Swapping out pickups, pots and switch

I’m just wanting to get all my ducks in a row for swapping out the electronics on my super cheap Strat. The config is HSS.

I’ve been looking at what I need and just want to make sure I’m buying the correct things.

I’ll list the items below and please could someone confirm that I have picked right for what I am wanting to do?

Pickups, I’m going with the Texas Loco ones.




Does that look about everything?

Thank you. :slight_smile:

Looks good to me, you definitely won’t regret buying the Irongear pickups!

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Thank you Darrell. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into this one.

It’s definitely worth the effort, you should notice quite a difference in the way it sounds and the way the pots work.

Hi Stefan,

  • Be sure you are aware of the pot resistance. I don’t see it specified. pickup says they recommend 250k.
  • Make sure you understand what the cap value you are choosing will sound like with the pot you are choosing. This will be a part of your tone. Your choice does not match the manufacturer cap value, and you will roll off the high end less than they are demonstrating in the samples, and the peak will be higher in frequency.
  • The set you are looking at appears to be SSS, but you claim HSS strat. Will it fit?
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@DarrellW I’m sure I will. I never thought I’d notice a difference but I’ve already noticed between my more expensive Tele and the cheapo Strat, so I cannot wait to get the new gear in.

@sequences Thanks Michael. I’d gone off the info below the pickups. It says

Recommended Components: 500kOhm Pots, .033µF Tone Capacitor(s)

That’s why I was checking I have got the correct items. This is all new to me.

I’ve definitely picked HSS. Picture below. :slight_smile:



Digging a bit more… Looks like you have the steam hammer + texas loco. I was looking just at the texas alone.

Texas want 250k/0.033uf. 500k won’t be any big deal other than you may find that your useful range is smaller on the pot rotation. No big deal to go 500k.

The 0.033uF cap on the steam hammer will pull in the rolloff a little and I see where they recommend it. So looks ok here.

Are you skilled with soldering? If not, I can give pointers. I’ve been soldering for 50 years, and do a pretty good job (better than many of my technicians over the years!)

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Yes, sorry I didn’t say they were the steam hammer ones.

Thank you for that Michael.

No, never done any before, so some pointers would be very much appreciated.

ok I’ll put together something kinda fancy over the next couple days. Today, I have a trip to a couple guitar stores in the plan! I figure I have a few days before you get your order. :slight_smile:


Oh yeah, no rush, just whenever is good for you but that will be great. Thank you. :slight_smile:

Advice on how not to do it hear.

I do welding not soldering !

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Are you going to need a resistor in parallel with the cap for a treble bleed?

Will you need a push-pull or push-push pot to split the humbucker?

Does the length of the pots match the length of the pots currently on?

If you are going to use the same knobs? Of so, check that the knobs fit the new pots.

I think you’ll also need some wire like this for example: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08BZKM7R5?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

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One can always convert a 500kΩ poteniometer to a 250kΩ one by soldering a 500kΩ resistor in parallel with it.



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Is that easier than replacing it?

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Usually, yes.

Typically, the pot has one of the outside terminals connected to ground. The resistor would go between the other two.

This can usually be done in place without removing the pot.




@TheMadman_tobyjenner Thanks for the link Toby but none of your pictures are loading in for me. :frowning:

@Lefteris Good questions, so here goes.

  1. I have no idea. Can anyone else answer this please?
  2. I’m not bothered about splitting the humbucker.
  3. Not sure. I’d best take one out and give it a measure. In my naivety I thought they would all be the same size.
  4. I was going to, so, thank you I’ll check that. Again, I just thought they would all be the same size.
  5. What will the wire be for? Do I not get the wires I need when I buy the pickups?

@Majik Do I need to convert them? Or are you just saying I can do if I’d bought 500s and they needed to be 250s?

Not as straight forward as I was hoping it was going to be. :smiley:

Thanks everyone.

It’s a way of converting a 500k to a 250k if you want to.

You don’t need to do this. The 500k will work even if the recommendation is for a 250k.

But if you decide you want to, it’s an option. For instance, if you have ordered a 500k and don’t want to re-order a 250k and wait for it, or have to swap it out later, then it’s an option.

You could stick the 500k in and, if you think the range of the pot isn’t right, you can solder a 500k resistor to it at a later date to try it out.



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Thank you for that Keith, which now raises another question, if you don’t mind answering it please?

What is the difference between 500 and 250 and what factors make you need one over the other?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Hi Stefan @SgtColon!

Sorry if I confused more with my questions. :frowning:

My Epiphone has that from the factory. I like it.
Not sure about my Ibanez but I haven’t put it on my SSS guitar.
I think it’s preference. Resistors are sold for peanuts, get one and you can put it on at any time.
Some references: Seymour Duncan 3 Popular Treble Bleed Mods: What You Need to Kno and
Bonus reference on capacitors: Seymour Duncan What Tone Capacitors Do I Need For My Guitar? - Guitar Pickups, Bass Pickups, Pedals

Some have longer shafts I think. Best make sure :wink:
I had to use a lot of washers as spacers on my SSS because of that (otherwise there would be a huge gap between the knob and pickguard) but fortunately the cavity was also deep enough to accommodate them.

Usually those knobs on the inside have some splines or “teeth”. Some have 18, some have 24.
They match the teeth of the pots. The pots you showed have 24. Regardless of whether you’re keeping the knobs you already have or buying new, that number will guide the choice.

The pickups have their own wires to connect them to the selector switch and potentiometers.
You need some more wire for the ground connections and to connect the selector switch with the volume pot, the volume pot with the output jack and make the connections between tone and volume pots. Ask IronGear to send you a wiring diagram for an HSS (they don’t seem to have one on their website).

I hope I’m not confusing you more!

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That’s a question with a complex technical answer.

Without going into too much detail of electronics, electronic components have various characteristics which work together to affect the signal. The pickups may, for instance, have a high or low output depending on the construction.

Resistance is, like it sounds, something which “resists” the flow of electrical signal.

For the “volume” control on the guitar, the resistance (measured in ohms, symbol Ω) between the input from the pickups and the output jack will affect how much of the signal gets through: the bigger the resistance, the less signal get through. The volume control is a potentiometer (or “pot”) which is, basically, a variable resistance device which goes from low resistance to high resistance. The rating is the highest resistance that the pot will go to.

So a 250kΩ pot will adjust between (approximately) 0 Ω to 250kΩ (kΩ is 1,000 Ω). When you turn the volume fully “up”, to allow the maximum signal to be sent to the amp, the resistance of the pot is nearly 0Ω. When you turn it fully off, the resistance is at the maximum (either 250kΩ or 500kΩ).

At the halfway point, it’s somewhere between the two. A linear 500kΩ pot will have a resistance of around 250kΩ at its halfway setting.

If you compare a linear 500kΩ and 250kΩ pot as a volume control, turning down a 500kΩ pot will reduce the output level approximately twice as quickly as turning down a 250kΩ pot.

Or, put another way, the 500kΩ pot set halfway will be the same signal level as the 250kΩ pot when fully off.

The impact on the tone control is similar, although it’s a fair bit more complex to explain why.

Basically, the other components, especially the pickups. As i said, pickups can be high or low output (or somewhere inbetween).

If you, for instance, use a 250kΩ pot with a high-output pickup where a 500kΩ pot should really be used, then you could find the volume control of the guitar won’t turn fully off.