I've just completed my third build (second with electronics) and have a problem., Both units have a mini humbucker pickup, volume and tone pots, both 500's. The first one I did had a 22 cap and, because I thought that's where I thought the problem may be, the second has a 47 cap. On both builds the difference on a full turn of both pot control knobs is minimal. The difference in tone is a bit more discernible but the volume, although fairly high, hardly varies. Any suggestions as to the reasons would be greatly appreciated.

I'm a novice when it comes to electronics but I guess I can follow a diagram as well as anyone and I think I got the wiring right. The only thing I didn't do was the solder to solder between the two pots. I have marked that with a question mark on the diagram. I have attached the diagram I used.

Just one further query. I used an end pin jack (photo attached) and connected active to the little lug. I hope that was right.



P.S.  I've been trying for two days to send this post and it keeps being rejected so I'm trying it without the pics.

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Hi Art,

Some sites limit the photo size (not sure about here).  It might be worth trying to compress the photo size (check for a free phone app if your photo editor is unable to do it) and see if that will load. Alternatively I have sent you a friend request - if you accept it you can email me the photo and I will try to load it for you.  Can you add a link to the wiring diagram you used?

As a starting point I would suggest you add the missing wire from the diagram.  The wiring of volume pots is fairly standard and all wirings need to be exactly like the diagram to work - any supernumerary ones would have been omitted long ago.

The wiring on the volume pot should be lug1 hot wire from the pickup, lug2 live wire to the jack socket, lug3 needs to be grounded (often this is bent back to touch the side of the pot and soldered to it.  Once the back of the pot is soldered to the ground on the output jack it grounds the body of the pot plus the third lug soldered to the side of the pot body).  Some diagrams don't show the grounding of the third lug clearly.

Regarding the output jack - the hot output wire has to touch the tip of the jack plug when it is inserted.

Looking online it looks like the hotwire solders to the smallest lug. Ground to the longest

Photo from https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/23905-guitar-shop---the-abcs...


David L

Sounds like the sweep of the pots are the problem. This happens often with cheaper brand pots, but it seems like I'm running into it with the medium cost pots too these days.

The cap's job is to pass high's, midrange or bass to ground. A high value pot like .047 will pass off more high's to ground resulting in a bass dominated tone for humbuckers. So you'll want to go back to the .022 cap or you can try a more middle of the road cap like a .033.

Have you tried cleaning the pots out yet?

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.   I think Paul may be right.   I haven't used really cheap parts but perhaps I shpould go up-market a bit.

Try cleaning them out first like Brian suggested, there's how to videos on the net.

I try to stay away from the mini pots because so many that I've bought ended up in the trash can. The larger Alpha pots are starting to become all useless it seems. Bourns pots are usually good as well as CTS and Emerson. The last 2 cost much more. 

It’s because Alpha pots are made in Thailand now, I stopped using them years ago? Cleaning a pot is just simply squirting cleaner into the cavity & rotating the shaft from end to end. You may need to repeat a few times? FYI don’t use cheap cleaner, use Ox-it brand,I’ve been using it for decades, it won’t let you down.

Can you post a pic of your wiring?

Yeah, you should solder a ground wire on top of the pots connecting each other.

From what I read, you have caps for both tone and volume pots? Usually the caps are for the tone pot.  They can make your tone bright or dark depending on the specs. As a ruler,  caps below .022uf would be bright range, and .047uf and up would be the dark range. I think basses are with .1uf caps. Anyway, now you know. ;)

No, I only put a cap on the tone pot.   have changed the pots to a better brand and used a 250pot for tone with a 22 cap ans all is well !!   Thanks for your comments.

On a side note, You can wire in a .047 cap between the neck pickup and the volume pot as a filter for bass to take out dark muddy tone. Usually only needed for higher output humbuckers in the neck position.


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