Custombuckers or pots, which one first...

rafke182

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
127
Reaction score
61
Hi all

I read a lot of people swapping pickups out of their guitars, cs historic equiped custombuckers and i have a question on ... POTS!

The first thing i hear is "the sound aint great, im going to replace the pickups of my historic to another brand like wizz, ox4, sd, and the list goes on.

Why doesn't anyone change the pots first?

I read and hear a lot of people saying the high end pots like vip pots( look at vintage inspired pots), bk pots, tad to name few with better quality and performance (550k), matched pair, that opened up the guitar so much better?

Also better, real pio caps. Dont know if gibson bumblebees are real pio, maybe nowadays they are i dunno.

So who gave it a shot and gave their lp other pots with the same pickups and had a whole other guitar?
 

KStopper65

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
1,961
Reaction score
2,284
Because most Gibsons and Epiphones already come with quality pots
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2020
Messages
54
Reaction score
39
There are so many things that can affect a guitars tone, starting at your fingers and finishing at the cab, expecting pots or some old beat up PIO caps to offer major tonal changes is folly. You want big changes in tone? get a couple of cabs and try different speakers.
if you want to tinker, yeah, try some pickups (don't fall for the unicorn spit PAF construction BS, someone like Geppetto offer the camelot humbucker, fantastic quality, great sound and a "normal" price) The Art of Tone sell CTS pots with consistent values, tight tolerances and vintage tapers at a reasonable price. Buy caps in the same manner, consistent values/tight tolerances, what it's made of (or what year) doesn't matter.
 
Last edited:

uncle mud

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
269
Reaction score
194
Don't waste your money or time. The stock reissue pots are just fine.
 

jonesy

GLOBAL WIRING GURU
MLP Vendor
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
17,446
Reaction score
4,781
If you want to get the most out of your pickups a quality wiring harness with better grade CTS pots like the ones with 550K readings and the 50's wiring circuit is the way to go.

The results will be more clarity, less mud and your volume and tone controls will be much more user friendly.
 

cybermgk

“Happiness is the most insidious prison of all"
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
16,046
Reaction score
24,061
Seems to me, it depends on what the person does, or does not like about the tone of the guitar as is.

IF it already has too much top end, to the point it sounds shrill, imho, pots with a higher actual resistance level will only make that worse, unless the tone is rolled off.

Better pots can help. But, what exactly is 'better'. For some people, that means better tolerance, i.e. closer to spec on the actual resistance. A typical 500K with 20% tolerance, could in theory, be actually anywhere from 400K to 600K. Though in practice usually range from 420K to 520K at the ectremes, and wuite often in the 450-495k range.

For others, it means the feel of the pot being turned. Some like smooth and loose, others think tighter and smoother is better. I suppose some might even like gritty feeling pots as better.

Yet others think better is a different taper. Some might WANT all of the volume to roll-off at one end of the opt, others might want it more even. Same for tone.

There are advantages to 50s, modern or Hybrid wiring schemes, and disadvantages to all.

I won't even touch the PIO is better thing. Let's just say, if you can hear a difference, then use PIO. Life is too short to argue over it.

The point is, what is 'better' is very subjective and particular to the individual AND guitar together. Some players want all their guitars to sound similar. Others want each and every Les Paul, of their 20 to sound unique and different. No one answer, as regards the OP would apply to either.
 

VictorB

Formerly LZF
Super Mod
V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
47,303
Reaction score
142,922
I can't quite remember the year the Custom Shop upgraded the pots and caps (they are now using Luxe PIO caps).

Someone here will chime in with the info. Since they upgraded, I see no reason to swap out the pots and caps.

The Custombuckers on the other hand.... It's all subjective.
 

BDW60

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
1,601
Hi all

I read a lot of people swapping pickups out of their guitars, cs historic equiped custombuckers and i have a question on ... POTS!

The first thing i hear is "the sound aint great, im going to replace the pickups of my historic to another brand like wizz, ox4, sd, and the list goes on.

