A potentiometer is a three-terminal resistor with a sliding or rotating contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider or, if only two terminals are used, a variable resistor. They are commonly used for volume and tone controls, and setting bias voltage.
Do you have a crackling and popping sound when adjusting your volume? Poor tone control? These are the signs of a bad potentiometer. An inexpensive replacement that can breathe new life into your gear.