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Are those small pots really that bad ?

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by stratguy76, Sep 13, 2019 at 9:32 PM.

  1. stratguy76

    stratguy76 New Member!

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    I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of those CXS Squier SE's, all white with the pearl pickguard. I have made a few upgrades including the tuners and a new bridge with the full size block. I was wondering if it was worth changing out the electronics and leaving the original pickups ?

    The stock pots are pretty small but the wiring looks pretty clean. Looking for thoughts on whether or not the electronics upgrade would make a noticeable difference in the guitars tone.

    I recently bought one of those pre-wired GFS wiring harness with the full size Alpha pots. I could use this for either another project guitar I am working on, and may sell later, or I can put it in the CXS White SE.

    Thoughts ?
     

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  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Measure the kohms of the pots and any new pots you have or get and see where they sit on the tolerance range. Pots vary by 20% and change the tone in the same direction as switching between 250k and 500k nominal pots (brighter/darker). So yes your tone will change when changing electronics, but could be better or worse depending on what you want and they are at.

    The small pots wear out faster and don't feel as 'quality' when turning. The import switch fails and corrodes faster and feels cheaper when using, the jack corrodes faster and the spring rate of the tip is lower and more likely to get bent during use.

    I usually keep the stock pickups and upgrade the electronics, paying attention to actual measurements of the pots and caps. With careful shopping you can have the same controls as go in $3,000 guitars for under $30. I like Bourns pots best while others like CTS, then either CRL or Oak-Grigsby 3/4/5-way blade switches, Switchcraft toggle switch on LPs, and Switchcraft jack.


    .
     
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  3. tubejockey

    tubejockey Strat-Talker

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    Honestly, some people who balk at small pots in their guitars think nothing about those same pots in their new boutique pedal. Guitar pots take more abuse than pedal pots so they will wear faster, but there is no reason not to leave them alone until they do wear out.
     
  4. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster

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    I use the stock stuff until it doesn’t work or until I actually need something different for a purpose.
     
  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    If it ain't broke...;)
     
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  6. hobdybob

    hobdybob Strat-Talk Member

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    yepp, don't fix it.

    ore, if it sounds good, why replace?, trust your ears
     
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  7. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Pots either work or they don't, no matter how big they are.
     
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  8. sadmoodyfrazier

    sadmoodyfrazier Strat-O-Master

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    I've alway used Alpha small pots in the pedals I build... dozens of them and never a fail. By the other side I've changed a lot of failing full size CTS.
     
  9. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    I prefer the sound of 250k pots. Most of the small ones are 500k.
     
  10. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    My only beef with the Chinese import pots is they start to crackle before too long.

    The CTS pots in my 1996 Fender Standard Tele are still quiet as a church mouse, but practically every (Chinese made) Squier pot I’ve owned started crackling at a much earlier age...

    Ymmv...
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019 at 8:16 AM
  11. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Senior Stratmaster

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    They aren't as durable. But I think a lot of the bad reputation of small pots could be mostly because the values can often be inconsistent. I agree with the post upthread about checking the actual resistance vs the nominal value. If they're okay, I'd leave 'em. If and when they fail, then go for full size.

    I would definitely change the import switch while you have the guitar open. Those box switches are a failure waiting to happen - and you often don't have to wait very long.
     
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  12. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've been waiting for the small pots to crackle and switch in my MIJ to fail since 1996..
     
  13. Cerb

    Cerb Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The size of a pot has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of said pot.

    A long time ago someone put a low quality pot in a guitar and exported it to the U.S. That pot happened to be small, hence from that day on all small pots are bad. Simple logic.
     
  14. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    `
    I went through three of the Chinese switches on my Squier builds before finally getting fed up and replacing them with Fender OEM switches and haven't had a problem since.

    Besides, there are far more circuit schematics available for the Fender switches as well, thus more wiring options...



    `
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019 at 8:22 AM
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  15. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    `
    I've edited my earlier posts to emphasize that it was the "Chinese made" pots and switches I had the problems with, not any other import model...



    `
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019 at 10:30 AM
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