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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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250K or 500K pots...what's the difference in tone?

Just what the title says...what's the difference in tone between 250K and 500K pots?

Also, I plan to swap out the 500K pots that were in my squier strat for some 250K pots to help "improve" the tone. Will the 250K pots sound good with Tex-Mex pups?

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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd imagine the tex mex pickups would sound much better using 250K pots since that is what they are meant to be used with "like the Jimmy Vaughan Sig" has 250K pots.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 07:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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250 K is generally considered a "strat" pot. They are darker, whereas the 500K is generally considered a "gibson" pot, since they are brighter. Since strats rarely lack brightness, they often benefit from the 250 k pots
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Old February 21st, 2009, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My understanding is that 250K pots are for single coil pickups & 500K pots are for humbuckers.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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500K are louder and brighter mostly due to increased resistance to ground. I will second StratoBrew's understanding.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 10:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I thought the tone cap installed impacted the dark/brightness feature of the tone. If the 250/500k pots factors into the tone, that is a new one to me.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just bought a Squier Stratocaster Pro Tone Series... great guitar, though it sounded quite too thin and too much on the trebly side for my tastes... I replaced the pots from 500k to 250k's (kept the same cap value) and it made a huge difference in tone. Not only bassier but more organic, livelier. I wonder why they installed 500k pots at the factory (Cort?) on such a great instrument in the first place. Aside from that, nothing to complain about. Problem solved...
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Never could keep the Pro Tone I once owned in tune. It ended up leaving the building. May have just needed a better setup or better tuning machines. Build quality was very good.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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wouldn't a 500K pot turned down to 250 sound exactly the same as a 250 on full? Is there really a difference ??
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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wouldn't a 500K pot turned down to 250 sound exactly the same as a 250 on full? Is there really a difference ??
That's a great point...kind of what I am trying to find out lol
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Old February 25th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Here is some info from Stewart MacDonald on pots. There is also a link to info on capacitors at the bottom of the article which is the other part of the "tone" equation.

Free information, Which control pot to choose at Stewart-MacDonald
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Remember to specify "audio taper" or "logarithmic" pots for your volume controls. These are setup to give an even volume response to the human ear.

Don't use "linear taper" pots for volume controls or you'll find it operates very abrubtly as you turn the control (all on or all off).
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadlc View Post
Here is some info from Stewart MacDonald on pots. There is also a link to info on capacitors at the bottom of the article which is the other part of the "tone" equation.

Free information, Which control pot to choose at Stewart-MacDonald
I salute you for posting this link. This is a clears up a lot of questions. Thanks, I will be added this link to my guitar toolbox.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I salute you for posting this link. This is a clears up a lot of questions. Thanks, I will be added this link to my guitar toolbox.
Glad that you found it useful. BTW...they have a lot of other info there too. Here a link to the main info page:

Free information at Stewart-MacDonald
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry to revitalize this dead-un, but I'd rather not start another thread.

My understanding of electonics is very limited, as I will now demonstrate, and I was wondering exactly how a pot works. The article posted above is very good, but doesn't answer the question rosssurf asked above.

So, when you turn a pot on full (max vol), what is the difference between a 250k and 500k pot? Are both letting the same signal through?

I'm probably not understanding how this works, but if you have a volume control off, that means all the signal goes to ground. If you have it on full, that means all the signal is getting through. So where does the 500k vs 250k come in? Is a volume pot on full giving out 250k/500k of resistance, or does this happen at the point where the pot is nearly, but not, off?
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Old February 12th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I thought the tone cap installed impacted the dark/brightness feature of the tone. If the 250/500k pots factors into the tone, that is a new one to me.
The tone cap shuts highs to ground, but when full out a 500 will allow more high frequencies to come through. A 500 will also increase precicved volume levels.
They (fender) came up with the 250 and .1 cap as the best combination for the single coils used.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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wouldn't a 500K pot turned down to 250 sound exactly the same as a 250 on full? Is there really a difference ??
No it wouldn't
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Old October 12th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm bringing this up cause it makes NO SENSE to start a new thread (or even have to explain it).

So what if you have an HSS guitar? According to the tonal general formula here that a 250K for Strats and 500K for HBs, you're screwed no matter what you choose for an HSS. If you go with 250K, the bridge HB is too dark. If you go with 500K, the neck/middle is too bright. So what's the solution?

I have a Jackson DK2 that I want to replace the neck/middle Duncan Designeds. At current they sound kinda harsh compared to my Strat. They improve when I lower the volume and tone, but they still don't sound as good as the Strat. I'm wanting to put something in that is kinda sweet sounding but has a little "grind" to it when you dig in. Currently it has a GFS Power Rail in the bridge, but looking to put a Duncan Custom and still undecided on the SCs. Will want to completely rewire as well.

Anyway, what do recommend on the pot values to eliminate the "bad" value matching on an HSS?
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Old October 12th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Dunno.. For HSS you could do
- volume 1 (humbucker) - 500k
- volume 2 (single coils) - 250k
- tone ( single coils) - 250k

But I don't know if it's the same concept with tone pots. And generally humbuckers don't sound harsh so I would need no tone pot for the bridge humbucker.. Just my 2 cents
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Old October 12th, 2011, 09:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
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EBMM uses 250k pots on several of their guitars equipped with both SC and HB pickups. I generally haven't found their guitars to sound too bad--in fact, to my own experience, (I wired a 2HB guitar with 250k pots and .022uf tone cap) I much preferred the sound of 250k pots with HB's.
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