Converting a new tribute to sound like a new standard 50's?

Lhdr

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I know next to nothing about messing with guitars but I can play.

I’ve got a 2020 standard 50’s, absolutely love the clean sound. Love it. I’ve tried the 2020 tribute and I really like the feel of that neck much better. I also like the weight, the maple neck, the satin and I like the fact it’s a guitar I don’t have to baby. Mostly it's the neck. But, and it's a big one - it doesn’t sound nearly as good as my standard 50’s with the burst buckers for clean low output neck pickup blues I like to play.

What would it involve to swap out the stock tribute pickups and replace them with the burst buckers 1 and 2 that come stock with the standard 50's? The standard 50’s has bumble bee so I have no idea how that effects things. The tribute has PCB. Really I could just swap the neck pickup as that gets 90% of my playing.

More importantly!,,,,if I did that, would it sound like my current standard 50’s give or take 5%? Can you just swap the pickups and a few other minor things and get mostly or all the way there? I realize the wood is different, other minor things, but isn't it mostly in the pickups?

For me, the two most important things are neck feel and sound. Really don't care about much else.
 

Derald

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You could get a pair of burst buckers with the quick connects on Reverb. You could also pull the PCB and hand wire new pots/caps and use traditionally wired Burst Buckers.

The Tribute won’t sound like a $2500 Les Paul but with a pickup swap it will be 90% close. If you can live with that then you’re all set.

I owned a Classic Les Paul and a Tribute, and after swapping pickups and pots, I’m 100% ok with the Tribute and sent the Classic back. Loved the Tribute maple, satin finished, rounded neck more than the Classic 60’s style.

It’s truly all about how it plays and how it feels.
 

Lhdr

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What kind of investment is involved with hand wiring pots and caps to bumblebee. Total cost with burst buckers, parts and labor. approximately. Wonder if anyone has put burst buckers in a new tribute?
 

Tone deaf

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Buy a soldering iron, a desolderer, some solder, flux and a tip cleaner. Get Dan Erewhine's guitar repair handbook, a sponge and a multi tester. Then have at it.

I like to record (Same settings and gear) the guitar in question before and after mods so that I can compare them. I am partial to SD APH-1 pups but I would not shy away from trying some Seth Lovers and other similar pups. I like the metal covers off (I think that helps, but it could be my imagination). I like '50s wiring with CTS 500k ohm, audio taper pots ($20 for a 4-pack). I have used different capacitors (Orange Drop, PIO, etc.). I think for humbuckers you use .022uf. Orange Drops are now about $4/each on Amazon (about 0.50/each in bulk). NOS PIOs are about $10-12/each. Luxe Bumblebees are about $25/ea. F*cked if I can tell the difference between capacitors with my ears.

Keep an eye out for used pups on CL. If someone mods a stock LP, those stock pups will be on CL before you know it. I bought a pair of practically brand new BBs off of CL for not a lot of money. A pair of new SD pups are about $180. You can buy a pre-made '50s wiring harness (more expensive than the parts, but it comes fully assembled).

I had the above mentioned BBs in a Studio and it rocked. I did, however, swap them out for APH-1s. The BBs got put into something else. IIRC, the stock OEM BBs are wax potted (to cut down on squeal/feedback), tried a couple things to unpot them.


Sometimes I think I just like modding the guitars.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.
 
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CB91710

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Bumblebees are mumbo-jumbo.
Seriously... the Gibson "Bumblebees" that they charge $60 for are standard yellow mylar film capacitors encased in plastic and painted to look like bumblebees.
Don't get hung up on them.

Just stick with Orange Drop of whatever value your 50s model has, wire it the same way, and it'll be close.
 

BadPenguin

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Save the money on the wiring harness, and spend that money on pickups. As CB said it's Mumbo Jumbo. Your pots are good, no one can hear the difference between oil filled and orange drops, spend the cash on what can be heard.
 

rjwilson37

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Just get the Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups from Sweetwater or somewhere like that and have your local luthier put them in for you. Should only cost like $100 give or take a little. Plus they would warranty there work. Tell them you want it wired up just like your 2020 Standard 50's. Wiring setup can make a difference, because 50's wiring is different than modern wiring on how the volume and tone pots react to how you dial them in. A bit more subtle is the 50's wiring compared to modern wiring which drops volume quickly and not at subtle.
 

sonar1

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Yeah, just get the pickups you want and put them in the guitar you want.
I can hear differences in pickups, model to model. Other things, not so much.
 

