bourns vs CTS pots

SbS

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Haven't tried Bourns, but I really like the feel of CTS (Hosco branded). Smooth and precise enough with correct amount of stiffness. Had Alphas (mini) before, action felt a tad soft and loose for me. Good quality though, had no other problems with them.

Edited: brand, type
 
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Boreas

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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.

I have never had a problem with alpha pots. In fact, I prefer their torque specs. Never had one fail. But I replace them out of habit based on the fact that they are "cheap pots". Logic doesn't apply to guitar nerds..
 

INFANT

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My '72 Thinline RI came with factory installed CTS 2500k ohm pots. Their torque was very inconsistent. It didn't matter to me as I had already ordered new CTS 500k ohm pots to replace them. The new ones feel alike torque-wise but were different than the original ones that came on the guitar. I have never had problems with Alpha pots. I'd like to try Bourns one of these days.
 

EspyHop

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If the pinheads at Fender had half a brain, they’d set up a plant that would make exact Stackpole clones and exact clones of RCA black plate tubes. They’re Fender. Tube amps are a major part of their portfolio. Imagine not having to grab your ankles to get decent 12AX7s, 12AT7s, 12AY7s, 6L6s, 6V6s, 5Y3s, and 5AR4s.
 
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TimTam

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At any given resistance spec, CTS have pots that differ in torque, tolerance, and exact taper. It's often not clear what you're getting from the usual vendors unless they tell you the full part number.
https://au.mouser.com/CTS/Passive-C...eters/450G-Series/_/N-9q0yp?P=1ywvy64Z1ynwx3n
cts_ordering-jpg.548253
 

Geo

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The torque can be adjusted on most pots. It just has to be taken apart to adjust the tension of
the wiper. It isn't too difficult and often can be done without unsoldering the wires or cap.
 

Delta Blues

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Can’t beat Bourns low friction for those pinky swell steel licks.

Be ready to order extra pots though. They regularly test under spec 250k/500k. Some much more than 10%. If I order 5 pots I can usually get 2 good ones out of the bunch.
 
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Quexoz

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I gave thse Musiclily Brass Shaft pots a whirl last project and they have been very good so far. Low torque (pinky swells would be easy), feel good and smooth. Just thought I'd toss this in here if price is an issue. Coarse spline I believe, worked for my import style Monoprice Tele.
 

Burn Yesterday

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The torque can be adjusted on most pots. It just has to be taken apart to adjust the tension of
the wiper. It isn't too difficult and often can be done without unsoldering the wires or cap.

I don't think that it's the wiper that determines the torque. I don't think that they would beat up the carbon just to give harder torque.

What I have seen is grease in the bushing, which you can soak out in Naphtha, but it will come out real loose. And I have seen a wave washer acting as a slip clutch in the shaft/bushing junction, which you can do nothing about.

Saying "Bourns" or "CTS" is kind of misleading because for both of them the specific-torque guitar pot is a special item and not a normal thing for them. In the Mouser catalog if you want a "Guitar Potentiometer" you have to ask for a "Guitar Potentiometer".
 

Rufus

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If the pinheads at Fender had half a brain, they’d set up a plant that would make exact Stackpole clones and exact clones of RCA black plate tubes. They’re Fender. Tube amps are a major part of their portfolio. Imagine not having to grab your ankles to get decent 12AX7s, 12AT7s, 12AY7s, 6L6s, 6V6s, 5Y3s, and 5AR4s.
I would imagine that the ecological Rules and Regulations concerning the poisonous metals and compounds (mercury, etc.) resulting from the manufacture of tubes is the reason that there are none produced in any of the major Western countries...most likely co$t prohibitive in terms of capturing and disposing of said hazardous materials...potentially LARGE fines...in addition to being just too big of a pain in the arse to deal with.
 

Geo

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I don't think that it's the wiper that determines the torque. I don't think that they would beat up the carbon just to give harder torque.
I've done it and it works. You just have to not over do the amount of tension added. In most cases the amount
added returns it back to original. Thirty years on 2 and no issue with carbon reduction.
 

EspyHop

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I would imagine that the ecological Rules and Regulations concerning the poisonous metals and compounds (mercury, etc.) resulting from the manufacture of tubes is the reason that there are none produced in any of the major Western countries...most likely co$t prohibitive in terms of capturing and disposing of said hazardous materials...potentially LARGE fines...in addition to being just too big of a pain in the arse to deal with.
So put it in West Virginia. It can’t be any worse than the coal mines.
 

Robert5150

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The age old question of which Potentiometer is better Bourns vs CTS has been out there forever. When reading forums it all comes down to how one "feels" about each brand. However, I've never seen a lot of solid facts between the two, so I decided to do my own study using a multi-meter and measuring the taper of 4 new Bourns and 4 new CTS pots and this is what I found..

Findings
- The Bourns pots are easier to turn (Low Friction) vs the CTS
- The taper between 0 and 5 are the same for both Brands.
- The Bourns has a sharp increase in taper starting at 5 and leveling off at 9 with little increase between 9 and 10
- The CTS has a smoother more rounder increase in taper starting at 5.5 - 10
- The CTS Pots seemed to have a greater tolerance, mostly due to an outlier on one of the Bourns pot.
* See attached Chart*

Overview
- Because the CTS's has a greater volume drop off between 10 and 8, they may sound better for volume swells. However, they are not as easy to turn as the Bourns, so you might experience palm cramping.
- The CTS seemed to have a greater tolerance when measure to the 500K mark, mostly due to a Bourns outlier as it was much lower than the rest I received. A greater sample size may prove different.

Conclusion
- Both are good pots, it all depends on what you want out of it. If you want a more smoother taper, go with the CTS, but remember, they are slightly harder to turn than the Bourns. If you are after low friction for easier volume swells, go with Bourns.

Worth Mentioning
- I also bought a YJM Seymour Duncan for $19.00 and a EVH Branded Pot for $11.99. This is totally a branding scam as the taper on the YJM and EVH is exactly the same as the $4.06 Bourns and oddly enough, they look exactly like Bourns. Hmmm imagine that.

Helpful Tip
- If you are going to replace your Volume or Tone pot, you may want to purchase a multi-meter (one that has a 2M setting) and test the resistance. You may think you are getting 500K pot, but you might be getting something far less as each manufacturer has their own set of tolerances they go by. For example, I replaced the pot in my Peavey Wolfgang and after I installed the pot, it just didn't sound right. I then got a lesson on resistance, I bought a multi-meter tested the pot that came out of the guitar and it measured 527K, but the one I replaced it with was 444K. I then removed the brand new 444K pot and replaced it with a 520K pot. Problem resolved!

Hope this was Helpful. If you have additional insight, please let me know. I'm about the facts, not the Feelings.
 

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Matthias

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CTS are always my choice for performance and price.

+1 on the Mojotone vintage series though (they’re manufactured by CTS too I believe). I replaced the aftermarket 500k volume pot on my Bronco with a Mojotone 250k and it feels just like the original tone pot, which is working 100% and in great shape for its age.
 

charlie chitlin

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I put some Bournes low friction pots in a guitar.
It felt weird at first.
I can liken it to The first time I rode a motorcycle with a hydraulic clutch.
It was so easy, it felt like it was broken, or something; but once I got used to it....hell yeah...who wants to pull that hard if you don't have to?
 

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 tried are just the opposite.... too much resistance to turning for guitar as far as I'm concerned... They may come in different ratings for effort to turn, seems like I saw that somewhere...?
 




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