How Do Volume and Tone Pots Work For Guitar?

There’s a lot riding on your pots. Let’s Get to Know them.

Pots are an integral part of your guitar’s tone and setup. They can do a lot of things, like adjusting your guitar’s volume, to fine-tuning your tune. By understanding your pots a little more, you can make sure you pick the right pot for your guitar.

The Basics:

A Potentiometer (or, “Pot” for short) is a type of variable resistor. By turning the pot, you are changing the way electricity flows through it. Inside the pot, there is a circular resistor strip, or “element” that gets wiped by a “sweeper”. Turning your knob changes the position of the sweeper on the resistor strip. This allows you to choose how far the electricity has to travel on the strip until it reaches it’s output.
A Pot is an “L-Pad”, which is an electrical device doing two things at once. It’s introducing Series Resistance and a Short across the signal. The Short is what dampens the high frequencies of the signal, even when the pot is on “10”. (See below for comparing 250K and 500K pots.) For instance, if you have a 250K pot, you can choose any value from 0 – 250K.To illustrate this further, take a look at the diagram below:

Fralin Pickups Pots Basics

As you can see in Ex. A, the pot has a Resistance Strip, made of resistive material, and a sweeper. The sweeper will sweep across the resistor strip to achieve the resistance you want.
For a 250K pot, the resistance of the Start of Sweep (Lug 1) and End of Sweep (Lug 3) is roughly 250K. It’s important to note that manufacturers have tolerances – in reality, it might be 243K. You can check the resistance of your pot by taking an ohm reading of the two outside lugs.
The Middle lug is the sweeper. This is how you get your variable resistance!
The Pot is the foundation for all the possibilities you can achieve. From Volume Pots to Tone Pots – let’s check out a few variations to see how we get many uses from one pot:

Which Pot to Choose? 250K or 500K?

500K or 250K?
Brass Tacks: 
Single Coil pickups and brighter-sounding pickups (think Strat, Tele) use 250K Pots
Darker-sounding pickups (P-92, 43-Gauge Big Single, P-90’s, and Hum-Cancelling P-90’s) use 500K Pots.


The higher resistance pot won’t send your high frequencies to ground as easily as 250K pots do. They sound brighter and allow more high frequencies to pass through the pot. 250K Pots will send more high frequencies to ground, making the pot sound a tad darker. This is pleasing to the ear – we don’t want muddy sounding humbuckers, or piercing single coil pickups. So, our pots help compensate and shape the tone right from the get-go. 
There are Pots in the middle – we sell 300K Pots as well, which are a little brighter-sounding than 250K pots.
NoteLindy always says: “The correct pot is the one that sounds the best”. Use your ears! You might like 500K pots on your single-coils, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Linear vs. Audio Taper?

We get asked about Linear and Audio Taper pots a lot. Despite choosing which resistance of pot to go with, there are two types of pot “Tapers“. Taper refers to how the swipe acts and sounds: is is smooth and gradual? Or, quick and abrupt?

Linear Pots: Linear pots are, well, linear. Imagine a straight line on a graph: electronically, your wiper and taper is just like that – a straight line. You would think that this is the end-all, be-all of pots, right? Well, the human ear doesn’t really hear that way (there’s a thing called the Weber–Fechner law). What happens? 90% of your perceived signal change is found in the first 25% of the turn. That means, you turn your pot a little bit, and the bulk of the change happens right there. Not very useful for certain applications.

Audio Taper Pots: Audio Taper pots are different from Linear pots as they are logarithmic. Imagine that straight line, only curved in the middle. The result is an exponential increase or decrease in resistance as you turn the pot. What happens? You experience a smoother change when you turn the pot. This means that you can perceive 50% loss in volume at the “5” mark!

We prefer Audio Taper Pots for Volume and Tone, but you can always experiment!

Split Shaft or Solid Shaft?

This is all about the knob! If you have plastic knobs like a Strat, those require Split Shaft – you can simply slip the plastic knobs on.

If you have Metal knobs with a set screw, those require Solid Shaft pots. For Metal knobs, you have to tighten the set screw onto the post. Consequently, this is really hard to do with a Split Shaft, and you might break part of the shaft doing so.

