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Who here uses or has used 500k pots? What made you like/dislike them?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by CocoaThumper, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. CocoaThumper


    Aug 18, 2017
    Ok, well I know most basses use 250k pots (esp since Fender started this trend in basses). From what I've read, 250k pots are warmer than 500k pots. 500k pots being brighter, allowing more high end....and 1m pots allowing even more high end than that.

    Id like to ask those with experience with 500k pots the following:

    1. Why did you make the change to 500k pots? If you went back to 250k pots, why?
    2. Do you find yourself able to get the 500k pots to sound similar to the 250k pot's warmth by fiddling with your tone knobs or EQ?
    3. Do you feel like 500k pots still allow you to easily dial in traditional P and J tones on your bass?

    EDIT : Thanks for the responses. I asked because I'm having work done on a custom instrument that will end up with 2 or 3 pickups. And I was asked by my tech about pots, and was unsure which pots to choose.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  2. 500k pots are probably more popular than 250k pots. They are indeed a bit brighter, but it's a subtle difference that isn't worth getting worked up over. If you want to know exactly what they sound like, then try some. Ten minutes with a soldering iron does a lot more good than reading posts on the internet.
  3. CocoaThumper


    Aug 18, 2017
    Except it wouldn't be ten minutes...as I don't do electronics myself. Id have to take it to someone :)

    Though maybe I could learn one day.
    PawleeP and bolophonic like this.
  4. All my basses have 250k pots. I don't slap and I don't like "twang". I like old school Motown-type tone etc.

    Would there be any reason for me to go 500k?
  5. I have 250k volume and 500k tone in my pbass. I use La Bella 760FMs. Love me the old school sounds too. Sometimes 760FMs can be a little dark, but with 500k tone it opens it up a little more. I can go from vintage rock to motown.
  6. Part-time punk

    Part-time punk

    Sep 4, 2017
    i went 500k pots in my p-bass, which is a bit dark-sounding as i have it loaded with a dimarzio model p (it has lots of bass, a mountain of mid-range and not-so-much in the treble territory).
    the difference is subtle at most, at least to my ears. Honestly I wouldn't really bother again.

    But yes, if you change to 500k you can dial vintage/traditional, just roll the tone back a bit more than you do with 250k.
    CocoaThumper likes this.
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I put 2x500k in my VVT P/J. Why? Because it presents the same load as a single 250k, compared to the 125k load created by 2x250k. It is marginally brighter but a lot more detailed, even with the tone rolled back. What is more useful is the interaction with the tone control, which becomes more useable because there is less volume loss in the useful interactive range. For example, with a 250k pot, 0.022uF cap and 7k pickup (wired hot to wiper) you need to wind the volume back 12% to get the cutoff down from 1060Hz to 200Hz. With a 500k pot, you only wind it back 6% for the same change in cutoff.
    Arvin and brianmharrison like this.
  8. sikamikanico


    Mar 17, 2004
    1. To get a brighter sound on one bass (with DiMarzio Model P). Did not go back.
    2. Yes. They sound very similar, and tone knob or technique adjustment can easily compensate to create any sound.
    3. Yes, same as above.

    That said, I probably wouldn't replace stock 250k pots with 500k ones unless I was swapping electronics altogether. I have another bass with Fralins and I don't feel the need to mod it.
    bolophonic likes this.
  9. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I have a couple of Precisions with 500k pots and the rest are 250k. I don't think about it too much, because I'm not chasing a tone in my head as much as I'm trying to sound good in the mix, which has never really been a problem with any of my basses. YMMV.
  10. CocoaThumper


    Aug 18, 2017
    How would you compare the tone of you 500k P bass's to the other 250k Pbass's ?

    And are you still able to get the traditional warm thump while using a 500k potted P-bass?
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    The original 4001's used 500K tone pots also. If you're a modern style player, or need all that round wounds can deliver, 500K tone pots may be for you.

    Even if you are a vintage tone player, you can install a 500K tone pot, and simply dial it down to where 250K may be, usually a quarter turn or so. No difference than having an actual 250K installed as a tone pot is wired as a rheostat (variable resistor) not a potentiometer (which shunts signal back into the circuit).

    The only reason most basses use 250K Audio Taper pots for both vol and tone is to keep the companies' purchasing managers happy.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
    CocoaThumper likes this.
  12. So what's the point of TalkBass then? Not all of us can solder quickly or have easy access to different pots before we order a custom guitar.
  13. PJFlatts


    Sep 4, 2014
    I put my fav jazz pickups (Fender Super 55s) and a '62 (two stacked-knob) control plate in an MIM Antigua. Didn't like how it sounded. Put in two 500k vol pots, a 300k tone pot, and a .022uF cap and liked what I got. Strung with D'Addario Chromes.
    PawleeP likes this.
  14. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    The 500k pots are in a bass with Dimarzio Model P's and GHS Pressurewounds. When I had some old broken-in Labella DTF's on it, it was nothing but thump.
  15. CocoaThumper


    Aug 18, 2017
    Very informative. Thanks a lot

    Your point about purchasing managers though....do you mean that they just stick to what they are used to?
  16. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    I love pot that only costs 250!!!
  17. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    No, it means they buy twice as many of half as many parts for a greater bulk discount and less variety in design, build and storage costs leading to lower production costs and greater margin.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  18. CocoaThumper


    Aug 18, 2017
    Ohhhh...so because they have so many 250k pots on hand already, they just throw them into every bass?
    HolmeBass likes this.
  19. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    If you like...
  20. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    NO ...
    I wrote in another thread that we love the sound we have heard before our birth (and when we grew up).

    Leo Fender used 250k pots because he didn't like "too bright" sound (and he even tried to avoid the Telecaster twang). As Leo Fender used Single Coils (Humnuckers weren't invented), the 250k pots made the "right" sound" (sompared to the 99% known upright bass sound).

    As the P57 was Fenders first humbucking pickup, he used the 250k pots which were built into every guitar and bass - and it sounded great. Why making a sound, no one wanted/needed???
    Roundwound strings weren't invented (or very unpopular).

    Humbucking guitars should have 500k pots to "suit our need for usual guitar sound".

    The pot value depends on the frequency you like to stress!!!
    If you like a sharp, high bass sound, you should take roundwounds plus 500k pots (even on a P51 single coil bass).
    Typical "Fender pickups" sound as we are used to it with 250k pots.
    Gibson used 330k pots very often - German manufacturers 100k pots! ...
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