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That is the typical choice. However, it is not essential.

I tried 250K pots on the volume and tone with humbuckers and I didn't like the results.

Gibson uses/used 300K pots in some guitars.

Volume and tone pots do not have to have the same resistance specs (i.e., K ohms)

Too many choices and confusing information?

Go back to the beginning...500K is the typical choice
 

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I have to make this a sticky, because it comes up too often.

The impact of pot-value on pickups will depend on how you normally use your volume control. If it's the sort of thing you generally leave up full, and only turn down if you hear the phone ring, then go with 500k, since it will retain the most treble from HBs by loading them down less. If you are a constant volume tinkerer, then all advantages attributed to 500k are lost the moment you turn down. At full volume, your amp "sees" the pickup and the full resistance of the volume pot. The 8k or so, compared to the 500k of the pot, is the source the amp will "prefer". Turn the volume down a bit, and the amp might see the pickup plus 100k of the pot in series with it, and the remaining 400k of the pot going to ground. The pickup is now a less "preferred" signal source, and you will experience treble loss.

That treble loss may not be a bad thing, depending on how you use your amp tone controls and/or pedals. Players like Jeff Beck tend to dime their amp and turn their guitar volume down, using the loading AS a sort of tone adjustment.

That's why I say, the value of a higher pot value will depend on how you use your volume control when you play.
 

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With a humbucker just stick to 500k Volume and Tone and you'll be happy..
 

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Why was that? What was the resulting sound?
Sorry, I missed this seeing this question.

The 250K Ohm pots just seemed too dark and somehow "subdued" ...for want of a better word. It seemed like the life was partially drained from the pickups. It has been a while now...but that is the impression I remember having.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Greco. I have my Porter humbucker now and I tried a 250k volume pot only. You're right-subdued is the right word for the sound. It was like I was in the next room to the amp.

I have since ordered a couple of 500 k pots.

Cheers
 

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Thanks, Greco. I have my Porter humbucker now and I tried a 250k volume pot only. You're right-subdued is the right word for the sound.
I have a Porter Smooth Alnico II humbucker wound to 7.9k in an Esquire build I made a while back. I used 500k pots for tone and volume and it sounds AMAZING. Even though I have much "better" guitars available, this one gets played a lot because it sounds so good. It lives up to its "smooth" name, but is also nice and clear.

One thing I did with the wiring was that I made an option to totally bypass the volume & tone pots. It is noticeably brighter and louder, so those things definitely have an effect on the resulting tone.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have a Porter Smooth Alnico II humbucker wound to 7.9k in an Esquire build I made a while back. I used 500k pots for tone and volume and it sounds AMAZING. Even though I have much "better" guitars available, this one gets played a lot because it sounds so good. It lives up to its "smooth" name, but is also nice and clear.

One thing I did with the wiring was that I made an option to totally bypass the volume & tone pots. It is noticeably brighter and louder, so those things definitely have an effect on the resulting tone.
Good to know that you used 500k's with the same pickup.
 

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At full volume, your amp "sees" the pickup and the full resistance of the volume pot. The 8k or so, compared to the 500k of the pot, is the source the amp will "prefer". Turn the volume down a bit, and the amp might see the pickup plus 100k of the pot in series with it, and the remaining 400k of the pot going to ground. The pickup is now a less "preferred" signal source, and you will experience treble loss.
Thanks for the post. I would like to read about this in more depth, do you have a source you could share? Thx.
 
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