A quick fix is to use a “sleeve” which is a metal tube that goes over the Split Shaft, basically converting it to a Solid Shaft pot.

Volume Pot Basics:

Now that we’ve covered some of the most frequently asked questions, let’s dig into how pots work. Let’s start with the Volume Pot:

On a Volume Pot, a basic set-up is this for a Gibson®, Strat® or Tele®:

  1. Input = Lug 1
  2. Output = Lug 2
  3. Ground To Casing = Lug 3

The third lug connects to ground. That means, as the sweeper moves towards the grounded lug, more of your signal is sent to ground. When the pot is turned all the way counter-clockwise, all of your signal is being sent to ground, thus, no volume!

See below for an image (Please note these images are from the bottom of the pot – not the top of the guitar. When you turn your knob, it goes in the direction described below.):

Fralin Pickups How Do Pots Work

In Ex B, The sweeper is moving towards the grounded lug – which means some of your signal is being sent to ground. If the sweeper was turned all the way counter clockwise, no signal would come through your amplifier.

The opposite example, Ex. C, your input and output are basically connected – zero resistance. Therefore, all of your signal is passing through the output lug. If you didn’t ground Lug 3, your volume pot won’t work correctly. It will never give you zero output. In Examples B & C, the Output Jack is being Grounded. This works for 1 Volume guitars, like a Strat or a Tele. 


What if you have 2 pickups and want to turn down the individual pickups themselves?

To accomplish this, you change the order of the Lugs. Instead of Lug 1 being the input, Lug 1 is the output. The sweeper will be the Pickup itself, instead of the Output Jack. So, instead of the Output Jack being sent to Ground, the Pickup is being sent to Ground. This works well for Jazz Basses, or P-J Basses. See Below Ex. Ba and Ca for an diagram for this type of wiring:

How to Wire a Les Paul or Jazz Bass - Fralin Pickups


Tone Pot is nothing but a regular pot, with a capacitor soldered to it. A Tone Pot will work the same way as a Volume Pot, but justlittle different. 
Instead of sending the entire signal to ground, the tone cap helps by sending only a part of the signal to ground. Tone caps only let high frequencies pass through it – they resist, or reject low frequencies.
The value of the tone cap (.0025mfd, .02mfd, .1mfd, etc.) will determine the cut-off point for the highs. A smaller value(.0025mfd) will pass the least amount of highs. When rolled off, you will notice a subtle change in your high frequencies – you can only get your guitar to sound so dark. A higher valueof tone cap (.1mfd) will roll off the most amount of highs, getting into your high mids. You will get the darkest and deepest roll-off with higher value caps.
here’s how it all comes together:
  1. You turn your Tone Pot counter-clockwise.
  2. Your signal starts to pass through the Tone Cap, which connects to ground. (Example D)
  3. The Tone Cap will reject the low frequencies, allowing the high frequencies to get sent to ground, thus making your tone sound darker.

See below for an illustration: 

How do Tone Pots Work?

As you can see from Ex. D and Ex. E, the tone pot works pretty similar to the regular Volume Pot. This time, we have our friendly friend the Tone Cap to help us fine-tune our tone!

What is a No-Load Pot?

Before we get into No-Load Pots, let’s talk about “Load”: The definition of Load in terms of electricity is anything in a given circuit that “consumes” energy as opposed to sourcing (providing) energy. Even on “10”, your tone pot is still “sucking up” electricity. The Sweeper (Middle Lug) is still technically on the Resistance Strip, which draws power from the Volume Pot.

On a No-Load pot, there is a break on the Resistance Strip where the wiper is taken completely out of the circuit. It’s like “no man’s land” for the wiper, so much so that the Volume Pot doesn’t “see” the No-Load Tone Pot at all – almost like it’s invisible.

So what does this do to your guitar’s tone? Well, you’ll never know until you hear it for yourself, but, it will make your pickups sound a little more “full-throttle”. They might sound a little bigger, fuller, with added bass and treble. This is all personal taste, and we can take them or leave them, depending on the guitar.

