Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

50s style wiring on Classic Custom


btoth76

Recommended Posts

Hello Friends! I know that tone is a subjective thing, but I need Your opinions on this: is it worth changing the stock wiring, pots, and caps of a '57 Classic/'57 Classic+ equipped Classic Custom to 50s style harness? I was thinking of changing it to a pre-wired harness with 500K audio taper pots and (Luxe Repro) Bumblebees (.015/.022 micro-Farad neck/bridge).

My father is electro-technician (who doesn't know much about guitars) says a cap is a cap, no matter it's a PIO or ceramic if the values are the same, it should do the same thing with the same effect. Seen a lot of YT videos but can't judge this by watching those. There also seems to be lot of debates going on...

I would like to hear Your opinions. What experiences do You have with this mod? What audible change did You get with this swap? Which set would You recommend, if any?

My quest is to get that real, classic more mellow, deeper, throaty LP tone without pickup swap. For reference:

 

Thank You in advance... Cheers... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If its on a Metal Plate like this:

SAM_0102.jpg

You already have it in 50's wiring setup. (Just a different format of it)

 

Bumble Bee's are a MUST as they take out the highs and are alot better than say an Orange Drop.

 

The only way to get a more nasall sound is to Peter Green a pickup.

Theirs plenty of videos on how but if you get a luthier to do it costs should be £30-50

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello GMT! Thank You so much, glad someone understood what I am looking for! :) I feel that the stock guitar is a bit bright sounding. That's the wiring what I have - pots on a metal plate with small blue ceramic caps! That's good news. So I only need the caps then...Luxe Repros are OK, or get vintage 50s ones (which might be dried up - this is matter of luck then)? What about those pots, do they make difference? The stock ones are 300/500K. One more thing: can I use a push/pull pot to put the stock pickups out-of-phase, or do I need 4-conductor wire pickups for that? Cheers... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use USA Made Bumble's imported at £36 a set so they don't have to be ORIGINAL, However the Gibson versions are just normal caps with a "Bumble" covering (As my Luthier tells me)

If that bumbles aren't producing a mellow enough sound then go with the Peter Green'ing

 

Regarding the Push Pull option I did this with an Epi and using some "Unique" wiring got it out of phase using normal 490/498's However the draw back was it hummed quite badly and if you touched the pickup with the string it would kill the sound!

I would definitely recommend reversing the magnet as you get more output options

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSEArJuxQMQ

 

The Pots are fine 300K's are needed to restrict the output (all 500K's would produce brighter output)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank You again! Your help is much appreciated! You've actually saved me some money. :) I'll install the Luxe Repros and see what happens. I've heard the same thing too about the Bumblebees Gibson uses. I'll skip the push/pull thing, definitely don't want to have any issues with the otherwise fantastic guitar. Great playing and tone! Thanks again... Bence :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second all of what G.M.T. has already said.

 

As far as caps go;

 

I was doubtful about any noticeable change when swapping caps of the same value - ceramic for PIO - but I changed a pair of Orange Drop ceramics for a pair of 'Luxe' repro PIO 'Bees (and as GMT says, modern Gibson 'Bees are merely ceramics with a pretty cover) in a 1960 Classic fitted with a pair of SD Antiquities and it made a world of a difference.

 

They somehow 'opened out' the sound. The p'ups had more warmth and also more 'depth' to the sound. I don't know why this should be the case - and apparently not all guitars deliver the same benefits - but it instantly transformed what had been a fairly dull-sounding LP into my all-time #2 favourite guitar.

 

This isn't where I got mine but they seem to be the same spec;

http://guitar-xperience.com/onlinestore/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=660&category_id=205&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=38

 

As for the wiring;

 

I like the way a '50s wiring layout with 500k audio taper pots work. In my experience, this style means that a lot of the tonal change happens in the last 1/10th of a turn of the pot. I don't know what you are used to / prefer / have.

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hello Friends! My quest for PIOs finally ended. It was a long journey! First finding out which ones would bring me the tone I like, then finding a place where they are sold new. At first, I thought the Luxe Repros would be the ones, but I found out they are just new-old-stock PIOs of other brand wrapped into Bumblebee covers. Then, following my father's suggestion I settled on Jensens. Directly ordered a pair of 0.022s from Jensen Denmark, payed thru PayPal and...got nothing! They aren't even answering mails anymore! Anyways, I found a shop in Budapest which is selling the leftovers from their AMPOHM stock of caps. AMPOHM is an English company that hand-produces high-end PIOs. (This one: http://www.audiocap.co.uk/ampohm-0022uf-22nf-paper-in-oil-tin-foil-audio-capacitor-335-p.asp). So, they went into my Classic Custom on the weekend. The result: new guitar. The tone control - which seemed almost dead - now adjustable in a wide range! The sound got mellower, a hollower. It has a real vintage tone now! Surprisingly, - and this was really unexpected - it increased the sustain as well! So the hands of fate led me to a very satisfying solution. :)

 

PIO.jpg

 

Cheers... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad to hear you got (more than) the improvement in tone you were after, Bence!

