Are better pots worth it? - Squire J Bass upgrade?

I put new pickups in my Squire (Fender Vintage Custom Shop) and tonewise they are really nice. What I am noticing is, most pronounced on the bridge pickup but also to a lesser extent on the neck pickup, is that the volume pots are nowhere near linear.

Is this normal? I don’t honestly remember if it were different or not before I swapped out the pickups.

On the bridge pickup just off zero you start to hear volume, then it stays pretty darn flat until about 80+% to 100% where it comes into full volume.
Neck pickup not as bad, can def hear a difference in volume most of the way up.

Is there a good upgrade? Are they worth it? Or is this just a thing?
This is my first bass I bought and I am happy to upgrade things and mess around as my little project bass for now. I know I will never get my $$ back from selling etc but don’t want to either.



With inexpensive basses the manufacturers have to cut corners somewhere, and the electronics is one such place. Cheap pots can vary considerably from their rated resistance, possibly causing your issues.

I’ve replaced the pots in two of my basses and have a set of CTS pots sitting on my workbench for my Squier PJ bass, when I get around to installing them.

Be aware that the original pots are non-standard sizes and you my have to enlarge the mounting holes and/or replace the knobs.


Was looking to do some research on talkbass but it appears to be down.

However, found some other reviews of the Emerson Custom prewired J-Bass pots and decided to start the next part of my little project and just replace them. These got great reviews, so what the heck.


That’s a nifty kit. All you will have to do is attach the pickup leads and bridge ground and you’re good to go.

The pots appear to be 1/4" solid shaft, so you’ll probably need to replace the knobs. This could be fun, as there is a large variety of types available.


Replaced the standards on my MIM P bass with a solderless set. Easy as due to everything being the same size as the original ones .
They have made a difference too

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I find this with my bass as well, on all 3 controls (2x volume and tone). On the individual pickup volume I find everything happens in the last 30% to full and then not much till the last 10% till it goes off, nothing happens in the middle much at all. Tone is much the same but it all seems to happen in the last 30% to full and the rest just does nothing else to adjust the tone.
I think having a wider range to adjust from would be nice.

I was not sure if this if normal for all basses or just cheap pots? Would love to know.

I think fixing this for me would probably just require upgrading the bass :joy: Any excuse I suppose…

Cheers Brendan

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Well now I have gone down this rabbit hole too!
Just ordered a hipshot high mass bridge in black, and looking at the tuning machines too with the drop D tuner, also in black, figure I will convert all the hardware to black. Why not?

Question: Amazon currently does not show the Hipshot tuners in stock.
Is the Drop D version always $104???, this is what they are on the hipshot website.
That seems nuts.

The high mass bridge on the hipshot website was $95, but on Amazon $54.

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A Hipshot Xpander should run around $75 or so - shop around. Hipshot’s prices on their website are way high.

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Sadly everything is out of stock everywhere. Ugh.
Between virus and the Suez backup it is getting harder and harder to find anything.
I guess I will patiently wait for the tuning machines for now.

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What benefit will this give you?

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Sustain & tone from the videos I watched…

That and its just a fun project bass now to experiment on.


those Ermerson kits (and other equivalent) are incredibly expensive for what they are. that’s insane.

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$85 for three pots, a jack, and a capacitor does seem a little much :slight_smile:

Like maybe $70 too much :rofl:


yeah, especially considering that the capacitor type doesn’t have any influence on the tone in a low current / low voltage circuit, so a $1 cap sounds exactly the same.


It’s pricey, but you’re mostly paying for the labor to put it all together, with the wiring just the right length that the pots drop right into a Jazz Bass control plate. For someone with limited technical skills that might be worth a lot.

If I were going to replace the pots for someone other than a friend I’d charge at least that much.


Yeah, totally get that. Still, it seems kind of an odd niche to go after as a market - people who are willing to take their bass apart and replace electronics, but who do not solder.

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I solder, no issues there, more a conveince thing.
I would rather spend the time playing it, its all good.

So at the moment the Squire J bass will have:
Fender Custom Shop 60’s Pickups
Hipshot Kickshot Highmass Bridge
Emerson Pots
Labella Flats

Hipshot tuners are basically out of stock everywhere except through Hipshot so I will await their return, I want black ones.

Does anyone know if the replacement pickguards/control plates that fit Fender J basses fit the Squires or is there retrofit involved?

@John_E I fell down that all black Rabbit Hole with my PJ.


I agree…you can purchase some really good pots for a reasonable price and replace what is in the bass for a lot less money and will know the quality of what you are installing. CTS & Bourns pots sell for 5-8 bucks and they even have miniature ones to fit smaller routing holes. You just need some skills with soldering.

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Generally, if you don’t hear anything wrong with the ones you have, there’s no need to change them.

I didn’t listen to this advice and went ahead and replaced the small 250K pots on my Glarry GP, with Bourns 500K (I forget if it was Linear or Audio taper, or both). I also changed the pickups, so I can’t speak of any direct difference.
I still have the originals because there wasn’t anything wrong with them.

But, I will say, if you’re willing to spend $85, why not get a set of Geezer Butler pickups for a few dollars more. Then you get solder less connections, new pots and upgraded pickups.
(Edit: just saw it was a J bass… there may still be similar options).
(Edit 2.0… just saw you have Fender Custom Shop pickups… carry on :joy:)