What is a Blender Pot?

Lindy has installed a Blender Pot on almost every 3-pickup guitar he owns. A Blender Pot is a type of No-Load Pot will “Blend” between two pickups that it’s wired to. It’s a useful mod that allows you to get a lot of tone options – like Telecaster tones, out of your Strat. Another way to describe a Blender Pot is a “Gradual On / Off Switch”. When the Pot is on “10”, the Blender Pot is out of the circuit.
For instance, think about a Strat with a 5-Way Switch: You have the 5.) Neck Only position, the 4.) Neck and Middle, the 3.) Middle Only, the 2.) Middle and Bridge, and the 1.) Bridge Only. If you wire the Blender Pot up to the Neck and Bridge lugs on your switch, you can get a ton of pickup combinations.
On your Bridge (Position 1), turning the Blender Pot will roll in volume of the Neck Pickup. The same applies for the Neck Only position – it will roll in the Bridge. On Positions 2 & 4, you can roll either the Neck or Bridge in, getting all 3 pickups on at the same time.
To illustrate a simple installation of a blender pot, check out this wiring diagram here.

Whew. Now you have a grip on the basics. I hope this article has been helpful. Now use your guru knowledge to create your own unique tonal combinations, and make sure you choose the pots that will work best for you.


  1. Very good article. Thank you, Tyler and Fralin!!

    On a related topic, low impedance vs. high impedance pickups. For years, all I ever saw Les Paul playing were low impedance “studio” Les Paul guitars. I’ve often wondered why the industry differed from Les on this point. If your article translates to pickups, too, then Les’ guitars all sounded darker than a normal high impedance Les Paul? is that a correct assumption?

    P.S. Second line of the article, I think you meant to say “…fine-tuning your tone” not “fine-tuning your tune”? Either way, works. Lol

  2. Hello, I am currently building a telecaster custom. I purchased the Fralin WR Humbucker and the Fralin Blues special for the bridge. Each pickup has it’s own volume and tone control knobs. Do you have any suggestions about what kind of pots/ caps to use. I was planning on using 250k pots for the bridge, but I ‘m unsure if I should use a 300k or a 500k pot for the Humbucker. Does Fralin have a recommended pot for the humbucker? If I use a 300k pot for the tone should I use a 300k pot for the volume as well?

    1. Hey Matt,

      We’d suggest a 500K pot for the Wide Range Humbucker and a 250K pot for the Bridge. We like .02 caps, most of the time – but this is personal preference.


  3. Outstanding primer on pots – thank you for explaining all this in such a straight forward way!

  4. Hey Ty,

    I’m with Paul above!

    I found the exact opposite with straight forward Audio Taper pots for volume. 80% of the taper rolls off between 10 and 8 and the remaining 20% rolls off from 8 to zero. And way too front loaded for dialing in and finessing tones, especially in a dual Humbucker setup each with V&T of their own, but tied together. Think Gibson LP. But the straight forward AT pots thrive for the Tone Pots. Some manufacturers have a custom audio taper that rolls off slower and when people install these, they can’t believe they waited so long. Linear Taper Pots for volume and Audio Taper post for tone are really the ultimate in a Gibson setup.

    Here’s a post at a website called My Les Paul. This guy did all the work to prove what the reality is. I suggest you read and listen. It will definitely broaden your knowledge to the real facts. Say Hey to Lindy. He helped me with his Jazz Bass Pups years ago. GREAT GUY! He’ll remember me from our Hafler discussions. Hopefully he found one with a QUIET fan.


    1. Hi, I need a little advice on wiring, I have a set of sss stacked pups, they are 13.7/6.3 k, do I use the 250k pots? I want to set them up to split the coils as well. Can I do this with a 5 way switch or will I need push pull pots, I only want 1 vol,1tone . Thanks

      1. Depends on your pickup manufacturer – I can’t comment on that. I would check with your original manufacturer’s recommendations for pot value.

