New pots/caps is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Gillean, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Gillean

    Gillean Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking about buying those emerson custom prewired kits for my Gib SG Special (mojotone PAFs).

    There are people much more experienced than me here, and although I've done this one my g-400 and found that there was a subtle improvement in clarity, it could very well be placebo. Also, epis comes with cheaper electronics, which would make this upgrade more sensible.

    I thank you all in advance for your kind advice, and, as usual, sorry for the poor English.
     
  2. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I swapped out the pots in my G400 for CTS pots. Also did the 50s wiring deal. A bit later I updated the Epi pickups to 57s. Frankly, the pots/wiring change made a more noticeable difference than did the pup change.
     
  3. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    I have generally found the wiring change to make a big difference, especially on Epiphones or when you are making a big jump in pickup specs. For example, I changed from a stock Gibson P-90 to a high output BKP Stockholm p-90 and found that new pots and cap opened up the sound quite a bit. I have been considering fitting a custom harness into my SG Special with the BKP Warpigs but the person who made the others has been ill and the guitar sounds pretty good as it is so I haven't bothered. I might try it one day. In my SG Standard I replaced the PCB with a wired '50s style harness with 500K CTS pots and PIO caps and that certainly changed it quite a lot.
     
  4. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    It's well worth it to upgrade pots/caps, AND wiring, AND output jack. All these are the most overlooked upgrade to guitars. You can have the best pickups in the world, and shite wiring, and have minimal to no improvement in tone over stock pickups. I upgraded the guts in a Squier Strat, left the stock pickups, and it'll give any MiM and a lot of higher end Strats a run for tone.

    Do it. It's minimal money for quality and tone.
     
  5. Gillean

    Gillean Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the opinions so far, guys. Any opposite opinion here?
     
  6. ivan H

    ivan H Well-Known Member

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    Hi, think of it like this, most everyone will agree that there is a noticeable difference between any crappy old run of the mill guitar lead & a high end cable (I like klotz). Well the same goes for ur guitar wiring. For this I like the braided, cloth covered cable for its low capacitance, easy to use & its just plain "good". Pots can vary widely, both in tolerance & quality. Cheap pots are usually lower resistance than the stated value which will detract from tone. U get wot u pay for so its worth spending the extra few bucks for quality. For humbuckers CTS 550k pots are fine & are guaranteed to be no less than 550k in value, usually they're around 570k so u get good output & don't suffer hi end loss from low resistance. Tone caps are very subjective, but again quality is always a good thing. I haven't used an Emerson pre wired kit but they look the business. Hope this helps. Cheers
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  7. WavMixer

    WavMixer Well-Known Member

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    Pots, caps and wiring are much cheaper than pickups so this is a good place to start. Try recording something with the stock pots and caps, change it over and record yourself playing the same thing. Close your eyes and have someone else hit the play button and see if you can tell the difference. If not, you didn't have to invest much money (if you do your own soldering). If you do hear a difference, go for the pick up replacement next. As for the pecibo effect, I polished my worn brown finish to a shiny new luster and could hear the change to the tone of the wood :thumb:

    Sorry for the last line, I couldn't resist myself. :lol:
     
  8. Moose

    Moose Well-Known Member

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    I've had varying results. I updated my sg custom but didn't notice much improvement. On the other hand replacing the standard R9 LP with a 50 wired replacement kit made a huge difference.

    Like the other posts I'd say go for it.
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Whether it's worth it depends on a several factors IMHO:

    1. What are you starting with? If it's a less expensive guitar, it's likely to be very worth it, because hidden items
    like the wiring harness is where a manufacturer can cut corners to keep the instrument cheap. If it's a Gibson, the change might not be very dramatic, because (in spite of all the negativity from Gibson-bashers) Gibson guitars are made with high quality components.
    >I replaced the wiring in my 2007 Gibson SG special because it was issued with 300k pots. I was trying to live with the 490 pickup set, and changed the pots to 500k first. It did open up the sound a lot, so I would recommend that if your guitar is older than maybe 2010. And my '07 really became the best of the best when I replaced the pickups with '57 Classic and Classic +. The combination of those pickups and top-drawer wiring is a winner.
    Your Mojotone p'ups might be similar to the '57s. Seth Lover's original design called for 500k pots.
    >I bought a 2012 Gibson SG special which came stock with 500k pots and Gibson's new Mini-Humbuckers.
    This combination sounds so good that I'm leaving it strictly alone. Play it as designed. It sounds great. I've made only superficial mods to this guitar... Tuners are made by TonePros, Corian nut, Plekked frets, Baked Maple fretboard... all in all a great combination. Leave it alone.