 

Bad news about Jensen, though. Any chance of a refund through PayPal? It's worth an e-mail or two to them.

 

All-in-all a good result, though. And one more person who finds a change to PIO actually does make a difference!

 

[thumbup]

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank You, Pippy! I have to correct my previous statement, due to the fact that Jensen has sent me an invoice in email since my post. That's all so far, but at least I've heard from them. Maybe it shouldn't take more than 2 weeks for two caps to arrive from Denmark to Hungary...Anyways, I hope they will arrive soon... The AMPOHMs are great, happy with them, it's a real improvement. I didn't thought such a small change can make a difference that much audible. Regards... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If its on a Metal Plate like this:

SAM_0102.jpg

 

 

You already have it in 50's wiring setup. (Just a different format of it)

 

 

Not True.

 

I have a 2001 LP and I have a metal plate like that and I had (yes had) Modern Wiring.

 

It's the placement of the Cap that makes it 50's wiring or not..

 

If the Cap is connected to the middle sweeper tab of the tone pot, AND going to the hot-pickup led on the outside tab of the volume pot; then its "modern" wiring .

if the Cap is connected to the outside non-sweeper tab of the tone pot and its connected to the middle sweeper tab of the volume pot where the 3-switch connects; its a 50's wiring.

 

read about it here: Gibson's 50's wiring

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very glad the Jensens turned up at last, Bence.

 

Shame it was far later than it should have been, though.

 

Nevertheless I'm sure you'll find a good home for them eventually!

 

[thumbup]

 

Regards,

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Pippy! Thank You! Maybe it's just me who is not patient enough - result of working in a deadline business. :) I'll surely find a place for them in another Gibson I'll buy one day. Best regards... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello! Luxe Repro Bumblebees are real paper-in-oil capacitors, unlike Gibson's Bumblebees which are ceramics dressed to be PIOs. What You should know about Luxe Repros is that they aren't exact replicas. They are General Instruments' PIOs wrapped in Sprague Bumblebees casings. That doesn't means they aren't great ones - I have never tried them, but most of the people here love them. The AMPOHMs I've installed said to be the closest to the original Bumblebees (but this is just an opinion someone posted on the net). I would gladly post the sound samples, but the ones I made aren't for the wide public [biggrin] Cheers... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I repaired and modified many passive guitar and valve/tube amp circuits (including some of mine) during the past three decades, I want to contribute my two cents to help clear up things a little, and perhaps save some people some money.

 

The so called 50's wiring does NOT depend on if the cap is connected to center, and ground to the CCW (seen from the shaft side) outside tab of the tone pot, or vice versa. It depends on where the signal input of the cap is connected. In 50's wiring, it is soldered to the center of the volume pot. Thus the signal output is loaded down a bit more even with tone pot set to CW at any volume pot position except fully CW and fully CCW, and most in its resistive center. The more you turn the tone control CCW, the stronger it affects the sound depending on the volume control setting. Some guitar players do prefer this cut of the edge when using severely overdriven amps or FX that do this. However, turning down the tone control a bit will do the same in a so called "modern" circuit.

 

"Modern" wiring connects the tone cap input to the CW (hot) volume pot tab. Thus the effect of the tone control, and the parallel LC resonator formed by PU coil and tone cap when turned fully CCW, are affected by the cable capacitance only.

 

In passive guitar circuit applications, the material of the cap's dielectric is of next to no importance. Paper in oil, polystyrene, polyethylene, and any ceramics perform just the same. There are two reasons for that. First, the present signal voltages make up a small fraction of what the caps are capable to handle, so there will be next to zero odd-order distortions. Second, there is no DC voltage that would make the caps react asymmetrical, and this means negligible even-order distortions.

 

The only very important property of a capacitor in passive guitar circuits is its capacitance value. PIO and ceramics have very poor tolerances, so they always should be evaluated and selected. Most plastic foil caps are much better in this respect, but I evaluate them all as I do with pots, too. Especially the log tapering of pots may vary significantly from the specs. This doesn't do anything to the sound if the rated value is correct. However, for a guitar with pot pairs I always select them to provide the player (who may be myself...) the same response at the same setting of the controls of both pickups for convenience.

