RS Guitarworks electronics upgrade (video A/B compare)

donepearce

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This is a complete guitar circuit which is the basis for my design work. The pickup has the parasitics that define its basic tone. The next section has the volume and tone pots, plus tone cap. Then comes the capacitance of the cable, and finally the input impedance of the amplifier. I can change these as I need and calculate a frequency response - hence tone

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Cableaddict

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Vsiual Guy, Re the pots:
If you say so, OK then, but it really makes no sense from a manufacturing / cost standpoint. I personally cannot believe it's true, based on a lifetime of dealing with circuit design and friends bringing products to market.
Also, the CTS "VT" pots are just about perfect. There's no need to deviate from that design.
Maybe that bin you saw was full of VT pots that simply get an RSS stamp embossed.
Or not. I don't particularly care & don't mean to call you a liar or whatever.
-------------------------

Two final notes:

1: I'm certainly NOT denigrating the RSS kit. In fact, it appears to be one of the nicest of all those offered, and is well worth what they charge, if you can't solder well or want to easily A/B two harnesses.


2: For one of your tone pots, consider getting a good quality push-pull instead. You can then wire your pups to be out of phase when its pulled.
- A lead sound I personally love in many instances.

"Jonesy Blues" offers this as an option with his wiring harnesses, (The "Jimmy Page #1" option) though I prefer the RSS kit in most other respects.
 
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Cableaddict

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FInal thought:

I suppose if you have a vintage SG / LP, it might be worth getting an entire harness even if you CAN solder, since then you can preserve the original harness in dead-stock form.

In which case, I do think RSS is probably the way to go.

The other harnesses I've seen that look good and not stupidly overhyped or overpriced are:

BYO
Jonesy Blues
MojoTone
 

Norton

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pots make a big difference. Not because of their resistance value… but due to their taper and the kind of pot it is. Audio/log/linear no load... etc.

I'm not trying to tell you that x brand of 500k pot sounds better or different than z brand of 500k pot.

BUT there are brands etc that do have more useful tapers to them, or even the no load option. That taper is kind of the key to a pots usefulness.

Caps are a different thing. The ann arbor guitar video series on caps is great. Everyone should watch it. No snake oil.
 

Raiyn

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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!
FINALLY! We agree on some stuff!
Art Of Tone has 525k ± 5% pots (read 500-550K) I used them in my G400 build and the set I got was 530,521, and a pair of 509's. (NV,BV,& 2T).
If you're spending $10 for a tight tolerance cap you're flat getting robbed.

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.)
Not in a properly shielded cavity. I use conductive adhesive copper shield tape that forms a Faraday cage in my cavities. The main point of concerns are making sure that the cavities are connected and the tape has continuity to ground.

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.
In the shielded control cavity, you can literally use lamp cord and it's not going to matter one iota. Typically your pickups are going to have some form of shielded wire be it exterior braid or multi-conductor shielded so the small areas of "exposure" going through the wood aren't going to mean diddly, because the shield becomes a tunnel connecting into the cage. That said I'd consider using shielded wire on something like a Les Paul switch run a bit more strongly given the "remote" switch location, but on an SG (either batwing or angel) or a Strat for that matter, it's not going to matter.
Heck if you really wanted to play games, on something like a Strat you could widen the hole from the control cavity into the jack cavity, shield both, then reverse roll some tape and make a tunnel connecting the two so everything is shielded.

Regarding semi & hollow bodies....all bets are off. On those it's essentially impossible to do a proper shield job. You just don't typically have access to the interior spaces to do the job properly. It's much easier to use shielded wire in that case.
 

Col Mustard

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pots make a big difference. Not because of their resistance value… but due to their taper and the kind of pot it is. Audio/log/linear no load... etc.

I'm not trying to tell you that x brand of 500k pot sounds better or different than z brand of 500k pot.

BUT there are brands etc that do have more useful tapers to them, or even the no load option. That taper is kind of the key to a pots usefulness.

Caps are a different thing. The ann arbor guitar video series on caps is great. Everyone should watch it. No snake oil.

Cool video by Dave Collins. He's my go-to Luthier, and has done work on almost all of my guitars.
He's one of the best there is IMHO. When he speaks, I listen.
 

Biddlin

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Bonzo21

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That went well.

Welcome to the forum @Visual Guy .

AHAHAHAHAHHAHA

That was painful. Welcome Visual Guy. At worst you bought an overpriced harness for your own peace of mind; which I've also done before... At best the company puts in the time and effort to insure that the product is perfect. I agree that a lot of it is marketing jargon, but looking at that harness, I'd gladly put it in one of my guitars and do think it would improve it.
 

Cableaddict

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Typically your pickups are going to have some form of shielded wire be it exterior braid or multi-conductor shielded so the small areas of "exposure" going through the wood aren't going to mean diddly....


Good point.
 

Visual Guy

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What I told you, this was all a ploy so I could say... To
AHAHAHAHAHHAHA

That was painful. Welcome Visual Guy. At worst you bought an overpriced harness for your own peace of mind; which I've also done before... At best the company puts in the time and effort to insure that the product is perfect. I agree that a lot of it is marketing jargon, but looking at that harness, I'd gladly put it in one of my guitars and do think it would improve it.

Thanks for the welcome. I only meant to show Stock vs Upgraded harness, for anyone who may not know that changing things could make a subtle difference. The audience is way beyond just this thread, but I have learned some things here. Both guitar wise and forum wise. So thats a plus. The vid was not intended to showcase 300k v 500k, or ceramic v paper and snake oil, or the difference in Solder type. If folks want to go down that rabbit hole, they can... But for general internet and interest purposes, and time investment... I did not. I understand that once you have the knowledge it is hard to generalize a topic of this nature, and thats cool by me. It wasn't a super controlled test, but it was an effort. At least as a Visual Guy, you know which one is being played at which time LOL. I bought the DIY, at 20% off. I am local to RS, and I supported local. For the most part, everything since page one as been informative, and logical debate with multiple right answers. As long as it isn't condescending, I'm happy to have introduced the topic for discussion. Cheers.
 
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Gillean

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I`ve changed electric kits on 6 guitars by now, in some of them it made no noticeable difference, on others it was water and wine. Not that the sound it self changed much, like when you change pups, but it seems to be more open, bigger, clearer.

Could have been just placebo... I dont really believe it was.

Now, one thing that I`m sure was not placebo was the tapper... you tell me that all pots are the same as long as they have the same values I tell you you`ve never A/B pots.

I dont believe in magical caps, I do like them to look vintage if its a vintage guitar model.

My 2 unworthy cents with no charts or spreadsheets.
 

Raiyn

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Unless you’re using Cardas Quad you remain an amateur! :squint:
Well now, look at Mr. Fancy Pants! :p

I figured why not! Haha
Solder is one of those things to some people. I prefer 63/37 because it melts at a lower temperature and is either solid or liquid. There is no "plastic" stage.

Before I came here, I just used the perfectly acceptable, commonly available 60/40 stuff you could buy at Radio Shack. @ScottMarlowe turned me onto the 63/37 solder, and I continually thank him for it. It's a lot nicer to work with as far as I'm concerned.
 
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grausch

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They are good aren't they? Currently a bit overpriced, but real good.

I don’t notice any difference between them and a Switchcraft, but compared to the Asian jacks I replaced, they are a definite step up in quality - in feel but not in tone. At 5 Eur a jack that was one of my cheaper experiments.
 


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