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changing pots and caps in trad, is it worth it?


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im starting off by saying this, i love my gibson les paul traditional plus tone. sometimes the neck pickup is a little muddy. my solution in my head, is to swap the pots out for some 500k audio taper from RSguitarworks, and some either LUXE 52-56 grey tiger repros or .02, or LUXE 56-60 bumblebees repros.

1. either just swapping pots and caps in the same configuration it came in?

2. 50s wiring, but then how would the switch be connected if the switch hub is removed from the center of the plate where the pots are attatched?

i figure that if the neck tone is to bright i can easily roll the tone back a little.

 

inputs please.

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I have NOT done or experimented with 50's vs 60's wiring with humbuckers. I have done so with P-90's , but I would not want to say how it would be with humbuckers. So if you did, you would be telling me.

 

A couple things about it though, I did notice as much of a change or improvement when changing the wiring from the stock configuation to a wiring diagram of older type. Let me explain:

 

A schematic tells you what is connected to what, and where. Electrically, they should all be the same on how things work. A wiring diagram is different, as a diagram tells you where the wire runs and HOW the wires are connected. The difference is a Schematic tells you the a pole of a switch is connected to the pole of a pot. A diagram tells you how the wire is run.

 

Said all that to say, that in my experiement and experience with the P-90 guitars, the diagram made a difference, even though things were connected in the same place and worked the same. To me, as much difference as caps did.

 

A couple sure things I can say in regards, a 500k pot should give more highs available compared to the different-than-vintage-spec of the 300k pot.

 

And also, if it helps, the "vintage" way or wiring an LP would be a coax wire running from jack to switch, then two coax's from switch to pots. outer shields or (-) soldered together near the switch. The lug may be the same things connected to the same things in the end, and is really a more convienent way of doing it in some ways.

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ok, the coax wires are the same as the gibson humbuckers 1 wire, right? thing is, i can solder and read a diagram so im alright there. i changed my brother in laws pickups and gutted the electronics and rewired the axe with

good quality components,pickups, pots, caps, switch, and input jack. by the looks of it, the gibson looks easier, because most of the work is done outside the body cavity.

would i have to replace the switch, i would imagine not right?

now i could orer the RSguitarworks kit, but i would get more out of it, soldering every piece myself. i would like to order everything once, know what i mean?

can anyone provide me with a diagram, so from the switch, R side would to go to the outer lug of the N volume pot and T side would go to the B outer lug, the single lug on the switch to ground, the base,hub for the switch would get tossed out,huh?

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ok, the coax wires are the same as the gibson humbuckers 1 wire, right? thing is, i can solder and read a diagram so im alright there. i changed my brother in laws pickups and gutted the electronics and rewired the axe with

good quality components,pickups, pots, caps, switch, and input jack. by the looks of it, the gibson looks easier, because most of the work is done outside the body cavity.

would i have to replace the switch, i would imagine not right?

now i could orer the RSguitarworks kit, but i would get more out of it, soldering every piece myself. i would like to order everything once, know what i mean?

can anyone provide me with a diagram, so from the switch, R side would to go to the outer lug of the N volume pot and T side would go to the B outer lug, the single lug on the switch to ground, the base,hub for the switch would get tossed out,huh?

Sorry, I suck at computers and this one is slow...therefore, I am not the man to link pics. There are other threads here, as well as the net.

 

As for the coax, that's a big ole fat yes. One wire, surrounded by a shield. The shield in this case the way they are used for the Gibby's, is the shield doubles also as the ground and (-) of the circuit.

 

The switch is the same, as in doesn't need to be replaced. Usually, the ground lug of the switch is used, however, although it serves no real function other than to offer a slight bit of shielding for the switch itself. And as a footnote, in actual pics of vintage guitars showing the switch, it's kinda a bear the way they did it...as in, they DID go through a bit of effort there.

 

It's common to have a plastic sheath around the coax wire that goes from the jack to the switch as it passes through the cavity, to keep it from touching the wrong lugs or parts. I don't actually remember of vintage guitars have this sheath.

 

When researching this stuff, I found pics of control cavities of guitars I was wanting to copy on the ole' google.

 

Basically: coax from jack to switch, connected to center of switch. then one from each side (R and T positions) to volume pots. Pups also to volume pots. Grond wire from bridge connected to treble volume pot (which is closest), then a ground wire from from the back of that put to the (T) tone, as well as a ground wire back of pot of both volumes, and from ® volume to ® tone. SOMETIMES, also a ground between tone pots, but not always.