 

In any case, I think it is weird that a capacitor may be worth more money due to its dress... Clothes make the man (at least those men who caused the finance crisis), and they seem to make the capacitor. This, however, does work only because there is no real difference.

 

Cap applications in active circuits are much more complicated. The length of the lags may be of more importance than all cap properties except capacitance value in passive guitar circuits. For those who know, think of the XLR pin 1 problem, cell (mobile) phones, wireless stage equipment, and EMC. Compared to that, fooling around with guitar circuits can be just fun, but there are people outside who make lots of money selling snake oil for whatever application. Beware, and save your bucks for something useful. Perhaps you might check out different string brands, materials, and makes. There are huge and often underestimated differences. For my taste, they just can't sound bright enough. Turning down something present in the sound spectrum comes always easier than to squeeze out something that is missing.

 

50's wiring had its share why millions of guitar players use their guitar either with volume cranked up only, or cut the connections to the tone controls. It probably made many guitarists change from Gibsons to Fenders which were "modern" wired from the start.

 

Musicians who don't care much about the apparent cable capacitances and tone capacitor values, may prefer the 50's wiring as this setup is a little less depending on them both.

 

In my opinion, tone control caps in next to all passive guitars are of too high value, regardless what instrument brand. Finally, the only real "bad caps" I had to deal with were a few electrolytics due to improper manufacturing. I luckily never found exploded ones, but several leaking old ones, and some newer ones causing funny noises, the latter since about twelve years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

 

In passive guitar circuit applications, the material of the cap's dielectric is of next to no importance. Paper in oil, polystyrene, polyethylene, and any ceramics perform just the same. There are two reasons for that. First, the present signal voltages make up a small fraction of what the caps are capable to handle, so there will be next to zero odd-order distortions. Second, there is no DC voltage that would make the caps react asymmetrical, and this means neglectable even-order distortions.

 

 

 

Hello Capmaster! Actually that's what my skilled electro-technician father said before He soldered the PIOs into my Classic Custom in place of the stock tantalium capacitors. Using His PC we recorded a few minutes long samples before and after the swap using a high sampling rate application. After I went home He called me up on phone and said: "After decades spent in this field of science I have to revision my knowledge. I've compared the two samples and there is an obvious difference in tone, both in audible way and on the graph." Some time ago, when I came up with my idea of swapping the caps He said: "What do You expect? You are going to replace the stock caps with other ones with the very same values. Regardless of construction You'll get the same results! This PIO-hysteria is just another trick of selling old-fashioned stuff to excentric people (artists) at outragious prices. It's a rip off". Cheers... Bence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Capmaster! Actually that's what my skilled electro-technician father said before He soldered the PIOs into my Classic Custom in place of the stock tantalium capacitors. Using His PC we recorded a few minutes long samples before and after the swap using a high sampling rate application. After I went home He called me up on phone and said: "After decades spent in this field of science I have to revision my knowledge. I've compared the two samples and there is an obvious difference in tone, both in audible way and on the graph." Some time ago, when I came up with my idea of swapping the caps He said: "What do You expect? You are going to replace the stock caps with other ones with the very same values. Regardless of construction You'll get the same results! This PIO-hysteria is just another trick of selling old-fashioned stuff to excentric people (artists) at outragious prices. It's a rip off". Cheers... Bence

They use tantalium caps in guitars? Incredible! [omg] They MUST NOT BE USED in any applications where an AC voltage drop occurs across the cap, and this is the case in guitars.

 

Your father would have measured an improvement with any other unpolarized or bipolar cap he would have used instead. Oh dear, TANTALIUM CAPS MAY DO IN FULL RANGE applications but MUST NOT BE USED IN FILTERS! There has to be a difference since they cause severe distortions, especially even-order harmonics, when an AC voltage drop is present as is the intent when filtering. Or is it distortion by design? [sad]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In passive guitar circuit applications, the material of the cap's dielectric is of next to no importance. Paper in oil, polystyrene, polyethylene, and any ceramics perform just the same.

I used to think so too but now I actually know, with 100% certainty, that such is not (always) the case.

 

Having recently replaced a pair of ceramics for a pair of PIO in one of my LPs there was a profound change in tonal characteristics.

This is not imagined nor a belief in 'The King's New Clothes'. I'm neither gullible nor stupid.

 

Previously I was a complete sceptic as to there being any difference in end-result, tonally speaking, between the types but have had to admit I was wrong.

 

P.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...