like Bourns over CTS, feel and durability. CTS is fine if you've got them. Either is a great upgrade on import guitars with Alpha mini to full size.

While I know CTS has been used on Fender products since the beginning, I first tried Bourns after I saw a write up on the Fender EVH Relic-White Custom Shop Wolfgang model (limited run of guitars selling a decade back for $13,000 each) that EVH played one for a whole spring-summer-fall tour season had Bourns pots in it. I know EVH uses the volume pot excessively on stage and if a guitar can handle that three to five shows a week for a whole tour season then perhaps that is the durability stress test that makes one a believer.

So I ordered some Bourns pots to try out and found I liked their feel too.

Volume exercising happens at 7:00mins:


.
 
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schmee

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I've always bought CTS on the assumption that they are the "gold standard" when it comes to pots. I am wiring up a guitar soon and read that the bourns have a looser feel to them (i.e., are less stiff). Is this the only difference between the two?
The Bourns I have here are just the opposite....tighter not looser. They are solid shaft amp pots though.
 

JJLC

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Bourns for me, they are much more like my NOBLE pots that come stock in many of my favorite MIJs
 

Telekarster

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I like CTS fine but I put bourn 250K's in the 54 Strat I built for 2 reasons: 1. They are silky smooth 2. they were the closest things I could find that actually looked like the originals of the early 50's, and still within a reasonable price point. I'll probably use them for all future builds I do in fact.
 

EsquireOK

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Other than crappy stock budget pots on cheap guitars, CTS pots have been the only ones to fail on me.

That said, I have used plenty that have worked just fine for decades.

Alpha, some of the cheapest pots out there, have never failed on me. At the guitar parts distributor at which I have a business account (lower prices), Alpha pots are half the price of CTS.

I would go for Bournes over CTS.

FWIW, the stiffness of a pot is one of its specifications in manufacture. It isn't brand specific. It's determined by how the pots are spec'd when they are ordered. CTS can make stiff, medium, or loose pots, as will Bourns.
 




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