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Vintage wiring upgrade on a 335 - worth it?

#1 User is offline   ESP-335 

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 07:07 AM

Hi - I was wondering if anyone who has upgraded their ES335 wiring to "vintage" specs (using parts/wiring harness from RS or others) would care to comment on their opinion of the improvement.

Basically, was it worth the cost and effort? I've seen the RS videos so I know how much effort goes into the project, even if you buy the ready-assembled harness. If you read the descriptions for the products out there, you would think that the difference is like night and day between "vintage" wiring and what Gibson put into the guitar when it was made.

If you have done the work and care to comment, would you also identify what you changed and where you got the parts?

Thanks, Ed
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#2 User is offline   Bookkeeper's Son 

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 07:52 AM

From my experience and observations, the improvement claims are utter nonsense. The guitar aftermarket is on par with the penis size enhancement pill business, making extravagant claims that are pretty ridiculous. I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Personally, for repair purposes (scratchy pots, iffy 3-way switch), I've installed CTS pots, Switchcraft 3-way, Switchcraft jack, "vintage" (I hate that term) cloth-covered wire. Fixed my problems, but the guitar, of course, sounded exactly the same.
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#3 User is offline   ESP-335 

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 10:30 AM

I sort of figured that was the case - Thanks. Looking forward to receiving more comments.
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#4 User is offline   martinh 

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 03:57 PM

As an elctrical engineer, I'd add that, within reasonable limits , wire is just wire! At the sort of frequencies and impedences present in the circuit path of a guitar, the insulation, wire guage, number of strands etc. has no scientifically discernable effect. Cloth covered wire sounds identical to plastic covered and so on, although those who are totally into the vintage obsession may claim otherwise.

There are such things as better quality potentiometers, The higher quality pot typically is more robust, has a smoother feel when rotated, and will last longer. However, unless it has an exotic taper not found in the standard pots, it won't sound one bit different. Ditto with switches - better feel, longer lasting, but not better sounding.
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#5 User is offline   ESP-335 

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 04:56 PM

View Postmartinh, on 14 July 2011 - 03:57 PM, said:

As an elctrical engineer, I'd add that, within reasonable limits , wire is just wire! At the sort of frequencies and impedences present in the circuit path of a guitar, the insulation, wire guage, number of strands etc. has no scientifically discernable effect. Cloth covered wire sounds identical to plastic covered and so on, although those who are totally into the vintage obsession may claim otherwise.

There are such things as better quality potentiometers, The higher quality pot typically is more robust, has a smoother feel when rotated, and will last longer. However, unless it has an exotic taper not found in the standard pots, it won't sound one bit different. Ditto with switches - better feel, longer lasting, but not better sounding.


Again - thank you for the comment! Ed
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#6 User is offline   Little Jay 

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:56 AM

I have messed around quite a bit with different pots, caps and wires in my Epiphone Sheraton and in other Japanese hollowbodies and soundswise I have never noticed any difference between the thin plastic covered wires, the asian mini-pots and caps and CTS-pots, Orangedrops and cloth wire.....

The feel and useful range of a good pot differs from cheap pots though, but soundwise: leave it as is and save yourself the trouble and money I'd say.
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#7 User is offline   SamBooka 

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:12 AM

View PostLittle Jay, on 15 July 2011 - 01:56 AM, said:

The feel and useful range of a good pot differs from cheap pots though, but soundwise: leave it as is and save yourself the trouble and money I'd say.


I dont remember the lasts time I changed a bad pot.. I usually change them for the reason above. CTS has a nice feel, I like the taper on some Alpha's tho.
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#8 User is offline   guitarfish 

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

I have a 2009 and darn if it isn't impeccable in every way. I haven't had the desire to change one thing on it.
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#9 User is offline   sok66 

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 05:00 PM

" From my experience and observations, the improvement claims are utter nonsense. The guitar aftermarket is on par with the penis size enhancement pill business, making extravagant claims that are pretty ridiculous. I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Personally, for repair purposes (scratchy pots, iffy 3-way switch), I've installed CTS pots, Switchcraft 3-way, Switchcraft jack, "vintage" (I hate that term) cloth-covered wire. Fixed my problems, but the guitar, of course, sounded exactly the same. "

Lol! Pay attention, folks, this was posted by someone who obviously understands. Well stated and spot on!
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#10 User is offline   littlejohnny 

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 01:15 PM

I think you have to specify the meaning of "vintage" here.