  5. Should/can I put 250,or 500k pots in my player series Jaguar to reduce some of the brightness.

    1. Sure, Jordan – you’ll need to see what you have installed already. 1Meg? Try 500K. 500K? Try 250K.


    2. Hi Jordan, I am attempting to play jazz and got a player jag because the shortscale neck comports with my short fingers. Fender says the jag has 500k pots and my luthier swapped the cap to warm the tone. In addition, I put on flatwound 11 strings and use a heavy jazz pick. I roll off the tone on the neck pickup and play clean thru a Roland cube for a warmer, rounder jazz tone.
      p.s. google Joe Pass playing a jag on YouTube.

  6. Tyler,
    Could you explain a few things for me? I have 3 Fralin single coils in a backside rout Tele. They were not the hottest pickups. I had to get long shaft pots. I have a 250K or a 500K volume(whichever is needed), and 2 500K tone push/pulls. I am using a 10 way Freeway switch. I wanted to put different caps(.022 +.047) on the #1 tone P/P for standard Strat sounds plus a little darker. The Freeway switch has 5 pickup combinations, then you shift gears and it has 5 more. I wanted the #2 tone control to work with the second 5 positions.(what caps do you suggest?) On the second 5 positions I wanted hum bucker combinations.Bridge/middle/—bridge/neck,— middle/neck, all 3 in series, and maybe one in parallel.
    1. Can you take the output from the Freeway switch and send it to a spdt toggle one side to tone control #1(other to tone control #2) then to volume bypassing the #2 tone control? Would I need a 500K resistor on first P/P. to make it 250K for a straight strat sound?
    2. Can you take the 2nd output from the freeway switch flip the spdt toggle switch/bypassing the #1 tone control and send signal to the #2 tone control when using the hum bucker combinations? Then the #2 tone P/P would be 500K for the hum bucker combinations?
    3. What effect will the 500K tone pot on the hum buckers have with the 250K volume?
    4 In my set of Fralin pickups is the middle pickup reverse wound?

    1. Hey Dave, lots of questions here…I’ll do my best to answer them.

      I’ll start with #4. Yes. Our sets have a RW / RP middle. We can make them non RW / RP, if requested.

      #1.) I believe you would do this after the volume pot, like Switch > Volume Pot > SPST Toggle – Tone. The SPDT Toggle, as I understand your request, acts as a switch for tone controls, so I guess it makes the most sense coming after the volume. In that case, yes you can.

      #2.) I really wouldn’t worry but so much about the pot value of a tone control. They make a difference, but it is subtle at best. You experience the most tonal difference with a Volume Pot. I’m a little confused on this question – flipping the toggle? If you’re asking of this option instead of option 1, then sure.

      #3.) See above – as said, the Volume Pot is the most important for sure. The Tone Pots will only subtly load the tone.

      I hope that helps – T

      1. Thanks, Mr Tyler for the reply!!! I just received all the stuff to put it together. I’ll reply with how it works out.

  7. Good day, i love the way you reply,
    I have an amplifier i want to use with my boombox, and i dont want any loss in frequency, especially lows, now i have 10k and 20k pots, i’m kinda confused which one will be the best for it.

    1. Good Question Chizie,

      As it turns out, this article really pertains to guitars and basses. I would recommend searching a message board for Pro Audio or the like for this question.


  8. Hey Tyler…If possible, can you comment on the relationship between the volume and tone circuits? Let’s assume first standard Gibson LP wiring vs. 50s wiring. How does the volume affect what is sent to the tone pot/cap vs. what is seen at the output jack….etc? I realize this can get into deeper electronic circuit discussion but I am curious so let me know if that is worth a phone call or something you can post here. thank you! Frank

  9. another question !

    If I use a traditional strato HSS wiring with potentiometers of 500k volume, 250k tone, 250k tone, considering that the humbucker will not have tone control. When I use single coils, can I fix the brightness of the 500k volume, using the 250k tones on the singles? without losing the tone of the guitar pickups?
    EX : TONE controls in 5 , 6 , 7 or 8 , DOES THE SAME THING?

    1. It really depends on your wiring set up. Most can hear a slight difference between the two. If you go with a 500K pot vs a 250K pot, you might notice a slightly brighter tone.

      That being said, the Volume Pot will take the brunt of the load and make the most difference in tone.


