RS Guitarworks electronics upgrade (video A/B compare)

gball

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
1,864
Reaction score
1,882
Location
The beach.
I just took a look at the "kit" advert and saw what I expected. I have come to understand that adverts for extended car warranties, old age homes and guitar accessories are not to be taken too literally.

Just looked - A little less hyperbolic than most of the companies selling this stuff, but still a lot of hokum about capacitors having a "sound."
 

grausch

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
182
Reaction score
120
I can’t hear a difference between the two. Both sounded equally good to me!

That being said, I do sometimes upgrade parts to higher quality components. Purely because I like tinkering, and because I like the feel of quality pots and switches.
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,081
Reaction score
4,481
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
I just took a look at the "kit" advert and saw what I expected. I have come to understand that adverts for extended car warranties, old age homes and guitar accessories are not to be taken too literally.

Over here in the UK we would report that ad to the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency), which would assess it against its four main criteria - legal, decent, honest and truthful. That ad would fail on the last two and would certainly be pulled. You can make any claim you like in an ad, as long as you can back it up.
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,081
Reaction score
4,481
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
I can’t hear a difference between the two. Both sounded equally good to me!

That being said, I do sometimes upgrade parts to higher quality components. Purely because I like tinkering, and because I like the feel of quality pots and switches.

I often change pots and switches, but not for sound, which remains identical. I do it for reliability - I don't want crackling pots or switches you have to waggle back and forth a few times to make contact.
 

gball

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
1,864
Reaction score
1,882
Location
The beach.
I often change pots and switches, but not for sound, which remains identical. I do it for reliability - I don't want crackling pots or switches you have to waggle back and forth a few times to make contact.

That's the only reason I have changed them. Never a difference in sound, mostly just in feel/solidity.
 

Visual Guy

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
55
Reaction score
21
First, Jacob - welcome. There are some grumpy buggers hanging around here, and I am one of them, but it's fun and informative.

Second, I will admit up front that I don't believe changing out wiring harnesses changes the sound of the pickups. I've changed far too many of them over the 40 years I have been playing to think otherwise.

Third, I tried, I really did, but listening to your clip with the window closed so I couldn't see the B&W vs. Color I absolutely could not tell when you switched. They sounded the same to me.

Fourth, that doesn't mean I don't think you should modify your guitars any way you see fit. I change things here and there and if it makes you happy do it. This is a hobby for most of us after all.

Me too. I even used the good headphones.

I appreciate the input. I really don’t think it’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s definitely subtle. I can hear the cleaner differences when you roll
The volume back more. It’s just a little less compressed to my ears. But Hey, it was inspiring. I have had several people I respect...who have played a LOT longer than me, say they could hear a diff. Hey, it’s Tone. Question everything!
 
Last edited:

macryan

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
47
Reaction score
45
The only reason I changed out my stock pots in my '73 SG Special was for a better taper....both volume and tone were basically unresponsive over most of the travel. The newer pots give much better control...no difference in tone that I could discern. Thanks to the forum...I have left my original mini hums alone....their great just the way they are. My 2¢
 

Visual Guy

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
55
Reaction score
21
The only reason I changed out my stock pots in my '73 SG Special was for a better taper....both volume and tone were basically unresponsive over most of the travel. The newer pots give much better control...no difference in tone that I could discern. Thanks to the forum...I have left my original mini hums alone....their great just the way they are. My 2¢

Maybe there are some hairs being split about “Tone”. It’s already been established I’m not the best at using the correct term to explain things. Haha.

A better taper, with a higher end cap... sounds more clear the more you roll it off to my ears. If you listen to the “neck and bridge control on 2” part of the vid. I mean it’s subtle, but there is a difference. If I insunate it’s changing the guitars sound, or anything effected like an eq knob or pedal... I don’t mean to convey that. To my ears, it’s just more present. Just one small
Piece of the whole puzzle. Maybe I am crazy. And I honestly, even editing the video couldn’t hear as much of a diff the first couple rounds like I do now. I am not defending it though. If the consensus is “it’s not good enough for the effort” that’s fine by me. I just feel like I hear it. An openness that wasn’t there with the stock stuff. Cheers!
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,081
Reaction score
4,481
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
Welcome to ETSG! One of our mottos around here is:

THE QUEST FOR TONE HAS NO FINISH LINE
SO IT'S TECHNICALLY A DEATH MARCH.

I am open minded about upgrades to guitars, and enjoy reading others' posts on
this subject. I too am on a seemingly endless quest for tone, and am not to
stubborn to listen to others ideas and suggestions, and experiences.