BDW60

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I know next to nothing about messing with guitars but I can play.

I’ve got a 2020 standard 50’s, absolutely love the clean sound. Love it. I’ve tried the 2020 tribute and I really like the feel of that neck much better. I also like the weight, the maple neck, the satin and I like the fact it’s a guitar I don’t have to baby. Mostly it's the neck. But, and it's a big one - it doesn’t sound nearly as good as my standard 50’s with the burst buckers for clean low output neck pickup blues I like to play.

What would it involve to swap out the stock tribute pickups and replace them with the burst buckers 1 and 2 that come stock with the standard 50's? The standard 50’s has bumble bee so I have no idea how that effects things. The tribute has PCB. Really I could just swap the neck pickup as that gets 90% of my playing.

More importantly!,,,,if I did that, would it sound like my current standard 50’s give or take 5%? Can you just swap the pickups and a few other minor things and get mostly or all the way there? I realize the wood is different, other minor things, but isn't it mostly in the pickups?

For me, the two most important things are neck feel and sound. Really don't care about much else.

So trying to get a chambered Tribute to sound very close to your solid (heavy?) Standard, especially clean or cleanish, isn’t gonna be quite as easy as swapping to the same pickups and wiring. But that’s the place to start.
 

ARandall

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Be aware that you may never get the tribute to sound identical (or close enough to). Its one of the vagaries of the wood chassis that they do have their own base tone.

edit - was beaten to the punch above!!
 

diogoguitar

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What kind of investment is involved with hand wiring pots and caps to bumblebee. Total cost with burst buckers, parts and labor. approximately. Wonder if anyone has put burst buckers in a new tribute?
do you plan to do it yourself or pay someone to do it?

burstbuckers: $250-300
pots: $20+ a set
orange drop capacitor ($?)

DIY route:
soldering iron: $10-30
multimeter: $10-20
solder sucker: $7

Wiring labor: $60-$150 depending on where you are. See below

Labor:
I recently quoted how much it would cost to swap the pickups and they quoted me $86 or 45 mins of labor. That was JUST the pickup swap and in addition to the setup. (of course I did it myself)

So if it would have cost me $86 to just swap the pickups, it would have cost me about $120-150 to do the whole wiring thing.

Honestly, if a tech quotes you more than $100,I'd try to learn how to solder, because it's not that hard - it's just a time consuming process, that's why it's expensive. The 50's wiring in particular is a very simple schematic.

Get a couple of pieces of wire and see if you can glue them with a solder, then test if the connection is strong. Then, try to remove the solder with the iron and "solder sucker" since de-soldering is part of the process.

Note that the DIY cost is a one-time expense to get the equipment you can reuse for a looooong time. I have my stuff for more than 5 years.
 

Brek

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If you do decide to do it yourself, best advice I have is keep that tip clean, like after every touch, wet sponge it to clean, and if it looks like the wet sponge isn’t shocking the slag off, use the brass coils to scrub it. Clean clean clean!
 

Brek

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Lol, that’s my main takeaway for all the advice I got on here. It’s the fundamental foundation for me now. All my struggles were down to a contaminated tip. I can desolder a pot in seconds, the speed I can solder now makes the quick release system I devised seem hilarious.

P.S.I am starting on the builds, so am going to need some hand holding lol, cut the big chunk ready for the spindle sander I have arriving in next couple of days, wasn’t as bad as I feared, used the 2400w Bosch circular saw to cut large chunks of the bottom of the lower bout I’ll probably have to draw a pic to show what I did, same with the new mega jigsaw, for the waist curves, left a bit more on that as blade deflects about 1/4 inch (not surprising really given mahogany is just over 1 3/4 in thick).
For the horn I cut a series of channels with circ saw, again a pic might help show how I did it, and used jigsaw to trim those spurs off, was time consuming as to adjust the cut depth of circ saw for each cut. and am also ready to glue the two piece body together, would like a one piece cap for it as is going to be a gold top, I will contact the maple supplier and ask if they have anything suitable.
 
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musicmaniac

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It's weight relieved and has a maple neck so it's probably not going to sound like your standard.
 

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