Tone pots -- How important are they?

Dear bass players!

I am considering doing an upgrade for my (stock) Squier CV 70s Precision bass, in particular to the tone. My first instincts were to start looking for a nice set of pickups for this bass.

Then I started wondering: how important are your tone pots? Is it worth upgrading the stock squier pots if you’re going to put in new pickups? Asking since I feel like I have no idea about how important the tone pots you use are.

Bonus question: If you think swapping stock squier tonepots is worth it, please leave a recommendation for good “bang-for-your-buck” tonepots :slight_smile:


Welcome aboard, @Illya . . . glad to have you with us!

That’s a great question and I’m considering the same thing for my Squier J-Bass

I’m sure some of our more experienced members will give you their opinions.



How useful is a tone pot on a passive bass ?

It’s very useful to control the treble/edge/bite and the depth and darkness of the tone. it’s especially useful if you have roundwound strings. except for special uses (like metal only) I would not recommend a bass without a tone pot.

How much the value of the capacitor counts ?

A tone control is a low-pass filter, and the capacitor value controls its frequency. I recommend a 47nF (0.047uF) capacitor, except for very low tunings where a 68nF can better match the frequencies of the instrument (but a 47nF still works OK).

How much the potentiometer value counts ?

It determines the “100%” point of the control. in general, a 250k pot is suitable for single coil pickups and a 500k pot is suitable for humbuckers. a 250k will make humbuckers sound darker, even when the pot is set to 10. also a lower value pot (250k) tends to behaves better, with a more linear feel.

How much a linear or log/audio taper counts ?

It doesn’t change at all the tone when the pot is set to 10 but it greatly changes the behavior of the pot. I recommend a log/audio taper pot.


Thank you for your post @terb.
I actually just wondering what the difference between 250k and 500k pots was


Thanks a lot for your in depth response!
I will definitely know what type to look out for when I order new ones :slight_smile:
What I really meant, though, is:
Does buying tonepots of higher quality give you a noticeable result in terms of the tone that your pickups can produce?


not really. it’s more about reliability over the years, scratching noises and this kind of things. if your pots are working, that’s fine.