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Humbucker in an Esquire style guitar -- 250K pots?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by JC_M, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. JC_M

    JC_M TDPRI Member

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    Hi all. I'm building a one-pickup Tele-style guitar (I hesitate to call it an Esquire). I'm looking at wiring options to get three different tone possibilities using the switch, and all the wiring diagrams I can find for a one humbucker Esquire (like the attached) use 250k pots. I'm accustomed to defaulting to 500K pots with a humbucker. What's the advantage of using 250k pots in an Esquire type guitar with a rail Alnico V humbucker?
    IMG_0249.JPG
     
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  2. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    IMO, the advantages are minimal and it's only a good idea if you really like the warmer sound you get with 250k pots and you know for certain that you'll never want any tones that are any brighter. On ther other hand, if you use higher value pots you can always turn your knobs down and get the darker sound, plus you get a range of brighter sounds. Looking at it another way, you can't make a guitar with its knobs on 10 brighter without resorting to pedal/amp EQ. Add to this the fact that I've never played a neck humbucker that is so bright that I didn't want 500k pots and, for me, you've got a strong case for using 500ks. But you may be different and of course you've got to do what's best for you.
     
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  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    There's no particular advantage unless you particularly prefer the sound it gives you. 250k pots are just typical with single coil pickups, which Tele's tend to have. You can use any pot value with any pickup and nothing bad can happen aside form you hating how it sounds, and that's easy enough to fix.

    If I were putting together a guitar with a humbucker I'd start with 500k pots and take it from there (I'd also pay attention to the cap on the tone pot, as it's crucial to me that it have a useful sweep). 250k -tend- to sound a little dark/muddy with humbuckers, but maybe you like that. Or maybe yours is a particularly bright-sounding humbucker that needs a little reigning in. It is utterly up to you and whatever your ears think of the results.

    And I don't care what anyone else says; if it has a Tele shape and a single pickup, it's an Esquire ;)
     
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  4. JC_M

    JC_M TDPRI Member

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    Sounds like good, practical advice. What cap value would you use? Agagin, I was gonna default to .022uF but might there be an advantage in a .047uF? I have both.
     
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  5. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    I like that schematic. I'd go with 500k pots and .022 cap though. Considering two of the positions are humbuckers. The middle position/split might be pretty bright though. You wont now until you try it. As previously said, with 500k pots, you can dial down the tone to make it less bright or bitey. With 250k pots, you can't make it brighter.
     
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  6. Dan_Pomykalski

    Dan_Pomykalski Tele-Meister

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    I typically like to go one value higher for caps than what’s the norm. The tone control takes effect sooner and I think it gives more range. You can always stop turning the knob before it gets too dark, but that’s just me. I also like putting a 3kish resistor to ground for a minimum setting before the tone plummets and gets way too dark.
     
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  7. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Most of the single coil sized humbucker pickups are designed to run on 250K pots. They will not be too dark. Or even unusually dark. They will just sound like humbuckers.

    The reason for this is so folks with strats or teles could easily replace one pickup, or even all of them, without having to replace the electronics as well. Especially if say, you just wanted to add a new bridge pickup to a strat, but wanted to keep your neck and middle singles.

    Seymour Duncan and Larry DiMarzio were the pioneers for this stuff, and they are pretty smart cookies.

    Using a 500k volume pot with one of these results in a sound I personally think is entirely too bright and harsh. Not unlike using a 500k pot with a standard single coil. But try it if you want. You might like it. As they say, YMMV.
     
  8. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    Good info. I did not know they were designed for 250k pots. Makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
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  9. Mark617

    Mark617 TDPRI Member

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    If you use the 250’s, you limit your tonal capabilities.
     
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  10. guitarist232345

    guitarist232345 Tele-Meister

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    I have hotrails in my ESQUIRE and it sounds great. It has 250k pots and a .022uF Orange Drop cap and still retains a tiny twangy edge but is undoubtedly a humbucker guitar.


    If you want sound demos let me know and I can send one over.


    [​IMG]
     
  11. JC_M

    JC_M TDPRI Member

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    Some great advice in this thread. I did not know that single coil size humbuckers were designed with 250k in mind. I am not looking for a traditional Tele sound, so since I haven't started wiring yet, I'll go with 250K and .022. I can always change. That's a great thing about a Tele -- it's so easy to mod the wiring even after it's been strung up and set up.
     
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  12. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    No more so than you would limit a full sized humbucker by using a 500k pot.
     
  13. Mark617

    Mark617 TDPRI Member

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    Again , it’s subjective. But you don’t feel it to be warmer, a bit short if you will ? To my ear it has.
     
  14. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    With a full sized humbucker yes. However, the overwhelming majority of single coil sized HBs are designed to be used with 250k pots, and sound like a regular humbucker with a 500k pot. They were designed this way so you could put a hot rail or little 59 in your strat, and leave the neck and middle stock, and have all positions work properly with the stock pots and cap.

    You can use them with 500k, and some manufacturers recommended trying it if you want a really bright tone. But 250k is what they’re designed for from the factory.
     
  15. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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    If you’re looking for a traditional tele sound why not go single coil?
    The other thing maybe worth considering is a split coil setup that you can switch back a forth from.
    I have a single pickup guitar with a Larry Corsa Malanoshi pickup in it and it sounds great and has a ton of variety. Chris Rice also does some really cool coil splitting Humbuckers if you’re interested in that route.
     
  16. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Meister

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    I think you may want to base your decision on exactly which rail bucker you're using. I've owned the Wilde L48TL and a Duncan Hot Rails. Both great pickups, but:
    • The Wilde was the brightest bridge pickup I've ever used, so I used a 250k pot with a 220k resistor to ground to warm it up some, and
    • The Duncan Hot Rails was the darkest bridge pickup I've ever used, so I used a 500k pot and a partial split option to brighten it up.
    BUT: the tweaks I mention above were to help the bridge pickup play nicely (EQ-wise) with a neck pickup. With an Esquire, it's much easier to optimize EQ at the amp to where it sounds best. I suspect the pot value will matter less. Part of the beauty of 1 pickup guitars!
     
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