#1
A little story involving a NGD (but this forum makes it hard to post pictures, so this won't be about that).

I just got a little early Christmas gift from my best friend; a Fender Modern Player Jaguar. They don't make them anymore and I had played one at a guitar store a few years back and liked how it played.

The big thing on this guitar is that it has P90 pickups (I am a big fan of P90s).

So I was anticipating its arrival for a week. When it finally arrived, I plugged it in and was immediately disappointed by how bad it sounded. So I immediately swapped the pickups on it with my other guitar which also has P90s - really good sounding P90s. It still sounded like complete garbage, with a really trebly harsh tone and no useable low end.

Then I swapped the 500k tone pot out for a 250k pot, and WOW. Like night and day, my guitar suddenly had a nice smooth, full sound to it.

It makes sense, since the general rule of thumb is that single coil pickups use 250k pots and humbuckers use 500k. I had read on a forum that you should always use 500k because you can always just roll it back, but that is simply not the case. A 500k tone pot can not be "rolled back" to sound like a 250k.

I'm not sure why Fender decided to use the 500k; IMO they would have sold a lot more of these guitars if they had just used the proper tone pot to begin with.

Tldr; guitar sounded bad, switched pickups and still sounded bad, switched the tone pot and it sounded awesome
#2
I've always used 500K pots on my P90 guitars. I really dislike 250K pots with them. P90's are not the same kind of pickup (other than being single coil) as a standard strat or tele style Fender single coil.
#3
You might also consider that you had a bad pot and the replacement simply fixed the problem.
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#4
Quote by dspellman
I've always used 500K pots on my P90 guitars. I really dislike 250K pots with them. P90's are not the same kind of pickup (other than being single coil) as a standard strat or tele style Fender single coil.


i've never tried different pots with p90s but i was always under the impression that 500k was the standard value for p90s, too, being gibson pickups and all.
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#5
500k lets more treble through than 250k. For some P90s this perhaps is a good thing, but on my guitar and both sets of pups I tried, it just made it sound incredibly harsh and bad. When it comes down to it, if your P90s sound bad with one, try the other.
#6
I think people underestimate the importance of the pots and caps in a guitar's circuit - they can make all the difference sometimes.

Something I've always experienced with strats is that the bridge pickup sounds much better with a tone pot connected, to my ears, every single time. even if I'm not actually turning it down. I hate the sound of a stock strat bridge pickup with no tone pot. It's harsh, brittle, and nasty.

You can also hear the difference on a vintage style jaguar or jazzmaster using the lead and rhythm circuit - same neck pickup, completely different tone, due to the fact the rhythm circuit uses lower pot values. I really enjoy the rhythm circuit - it's so smooth sounding, with a certain 'sweetness' that isn't present in the lead circuit tone.
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#7
I am a firm believer in every part of your guitar rig will have an impact on your tone. Some parts provide a minor impact and some parts have a major impact.

Pots have a +/- rating for tolerance. Cheaper pots will have a tolerance rating of 15% which means a 500K pot could be a 425k to 575k. Higher quality pots will have a lower tolerance of 8% which means a 500k pot could be a 460k to 540k.

I have had a number of guitars with P90s and I think they all had 500K pots.
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#8
A lot of valid points here, especially the one about the previous pot just being bad/low quality, but the important thing is that you did something and are now happy with your sound. Congrats!!