After quite a few feedback e-mails asking what value pots I’ve used on my guitar wiring, I’ve put my thoughts on volume and tone control pot values on this page.
I’d love to write a great essay here about how and why volume pots work but a better man than me has got there first! Have a read of Alan Ratcliffe’s excellent page on volume pots, and don’t forget to check out the second article which talks about Treble Bleed mods, something I plan to experiment with some time…
Tone controls are different from volume controls because they’re not wired in the same way – tone controls are wired as variable resistors (just a resistor with a value that varies between 0 and the pot’s highest value) providing a varying degree of isolation from the tone capacitor which is in parallel with rest of the guitar circuit i.e. the pickups and your amplifier.
I’ve experimented a bit with tone controls – I have a Strat that switches between either a 500k master tone pot or a TBX tone control. The effect of the 500k pot instead of the usual 250k is that it just has more range. It’s a log pot so when set to about ‘7’ it has a value of 250k and above that it gets higher. Effectively it’s like a regular tone pot that goes up to ’15’, if you see what I mean…!
Value-wise, for a standard tone control I’d always go for a 500k tone control because that gives you all the range you’d have with a 250k pot but some extra range at the top end – if you find it too bright you can just turn the control down a bit.
I still use the stock Godin pots in my HSH design and, to be honest I can’t remember what they are and I didn’t pay any attention to them at the time of the mods! 🙂
At the moment, I’m using a Fender TBX tone circuit a lot and I’m trying to find some time to make some frequency response measurements to compare standard tone circuits and the TBX control so this page is very much still in development!