Now let's see some photos. Normally I am horrified when someone buys a '61 RI as
a mod platform, because I regard this model as one of Gibson's best. I would normally
regard modifications to a '61 as a downgrade... But RS guitar works
also is a high quality outfit, so if you remove one high quality wiring harness and insert
another high quality wiring harness, you might hear some small difference.

I bought a high grade wiring harness from Martin SixString and installed it in my
SG faded special. This one is a great mod platform, and I've upgraded every feature I could
unscrew or unsolder. I don't know which of my mods gets the most credit for turning this
instument into the best guitar of any kind that I've ever played, but something does.

The Martin SixString harness looks like this:
View attachment 28608
View attachment 28609

That Martin harness looks OK, apart from the three inches of unshielded live wire on the bridge pickup. There was no need to do that. And those caps are really too big and clumsy for the cavity. A couple of ceramics would have tucked in there much more tidily.
 

Raiyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,947
Reaction score
2,794
Location
St. Pete FL
Wow deja vu! I made this comment last night on a different site....

I don't put any stock in "Magic Tone Beans", any effect seems to be of a placebic nature.

Changing out the pots to better toleranced US spec will have more effect in my book. For caps I just use Mallory 150's 5% tolerance in whatever spec I need. The axial leads are a joy to work with and, as a bonus, they're also significantly cheaper than the typical Soviet PIO caps. Whatever you do, don't buy Gibby's "Bumblebee" caps. Buying snake oil is one thing, buying counterfeit snake oil at ten times the price is ludicrous.

My 2¢​

Funny how these things cycle around. As always, YMMV if you think it's cool and have the money to spend - what I say probably isn't going to matter.
 

Raiyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
4,947
Reaction score
2,794
Location
St. Pete FL
That Martin harness looks OK, apart from the three inches of unshielded live wire on the bridge pickup. There was no need to do that. And those caps are really too big and clumsy for the cavity. A couple of ceramics would have tucked in there much more tidily.
One could always shield the cavities, thus negating the need for shielded wire entirely. ;)
 

cerebral gasket

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
4,244
Reaction score
5,176
full


Tone Control is a low pass filter.
Cutoff Frequency = 1/(2πRC)

Frequencies below the cutoff frequency are blocked by the cap and remain unchanged. Frequencies above the cutoff frequency pass through the cap to ground.

You do not hear anything that passes through the cap.
 
Last edited:

Norton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
1,153
Reaction score
604
Location
Minneapolis
http://www.annarborguitars.com/styled-4/index.html

Hit the link and scroll down to the
" Guitar Electronics Series "
It's an extremely well done and very matter of fact video series on the effects of different pots/caps and wiring schemes on the sound and performance of the electronics in your guitar.

Seriously, this is where everyone should START with wiring. Then go spend your money on x y and z.

Personally I Find the pot value, taper and overall wiring style are pretty important. I haven't spent Gucci money on pots but I've been pretty disappointed with the taper on most of the "off the shelf" pots.
 

Visual Guy

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
55
Reaction score
21
http://www.annarborguitars.com/styled-4/index.html

Hit the link and scroll down to the
" Guitar Electronics Series "
It's an extremely well done and very matter of fact video series on the effects of different pots/caps and wiring schemes on the sound and performance of the electronics in your guitar.

Seriously, this is where everyone should START with wiring. Then go spend your money on x y and z.

Personally I Find the pot value, taper and overall wiring style are pretty important. I haven't spent Gucci money on pots but I've been pretty disappointed with the taper on most of the "off the shelf" pots.

Thanks for the input. Excellent resource.
 

Cableaddict

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
65
Reaction score
24
Gotta' throw in my six cents:

1: The values were likely NOT the same, since RSS (and all the other harness makers) use 500K audio taper pots for the volume. This is usually a good thing, but not always and the one guitar that sometimes sounds better with 300K linear pots (as Gibson has always used) is the SG. Anyway, this makes a HUGE difference, even with everything fully up. I still haven't decided with my 2 SG's.

2: "Modern" vs "vintage" or "50's" wiring does make a huge difference. However, t's not clear to me which is better. Vintage gives more top end and volume, but "modern" adds a little low-mid frequency bump, which I happen to like on the SG. (Not on the Les Paul, where I think "vintage" always sounds better.)

3: If anyone tries their own test, make sure you use a treble-bleed cap on the "modern" circuit, and remove it with the "vintage" circuit. Otherwise your results will be worthless.

