Which Pots and Cap for P90s?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by DWB1960, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    SoCal by way of Boston
    I putting together a LP Junior like guitar and will be using some Ken Armstrong P90s with a simple 3 way switching (neck - neck/bridge - bridge) with a single volume and tone control. What value pots and cap should I use? Thanks.
  2. Karmateria

    Karmateria Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    I've had pretty good results swapping out the stock caps with .015 mfd. Not everybody likes the way it works, but for my setup (Marshalls and Boogies) it woiks!

  3. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2005
    Surprisingly -- well, to me, anyway -- I'm very happy with the 250k pots & .047mfd cap in my Aerodyne Tele. The Lollar P90 is in the neck position (and there's a Fralin Steelpol 42 in the bridge) and I was worried that the 250k would be too dark...it didn't turn out that way. I'd probably be happy with a 500k for the P-90, but then I'd have to wire in a resistor across the bridge pickup to convince it that it was going to a 250k rather than 500k pot.
  4. george4908

    george4908 Member

    Jan 6, 2002
    Bethesda, MD
    I did the opposite of Crazyquilt. I swapped out the 250ks in my Tele Jr. for 500ks and like the additional sparkle, but then the P-90s in these are one SD Hot and one SD Custom. The Lollars are likely brighter to begin with, so maybe we arrived at more or less the same place.
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    State of Denial
    I like to use Rio Grande Jazzbars/Jazzdawgs with 500K pots and .033 caps.

  6. hipfan

    hipfan Member

    Nov 15, 2002
    Evanston, IL
    It really depends on the pickups themselves and the guitar. For instance, bridge P90's with A5 magnets I've used (Voodoo, Lollar, Stephens Design) seem to do well with 250-350K volume pots. I think the A5 magnets give them a fairly hard and present top end, and the lower value volume pots moderate that. The neck A5 P90's I've tried benefit, however, from the 500K's added brightness.

    With the A4 Fralin bridge dogear I'm trying out in my Junior, even the 450K volume pot currently in the guitar might not be high enough (although it sounds pretty kick-ass as is). It's a slightly softer magnet than the A5 and seems to benefit from the bigger resonant peaks allowed by the higher value volume pot.

    As for tone pots, that's really a matter of personal choice. If you like a smooth, consistent taper, then you're probably best off using as low of a value as possible that still give you enough top end. I really wouldn't go lower than 500K, but that's just for my style.

    If you want to use your tone control for dramatic wah type effects, however, something like a 1 meg can be helpful because the majority of its useful range occurs between 0 and 4 or so.

    For your set-up, considering you'll be sharing volume and tone controls for neck and bridge, I would go with 500K all around and go from there. If both pickups are too peaky and you want smoother volume taper when rolling down, maybe try lowering the volume pot to a 300-350K or so. I wouldn't go lower than 500K on the tone control for a neck P90 though. It would likely get too dull and thuddy in a Junior style.

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