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:

3 Likes

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.

Cheers,
Joe

5 Likes

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.

7 Likes

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

2 Likes

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?

3 Likes

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.

4 Likes