    2. What do you want to end up with? Trying to flip it for profit? or trying to enhance a well loved instrument for
    the sake of the music? If you're trying to sell it, just change the strings, set it up, shine it up and that's all. Move it out. If you want to turn a cheap guitar into a real player, THEN start by listening to it for a good long period... play it a lot and listen. Then IF the sound seems lacking something... start with the wiring.
    >I have an Epiphone Wilshire 2006, and I pretty much gutted this baby and installed all the good stuff. I bought it used for like $265 and decided that was cheap enough that I could spend some money on it and call it 'entertainment." *laughs ...with an Epiphone, you'll never get your money back if you sell it. The only reason to
    lavish money, time and effort on an Epi is to make it a better player, and then play music on it and get your value that way. But I enjoyed working on it and ended up with a great playing and sounding guitar that's totally unique.
    So it's worth the money.

    >ETSG wisdom states:
    YOU CAN PUT A $2000 STEREO IN A $500 CAR
    AND IT'S STILL A $500 CAR...
     
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I don't generally change pots and caps unless they are defective. This is more of a problem with low end imports than any Gibson with which I've dealt. I hear people tell me that going from 300k pots to 500k pots "opened up the sound." I assume that they mean the high frequencies were more pronounced at the output, but I don't "hear" a big difference when I'm playing with the volumes at 5 or 6 and tones at 7 or 8, but wide open, higher pot values are slightly more noticeable. Tone caps are only an issue if you use the tone controls :naughty:, but the values can vary somewhat and I do like to get them close to spec, if I change them.
    I'd add a treble bleed circuit to preserve the high-end as the volume rolls off.
    [​IMG]
    50s style wiring doesn't change the character of the tone, just how you get there.
    Pics, if you do it!
    ;>)/
     
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  11. Gillean

    Gillean Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for your input biddlin, very kind of you and helpful to me!
     
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  12. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Those Emerson Kits are very nicely done. Their work is very inspiring, and will influence me the next time I decide to mod the electronics.
     
  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    There are good reasons to change the wiring and electronics on a guitar:

    1 - the wires are broken
    2 - the pots are crackling
    3 - the capacitor is broken

    And that's about it, really. Sure you can play with pot and capacitor values, but that is a different subject.
     
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  14. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    If it is an Epi, you can add:

    4 - the selector switch is broken
    5 - the output jack is broken
     
  15. Madmatt

    Madmatt Active Member

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    Great point about checking the actual capacitance of the cap! I dont think many guitarist realize how different that real world value can be from the number promted on the side
     
  16. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly right. A multimeter is a very useful tool.
     
  17. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Depends. Are you unhappy?

    Mostly I leave things stock. I did rewire my 2013 SG because for some reason on that guitar lowering the volume affected the tone more than any other Gibson I've ever had. That's a problem for me because I'm very dependent on that volume control. I ride it like a toboggan.

    I switched to 50s wiring – volume control no longer affects tone (although tone control does affect the volume, less of an issue). Since I was in there and voiding my warranty and all, I replaced everything with a harness from Martin Six Strings. 550k pots, .022/.015 PIO caps.

    Big difference? No. Did it make the guitar better, more controllable and fix my problem? You betcha!!

    So. I have 3 Gibsons and 1 Epiphone stock and staying that way, 1 "upgraded". Works for me.

    P.
     
  18. Gillean

    Gillean Well-Known Member

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    NECROING MY OWN POST!

    [​IMG]




    The idea of putting these emerson custom is STILL lurking in my head. Opinions? could anyone describe his/hers experience with this "upgrade"?
     
  19. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    I've made lots of changes on my $200 Epi and $800 Fender, and on both, pot and cap (harness in my case because I'm lazy) upgrades did make a big difference. Oh, and I also put Orange Drops on a chap LP clone, and that made a big difference too although the 'scientists' out there tell me I'm wrong...

    I'd agree with Biddlin that decent Gibson and US made Fenders should have no reason to change the pots/caps as the wiring harness should be of a good quality already; it was not in my Epi (terrible wiring), and was average in the MIJ tele.
     
  20. Gibsg

    Gibsg Well-Known Member

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    You won' t ear the difference, except if your wiring is made with phone cable .

    Upgrade capacitors , ok.
     

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