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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Te 52, Peegoo or any wiring wizards.........


World Traveler

Wood, magnetic coil and strings.
Jul 19th, 2017 09:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

On some guitars with combination of different pickups, the issue of volume pot values may be a crucial part of tone. For example, a guitar with a combination of single coil pickups and a humbucker may require two different value pots for volume e.g. 250k for single coils and 500k for the humbucker. In the case of a single volume guitar like a Strat, it's usually give and take or go somewhere in the middle like using a 300k pot for volume.

I am told it can be compensated by connecting a resistor. In the event of the common volume pot being 250k, a higher resistance value resistor can be soldered in between the pickup and the selector switch for a humbucker. Is this a recommended mod and if so, what value resistor should I use ?

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Jul 19th, 2017 10:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

FWIW, I have a Fender Deluxe Lone Star Strat that came configured as HSS and all the pots were 250k.
(I have since gone to SSS with Vintage Noiseless in that guitar)

The HB is a Fender "Twin Head" Vintage. Don't know if they "tune" their HB to work with 250 pots or not, but it sounded good to my ears.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jul 20th, 2017 12:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don't know if "crucial" is the right word or not.

A lot of my clients play "Super Strats" with a combination of humbuggers and single coils, and to be honest I think it's easier to change a pot than try to find the correct resistor and install that.

My .02

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Jul 20th, 2017 02:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

With PAF-style humbuckers they are usually bright enough to beautifully handle a 250kΩ pot. I find a 500kΩ tone pot in combination with a 250kΩ volume pot is a nice compromise without the single coils getting too harsh.


Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Jul 20th, 2017 03:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Get the pot that Fender uses in the original Shawbucker Strat.

Stacked pot, single shaft, stacked 250/500.




Jul 20th, 2017 09:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

hotblooze wrote: "......a higher resistance value resistor can be soldered in between the pickup and the selector switch for a humbucker."

From what I'm *feeling* it sounds like you want to tweak the tonal response by varying the load on the pickups.

From what you *wrote* I'm picturing a resistor in SERIES with the pickup. I think that you have a conflict here.

I believe that you will not want to do this (the series resistor). You will be creating a resistor divider with the pot, and will basically be limiting the amount of signal available coming out of the guitar. At full volume you will have less signal going to the amp. How much less depends on the value of the resistor.

While it can be argued that it may also affect the tone due to less signal level versus the response curve of your hearing and this and that and whatever, it is absolutely not the same as changing out the pot.

If you have a pot of xxx value and want to increase the load on the pickups, you will need to change the pot. You could also disconnect the tone control(s).

If you want to decrease the load on the pickups you can try soldering a resistor between the hot and ground of the volume pot. (Or hooking up a tone control.)

If you want a load equal to half of the current pot value, solder a resistor across the hot/ground equal to the value of the pot.

For other ratios, you can obviously play with the value of the resistor.

Note that if you have tone controls they are almost always in parallel with the volume control. You need to factor this in. You may also need to factor in any tone capacitor impedances as well.

At the end of the day, if you have a 500K pot and want to see what a 250K would sound like, solder a 500K or thereabouts value resistor across the hot/ground of the volume control.

What the previous posters have said also are things to try. There are a lot of variables here, and we can only discuss theory and/or what has worked for us and/or what other people do. The one thing that we can't answer is: What sounds good to you?

Do your research, gather your data, and try different stuff until you hopefully find what you like.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jul 20th, 2017 11:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

As has been mentioned, you can *lower* -- but not raise -- the value of a pot by soldering a fixed resistor between the two outermost lugs.

And you can have a circuit that switches pot values depending on which pickup is selected. But there are some tradeoffs/compromises:

1. Putting a fixed resistor in parallel with a pot will change its taper.

2. It takes another pole on the selector switch to change pot values from hi to lo. On a Strat, for example, which only has a 2-pole switch, this would mean either changing to a 4-pole superswitch or going to a single master tone control to free up a pole.

3. Then there is the question of which pot value to use when *both* a humbucker and a single coil pickup are selected. Either way, it's going to be a compromise from what you might consider ideal.

Personally, I think it's best to just select a compromise single pot value and keep it simple.

To illustrate the switchable pot concept, the link shows a rudimentary circuit with one humbucker, one single coil, and a 2-position, 2-pole selector switch. When the humbucker is selected, you get a 500K volume pot. When the single coil pickup is selected, you get a 250K pot with altered taper.

simple switchable pot circuit

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 01:08 PM, Jul 20th, 2017)



Jul 20th, 2017 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've done the mod the OP is referring to... sort of. You have it backwards!

Here's an example: A Tele with a humbucker in the neck.

Use 500k pots, and wire a resistor in PARALLEL with the single coil bridge pickup, effectively changing the load to something closer to the 250k. This typically means going from the lug on the switch where the pickup wire is to ground. You can get yourself some alligator clips and experiment with values since it would only cost a couple bucks to have an array of resistor values. It also can be nice to really hear what it is everyone is always making a fuss over.

It does change the taper, but not in any way that I've ever given a hoot about... but, I'm a "leave 'em on 10" sort of player most of the time, anyway.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jul 21st, 2017 09:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

FK is right, that's a way to get an effectively different pot value for one pickup without having to add a pole to the selector switch. Excellent solution. Duh, why didn't I think of that ?8-0

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:37 AM, Jul 21st, 2017)


World Traveler

Wood, magnetic coil and strings.
Jul 22nd, 2017 07:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Te 52, that was what I was referring to in my originating post. I guess no harm in trying out with different resistor values and hear any difference. Thanks for your inputs guys.

Contributing Member


RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Jul 25th, 2017 02:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

You could also ad a 500K resistor and a switch between the 500K pot lugs and then flip the switch to complete the circuit while on the SC.

Something like this kind of Switch

Contributing Member

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Jul 25th, 2017 03:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

You probably won't hear much of a difference (the highs might be affected), but the pot taper will change and that is quite noticeable.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Te 52, Peegoo or any wiring wizards.........

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