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"P" bass 250K verses 500K pots

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by muddog, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. muddog


    Mar 3, 2012
    Vintage P bass with 62 reissue pickups, flatwounds


    250K and 500K pots
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    The tech who puts my basses together always says your P-Bass should be in the 500K pot zone and the J-Bass pickup is within 250K pot territory.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I have one Precision with 500k pots and five with 250k pots. The 500k pots are a little harder to tame, but they came pre-wired to a set of Dimarzio pickups. I prefer the classic sound of 250k... That one bass is a little clangy and bright for my tastes.
    merseymale and PawleeP like this.
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i dig "clangy and bright" from my 500k-loaded P-bass, because i use a sansamp as a pre, so it has some grit and compression to smooth it out.

    i hear more of the personality of the instrument; it sounds in the mix more like "P-bass" rather than just "bass".
  5. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Agreed, the inclusion of the upper partials can greatly influence the percieved tone.
  6. pattyløve


    Apr 7, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Engineering, D'addario
    I use a 250k for volume, 500k for tone.
    When both are 250, i find it just a bit too lifeless and dark.
    When both are 500k, it just becomes harsh and brittle. I thought it would be bright in a good way but it just makes a painful, impractical tone.

    One of each is the perfect middle ground for me. And you can use the tone knob to get the exact tone of two 250k pots if you turn it down.
  7. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Fender offers "no load" 250k pots which might be a good compromise. In the full volume setting, the pickup signal goes straight to the jack. No high end bleed-off as with 250k and 500k pots.

    Back the volume off a hair and the no load pot goes into 250k load.
    VincentB likes this.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I prefer 250K in my P's.
  9. Try it. I did. (MIJ '57 RI). Nothing to loose. If you do not need so much brightness you can roll off the tone. So simple. IMHO
  10. Levin S

    Levin S

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I tossed some 500k CTS pots I had laying around into my old Squire because I had the same question, and it made it very aggressive and 'clangy' sounding. I kind of like it lol. Now if it was my main bass, I'm sure it'd get old fast, but as something of a novelty, the sound is neat.
    merseymale likes this.
  11. ManicMarvin


    Oct 4, 2012
    I've had my Squier P fitted with 500k pots and yes it's somewhat more aggressive and clanky. It doesn't have that classic warmth anymore but it still sounds great :)
  12. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I went to 500K is several of my basses.
    Yeah, you can gain a little more top end, it's there if you need it, but if you don't need it, that's what that OTHER knob is for.
    digmeout and merseymale like this.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i didn't catch this before, but if the OP is playing flatwounds, then 500ks are probably the opposite of what he's looking for.
    merseymale likes this.
  14. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I have always been a 250k advocate. That's the value Leo chose when he designed the pickup in the first place and it's the value most pickup makers use to test their designs. If a precision (or jazz) pickup doesn't sound right with 250k then it's probably time for a different pickup IMO. That said I am a firm believer in Duke Ellington's phrase "if it sounds good it is good" so if 500k works for you then I won't argue.
    merseymale likes this.
  15. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Old thread, but used it for reference. Put 500K pots in my p with a rear bucker and did not like the sound. Way too clangy. Just replaced the vol put with a 250K and it sounds a lot tamer and better for a main bass.
  16. You don't need a Honeywell pot in your bass. Those are designed for a much more hostile environment.
    It's also panel mount, so you'd have to cut off the clip on it:


    or I guess you could bend it over to match the others

    Those are supposed to slip into the equipment panel so the pot doesn't spin.
  17. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    East Coast
    thanx, yea, i have been testing some others, didn't order these.. so far the bournes hrt02-254a2 i got to test against: $1-2.00; alpha, tt electronics and a mcm, and the more expensive bornes, with the (brass threaded housing insert) seems closer to spec and smother sweep, read 4.2 - 253k, not sure if it is quite a 30% taper, but it definitely has a nice drag to the turning feel. may report back when i install it into something. prolly gonna be this p copy tone i try it in, the stock mini alpha pot seems pretty trashed, sound keeps completely cutting out when touching the tone knob...
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  18. This exactly what I do. Pickups are EMG geezers, .1uf cap, and La bella 760FMs. I feel that I have more range on my tone pot. Since EMG have solderless wiring, it was easy to play with different value pots and I made a switch with different cap values. Settled for the above setup.

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