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Do pots go bad? Or am I measuring wrong?

scelerat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,000
I'm trying to figure out the value of some volume pots in an old Les Paul I might buy. The pots have 500K stamped on them, but when I apply the multimeter across the outside poles, I get around 140KΩ. Both volume pots behave this way. When I measure the tone pots (both stamped 250K) the same way, I get around 206KΩ and 260KΩ.

Am I missing something? The guitar sounds kind of dark, but it could be just the pickups in it (Duncan Custom in the neck, Custom 5 SH-14 in the bridge). Both pickups read around 13.8KΩ
 

Alan Dunn

Member
Messages
1,228
Pots have a mechanical element to them and as such wear out. Dust / corrosion is also an issue as well.
There is also a lot of poor quality pots out there so and tolerances can be quite loose from spec.

We sell a lot of no name Chinese pots where I work and they are not something I'd recommend to friends if they have other options open to them.

Honeywell are probably the best source of pots I can think of off the top of my head.
CTS are good enough for most of us.
 
Last edited:

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
I'm trying to figure out the value of some volume pots in an old Les Paul I might buy. The pots have 500K stamped on them, but when I apply the multimeter across the outside poles, I get around 140KΩ. Both volume pots behave this way. When I measure the tone pots (both stamped 250K) the same way, I get around 206KΩ and 260KΩ.

Am I missing something? The guitar sounds kind of dark, but it could be just the pickups in it (Duncan Custom in the neck, Custom 5 SH-14 in the bridge). Both pickups read around 13.8KΩ
Are you measuring them in circuit or out?

I can see 250k pots varying from close to 200 to more than 260...because generally speaking pots kind of suck across the board, and it doesn't matter that much anyway.

140K sounds like something else is going on, like something else is in parallel with the pot.
 

scelerat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,000
Are you measuring them in circuit or out?

I can see 250k pots varying from close to 200 to more than 260...because generally speaking pots kind of suck across the board, and it doesn't matter that much anyway.

140K sounds like something else is going on, like something else is in parallel with the pot.
Yes, I'm measuring the pots as they sit inside the guitar cavity, all wired up. I get the same values by measuring one outside to the center, with the sweep 100% one way or the other.
 




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