Humbucker single coil with Delta Tone System Fender

Good evening to everybody,

I've bought a Seymour Duncan Little '59 humbucker for my American Standard Stratocaster. It's a Fender with the Delta Tone System (a no-load tone-pot). Now... the best thing to do when you buy an humbucker single coil is to change the volume pot and install a 500k pot. My question: may I change the volume pot on my American Standard Telecaster or there will be problems with the Delta Tone System?
Thank you for your help,

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The impedance of the volume pot will have no pronounced effect on the no load tone control.

You may find that changing it to 500K may make the reaming single coil pups overly bright.

However, I encourage you to try it and see how you like it.  A Strat is an electronics experimenter's dream.  Just remember, it can always be returned to 'stock wiring'  if something goes awry.

BTW: The SD Little '59 is a fantastic pup for the bridge position in a Strat.  Of course, I'm the guy that's personally never heard a single coil bridge pup in a Strat that didn't sound like it needed some (a lot) of help.  Excellent choice (:

Best of luck and happy experimenting,


The volume pot will not effect the operation of no-load tone , but the neck and middle may be too bright as Paul says.

Most of the time I don't change the volume pot, because I don't want the other pickups to sound too bright, and because I think the Little '59 sounds good with a 250kOhms pot. Don't bother about the tone pot.

If my memory serves me well I recall that the SD Little 59 is actually designed to use a 250k pot as a primary option (it's a ceramic magnet as well which is not common knowledge) - a 500k pot with this pup, especially in the Strat bridge position will sound like an icepick in your ear. 

FYI, the Dimarzio Chopper/ Fast Track/Cruiser series is also a good alternative in this application and the blade configuration and tone seems to do a little better than the SD "Little series"stuff.  The Chopper in particular is hard to beat for an all round sound and splits much better than the SD in the Strat application.


Yep... Rusty... The wiring diagram of the SD Little 59 presents a 250k volume pot but @ the SD they told me that a 500k volume pot "will let more of the pickups inherent tone come through, mostly noticeable in the sparkle of the treble".

So... my question now is a bit strange but I can't understand how a 500k volume pot can change the inherent tone of the pup. Please... could anybody explain it to me?

A 250k and a 500k volume pot, when they are all open (10 position) have the same impedance: 0 ohm. So, if I'm right, changing volume pot has no sense if you play with the volume pot always at 10.

But... when my volume pot is not at 10, for exemple it's at 5, how could it change the inherent tone of the pup?! It's a volume pot, not a tone pot... I don't understand! An impedance of 350kohm or of 400kohm (that is, impedance that are impossible with a 250k volume pot) how can change or improve my tone?

I'd like to know how things happens (and not only changing pot and trying the sound blindly)

Hi Stefano,

To save a bit of time and effort, Google "how a volume pot works" and go to the STEWMAC explanation which is a good explanation of how it all happens.  When the guitar is maxed out it's the opposite to what one would think and the degree to which frequencies bleed to ground are governed by the total resistance <R> (slightly different to impedance <Z> which is also in the mix)) seen which in turn is governed by which pots the pickup can "see".  

It get confusing pretty quick and some in-depth knowledge of electrical theory is required.  This is beyond the scope of an answer within the forum context (for me anyway) and a bit of study on the net is required if you want a complete understanding of these circuits. 

But, if you want sparkle in your treble just stick to single coil pups anyway - the humbucker is generally accepted as giving a fat punchy sound and dumping the brightness to some extent - that's the reason for being for most humbuckers. 

And this subject gets messy very quicky as well: more study is the answer.  Good luck and perhaps a fellow forum member may wish to take some time on this.



In fact, when the volume is on ten, there is 250 or 500kOhms between the pickup and the ground. The capacity, the inductance and the resistance found in the global circuitry (including of course the pot but also the cable, amp's input, pickup) makes an RLC circuitry, which is a low pass filter. Changing the volume pot value changes the circuitry resonance gain, which frequency is most of the time around 1 to 8 kHz. Changing the gain of the guitar in that area is very audible.

You can check that article :

The load of the pot is always present, even when all the way up. The lower the resistance of the pot, the greater loss of highs when the pot is fully open. 250K pots will bleed more highs to ground than 500K or 1 Megpots. The first Fender guitars (prototypes) had 1 Meg pots and Leo thought they sounded too brittle and settled on 250K pots. Humbuckers, in general, half less high end so you want to preserve the highs by using 300K (Gibson's choice) to 500K pots. When the first Dimarzio humbuckers were characterized as "Muddy", Dimarzio suggested using 1Meg pots. They were still muddy.

You might try wiring a guitar with a switch that sends a pick-up stright to the output, bypassing volume and tone controls. Some people hear this as having "more tone".


Stew mac is now selling a pot with the bypass built in. There is a click at the end of the rotation that bypasses the pot. I'll play with one evntually.



Your memory's perfect Rusty, it indeed is a ceramic magnet. And I found that DiMarzio's or Seymour blade models (cool rails and hot rails) are better too.


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