I think all Gibson guitars in the 50ies came with 500k volume pots. I don't know exactly when gibson did change that, but today all gibsons, except some custom shop models, come with 300k volume pots.
Used or not used, the 500k vs. 300k makes a difference in sound. I don't understand all this stuff, but it seems to be a scientific fact. The 500k pot will sound brighter.


Another thing is how the volume pots and caps are wired. The way these parts are wired will change the effect of the use of all the pots. When you ask if it's worth to use a vintage wiring, you have to ask yourself, if you want your volume and tone control act in certain way. You will find all the information about wirings and what they do and a million opinions which one is better on the internet.

I'm going to change my es 335 to 5oies wiring with 500k volume pots, cause I simply like the way the pots act. I tried it on my Les Paul and I'm very pleased with the result.

As far as the aftermarket goes. The only thing I need to make that mod, is two 500k volume pots and a soldering iron...and since its an es a quite some time and alot of patience!
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#11 User is offline   Trapland 

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 11:38 PM

View Postsok66, on 15 July 2011 - 05:00 PM, said:

" From my experience and observations, the improvement claims are utter nonsense. The guitar aftermarket is on par with the penis size enhancement pill business, making extravagant claims that are pretty ridiculous. I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Personally, for repair purposes (scratchy pots, iffy 3-way switch), I've installed CTS pots, Switchcraft 3-way, Switchcraft jack, "vintage" (I hate that term) cloth-covered wire. Fixed my problems, but the guitar, of course, sounded exactly the same. "

Lol! Pay attention, folks, this was posted by someone who obviously understands. Well stated and spot on!


I know it's an old thread but the idea that there is a harness is laughable. It's a made up term that sellers use to generalize a group of parts that they believe are too complex for their customers to assemble.

Look, if you can solder, and follow the most basic of diagrams, you can install all of the electronics in your guitar without any need to build a magical "harness".

As far as what it will do for you, ...
....well the wire itself that Gibson uses is excellent quality. There is no measurable difference in Audi frequencies between Gibson shielded wire and anyone else's. And in cases of RF leakage the Gibson braided wire might be superior to so,e aftermarket offerings.
Gibson switches and jacks are excellent Carling and similar quality. Nothing significantly better is offered on the aftermarket.

That leases 2 items. One is capacitors. Notwithstanding the rated value, most good guality caps are going to sound identical (and look so on a scope) at audio frequencies. Some cheaper or vintage or out of spec caps can have measurable inductance that might vary at a given frequency and give those caps characteristic behavior. Also you can simply change values toget different effect and that is worth trying. Similar value caps MAY HAVE VERY SUBTLE differences, most won't hear it, a few will THINK the do (and got their money's worth.

Now potentiometers. This is the one part of the electronics that can have a large effect. Gibson uses CTS pots, a quality brand by anyone's standard. Over many years past they have used some pots that were very low value like 300kohm or even 500k with such a wide tolerance as to get as low as 400k.200,100, heck even 50kohm difference in value can have a big effect on tone. The higher you go the brighter and louder your pickups will sound. Get too high like 1 megohm and the get harsh. If a guitar has a dull lifeless or even downright muddy sound, replacing pots before pickups is almost always the best choice. Once you have the jangle you need then you can try pickups for more loss, mids weaker or hotter output.

So to summarize mostly all anyone really needs is the pots and maybe only the 2 volume ones at that. Why would you pay for yards of wire, overpriced caps and extra pots you don't need put together at a labor rate a nuclear physicist makes when a few minutes with a soldering iron can replace those volume pots for $20 and get at least 99% of the change? Just order anyone's Vintage style audio taper 550k pots and you'll be fine. Or if you truly want to pay $200 for $50 worth of parts, most of which you already have, go for it.

Gibson current offering for parts are excellent. Don't change them unless you just have to fix things that ain't broken.
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