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How much difference do new POTS make?

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  • How much difference do new POTS make?

    Currently running stock POTS on an Epiphone LP with WLH pickup set....sounds good. But would better quality POTS make a minimal difference or a huge difference?

    I am not playing shows; just playing at home through a 20W Orange Crush amp...if the difference is huge, I'd do it...if minimal, I don't know that it's worth it.

    Opinions?

  • #2
    If you keep the same value, it shouldn't make any difference in tone. It's more about the feel and taper.

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    • #3
      Epiphone puts pretty good pots in their guitars these days. If it's a model made in the last 5-10 years or so, I say leave them alone. They should be full-size Alpha pots. I've used those with great results. In fact, my SG Jr still has the same Alpha pots installed in 2011.

      The tolerance can have an impact as well but not so much that you really hear it, unless you go from +/- 20% to +/- 5%, then you might hear a little difference but the values would need be far apart as well. You could have a +/- 20% 500K measure 490K and a +/- 5% 500K measure 498K and you won't hear a difference.
      Last edited by ErikH; 10-28-2020, 08:05 AM.

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      • #4
        At wide open, if they're not defective - NONE.
        "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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        • #5
          I don't take out perfectly working parts. I might change pots if they don't turn easily enough (I use mine a lot) or if they are simply not working. Most of the time they just stay there.
          Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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          • #6
            Ok, thanks all, this is very helpful.

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            • #7
              Whille i agree with the guys, I'd make a small amendemt to the above. The pot values are "nominal" with a certain amount of tolerance. I've had 500k cts pots measuring 430k and Seymour Duncan branded ones measuring 509k . That swap did make a difference! But if they measure the same, then there will be no difference, assuming both are installed with the same quality of solderjoint. On a sidenote I've had the best experience with the SD branded pots: each one was within +/-3% of the nominal value, while the others were all over the place, usually below 500k.

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              • #8
                Like the others said, I don't change controls to get more 'quality.' The only thing I am concerned about is the resistance as measured, the taper, and a smooth turn.
                Originally posted by NegativeEase
                I'd wager that Clint can best GuitarStv at Wat and WAAAT... but not Watts.

                I think in the International System of Units (SI) a "WAT" is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint besmirchment per hour

                and WAAAT is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint kilojoule of described Nirvana transgression per post.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ErikH View Post
                  You could have a +/- 20% 500K measure 490K . . .
                  It's actually worse than that. A +/- 20% 500k pot could be anywhere from 400k to 600k, and still be in spec.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post

                    It's actually worse than that. A +/- 20% 500k pot could be anywhere from 400k to 600k, and still be in spec.
                    Well yeah. I randomly pulled numbers out of the air for that when comparing to a +/- 5% 500K pot.

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                    • #11
                      And your numbers are closer to what you'd really see in a pot.

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                      • #12
                        I dislike the feeling of the 1/2" pots in cheap guitars. The worst part is when the feeling is inconsistent on each control.

                        A lot of pots have poor tolerance, so its like a lucky-dip.. Often I bought twice as many pots as I needed and selectively installed the ones that were close to the spec I wanted.

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                        • #13
                          Different values or different taper will make a difference in sound in usage only. Different quality will only affect the lifetime of a pot component, and as mentioned before, the tolerance, which is also covered by my first point about different values.
                          Originally posted by Demanic
                          Incompetence is widespread in a world that rewards mediocrity while punishing excellence.
                          Originally posted by GuitarFanatic
                          I am currently using Skullcandy headphones I found in the garbage.
                          I did find the DS-1 in the garbage.
                          I once found a guitar amp in the garbage, a Peavey Studio 110. It caught fire at the first gig I played it at.. But it was at the end of it, thank god.

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                          • #14
                            You've got actual (i.e. measured) value, taper, and quality to worry about. Quality is mostly about how long they'll last working as intended.

                            How do you know when a pot isn't good quality? When it don't work. Until that point, it's "quality" enough.

                            The point I'm trying to make is: Don't "fix" stuff that ain't broken. Unless you wish to change value or taper, or a pot is crapping out, leave them in place.
                            Originally posted by LesStrat
                            Yogi Berra was correct.
                            Originally posted by JOLLY
                            I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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                            • #15
                              To most guitarists I know, pots are barely touched, much less replaced.
                              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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