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Difference Between Volume And Tone Pots


maynard85
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Hi I'm sorry if this has been asked and answered before so if it has, please direct me to the post.

I am wondering..is there a difference between a tone pot and volume pot or are they the same and the only difference is how each is used, meaning how the pickups are wired to them? I recently bought an active pickup and 2 pots came with it but I am not sure if they're two tone pots (why I would need two for one pickup, I couldn't posisbly know) or one is meant for tone and the other is meant for volume.

Thank you

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Only difference is how they're wired.

A volume pot bleeds the entire signal to ground, which means that you go from full to no signal (it all goes to ground).

A tone pot passes the signal through a capacitor, which only cuts certain frequencies... not sure how the electronics of it work... but since only "some" of the signal gets sent to ground, you don't get much of a volume drop (though strictly scientifically speaking, there's SOME!)

That's the over-detailed and not 100% researched version, so the short version is:

the actual potentiometers are identical in 99.99% of passive guitar setups.

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I'm not sure what you mean, suicide...

You don't have to go to your vol knob directly from your pickups.

I have to admit, I didn't read the first post carefully, though-- but the information should still hopefully end up being the same-- if they're not active circuits (little circuit boards stuck directly on the pot usually) then they're usually just 25K pots for actives with integral preamps (EMG, for example). It'd be helpful to have a photo or at least a description of what's on the pickup and pots in terms of text.

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It's a Seymour Duncan Livewire Metal Humbucker. It's active and they are both 100k pots.

On the diagram the volume and tone pots look different so suddenly I was confused as to whether or not they were both tone or both volume or what the hell was happening.

Anyway I have decided to just return the pickup because I didn't realize it was an active pickup when I ordered it then I tried to cancel the order but Musician's Friend told me it was already shipped out so I culdn't cancel...even though it was a Sunday and I had ordered that morning.

I probably should have just sent it back without opening it but I figured what the hell. Of course the damn box lies when it says no guitar mod. necessary. So far, the new stereo input jack is too big for the hole and the pots are too big for their holes and the pickup itself doesn't fit too well. The pickup is straight edged and the holes have rounded edges.

But enough complaining about that. Thanks for your responses and damn I didn't even notice till just now that on the diagram the wires only go to the volume pots. So many damn lines all over the place it's annoying to look at. They should be color diagrams.

I'm gonna guess that on this particular site you strongly suggest making your own pickups instead of spending money on overpriced annoyances?

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I'm not sure what you mean, suicide...

You don't have to go to your vol knob directly from your pickups.

true, but the output from the pickups does hit the volume put first, either from the pickup itself or from a switch etc..... at least from what ive seen. i should have worded my reply differently

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I'm not sure what you mean, suicide...

You don't have to go to your vol knob directly from your pickups.

true, but the output from the pickups does hit the volume put first, either from the pickup itself or from a switch etc..... at least from what ive seen. i should have worded my reply differently

I wired mine thru the tones then thru switch then to volume. idk i guess anyway works

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huh? "they're the same" usually means you CAN swap them!

One of my guitars was wired up with a push-pull tone knob and a regular volume knob. I switched them around so that the volume is the push-pull. (not because I wanted the vol to be push/pull per se, but because I wanted the push/pull and the vol knob both to be within easy reach. :D )

I suppose in some cases one might use log and one might use audio taper, but it'd be rare. Most manufactured guitars use audio taper for both.

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huh? "they're the same" usually means you CAN swap them!.........

I suppose in some cases one might use log and one might use audio taper, but it'd be rare. Most manufactured guitars use audio taper for both.

I think that should read, most MODERN guitars use audio taper for both. I was surprised when I ordered a Les Paul wiring kit from StewMac & all the pots were logarithmic but when I worked on a friends strat copy it also had the same pots throughout. However, until that point I had only seen Log's on volumes & linear's on tones. I even double checked my Jap strat & my brother's 90's Ibanez to make sure & they used both types of pots. I'm not sure if it was a price issue or something or if the sound is noticeably different when using log pots on the tone control but it is definitely noticable on volume controls. I would certainly not use a linear pot on a volume control unless you're strictly an on/off person.

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