My 2007 Fender American Standard Stratocaster has a problem with the volume control.

The problem is that the volume drops off a "cliff" and cuts out suddenly when you move the control below the 3 position. The whole range of the volume control seems weirdly non-linear with a plateau in the middle of the range. Also when plugged in at high gain, there is a hiss which is louder at 1 (off) than it is at 2.

I thought I had a bad pot, so I purchased a Fender-branded replacement (250k) and soldered it in. The problem is still occurring.

It is wired the same as the factory spec (see diagram).

I'd like a nice smooth linear range from 1 (complete silence) to 10 (full volume). What might the problem be? What are my options?

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  • 1
    Could it be you plug guitar into an input for active signal, e.g. low resistance volume pedal, line input in a mixer?... Oct 14, 2020 at 15:44
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    One more question: did you make sure to connect all three legs of the pot: signal in, signal out, ground, as shown in the diagram? Oct 14, 2020 at 15:48
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    I thought all Strats did something like this - big, expensive custom pot to actually get 'smooth' to the ear. Personally, I've never bothered, mine has been "steppy" since I got it, 35 years ago. I used to have a '64 with the same issue, though I did fix my old Jen Cry Baby with the 'posh pot' method, as they really don't want to be steppy.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 14, 2020 at 16:49
  • 3
    Logarithmic pots (the kind used for volume control usually) are usually done by stacking linear resistive "routes" with increasing slopes one after the other, to mimick the log curve. Expensive ones are "true" log. An easy workaround is sometimes to use a lin pot of the same value a soldier a resistor of 1/10 of this value between the low and mid connection of the pot. That does mimick the behavior of a true log pot see "Modifications sur potentiomètre linéaire" section (sorry, in French :/).
    – Tom
    Oct 14, 2020 at 19:47
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    is there a letter code on the pot? this code usually indicates taper %
    – Yorik
    Oct 14, 2020 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


I had a similar issue with my ’89 Deluxe Strat Plus, the volume went to zero below about 3 on the dial. I bought an aftermarket pot to replace it from a local music store. Never having done this before, I asked a few questions and was told to make sure the pot is at zero when being soldered. Apparently heat from soldering can conduct through the wires and damage the pot in whatever position it is in while being installed, so keeping it at zero prevents a dead spot/area. I heeded the advice and now have a fully functional volume pot.

My only complaint is that the pot I used has a longer post on it than the original, so it sits higher than my tone knobs and isn’t flush against the pick guard. Hasn’t caused any playing issues, but not ideal aesthetically, so be aware if you want to avoid the same.

  • Yep, I may be heading in a similar direction. Or, I may just learn to live with it. I'm not quite sure yet,
    – Sharp
    Oct 15, 2020 at 1:28
  • I marked this as answered because I checked another different American Standard Strat has the same problem (not exactly the same but very similar) and it looks like the only way to fix this general problem may be to get custom or boutique parts and/or wiring.
    – Sharp
    Oct 17, 2020 at 14:18
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    Additional research also shows that because I am using an "Audio Taper" pot (marked "A" not "B", this is apparently standard on Strats) the drop-off below 3 is completely expected. I probably need to go to a linear ("B") pot.
    – Sharp
    Oct 17, 2020 at 14:31

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