4: Capacitor types don't do diddly for sound, in a passive guitar. It's all marketing hype and your brain fooling you. There are several really good tests on Youtube, and if you listen "blind" and esp if you have a lot of experience with A/B tests, it's very clear that they all sound identical. I've done my own tests, under rigid controls, and same result. (and I really WANTED to hear a difference.)

The only difference with expensive caps, in this type of passive circuit, is how tight the tolerances are, and how they might age or react to extreme heat. (Like if you had a gig on Mars.)

4b: Capacitor VALUE does matter, of course, and I personally prefer 15 uf for the tone pots, on an SG, as that takes away less treble.
This is exactly what RSS uses, on their SG harness but not on their Les Paul harness. - That's how you know they're really testing & listening to this stuff.

5: Special made pots? Get real. for that to make financial sense, they'd have to order about 10,000 units. They are likely just using CTS "VT" (vintage taper) pots. - Which are excellent.

6: Vintage wire? Stop it, just STOP it! That's not cork sniffing, that's shoving a cork so far up your nose that your brain starts to mis-fire. (There MAY be some advantage, however, to using 2-conductor shielded cable, and a star-grounding system, though probably not, as a guitar is an unbalanced circuit.)
------------

Bottom Line: Most of this stuff really does matter, but when you're all done experimenting, the best result for you might well end up being what Gibson started with.

I definitely suggest trying 500K (even 550K) volume pots (Again, CTS VT is a good way to go.) - but then you need to adjust your amp settings. You may find that 300K, with more treble & volume at the amp, give more dynamic response. Or not, but it's a tricky thing to test correctly.

I also suggest trying the cap mod, if you're good with a soldering iron, but you don't need to buy anything. Just study the wiring diagrams, then remove & re-solder the cap to different legs, plus change how one pot (per pickup) is grounded.

And last, if you have cheap ceramic caps in there, I still wouldn't worry, but if you feel like changing to something more stable, don't spend more than $10 per cap. (even that is a waste of $ )
- I know, you're gonna' order Bumblebees anyway.
Such is Human nature, we just can't help ourselves!
 
Last edited:

Cableaddict

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
65
Reaction score
24
I can't post the wiring diagrams, but his is how the "Modern vs 50's" thing shakes out:
----------------------

With both circuits, the pickup feeds into volume pot leg #3, and the volume pot wiper (output) then goes to the selector switch. The other volume pot leg goes to ground,

With both circuits, the tone cap acts as a HPF, and goes from the volume pot, through the tone pot, to ground. (thus dumping HF.)

The difference is in how the cap connects to the tone pot :


Vintage :

Cap goes from the volume pot wiper , to the tone pot leg #1

Tone pot wiper (middle) goes to ground.

-
No Treble-Bleed cap!
---------------------

Modern:

Cap goes from the volume pot leg #3. to the tone pot wiper (middle)


Tone pot leg #1 goes to ground.

Optionally: Treble-Bleed cap goes from volume wiper to ground.
 
Last edited:

Cableaddict

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
65
Reaction score
24
One could always shield the cavities, thus negating the need for shielded wire entirely. ;)


I mostly agree with this. However, it's possible under extreme conditions, given how much gain a gtr amp has, that a piece of unshielded wire going trough the body cavity could act like an antennae. (Yes, even that "magical" vintage cloth-covered stuff.)

I personally have never worried about this, but I HAVE considered using 2-coductor shielded cable, with a central ground point.
I'm sure I'll die before ever actually trying it, though.
 

Visual Guy

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2017
Messages
55
Reaction score
21
I can't post the wiring diagrams, but his is how the "Modern vs 50's" thing shakes out:
----------------------

With both circuits, the pickup feeds into volume pot leg #3, and the volume pot wiper (output) then goes to the selector switch. The other volume pot leg goes to ground,

With both circuits, the tone cap acts as a HPF, and goes from the volume pot, through the tone pot, to ground. (thus dumping HF.)

The difference is in how the cap connects to the tone pot :


Vintage :

Cap goes from the volume pot wiper , to the tone pot leg #1

Tone pot wiper (middle) goes to ground.

-
No Treble-Bleed cap!
---------------------

Modern:

Cap goes from the volume pot leg #3. to the tone pot wiper (middle)


Tone pot leg #1 goes to ground.

Optionally: Treble-Bleed cap goes from volume wiper to ground.

The Custom taper pot exclusively for RS is a real thing. But I don’t blame you for being skeptical, however I am absolutely correct in this regard. Cheers!
 
Last edited:


Latest posts

Top