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Upgrading LP Standard


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I'm suffering from a major case of GAS, but being broke as I am now, gonna have to settle for upgrading my Epi LP standard until I can save some dough for that Goldtop I'm thinking about.


I have a set of old pups I bought a while back, gonna be using those. They're Vintage 59's, so I'm okay with that.


I need new pots, new caps and definitely a new toggle switch... the switch sounds like it's farting every time you toggle!


I guess the posts are 500K, that's what it says, but I don't know if I have to buy short or long shaft, I guess long shaft, but I'd like to be sure. Also, I was told I need 0.20uF caps, but I heard the "Vitamin Q" caps are a huge improvement, so I'd like some info on that matter as well...


I like the TonePros bridge, a huge improvement. I also like the all-metal gibson tuners, they look cool and have real nice reviews. The bridge though sells as "long posts" so I guess that's what I need, don't know for sure, but it says it fits Epis and most imports.


I'd like to replace the nut too, but I'm too chicken to mess around with that and completely destroy the guitar! lol

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long shaft. 500K. go for alpha or cts pots and you'll have to enlarge the shaft holes on the guitar a bit.


I just put masking tape over the holes and drill them out, but I've done it a zillion times, too.


Caps on a guitar really don't matter that much. In fact, there's more than one expert who just goes to radio shack and gets their greenies.

I always use sprague orange drops most of the time. Much less money than vitamin Q and I really have to say in a low voltage application

the extra money seems a waste to me. 4.00 compared to 12.00 and up...


cap values vary with user taste. so .022 to .047 is the typical range.


tone pros comes in metric so you can get the bridge and saddle to fit your epi without any bushing swap.


I don't know what tuners you mean.. the Grovers are what I usually put on, they have choice of keystone style or metal buttons.

And I think they're perfect, used them myself.


You can get a tusq, man made bone-sounds great, to fit the epi, too.

it's pre slotted. The most you'd have to do is sand the bottom a bit to get the height correct.

They make them a bit tall, which is a good thing, all guitars not being perfect to start with. And it's easy.


So you'd want 4 500K audio taper pots..

you'll have to decide to go metric which is stock, or upgrade to usa size.


you need two caps, and if it were me, I'd consider this:

radio shack greenies in three values.. .022 .033 and .047

I'd try each cap on each tone control, and see which I liked best and in combination.

Then I'd probably go buy the sprague orange drops in the value I liked and put them in.

However, as I said, some say why bother spending more if you can't hear the difference.

you don't need over 200volts for guitar caps, by the way.. 50V will do, so .. dont spend extra and get huge caps for it.

You'll want sheilded wire for all the hot wires.


consider treble bleed caps, while you're in there.

these allow you to turn the volume down without decreasing treble, which is what happens without them.

with trebel bleed caps installed, your volume is just a volume, and your tone control handles the tonal changes.

And, again, people prefer different values for those caps. because different values choose which frequencys to bleed through.

and you needn't spend much, ceramic caps will do just fine. Not good enough for the tone caps, but fine for the treble bleed.

so again.. for the cost. go to rat shack and try different values.

If I were you I'd google treble bleed caps and see what others say, then try, say, three values.

you'll need two.

and, again, which value for which pickup could be a preference consideration, don't be afraid to mix and match.


Remember also that your knobs are metric, if they are stock. So if you swap to usa pots, you'll need to swap to usa knobs.


Grovers will go right into an epi les paul goldtop with no changes. so choose between standard rotomatics, and locking tuners.

They have a new model now, which is built like a sperzel, and has the knob on the back.

It lists for 90.00 a set.

The older style, which I use, are like 75.00 a set, list.

the regular tuners, which would be fine, after all you don't have a whammy, are a little less than that.


the tone pros is the 2 11/16 spacing . unless I'm getting senile!.. and runs about 65.00 in chrome.

the metric tail is 35.00 list.


also if I remember correctly, the tusq nut for gibson fits the epi and is 11.00 list.


you can find this stuff at allparts.com and ebay and stewart macdonald and all over the net, really.


best way is to mount everything but the pups on a cardboard and then solder it up, first.

except the switch, too.. you gotta solder it and the pups in last.


check your tuners on the back and see if the screw that goes in there is angled off to the side, or straight down.. you may even have kluson style tuners, I don't know every epi model.. but avoid having to drill a new hole.



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Thanks TWANG for the detailed information.


I think I jinxed the guitar talking about upgrading it, but I was afraid of the toggle switch getting busted and last night it did. It started with the bridge position, no sound, then suddenly there was no sound at all in any position.


