pickups or pots

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by kipkohl, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. kipkohl

    kipkohl New Member

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    I have a cheapo Epiphone SG Special I picked up for free from a neighbor. Grungy; bolt on neck; big crack in the lower bout into the control cavity...generally used and abused. When I got it I took it all apart and cleaned everything up, restrung, adjusted action...and voile!, it plays and sounds great!......except the pickups don't clean up much with the volume knob. So I'm wondering if how a pickup cleans up is more a function of the pickup or the pot. Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks in advance for any info.
     
  2. Lynurd Fireburd

    Lynurd Fireburd Active Member

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    You're gonna get a **** ton of answers telling you this & that. The pot VALUE will play a roll & the type of pot, cap/resistor will help shape the function, but...

    Wire the pickup straight to jack. That's what it's voice ultimately sounds like, give or take cable variables.
     
  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I have two of those and they clean up OK at bout 5 on the stock volume pot.
     
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  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I always though it was more about what you were playing into that affected the cleanup. Like a tube amp will clean up better than a solid state one, or a germanium fuzz better than a silicon. I'm sure that's at least part of the equation. I also know that different pots have different tapers and will clean up, well, differently.
     
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  5. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    What exactly do you mean by the term "clean up"?
     
  6. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Cleaning up is all about reducing the output level until the preamp is no longer driven into distortion. If you have to turn the volume down a long way to clean up then you have a high output pickup. Don't lose that - it will be valuable on occasion. Just turn the volume down until you have the clean/dirty balance you like.

    Turning down the volume does affect the tone though, particularly with a long cable the highs can disappear a bit. A 100pF capacitor wired from hot to middle on the volume pot will restore the sparkle.

    If the volume control does actually change the volume without crackling there is nothing wrong with it, so don't go changing it, or the capacitor, or any of the wiring. You will just be throwing money away. You could try a different pickup, but that is even more money, and frankly you make much more difference with a tweak of the amp's tone controls.
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    Same with my Epi G-400.

    The cleaning up varies a lot from pu to pu, too ...

    Was comparing pu's in my guitars last night and I was struck by the big difference in the cleaning-up part. The Gibsons 57 Classic (with stock pots) on my 2000 SG Standard cleans up pretty linearly, too (it takes a while before you hear a real difference in the sound).
    On the other hand, on my 2018 Standard I got a BKP Riff Raff in the bridge, and rolled down to 7-8 that humbucker cleans up a lot already, meaning it has a very hearable loss of volume, attack, distortion etc. just 2-3 steps down.

    Not sure how your axe sounds, but the pu's on my 1995 Epiphone G-400 reminds me of Gibsons 490R/498T set. 498T and the bridge pu on the Epi sound pretty similar to me, and those pu's take their time to clean up.
     
  8. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Or the amp.

    I use clean channel when I want clean and dirt channel when I want dirt. I prefer to keep the controls on the guitar set to 11 so that I can concentrate on playing instead of fiddling with knobs.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  9. kipkohl

    kipkohl New Member

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    Great info everyone, thanks.
     
  10. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Will that affect the tone pot ?
     
  11. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    No, it has no effect on the tone pot
     
  12. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Got some 2A104J lying around, I might just try it on my Tyson Tone neck P90.
     
  13. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    The taper on the pots plays a role, but I would need to know more about the entire signal chain to form an opinion. For example, are you running into a dimed distortion box, or hav the preamp gain up really high?
     
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  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Or the GAIN level is set too high on the preamp.
     
  15. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much the same effect.
     
  16. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Try different values. Depending on pickups and their corresponding volume pots, and your personal preferences, 47 pF to 500pF is the range.
     
  17. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    My 2 cents based on my experience. On my G400 I swapped out the OEM pots for CTS units. Changed wiring to 50s style and added the treble bleed cap/resistor. I also eventually swapped OEM pups to Gibson 57s. I can say the pots and wiring changes made more difference than did the pups. The treble bleed let’s me roll off volume without tone getting muddy.
     
  18. kipkohl

    kipkohl New Member

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    I'm a total bedroom player. I play through an Orange Crush 35rt, and since Christmas, a Vox Adio Air gt. Regardless of how I have the overdrive set on either amp, the SG just doesn't have a lot of change between 10 and 3 on the vol knob. My Baja Telecaster, on the other hand, goes from distorted to break up to clean with a twist of the knob.
    Since I have no $'s into the SG, I think I'll spend a little on new pots, cap, and wiring and then see where I'm at.
    Thanks again for all the input.
     
  19. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    The cap by itself is one type of treble bleed circuit. You can also use a cap and resistor wired in parallel, or my preferred one the Kinman circuit which is a resistor and cap in series. All three have their benefits and drawbacks. I found playing around with all three that the Kinman gave me what I wanted most. I forget the values I use for each component, but it's written down somewhere it the shed. For now, there's this,

     
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  20. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    My PRS came with 100pF, and that is really pretty good over the whole volume range that I use. I don't think too many people really make musical use of the bottom quarter of the volume control, so there is probably nothing to be won by optimising it down there.

    The Duncan circuit puzzles me. The effect of the 100k resistor in parallel is going to make the treble loss worse. The cap will mitigate that but why would you do the damage anyway?
     

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