UPgrade Your elecTronics
fitted with various pots – short for potentiometers – switches and sockets,” continues Simon Law. “Some of these can be okay, but many affordable electrics are fitted with relatively modestquality volume pots, sockets and switches. A better-quality pot can give a better ‘sweep’ from one end of its range to the other and a better tone. Most single-coil pickups guitars are fitted with 250k pots; this value is chosen for its tonal response to the pickups themselves. If these measure less than 250k, then the guitar can become dark and dull sounding. If they measure more, then they can be bright and shrill. So ideally their actual value needs to be as close to the 250k as possible.
“The same goes for the 500k pots fitted to humbucker-equipped guitars. Makers like CTS, Alpha and Emerson make some amazing replacements for not a huge amount of money, and they really are worth every penny. For me, the best sockets are made by Switchcraft. Switchcraft also makes the best Gibson-styled switches – while, for Fender type guitars, I’d recommend getting a US-made CRL switch. All these can be fitted relatively easily by anyone with a soldering iron and a little patience – just take some pictures and copy the wiring like for like.”