  10. linear taper for volume works for me on guitars like Gibson that you really can’t do volume swells .. the advantage is you can crank your amp up with overdrive/distortion and roll the vol back and not lose any tone it only gets lower volume .. most older Gibson used linear vol pots.. now if you do volume swells like on tele or strat audio taper is a must ! Also audio taper on all tone controls.. so both tapers have there place! Rock on!!

  11. In the section “WHAT IF YOU HAVE 2 PICKUPS AND WANT TO TURN DOWN THE INDIVIDUAL PICKUPS THEMSELVES?” Would you wire both volume pots this way, or just one?

  12. Great article! What about TBX tone pots? I’ve seen articles that say they cut bass OR treble, depending on which side of the detent you are on. I’ve also read that they cut treble when you rotate counterclockwise from the detent, and EXPAND both bass and treble (I guess making it turn into a no-load pot) when you take it clockwise from the detent. Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Todd,

      The TBX pot is something Fender did back in the late 80’s. It’s basically a concentric pot that cuts bass or treble. If you want to learn more about it, Dirk Wacker wrote a great article about it here.


  13. Hi Tyler,

    I replaced the volume pot on a mexican Jazzmaster. Went from a 250K to a 500K. After replacing it everything works but none of the adjustments work (tone, volume, etc.). So it plays fine but only at one volume. My guess is that it’s a ground issue since it affects everything but thought I would see what you think.

    Thanks, Mike.

    1. Hey Mike,

      Check to see if Lug #3 of your new volume pot is connected to ground. If so, take a look at this article to diagnose the problem. I think it’s a ground issue. Grounding Article here

  14. Question about tone pot/capacitor placement on gibson explorer/2 volume, 1 master tone pots. According to the wiring diagram for this setup, it looks like the tone pot is connected after the 3 way pickup selector switch and then to output jack. Does this have a 50’s style effect on the tone control? Thanks for your input, Tyler

    1. Hey Gary,

      Thanks for your question! As a matter of fact, yes. You’ll notice it behaving slightly differently when the Volume and Tone controls are played with.


  15. Great article. I have a guitar with 2 HBs, 2 volume and 1 tone pot and a 3 way toggle switch. They are wired traditionally (like your examples B and C). If I wanted to switch to jazz bass type wiring so the volumes worked independently in the middle position, is there a downside or “cost’ to doing that?

    1. Hey David,

      It’s pretty subjective – you won’t be able to easily cut out the entire guitar, like you can with a Master Volume. When wired traditionally, turning the volume pot down – regardless of the pot – will short out the output jack. This “kills” the entire guitar.

      Wiring your pickups into the middle lug and putting your output jack off of your Tone Pot will give you independent control of your pickups, but you’ll need both volume knobs to be all the way off to “kill” the guitar.

  16. Hi, great post! about les pauls, modern and 50s, whats the difference in soldering:

    A) Tone
    Modern: the capacitor in the 2nd log (3rd ground)
    50s: the capacitor in the 3nd log (2rd ground)
    Is there a difference in respond of the Tone control?

    B) Volume
    Modern: the capacitor in the 1nd log
    50s: the capacitor in the 2nd log

    what I’m trying to say is: Is there a difference in how you solder the cap in the tone pot? / what about the cap in the volume pot? / what you decide in the volume pot (about the cap) tells you what you sould do in the tone?

    thanks a lot! cheers from Argentina!

    1. Hey Fernando!

      Good question. There are a lot of great aricles out there about 50’s Wiring. In essence, there’s something about having the tone control attached after Lug 1 takes down the load of the Tone Pot even more, giving you a slightly brighter tone.

      It makes no difference tonally if you use 1.) the Tone Cap as your jumper to the tone control, or 2.) a Wire to connect to the Tone Pot with a Cap Soldered to the Casing.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Hello Tyler,
    What a great post!
    I’m building my first guitar, a solid body alder with a rosewood fret board. It will be 2 pickups but I’d like to keep it very simple and still get a nice range of sound. Could I use a volume pot for each pickup and then wire one blender tone pot to both volume pots (a 3 knob guitar)?

