1966 G-400 Pro mods

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by plankton, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Recently got back into guitar after about 25 years on hiatus. Started off with a Squier strat that I got as a good deal used with a little Fender amp, but I've always liked SG's and the sound they produce. So I got a '66 G-400 Pro used (with the TV Silver finish which I really like as it's a bit different).

    Loved the feel of the guitar, but the crappy push/pull pots would come right out when you pulled up on them and I suspected they weren't doing my tone any favours. I don't really care about the coil splitting option, so I swapped out the pots for some Gotoh ones and put in a better toggle why I was at it. It sounds heaps better, especially now that I've upgraded amps to a Laney Cub 12R.

    Now I'm keen to try the 50's wiring mod as I like using the volume to dial back my gain, but it cuts the high end as well. Thought I might play around with replacing the tone caps as well and see it I can get it sounding even better.

    I was wondering if anyone knows what value cap Epiphone puts in these things as they have no markings on them. I'd assume they're 0.022, but I'm curious to know for sure to get an idea of where I'm starting.

    Thanks
     
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  2. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the madhouse.

    I'm going to preface my comment by saying that I don't buy into the corksniffer concept of what I call "Magic Tone Beans". Basically, I don't believe that how a capacitor is constructed makes a noticeable difference in tone when blind tested. The important things to me are the numerical value and tolerance to stated value. The tighter the tolerance the better.

    That said, I currently have mine wired up with Radio Shack .022 uF Chiclets @ 10% tolerance and it sounds fine. I used them after the Mullard Tropical Fish of the same rating I had flaked due to age and me being clumsy while correcting my work. (Never wire tired :wow:).

    I also found some Mallory 150 .022 uF 5% on fleabay with axial leads that'd be easier to work with should I ever get a wild hair up there to swap out the Chiclets.

    Basically what I'm saying, in my rambly way, is don't buy the hype. If you wanna use a certain kind of cap because you think it's cool, that's one thing but don't think that because it's "vintage" paper-in-oil or whatever it's actually going to make a huge difference beyond a psychological placebo effect.

    Again, welcome to the madhouse!
     
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  3. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Welcome and yes .022 would be fine
     
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  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. I'm not as concerned with the type of capacitor, mostly wanting to play around with the value to see how it affects the tonal range I can get out of the pots.

    I was wondering what the stock caps were rated so I know where I'm starting.
     
  5. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    maybe a 0.017 for the neck and a 0.022 to a 0.047 for bridge,depends on how much trebble you want or dont want.higher the cap number the less trebble
     
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Presumably .022, but I've read somebody say they had .033.....

    Good thing is they're cheap if you don't buy hype and "mojo".


    Make some Alligator clip jumpers, it'll help you hone in on your desired cap.
     
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  7. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    .015 - .017ish is supposed to give tones similar to "Womantone" in a neck circuit.
     
  8. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    sounds about right
     
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  9. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    Amen Raiyn, never work tired. A lesson I have personally learned.
     
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  10. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    You have a great platform for modding in the G400. Good choice.
    But we need pictures of that silver beauty.
    It's mandatory.
     
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  11. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, I was planning on trying several values out using the alligator clip method, there's a good article on Premier Guitar about tone caps and he recommends that method. He also suggests going as low as .0022 to .0068 micro farads, so I reckon I'll hit up the local electronics supply and grab several different values. Ultimately once I find my preferred value for each pickup, I'll most likely use some orange drops or Mallory type 150 (both of which are still being produced by CDE) as they're not very expensive. Can't see shelling out the money for "vintage" PIO caps.

    A pic of my SG is in my avatar, but I can throw a better one up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
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  12. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    20161206_073236.jpg

    Here's a close up
     
  13. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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  14. dub-setter

    dub-setter Well-Known Member

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  15. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I did the 50's wiring mod and I'm loving the effect it's had, can roll back the volume knob to control gain without losing my high end. It seems like there's a bit more treble overall now as well.

    I was having some issues with one of the volume pots cutting out intermittently, seems like I had a dodgy connection. I have been reusing the stock wiring and it was kind of a pain to work with as they used two conductor wire for everything, with the shielding working as the ground and the inner wire for connections.

    I decided to rip it all out and start fresh, running a separate ground loop to keep connections simple. Epiphone had too much excess wire in there as well. I also got a closer look at the caps and there is very faint printing on them, 2A223J, which turns out to mean 22nF at 5% tolerance. Might play around with those soon, maybe brighten up the neck and darken the bridge just a bit.

    Here's a pic of the new wiring harness ready to drop into the guitar.

    20161214_212227.jpg
     
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  16. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Took out the stock 22nF caps today and put a 33nF on the bridge and a 15nF on the neck. Just used the green chicklet caps from the local electronics store. The difference is subtle but pleasing. It brightened up the neck just enough and took away the boominess, plus I have more usable range on the pot now. The change to the bridge was slight, just shaved a bit of the high end off, but with the 50's wiring I still need to roll the tone back a bit or it's too bright, and the tone all the way down isn't really a usable sound either, but from 2 to 8 it's great.
     
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  17. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm all done with mods, the SG is sounding great and all my controls are functioning perfectly. I can roll back both volumes and it sounds good at every setting. Now I can set the amp for a decent amount of breakup and dial it back to pretty clean and anywhere in between. It's also allowing me to get lots of great sounds from my Tonebender and tame it's unruliness (when I want to). Both tone knobs produce usable sounds down to about 2, rather than having that really "boxy" sound through most of their range. The final mod is the coolest, and allows me know exactly what setting I'm on, pointer washers!

    20170509_153831 (800x800).jpg
    I don't know what is about them, they just complete the whole thing very nicely.

    So, all up here's what I've done,
    Gotoh 500k pots
    Kinman treble bleeds (1.2nF, 220k)
    Tone caps (15nF neck, 33nF bridge)
    Switchcraft toggle and jack
    Gotoh Nashville style bridge
    Tusq nut
    and of course, pointer washers

    The wife just went out and the kids are at Grandma's, time to make some noise!
     
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  18. dub-setter

    dub-setter Well-Known Member

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    :cheers:
     
  19. sg jones

    sg jones Member

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    Cool guitar...where did you get the washers?
     
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  20. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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