Vintage Pot Pricing

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by chadadiah, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. chadadiah

    chadadiah Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    Orange County
    I know that something is worth what someone is willing to pay, but... I must ask anyway. I have a body refin '62 that is a real great guitar. Most everything (aside from the refin) is original but the pots were replaced in the 70's for some reason I am not aware of.

    Occasionally I think about trying to source out a set of '62 pots to bring her back as close to original state as possible. But yikes, the prices on pots are wild!

    I'm not in the market to sell it, nor will it ever pass as totally original, but I do wonder if the longer I wait the harder they will be to eventually source. I've also heard some argue vintage pots actually sound better (I have absolute zero personal opinion on that at this point).

    Is there some place I'm totally missing to pick up a set of these, or is 1200+ the going rate for a set of 3? And I'm assuming given everything else I know of Fender, that mismatched weeks in the same year is not unheard of?
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
  2. EyeLikeTortoise

    EyeLikeTortoise Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2021
    Location:
    New York
    I have a 63 Precision bass that had '58 pots in it when I bought it. I suspect the dealer put them in before selling it to me to make the bass more original by putting Pre-CBS pots in it. 58 was probably the closest thing he had to 63. Anyway, the tone pot never worked well. It has hardly any taper. It was either all the way on or off. So I finally had a tech replace the tone pot with a modern CTS pot and it works properly. I notice ZERO difference in the tone of the bass with the new pot.

    So if it's sound you are going after, from my experience, a nice quality new pot is just as good as the old one. But if you want total originality on a part that no-one is going to see, then go for the original pot. $1200 sounds like a lot. I'd just watch eBay and Reverb to see if something cheaper comes along and don't be in a rush to get it.
     
  3. guitarchaeologist

    guitarchaeologist Guitartist Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,205
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Location:
    A galaxy far far away
    Honestly, I'd say now is not the time to buy. Wait a while and see what the market does, but right now, people are asking outrageous prices for almost anything guitar related.
     
    FrieAsABird, McPhaul and Intune like this.
  4. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Location:
    The Midwest
    I'd just go with a modern pot and have that Strat singing again.
     
    Triple Jim and Ebidis like this.
  5. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

    Messages:
    5,292
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Location:
    My small corner
    As much as I like everything to be right, there is no hurry whatsoever to put vintage pots in your strat. They won't make it sound better.

    They will have a "Cool" factor once you find them (keep looking), but rushing into a $1200 purchase for pots that may or may not be scratchy and less than fully functional would be reckless IMO. (From someone who has regretted similar rushed purchases).

    The great thing is, no one will know you have the wrong pots, the guitar will play and sound great. If you're forced to sell the guitar, quickly finding some original pots for it might bump the price - probably not $1200 though ;)
     
  6. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

    Age:
    55
    Messages:
    22,516
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Alabama
    IMHO $1200 for old used pots is beyond ridiculous.
     
  7. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    42,354
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    $1200 for a guitar is ridiculous.
     
    archetype, Triple Jim and Hal Nico like this.
  8. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    3,369
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    JAMOADR
    $1200 for a bit of metal and carbon or a bit of metal and wire. Bah Humbug!

    I've got some Magic Beans for sale at that price ;-)
     
    Thrup'ny Bit likes this.
  9. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Strat-Talker

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    457
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2020
    Location:
    Usa
    There is nothing wrong with what is in it. He just wants original year pots
     
  10. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,966
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Location:
    Valley o Sun
    When I opened this thread...... I thought someone found some 1972 Acapulco Gold.....:whistling::D:whistling::D....
     
    AznCaster, ChrisD and Duane_the_tub like this.
  11. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    48
    Messages:
    970
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2018
    Location:
    Vermont
    It's the same with all vintage parts - there is a limited supply, and demand is higher than ever, so it's going to cost you. A lot. You either decide that it's worth it to you and suck it up, or you compromise and go with something else.

    I put together a '59 reissue Les Paul with a lot of vintage parts, including a complete wiring harness out of a real '59. It was comically expensive, but now it's done and I will never wonder what it would sound like and can stop searching (it sounds amazing, btw).
     
  12. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Messages:
    1,840
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    I'm glad someone finally said it :D
     
    crawdaddy likes this.
  13. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,322
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    People have radios and record players, film projectors, organs, intercoms and other audio/visual equipment from that era stashed in barns and attics, multiple pots in each one and they're often cheap, sometimes free. And sometimes that stuff has other cool components--transformers, tubes, and often they're built into cool old furniture. If you buy old pots, what you are paying for is somebody's time--finding old equipment, breaking it down, sorting out codes, and placing it for sale online. One man's trash is another man's treasure, right?