    1. Hey Dale, Yep, you can do that! You can run the leads of the blender pot to wherever your pickups are connected to on your pot, usually Lug 1.

      Hope that helps!


  18. I just got a new player series Jaguar (S H) only for the 24” scale to comport
    with my short fingers. I love the guitar except for its brightness. I’ve replaced the strings with flat wound 11s and that’s helped. I also play
    with the guitar tone and amp at full bass, but I’m still seeking a rounder, warmer, somewhat darker tone. Will replacing the 1000k with 250k
    volume and tone pots help?

    1. Absolutely. 1 Meg pots are very bright sounding as they let most of the highs through. 250K pots will soften and darken the tone of your pickups, giving you more warmth.


  19. When you talk about 500k pots being brighter, are you talking about the volume pot or the tone pot?

    Assuming 2 humbucking pickps, how does the tone differ between these three scenarios?
    a) 500k volume pot / 250 k tone pot
    b) 500K volume pot / 500 K tone pot
    c) 250K volume pot / 500K tone pot

    1. 500K and 500K will be the brightest of the three. 250K and a 500K Tone will be the darkest of the three. A 500K with a 250K Tone Pot will still be bright, but slightly tamed in the high frequencies.


      1. This is my doubt too …
        volume and tone, which influences the value in each of them.
        how much the pots of 250k and 500k change both in volume and tone.
        for example :
        if I use single coils with 500k volume and 500 tone , will it get too bright? yes ? but would I leave the tone potentiometer at 5 would be like they were at 250 right? but with the volume potentiometer at 5 it would lose the volume … but not the brightness?

  20. Hi Tyler
    Very informative read, thank you, just spotted a point of slight confusion, Strat pick up numbering is in reverse to what you described, 1 is the Bridge, 5 is the Neck.

    1. Hey! Thanks for that. I’ve adjusted the article to reflect those changes, to clear up any confusion. Cheers.

  21. Thanks for a great article. My question is, if i want to make a no load pot for a ‘spin o split’ mod, should the cut be on the other side of the lugs as opposed to the usual side? It seems that with spin o split, the splitting happens on 10 and full humbucker at 0…

    1. Mark,

      Yes, if you cut the resistive material on the left-side (bottom up) ((Lug 1)) of the pot, you’ll make it a no-load pot. There are videos out there showing you how to do it. I’ve burned through a few pots trying to make this work, so be careful!

  22. I’m building a telemaster and want a standard tele pup in the bridge but a p-90 in the neck with standard tele 3 way and 1 vol and 1 tone using lollar pickups . Should I to go with 500k or 250k a p-90 is technically a single coil so it seems like 250k would do the trick.

    1. Hey Paul,

      You have a few options here. I would recommend reading our article on how to mix single coil pickups and humbuckers (in this case, a P-90) here.

      There’s a few options that will work for you.

  23. Hi, Tyler. I’ve got a Hagstrom Swede into which I put two GFS Mean 90s. The pots are 500k, and I can’t tell or remember if I replaced them (I think I did). I replaced the chiclet caps with NOS PIO ones. I’m thinking I attempted ’50s wiring because the neck capacitor (which says it’s 0.015uf) is going from the middle lug of the volume pot to the input lug of the tone pot. The tone pot’s center lug is grounded and the outer lug is just dangling in the breeze.

    For the bridge pickup, same style wiring, but the capacitor is 0.022uf.

    There’s an additional “tone filter” toggle that had originally been a 3-way pickup toggle with a jumper wire and some caps soldered to each output. I replaced the switch with a big-baton DPDT that I soldered to match the original switch’s intent (or, at least I tried). I think that the jumper I put in made it a SPDT switch, for all intents and purposes. (My recollection is hazy because I did these mods years ago and I’ve not been modding for a long time.) I put in a 0.015uf NOS PIO cap and left a 472k stock cap in there.

    All of that is to preface that my pickups have a tendency to be very muddy. Particularly the neck. I get really good single note tones out of the guitar, with either pickup, but cords just don’t sound as good. I notice, as I look inside the cavities, that I’ve got a bunch of really poor solder joints, but they’re not cold enough to cause any scratching or deadness. Does that mean they’re not a problem? Or do cold joints always have some kind of negative effect?