 

WHICH lugs are used for what on the volume and tones and caps depending on which schematic (50's. 60's, 50's independant, etc). But the above is the basic "vintage" way of doing running the wires.

 

With modern wiring diagrams, sometime a plate replaces the ground wire connecting the backs of the pots, and as you know, sometimes a center lug or grounding point where grounds or (-) are connected. The small, cheap, 4 wire harness often replaces the 3 coax going to switch.

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It's always worth it to upgrade the caps. It might be good to put in new pots, but only if you don't like the taper.

 

But here's the thing. When you have your volume on 10, the tone pots and caps aren't being used, so it doesn't make any difference what's in there. When you back off the volume, then the tone circuit starts doing it's thing.

 

So if you don't like your sound when everything's on 10, changing the pots or caps won't help.

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That's right badbluesplayer, at 10, the les paul is rocking and the tone is awesome, but I like to clean up the tone on the neck using the volume control and crank it for distortion.

Actually, I'm contemplating whether its a better idea to just swap the neck volume pot to a 500 k audio taper and a bumble bee cap.

What cap value is on the existing bridge vol tone area?

 

Oh, thanks drew, that 1st pic is very clear, it even looks like the switch hub remains using this diagram

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It's always worth it to upgrade the caps. It might be good to put in new pots, but only if you don't like the taper.

 

But here's the thing. When you have your volume on 10, the tone pots and caps aren't being used, so it doesn't make any difference what's in there. When you back off the volume, then the tone circuit starts doing it's thing.

 

So if you don't like your sound when everything's on 10, changing the pots or caps won't help.

Actually, this isn't true. "Wide open" might be how it feels when we use it, but that isn't what's happening with the circuit in a typical guitar. I'll explain:

 

The resistance of the pot works by giving resistance to ground. On "0", there is zero resistance of hot to ground, which is a dead short. The more resistance there is to ground, the more signal can pass. So, 500k pot full on gives 500k resistance to short. That's why a higher value resistance results in MORE signal.

 

So, the pot is continually there in the signal, it's just a matter of where it is set. "10" or full 'on' represents nothing more than the physical stopping point of the pot. It is no more or less in the signal if it is giving it's full 500k resistance, or giving a little less at 490k, or a halfway point of 250k resistance.

 

See how in a way, it's backwards?

 

So here is how a tone control works: A cap actually lets highs pass, not lows. It too is working "backwards", blocking lows from ground. A tone control is really a second volume control, with the addition of the cap. When it's off (or at "0"), it's all cap bypassing the pot resistance. Full up is pot resistance + cap bypass. Again, as in the volume controll, tone pot resistance and cap resistance are still doing it's thing, it's just a matter of how much resistance to ground and how much to prevent bleeding to ground.

 

Summery: Pots and caps are always part of the circuit and part of the tone, regardless of where the knobs are set.

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Actually, this isn't true. "Wide open" might be how it feels when we use it, but that isn't what's happening with the circuit in a typical guitar. I'll explain:

 

The resistance of the pot works by giving resistance to ground. On "0", there is zero resistance of hot to ground, which is a dead short. The more resistance there is to ground, the more signal can pass. So, 500k pot full on gives 500k resistance to short. That's why a higher value resistance results in MORE signal.

 

So, the pot is continually there in the signal, it's just a matter of where it is set. "10" or full 'on' represents nothing more than the physical stopping point of the pot. It is no more or less in the signal if it is giving it's full 500k resistance, or giving a little less at 490k, or a halfway point of 250k resistance.

 

See how in a way, it's backwards?

 

So here is how a tone control works: A cap actually lets highs pass, not lows. It too is working "backwards", blocking lows from ground. A tone control is really a second volume control, with the addition of the cap. When it's off (or at "0"), it's all cap bypassing the pot resistance. Full up is pot resistance + cap bypass. Again, as in the volume controll, tone pot resistance and cap resistance are still doing it's thing, it's just a matter of how much resistance to ground and how much to prevent bleeding to ground.

 

Summery: Pots and caps are always part of the circuit and part of the tone, regardless of where the knobs are set.

 

this is a great explanation...on caps, the lower the value more highs pass?

