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Which Pots for P Bass W/ Fender Original '62 P Bass Pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mysticalcracker, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. mysticalcracker


    Jan 8, 2011
    I just bought a 2006 mim p bass, and I'm going to upgrade the pickup to the Fender Original '62 P Bass Pickup, and I want to upgrade the pots as well. What's the best brand and what ohm rating should I be getting. also, does anyone have a wiring schematic for a standard mim 60th anniversary P-Bass?
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the mex basses already have perfectly good cts pots, and don't need "upgrading" in terms of quality. (the pickup upgrade is a home run, though.)

    for different performance, i'd recommend a linear taper volume pot, as that will turn up and down more smoothly than the stock audio taper. (not true of the tone pot, that needs to stay audio taper.)

    for a brighter sound, you could go with higher resistance pots, like 500ks.

    for my P-bass, it's got both, a 500k linear volume and a 500k audio tone. with its fralin pickup, i've got a loud, aggressive P-bass with the knobs on "10", and can get any range of mellower "vintage" flavor by backing the tone knob off.
  3. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Your suggestion on tone pots is backwards walterw.

    I would not go linear taper on a volume knob, but rather the tone knob. That is backwards. In terms of volume, every perceived doubling of volume requires 10 times the power to achieve that increase. Each doubling of actual signal only increases the perceived volume 3db. A Linear taper volume pot used in place of an audio taper volume pot will qet quiet too quickly to be usable, it becomes more of an on or off control. I have used a linear taper in place of a volume and it was more of an on-off switch that added resistance. The audio taper allows you more volume change over the total sweep of the knob instead of cramming all the perceivable change into the last 1/4 of the turn.

    It is the TONE pot that will possibly show better range if you use a linear taper pot. This is because the resistance is applied linearly, where as in an audio taper tone pot, most of the resistance is applied at the last 1/4 turn of the knob. This is why most people say their tone pots are either all on or all off or slightly dimmed, but never in the middle. It is because the tone pot is applying most of the resistance to the last 1/4 of the turn range instead of evenly though-out the turn.

    A standard P-Bass pot is 250K in your bass. They are actually high quality CTS pots that do not need replacing. Go for the pickup replacement but leave the pots alone unless yours are not functioning already. If you still want more highs after than, then replace the volume pot with a 500k audio taper pot, and see if that opens up your sound more. Replacing also the tone pot along with that 500k volume pot will also increase the high frequency response of your pickup because the total resistance of the volume controls will be less in the circuit. You can leave the tone pot 250k or change it, but the 500k will leave more highs in the circuit when rolled out (100% open).
  4. You should know that this is a topic that comes up at least once a month here, and people are willing to fight to the death to defend both sides of the argument.

    My opinion on the matter: (Based on personal experience.)
    Linear taper volume pots give you a smoother sweep without that big drop from 10 to 8-ish that you get with audio tapers.
    You don't want to use a linear taper pot for a tone control, however, because it's not going to do anything until you roll it way down.

    What I would suggest the OP do:
    Ignore all the BS and try both tapers to see what he prefers.

    Incorrect. The resistance will be greater, and therefore, place less of a resistive load across the output.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    nope, sorry.

    the pot that "gets quiet too quickly" is the audio taper. it has most of its resistance change between about "7" and "10", so if you were getting a big drop-off from "10", you had an audio taper volume.
    sorry again ;)

    what's the sound difference between a 500k tone and a 250k tone, both on "10"? it's there, but pretty subtle, right?

    with linear tones, you'd have to turn the 500k fully halfway down just to get to the point of a 250k on "10". that means the linear tone makes little difference until it's almost all the way off.

    (now for guitar, audio volumes are the way to go if you want to clean up crunchy amps with the volume knob.)
    fnordlyone likes this.
  6. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    After a lot of fiddling, swapping components, and listening, I have landed squarely in the linear volume, audio tone camp.

    On instruments with 2 pickups, and individual volume controls, e.g. a Jazz Bass, linear volumes make a HUGE difference in the ability to control the blend.

    On instruments with 1 volume control, I find the difference between linear and audio to be less important, but I still prefer linear.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    It also seems to matter more with higher-resistance pots; 500k audio volumes drop off way fast from "10", and 500k linear tones really don't change until they're all the way down. Swap them and they behave just fine.
  8. Muzoid


    Feb 12, 2011
    Ahhhhhh, feels good to have another 500k vs 250k discussion.

    ....after all, it's been 10 minutes without one - hahaha

    I did a weekend of testing with a V/V/T bass....got (3) 500's and (3) 250's, and a case of beer, and tried every possible combination.

    That bass now has all 250k linear....it's just the combo that appealed to me the most...but we're talking very small differences, even to a trained ear.

    My non-musician buddy swore "no difference at all" - hahaha


    Dec 29, 2009
    God, I've missed these debates. It's been so long since we had a good ol'd fashioned 500k v. 250k/ Audio v. Linear argument.
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    Yeah, so what kind of pickups should I get for my jazz bass? ;)
  11. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    For metal? or something else? :D
  12. It doesn't matter, because you should upgrade your preamp, or add one first. :hyper:
  13. mysticalcracker


    Jan 8, 2011
    Thanks guys. I guess I'll probably leave the stock pots, but If I do switch them out is there any company that makes more quality pots? Also, how about the wiring on the mexican basses, is it decent? Do a lot of peeps upgrade wiring or is it not that important?
  14. The wiring only needs to change if you don't like VVT setups.
    And even that is not so much an upgrade as it is a modification.
  15. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    Hmm. The fact that my Jazz bass volumes work almost as an on or off switch has always bugged me. Why would Leo Fender set out to design a bass more versatile than a P, then put in some pots that actually hinder this versatility? Linears seem like they would offer the player a heck of alot more tonal choices out of what is a beautifully basic instrument.

    Did he get it wrong?
  16. Electricblue


    Feb 1, 2011
    I will add some additional additions.

    I made a pedal with 2 independant volumes and a master tone. All the pots were linear. The volumes behaved pefectly, but the tone did nothing for most of its range, until the very last part of its turn.

    In my jazz bass, it was wired stock with linear volume pots and an audio tone pot. These all behaved perfectly, very consistent through all of the range.

    I now have a single linear volume pot, which is consistent across all of the range.

    Does this answer any of your questions?

    Linear for Volume, Audio for Tone. Comprende?
  17. ALWAYS use audio taper pots for passive bass volume controls......if you want all of the volume adjustment to occur in the last 15 degrees of knob rotation. Only the slightest volume increase between 0 and 7, and all rest of the volume increase between 8 and 10. Yeah......that's what I want.:)
  18. PawleeP


    Oct 8, 2012
    I have read to never use linear taper for tone! Maybe some people prefer linear for tone, or was that a typo? PP
    P bass, J Bass

    Response form PP:I have read to never use linear taper for tone! Maybe some people prefer linear for tone, or was that a typo? PP
    P bass, J Bass
  19. Correct. Linear tone pots tend to behave as switches.
  20. Electricblue


    Feb 1, 2011

    I changed my Jazz's master volume and tone to 500k from 250k. I got a linear and a log. The log was meant to be for the tone, and the linear for the volume. I got them the wrong way around the first time, my tone control did nothing for most of the turn...

    Log for tone, definitely.

    I'm debating whether to change to log for volume too, I need to find time to compare the two.

    But Log is definitely the best for metal.