    If an old pot works properly it's worth as much as a new one. About $2. Unless someone relies on the pots to authenticate an old and collectible guitar, in which case the pot is worth thousands. So some of those old pots are worth quite a bit to fraudsters.

    The actual resistance of a pot does influence the timbre of the guitar. Leo used pots with a 20% tolerance. 250k +/- 20% is a range from 200k to 300k. Most of us can hear a difference between 200 & 300k resistance on a tone pot. If the pot you're replacing had an actual resistance of 287k, a new one that's actually 248k will sound a bit different.

    It's theoretically possible the value of a pot could change over time, with wear or corrosion. That doesn't mean older is better.
     
    SalvorHardin likes this.
  14. Slunkboy

    Slunkboy Strat-Talker

    Age:
    41
    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2020
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    You probably didn’t post here for an electrical engineering perspective, but I view pots as “consumables” – they are born with a fixed number of rotations in them.

    As others have said, the original target values probably had a 20% tolerance to begin with and have likely drifted over time. Most people probably wouldn’t notice doubling or halving the value unless there was a way to instantly A/B the pots. There are differences in taper (I probably wouldn’t use a linear pot for a guitar volume), but this sort of thing is most readily apparent in swept applications like a wah and only affects the “feel”.

    Sure, I’ll trade out mini pots on a Squier if I’m digging around in there anyway – but paying more than $5 for a guitar pot would be an unjustifiable expense to me.

    If your particular guitar had never been modified, I’d probably leave it alone for historical value – but I suspect collectors at that level would balk even at NOS replacements because the solder had been reflowed. If it’s a player, put in quality pots of the correct value and play it.
     
    dirocyn likes this.
  15. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,322
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Most people don't pay a lot of attention, though. And guitarists aren't most people. But the point stands. On a regular log pot, halving the value means turning it down to about 7. Most of us can easily hear a difference between 7 and 10 on either the volume or the tone pots if we're there when it turns. If somebody else picks up the guitar and starts playing without touching the knobs, we'll be hard pressed to say whether the knobs are on 7 or 10. Unless we already know the settings on the amp--if the amp is at the edge of breakup, the difference between 7 and 10 on the volume knob can be pretty obvious.
     
  16. chadadiah

    chadadiah Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    Orange County
    Thanks everyone. Vast diversity of responses. I was actually expecting more of a push to vintage pots, but that’s why I asked.

    guitar plays great (I can’t imagine it sounding any better with anything changed) it was just one of those nagging things I think about fiddling with. I have a set of RS guitarworks pots that work just fine.

    I suppose I’ll keep my eyes open, but was just astounded that 3 dirty little pots could cost so much money. I was mostly curious if there was a better place to source than eBay or reverb I guess but I doubt it.

    appreciate the insight.
     
    Bazz Jass likes this.
  17. Slunkboy

    Slunkboy Strat-Talker

    Age:
    41
    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2020
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    If we are speaking of the volume pot, it acts as a voltage divider. A higher or lower overall resistance value would load the pickups to a lesser or greater degree (which MIGHT make a perceptible difference in high-frequency response) – but nine o’clock on a 500k pot will be just as loud as nine o’clock on a 250k pot (all things being equal).
     
  18. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    968
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    pennsyltucky
    All vintage parts prices are based on the following:
    You have a pre-USA 1772 Splatocaster that would be worth the annual budget of the Pentagon if it only had the original mammoth tusk string tree.
    All you have to do is pony up for the string tree and you'll be rich
     
  19. carver

    carver Gone strangling

    Messages:
    14,772
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    A van down by the river / Canada
    The stuff will get stale eventually so you should probably stay away from the vintage stuff. It isn’t wine.
     
    dirocyn likes this.
  20. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

    Messages:
    5,292
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Location:
    My small corner
    If you find some you like the look of, send me a private message. I'm a one-preCBS strat guy, and it has the right pots, so I won't swipe any you show me links to :) One thing to be super careful about is making sure the pot codes are right (i.e. Fender codes). Often we see pots here for very high prices - the date codes are right, but they're not Fender Stratocaster pots. If you're going to the trouble of getting the right pots, you want to make sure they're 100%.