    Is the ’50s wiring a bad idea with humbucker-sized P-90s? Are my cap values too low? Are the joints too cold? I know that chasing tone is as old as playing the guitar, but I know this guitar could be a tone monster. It’s got lots of mojo and I just want to make it sound as good plugged in as it does acoustically.

    Sorry for the long post, but I don’t really know where else to turn besides the forums to find people with any idea about this stuff and whom (I hope) aren’t bored to death to hear all the particulars. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    1. Steve,

      Sorry for the delay in response – we’ve been busy making pickups. Your areas of focus on this would be your Solder Joints, Pots, and what you said was a 472K “Cap”. That’s a value for a resistor, and if that’s on all the time, your pickups are “seeing” a 250K Volume Pot instead of a 500K. That could be what’s making your guitar darker. If I were you, I would probably start fresh with standard wiring, see how that sounds, then slowly add some mods.

      Your cap values (.015 / .022) don’t really make much a difference as your signal isn’t passing through them all the time. I would find where your signal is passing through 100%, and start the process there.


  24. Hey Tyler, if I’m using a hum, single, mini hum strat.. what pots do you recommend if I play heavy metal, and want high output from both humbucker but want that nice strat tone from the middle single coil? I was thinking 500 volume 300 single tone and 500 mini hum tone. Thanks

    1. Hey Eric,

      Thanks for your question. That seems like a viable option for you, if it were my guitar I would start with a a 500K Volume Pot, 250K Tone and Tone 2. If you needed brighter tone, then you could opt for 500K Volume Pots. They make a slight difference.

      I hope that helps!

  25. Hey, that was a really well written post! This is the first time that all this pickup/wiring thing is clear to me. Thanks!

    I have 2 little questions:
    1) is a blender pot EXACTLY a no-load pot?
    2) will a blender pot still work if you solder the wires the other way around as the diagram shows? (wich would be connecting bridge to the lug and neck to the sweeper)

    Thanks again for all the info!

    1. Hey Pablo,

      1.) Yes sir – it’s a no load pot.
      2.) Also Yes – you can use this differently as it’s a resistive barrier is decreased between the two signals.

      Thanks for your questions.

  26. I’m getting confused here. What’s the best combination for a HSS configuration? 250k volume, 250 k on the tone for the single coils and 500k on the tone for the humbucker? I have seen that dual pots are available. How could a 250k/500k dual pot be wired for the volume control?

    1. Pat,

      Really good question here. You have to sacrifice something. Either you opt for 250K pots and have a dark sounding humbucker, or 500K pots and have really bright single coils. You can do something like a 300K pot and meet in the middle, but concentric pots are your friend here. Each pot has its own set of lugs, and you just have to run twice the amount of jumpers to accommodate.

      1. Does this apply to volume and tone pots or just tone pots? I have telecaster I want to put a neck humbucker in.

  27. What a great article. Tyler, you cleared up somethings I have been unsure about for a long time. Good job and I look forward to more!

  28. Good post, but linear volume pots are being recognized more for what they can do for guitarists (and bassists). Lot of guitars, like Gibson, come with stock linear pots, and I prefer them for volume pots. What’s great about them is you can really dial near full volume. Pickups lose just a bit of sparkle but can be fully heard when you turn them just a little bit, and you can find that easy with a linear pot. Also, when near zero, swells are really easy because you only need a tiny turn to bring them into relatively full volume, and you don’t have to actually turn it halfway to get half sound. Lastly, if you accidentally hit the volume pot while playing, with a linear pot, you don’t lose much volume. That said, I found that only 250k or 300k linear pots really work the way I want them to. When they’re 500k, I wish the taper was modified to make 250k to 500k happen really quickly but to have the rest be linear. Meanwhile, audio is always better for tone pots in my experience.

    1. Wouldn’t they (linear) be worse off for accidental touches during playing because they require much less movement for a more dramatic change? Thanks for mentioning your view though, the volume swell pro is a good tip!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *