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How To Make A No Load Tone Pot

In this guide we demonstrate how to modify a standard log (audio) taper pot to make it function as a blender pot (similar to a no load pot).

Blender pots are most commonly used in the popular Strat blend wiring mod which replaces the second tone control on a typical Strat with a blend control - giving a master volume, master tone and the blend control allowing you to blend different pickup combinations together. This allows the player to have the neck and bridge pickups on together, or all three together (as well as the classic Strat switch positions).

A well known nifty trick is all you need to turn your standard tone pot into a blender pot and make the most of the setup by creating a bypass when the blend pot is not in use.

The only difference is this - factory no load tone pots have a noticeable yet subtle click when you rotate the pot from 9 to 10 - this method acts and feels like a standard pot, but between 9 and 10, acts as a true bypass, taking the pot out of the circuit.

how to make a blender potentiometer for guitar

Step One

On a normal CTS pot, gently bend the 4 holding tabs back. These tabs hold the pot together.

making a no load tone pot

Step Two

Gently un assemble the pot - you will have the top plate, lower plate, wiper (with shaft) and the carbon track.

convert normal pot into no load pot

Step Three

Remove approx 3mm (1/8'') of the carbon track where the yellow line is in the above photo. You can use a file, hand saw or a Dremel tool. Go only want to remove the carbon, not the material underneath. Aim to get as close as possible to the solder lug (ie. 10 on the pot).

converting normal potentiometer into blender potentiometer

Next, ensure you blow away the dust and clean the carbon track - you don't want any dust or residue staying on the tracking and causing interference. Re-assemble the pot, bending the 4 tabs firmly back down.

Step Four

how to measure no load blender pot

To test if you have completed the mod correctly, you need to take some readings with a multi meter.

If done properly, the multi meter will give an open reading when the pot is fully open at 10. As you slowly begin to rotate the pot anti clockwise towards 0, the resistance will gradually decrease. If you can turn the pot to 9 (ie. just before the removed track) you should get a resistance reading that is close to the original value of the pot (in this case, 237k, with an original value of 250k). 

It is as simple as that. Just remember to go slow, with a steady hand and be sure to clean the track before re-assembly to avoid any interference. 


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