It’s the finer details that make a guitar special to its owner. There are many ways to customize your instrument and make it individual to you, and one of the most effective is by replacing the pots on your guitar.
Not only does the addition of new potentiometers change the appearance of your electric guitar, but it can also improve the performance. Tone and volume controls are a valuable weapon in a guitarist's arsenal, and therefore need to function perfectly.
The Best Guitar Pots on the Market
The Fender Pure Vintage pot is an ideal addition to a Stratocaster or similarly shaped electric guitars. If you want to get authentic vintage sound from your axe, installing this 250k split-shaft potentiometer will do just that.
When choosing the right pot for your guitar, the manufacturer must have a proven track record producing instruments and accessories. Fender's reputation is almost unrivaled in this field, so you can rest assured that this pot will improve your guitar.
Included with this set are a vintage-accurate 250k 3/8 inch split-shaft proprietor, a mounting nut, washer, and a .022uF modern capacitor. It's the perfect set for a Fender Strat but will also fit a range of similarly designed guitars.
2. MojoTone CTS
MojoTone is becoming well-known among musicians for their long list of quality pickups, pickguards, and other guitar-related accessories. They provide an affordable option to guitarists looking to improve the performance of their instruments.
The CTS potentiometer features a short-shaft, push-pull design with a low-torque custom taper in a smooth vintage style. The low-torque custom taper adds a retro touch to this guitar pot, making it stand out among the other more modern taper pots.
The advantage of the push-pull functionality is that it gives this pot impressive versatility. It can be wired up for series and parallel switching, phase switching, or standard coil-tapping. With a solid brass shaft for added durability, this pot is a reliable addition to any guitar.
If you’re willing to spend more to get a premium quality guitar pots, this 5-way kit from renowned music electronics manufacturers Emerson is a great option to consider. This comprehensive package includes everything you need to transform the pots on your guitar.
Included in the kit is a precision-made set of potentiometers, an Emerson Custom Paper in Oil Capacitor, an Oak Grigsby 5-way switch, a Treble Bleed modulator, and a Switchcraft jack input. All of these parts are made from quality materials which enhance the performance of a guitar.
Although this 5-way potentiometer set is specifically for Stratocasters, it will also fit onto other guitars which have similar characteristics to the legendary Fender model. Each of the custom pots is hand-metered by Emerson to improve your output upon installation.
Another trusted guitar accessory manufacturer, Dunlop has a rich history of producing pots that bring the best out of an electric guitar. The DSP500K boasts great value for money and is very straightforward to install onto your instrument.
This high-performance pot is equally suited to be positioned as a volume or tone control knob. Like all Dunlop products, it's built to withstand heavy usage and is resistant to corrosion and dust damage.
The DSP500KL produces a smooth taper that doesn’t sound harsh or noisy. It slots onto the majority of electric guitars and features a split shaft design to further improve its versatility.
In terms of appearance, this Dunlop potentiometer is understated and classy. It won’t draw attention away from your guitar’s body, but the improvement it causes in functionality will be noticeable to you.
If you play a Gibson SG, Les Paul, or a similar styled electric guitar, you'll love the 500k Ohm Audio Taper. Comprised exclusively of authentic Gibson parts, this replacement potentiometer has been made to the highest of standards to match the guitars it’s intended to be used with.
The set includes a singular 500k ohm potentiometer, which slots onto your guitar with no complications. The pot has a long shaft design so it can fit onto larger models as well as more compact guitars, and the audio taper is smooth and natural.
If your guitar’s sound has become scratchy or shorted, the Gibson Accessories 500k Ohm Audio Taper provides an affordable solution to it. There’s plenty of grease inside the tracer which improves the smoothness of the adjustable pots.
The Variations of Guitar Pots and Their Recommended Uses
You've probably noticed when searching for a well-suited pot for your guitar that there are several different varieties.
With full-sized and mini pots, those that have solid-shaft or split-shaft designs, and those which are 500k pots or 250k pots, it can be confusing trying to understand what each of these differences means to your guitar's performance and sound.
Some benefits are drawbacks to each of these different potentiometer types, so it's important to know which one would best suit your particular guitar. Most pots are compatible with the majority of guitar models, but they may not perform to their maximum potential if they are not used correctly.
500k Tone Pots vs 250k Tone Pots
The most common difference between potentiometers is the resistance to the current that flows from the pickup to the output jack. This is indicated by the rating of either 500k or 250k.
500k pots are best suited to guitars with humbucker pickups. This is because humbuckers have more windings than their single-coil counterparts, and therefore need a 500k pot. Guitars like the Les Paul, PRS, and Ibanez humbucker guitars are compatible with this variety.
250k pots are ideal for guitars that employ single-coil pickups. Most Fender models are better suited to this style of a potentiometer, as they don't require the extra resistance provided by a 500k pot like humbucker pickups do.
Explore Your Guitar’s Pot-ential!
Now that you’ve read through this detailed guide to the best guitar pots out there, you should have a better understanding of why these additions are so impactful on your instrument’s performance.
Upgrading your guitar is a very wise move, as it will make a huge difference to its playability, resulting in you wanting to play more and improve your skills.
The particular type of pot that you need will depend on the guitar model that you have, so be sure to check the dimensions line up with the potentiometer to avoid disappointment.