How Stop Worrying and Love the 250k Ohm Pots (P90 neck/tele bridge wiring)

jimmywaleseswhale

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Hello!

Building a partscaster. The neck is a P90, the bridge is a slightly overwound broadcaster thing. 7.4k neck, 7.5k bridge – quite balanced and not too hot for a P90.

Deciding on the loom. Was initially going to buy a cheapo one off amazon, then deciding to either make my own (25 usd for a 3-way switch??) or buy a pre-made harness.

Unfortunately, I'm getting some choice paralysis. 250k Ohm standard? 500k Ohm optimise for the neck (which I use more!) 500k Ohm pot with a resistor? (so that bridge sees 250k) Concentric pot? (why does everyone hate them?). Every builder gives a different answer!

I know there's no answer and I can just keep changing things, however I want something reasonable to start off with
 

Hodgo88

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I think the resistor is the easiest and cheapest option by far. Split pots, concentric pots, all more expensiver. I'd go with a 500k volume, 250k tone and a resistor from the bridge hot to ground.

If you don't want to spend CRL money, an Oak Grigsby is half the price, or an import switch.
 

Blues Twanger

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It can also be less of a difference than you think, and it all might sound just fine with 250k pots.

The world is full of guitars with "the wrong" pot and cap values that sound just fine.
 

jimmywaleseswhale

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I think the resistor is the easiest and cheapest option by far. Split pots, concentric pots, all more expensiver. I'd go with a 500k volume, 250k tone and a resistor from the bridge hot to ground.

If you don't want to spend CRL money, an Oak Grigsby is half the price, or an import switch.
Thanks! Does this look like a real Oak to you? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/371717764478

Somehow a third of other local prices but the brown board looks different!
It can also be less of a difference than you think, and it all might sound just fine with 250k pots.

The world is full of guitars with "the wrong" pot and cap values that sound just fine.
Thanks, think I just got a bit in the loop of picking the perfect pickup set and should have just got something good enough
 

Blues Twanger

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Thanks! Does this look like a real Oak to you? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/371717764478

Somehow a third of other local prices but the brown board looks different!

Thanks, think I just got a bit in the loop of picking the perfect pickup set and should have just got something good enough
It's often a good idea to just get started and then decide down the road if you need a change.
 

Hodgo88

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Oh, and yeah, +1 on just jump in. I didn't notice it before, but this line here:
7.4k neck, 7.5k bridge – quite balanced and not too hot for a P90.
Comparing DCR between dislike pickups won't tell you a thing about balance. I know many pickup manufacturers advertise this way, but the truth is DCR is only mildly useful in guessing what a pickup might sound like and only if you have a reference for other pickups using the same magnets, wire, and construction

However, if your pickups arent balanced, simply use the height adjustment screws :)
 

jimmywaleseswhale

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I really like concentric pots, myself.
Seems like a pretty clean solution for HS setups!

Oh, and yeah, +1 on just jump in. I didn't notice it before, but this line here:

Comparing DCR between dislike pickups won't tell you a thing about balance. I know many pickup manufacturers advertise this way, but the truth is DCR is only mildly useful in guessing what a pickup might sound like and only if you have a reference for other pickups using the same magnets, wire, and construction

However, if your pickups arent balanced, simply use the height adjustment screws :)
Fair point! I tried to emphasise that this is a pretty timid p90 and a slightly overwound tele (vs the first plan was to use a 13k ohm firebird as bridge!)
 

Blues Twanger

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Seems like a pretty clean solution for HS setups!


Fair point! I tried to emphasise that this is a pretty timid p90 and a slightly overwound tele (vs the first plan was to use a 13k ohm firebird as bridge!)
The thing is people will often get into hot single soils without ever touching their pots and get the results they were expecting. Again sticking to weirdly dogmatic guidelines and not considering the whole system, and this touches on what has been said above about DCR being just one of many factors to consider.

Instead of starting with, or failing to start because of, this pickup goes with this value and that with that just start somewhere, then understand that the different values allow you to tweak the result. Too dark? try a higher value. Too bright? Tame it some with a lower value.

I suspect your two chosen pickups will work fine with the same value pot, no need to get fancy with concentrics or resistors, but your preference may guide you to one value over another for that single pot.
 

Peegoo

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@jimmywaleseswhale

Try it both ways (a 250K and a 500K volume pot, audio taper) before you button it all up. That way you will feel better about your guitar because you applied some concerted effort to make the choice that sounds best to your ears, through your amp.

A 250K volume pot may make the P90 sound a little dark. A 500K pot may make the bridge pickup sound a little bright. Remember this, however: it's easier to tame a bright pickup with the tone control than it is to brighten up a dark-sounding pickup with a tone control.

Once you decide which value volume pot works best with your rig and your ears, use the other pot as the tone control. Easy peasy, and you spent your money on only two pots.

Use a .047uf cap on the tone pot.
 

NoTeleBob

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You can make a bright bridge pick up darker with the tone control but you can make a dark P90 brighter. A neck P90 is already trending dark. Go with the 500 K and resistor mod.

The other alternative would be to go with concentric volumes and tone controls. My P90 guitar is the one that runs with a serious difference in the tone control settings for the two pick ups. If you want to be able to flip between pick ups without having to adjust, then concentric might be the way to go. It's also nice being able to adjust both volume controls when you want a blend of the two pick ups. That gives me even more of a say over tone than the tone controls do.
 

Chicago Matt

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I had a somewhat hot Cavalier Fat Lion in my parts Tele and wanted to try a P90 in the neck. I knew from reading on TDPRI that I would probably have the best results with a lower-wound P90. So as proof of concept, just to see if I could be in the ballpark of what I wanted, I bought an $18 Fleor P90 online that was advertised at 6-7k. It turned out to measure right in the middle at 6.48k. I installed it and left my 250k pots in. I have been very pleased at what the cheap P90 has brought (output and midrange growl without being too dark for my taste). I've decided not to spend the extra cash on a "better" P90, or "more appropriate" pots. The volume between the two pickups balances very well and the guitar has become my most-played Tele.

After a while, I did decide to bypass the tone control for the neck pickup so it's always full bright. This simplifies things for me as I only was using the tone control to tame the brightness on the bridge pickup anyway. Unexpectedly, I now love the middle position that I have avoided in the past for being too thin and trebly for my taste. Now I just rolloff the tone on the bridge pickup and the middle sounds sounds beautiful to me ear - still very clear but fatter and warmer.

So I say, just go for it! Good luck.
 




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