If you squeeze the legs of switch tight with two fingers there's sound, if you leave it alone, there's nothing. I tried fixing it for a bit but nothing worked, so I just had to buy a replacement switch and for the time being that Epi is out of commission.


This may be a good time to upgrade it, I guess it needs it. It's fine guitar, frustrating to have her sitting in the stand doing nothing.


Thanks again for the info on the pots and other parts.

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I'm getting a bit confused.


I checked out all the parts mentioned, asked around a bit and some suggest 'short shaft' pots for the Epi 'cause the top is just a veneer. I don't know. I looked at the pots and they do look different than the short shaft, but I know pictures on a web site can be misleading.


This is for an Epi Les Paul Standard, so I would appreciate any clarifications.



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My Epi took 3/8" (short shaft) My Gibson L.P. takes 3/4" (long shaft) because it has a ground plate.

Yours may be different, but it is easy enough to check.

Pull a knob (or two) after taking off the back blate. Remove a pot...or two ...(if you need the extra wire to get it out. )

Measure it. The 3/8 or 3/4 reffers to the thread legnth.

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Awhile back there was a member named RotcanX. The subject of audio pots and linear pots would raise the

hair on the back of his neck. (Do a search on pots and you will have a fair amount of reading)


A= Audio.......B= Linear (If I am wrong, someone correct me.)


Take the cover plate off the back of your guitar. Look at the back of the pots.

Now, you tell me what you see.


If they are typical stock alpha pots they should say Alpha on them. They should also have a number....i.e.....

B500 or A500.


I would be interested in what you see.....BTW...What year is your Standard?

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All pots are labeled A500KO


The guitar's a 2007, I'm looking to replace the pots because they seem to be crappy in response when compared to my Gibsons. You either get full volume or nothing at all, it's annoying. I got a pair o SD's I ordered a while back, but I'm holding on installing those until I get the pots replaced.


I also heard tons of bad things about the jack, so I'm looking to replace that as well.

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First, I agree with TWANG. I have used all audio taper pots and never had any problems.


Second; many people, not all, do recommend using linear pots for the tone controlls.

Now here is the catch. The reason I asked you to take a look at yours was because the Epi L.P.s that I have

came with linear taper for the volume and audio taper for the tone. (No, I didn't get it backwards.)

As previously stated this has at times caused debate.

Wiggy was asking similiar information back in July.

Read this post and look at the pictures:




Personally, I think the main thing is just adding quality "after market" pots. They will be smoother and more responsive than the factory pots. I, like TWANG, used all audio taper.

Let's hope to hear what some of the other members have used.

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I'd have to agree with everything said here so far, about upgrading the electronics, except the part about the caps. Good .022uf Paper in Oil caps (PIO) with a 400V rating are warmer sounding and more reactive compared to cheap ceramics. 400V caps are physicaly larger and have more dielectric material in them than do lower rated caps.

I wouldn't pay more than $20.00 a pair though. There are some nice new Soviet Military Caps out there for cheap as well as vintage Sprague bumble bees if you are willing to accept a value other than .022UF. For example Old .015's can drift up to aprox .022 over time. (and they are alot cheaper). As for the working Voltage, true the circuit does not contain high voltage, but the reactance of the 400V cap seems to sound better than lower values IMHO. If you just leave your tone pots on 10 all day don't bother, but if you want to hear the tone roll off in a sweeter more woody tone PIO's are worth the price of admission. ;-) PS Orange drops sound fine , they just have a little less MOJO to my ears.

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Never use ceramics for anything but treble bleed caps where it doesn't matter much.

Use polys or go ahead and get the paper in oil caps. several varietys out there..

A guitar has such low voltages in them, I typically tell people don't use over 200V. .they wont form well.

But in fact, I guess they wont form at 200V anyway because they never see 200V.

Coolcarl could have his finger on something.. a lot of people swear by those caps and the values he mentions!


I used orange drops and mallorys, and I 'thought' the mallorys sounded warmer.

I honestly chose orange drops because they're orange!

how's that for mojo!

But they sound good.

In my amp, there was no doubt, the orange drops were a brighter spikier sound.. I went by that for guitar use, too.

I guess I'm going to have to break down and try some of those spendy caps.


where's laybooma when you need him?



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My Gibson LP Studio and SG both used ceramic disc caps on the tone controls, right from the factory. I replaced them with orange drops. It warmed the sound up nicely.

I just looked in the back of my Epiphone Ultra I. It uses a rectangular, brown ceramic device. Not sure if it is silver-mica. They are nicely installed and impossible to read without taking them out. They have a great sound when you roll off the treble.

The whole guitar sound is subjective. Don't forget the amp you are playing through. All the guitar mods in the world won't improve your sound if the amp can't produce the sound you want.

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