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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Volume/Tone Pot Question!

Contributing Member

San Francisco, CA

Jun 19th, 2016 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

I just bought a new MIM "Special Edition" 60's Strat at GC. It's Daphne Blue with a mint green pickguard and looks great.

My only concern is the pots. The switches turn too easily and I'd like to upgrade them.

Need suggestions of what pots are the best and where to buy them. I don't want to mess with the tone, so I'd want to keep the values the same as what are in the guitar.

Thanks for your input!


Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jun 19th, 2016 09:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

First thing I would do is test the pots that are in there to find out what the **actual** values of those pots are. If you like the tone, those values could be important. Knowing how the pot values can change from batch to batch will give you a target to aim for with your choice of new pots.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jun 19th, 2016 09:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

250K is "standard" for single-coil pickups.

(edited for boneheaded mistake)

For what its worth,

I use these.

(This message was last edited by Pinetree at 02:48 PM, Jun 19th, 2016)

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 19th, 2016 10:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

Actually, 250Kohms is standard for single coil pickups, 500K is more for humbuckers.

If you want full-size pots, CTS is the standard. For mini-size pots, Alphas are fine.

You definitely want an audio or logarithmic taper pot for volume. For the tones, linear taper is best, but audio is OK.

If you have minis, which have an 8mm thread on the bushing, and want to change to full size, which have a 3/8-inch thread, you will probably need to slightly enlarge the holes in the pickguard with a taper reamer. You can still go back to minis later if you wish.

If it's a Strat, it will have splined split-shaft pots, so make sure that's what you get.

If you want the splines on the replacement pots to exactly match the grooves on your current knobs, determine whether your current pots have coarse splines or fine splines. Count the number of teeth on just one side of the split on the shaft of an existing pot. If you count eight teeth, those are coarse splines. If you count ten, those are fine splines.

Pots are available with either short bushing or long bushing. For a Strat, short bushing is standard. You can use long bushing pots, but you'll need an extra nut *under* the pickguard to keep the shaft from protruding too much.

Lots of sources, Antique Electronics Supply -- an fdp sponsor -- is as good as any.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 12:39 PM, Jun 19th, 2016)


Northern VA

"Mongo only pawn in game of life"
Jun 19th, 2016 11:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've always used CTS 250k in my single coils. Tried more expensive one once, can't remember the brand, no real difference to my ears. Tone pots I always use Fender No-Loads 250k's with a treble bleed on the volume pot.

If you've never had a treble bleed, try it...best mod out there, cheapest too.

Contributing Member

San Francisco, CA

Jun 19th, 2016 12:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks guys!


Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jun 19th, 2016 01:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

If you'll note on the StewMac pots, they specifically state that the actual ohm ratings on their pots are accurate to +/- 20%. In my opinion (and my ears), that will--and does--make a tonal difference. There are some manufacturers out there who guarantee their pots to be within +/- 10% of rated value. That's a much better level of performance. Again...measure yours and then you'll know what to expect and look for.

Personally...I use 250K pots (w/treble mod) for my tone controls. But I use a 500K for my volume pot. Both my Strats (and my Tele) are set up this way. It adds tremendous dynamic aspects to the power and tonality of the guitars.




Jun 20th, 2016 08:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

stratcowboy: "Personally...I use 250K pots (w/treble mod) for my tone controls."

What is the mod?

Contributing Member

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Jun 20th, 2016 08:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Commonly called a treble bypass or treble bleed mod. It's a cap and resistor (in series or parallel), or just a cap. Whichever method you use depends on your guitar's pickups, your amp. and your ears. There is no "best" scheme. Tone is too subjective.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jun 20th, 2016 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

The treble bleed mod helps keep the tone bright as you roll of the guitars volume and it wants to get muddy. I have it in a couple of my Strats but other don't seem to need it.

A google search for "Strat treble bleed" will get you may examples of how to do it.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jun 20th, 2016 03:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Re: Treble mod; as the previous guys have stated.

Also...if I remember correctly, back when the 1st versions (and perhaps still) of the Eric Johnson Strat were released, they had a "375K" pot...I think for volume, but can't remember all the details. A 375K pot will give you greater output and dynamics than a 250K, but not as much as a 500K. With Eric's reputation for having "bat ears" this fine-tuned pot value would probably make sense. He also likes his 9V batteries bled-off to a certain extent to get him his favorite tones from pedals. May seem like splitting hairs, but in truth some of it is noticeable.



Jun 21st, 2016 08:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I use 250K pots (w/treble mod) for my tone controls. But I use a 500K for my volume pot."

Peegoo and Hammond: Thanks for responding and trying to clear this up. I know what is commonly referred to as the treble bleed/bypass mod, and use it/them myself, and have posted on several ways to do it in the past. And yes, the treble bleed thing is sort of a volume control and tone control rolled into one.

However, his post stated (or certainly appeared to) that the TONE controls were the ones with the "treble mod", not the volume control(s). That made me wonder if there was some new fangled thing that we could all OCD over.

Stratcowboy later confirmed what you said, so the mystery is no longer a mystery at all.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jun 21st, 2016 08:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, that's correct. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Volume/Tone Pot Question!

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