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Actually, this isn't true. "Wide open" might be how it feels when we use it, but that isn't what's happening with the circuit in a typical guitar. I'll explain:

 

The resistance of the pot works by giving resistance to ground. On "0", there is zero resistance of hot to ground, which is a dead short. The more resistance there is to ground, the more signal can pass. So, 500k pot full on gives 500k resistance to short. That's why a higher value resistance results in MORE signal.

 

So, the pot is continually there in the signal, it's just a matter of where it is set. "10" or full 'on' represents nothing more than the physical stopping point of the pot. It is no more or less in the signal if it is giving it's full 500k resistance, or giving a little less at 490k, or a halfway point of 250k resistance.

 

See how in a way, it's backwards?

 

So here is how a tone control works: A cap actually lets highs pass, not lows. It too is working "backwards", blocking lows from ground. A tone control is really a second volume control, with the addition of the cap. When it's off (or at "0"), it's all cap bypassing the pot resistance. Full up is pot resistance + cap bypass. Again, as in the volume controll, tone pot resistance and cap resistance are still doing it's thing, it's just a matter of how much resistance to ground and how much to prevent bleeding to ground.

 

Summery: Pots and caps are always part of the circuit and part of the tone, regardless of where the knobs are set.

Yeah that's right! My brain was down for maintenance and it didn't send me a memo. [unsure]

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C53F0A5C-535C-45B7-87BF-588B19769FE8-3805-000003A5867FE1ED_zps22810692.jpg

These are what are in my les paul right now.

I imagine they're .022 mf ceramic disks. It's like I said, the tone is not bad at all, I would like the neck pu a little brighter, to my ears sounds like the tone knob is at 8.5 and I want it at 10.. You know?

Would just replacing it with bumblebees of the same value

.022 mf, open up the tone?

I'm thinking I may start with caps 1st.

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C53F0A5C-535C-45B7-87BF-588B19769FE8-3805-000003A5867FE1ED_zps22810692.jpg

 

Is that normal to not have shielded wire going to the switch? You think it would pick up interference passing under the pickups.

 

I recently rewired my Ibanez Musician using all shielded pushback wire, alpha 500k audio pots, orange-drop caps and switchcraft switch and jack using the Gibson 50's connection points and I could not be happier, the old girl never sounded so good. And the best part is that even at the highest gain there isn't any buzz/hum at all. I'm thinking I will do the same wiring and cap change to my LP DC.

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Actually, this isn't true. "Wide open" might be how it feels when we use it, but that isn't what's happening with the circuit in a typical guitar. I'll explain:

 

The resistance of the pot works by giving resistance to ground. On "0", there is zero resistance of hot to ground, which is a dead short. The more resistance there is to ground, the more signal can pass. So, 500k pot full on gives 500k resistance to short. That's why a higher value resistance results in MORE signal.

 

So, the pot is continually there in the signal, it's just a matter of where it is set. "10" or full 'on' represents nothing more than the physical stopping point of the pot. It is no more or less in the signal if it is giving it's full 500k resistance, or giving a little less at 490k, or a halfway point of 250k resistance.

 

See how in a way, it's backwards?

 

So here is how a tone control works: A cap actually lets highs pass, not lows. It too is working "backwards", blocking lows from ground. A tone control is really a second volume control, with the addition of the cap. When it's off (or at "0"), it's all cap bypassing the pot resistance. Full up is pot resistance + cap bypass. Again, as in the volume controll, tone pot resistance and cap resistance are still doing it's thing, it's just a matter of how much resistance to ground and how much to prevent bleeding to ground.

 

Summery: Pots and caps are always part of the circuit and part of the tone, regardless of where the knobs are set.

 

I guess I'll do like the Kool-Aid man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iE4uEsaBF0

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I guess I'll do like the Kool-Aid man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iE4uEsaBF0

Lol...I saw this and didn't get it all morning, until it finally hit me and then it was funny as hell.

 

I didn't mean to come across as "correcting" you or putting you down or trying to say I have more knowledge than you...or embarrasse you. Hope it didn't come off that way.

 

I read your stuff, and have seen the vids, and you got thing going on there. If I was going to do the humbucker thing myself and the mods and such with a new guitar, I'd definitely be reading what you have to say about it and the particular experience you have with it for my own benifit and experience.

 

Just thought I'd make it clear I don't stand above the BADBLUESPLAYER when it comes to stuff like this. I rather consider it an honor to share info with such a guy.

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