Why doesn't anyone change the pots first?

I read and hear a lot of people saying the high end pots like vip pots( look at vintage inspired pots), bk pots, tad to name few with better quality and performance (550k), matched pair, that opened up the guitar so much better?

Also better, real pio caps. Dont know if gibson bumblebees are real pio, maybe nowadays they are i dunno.

So who gave it a shot and gave their lp other pots with the same pickups and had a whole other guitar?

The thickness and material of the pick you use is gonna affect tone far more than swapping out good pots for ”great” pots.

I have done the custom harness thing in the past and, trying to be objective, at most the difference was very minimal. I changed the pickups in my 60s standard and the difference was obvious. For me it is a notable upgrade in sound but another set of ears could prefer the stock set. It’s all so subjective.
 

cybermgk

“Happiness is the most insidious prison of all"
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2011
Messages
16,046
Reaction score
24,061
The Custombuckers on the other hand.... It's all subjective.
Yep (also what @BDW60 said, posted at same time originally).

And , all POT and Cap changes can do, generally, is stopping certain frequencies from being removed from what the pickups produce, or vice versa, and that really at the top end for some amount. No amount of changing pots or caps can add frequencies, that were never produced by said pickups.
 

dc007

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
4,779
Reaction score
14,448
I actually had no issues with the pots on my 2013. I did opt for a volume pot with a taper more to my liking.
 

VictorB

Formerly LZF
Super Mod
V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
47,303
Reaction score
142,922
I actually had no issues with the pots on my 2013. I did opt for a volume pot with a taper more to my liking.
That’s the main reason I replaced mine, the taper is key to my live playing. However from my understanding, when Gibson upgraded the pots and caps, the taper issue was resolved.
 

dc007

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
4,779
Reaction score
14,448
the taper is key to my live playing
Exactly, I like for my guitars volume pot to react consistent with each other. On the Custombucker swap that is just a matter of taste. 8-10 years back I was a rip the pickups out and replace them type of guy. There are different winders pups is my arsenal of guitars. Each of them bring something that I was looking for at the time. And I could certainly hear the differences in them. However I said all that to say this.
Over time I have recorded our practices and live playing with the different guitars I use in "my rotation". What I have noticed that in the mix there is not a lot of difference in the tone. ( We are talking all Gibson guitars) All sound good to my ears with more similarities than differences. The exception is the WCR Godwood in my 92 LP. It is definitely throatier.
 

VictorB

Formerly LZF
Super Mod
V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
47,303
Reaction score
142,922
Exactly, I like for my guitars volume pot to react consistent with each other. On the Custombucker swap that is just a matter of taste. 8-10 years back I was a rip the pickups out and replace them type of guy. There are different winders pups is my arsenal of guitars. Each of them bring something that I was looking for at the time. And I could certainly hear the differences in them. However I said all that to say this.
Over time I have recorded our practices and live playing with the different guitars I use in "my rotation". What I have noticed that in the mix there is not a lot of difference in the tone. ( We are talking all Gibson guitars) All sound good to my ears with more similarities than differences. The exception is the WCR Godwood in my 92 LP. It is definitely throatier.
I'm the same way...

The WCR Darkbursts in my 03 R8 sound way different than the Tom Short Marc Ford Humbuckers in my 13 R8.

Point being, all my LPs have a different sound to them. Right tool for the right job, lol.
 
Last edited:

rafke182

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
127
Reaction score
61
I can't quite remember the year the Custom Shop upgraded the pots and caps (they are now using Luxe PIO caps).

Someone here will chime in with the info. Since they upgraded, I see no reason to swap out the pots and caps.

The Custombuckers on the other hand.... It's all subjective.
I would love to know that too...
 

AJK1

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
1,876
Reaction score
1,431
Hi all

I read a lot of people swapping pickups out of their guitars, cs historic equiped custombuckers and i have a question on ... POTS!
The first thing i hear is "the sound aint great, im going to replace the pickups of my historic to another brand like wizz, ox4, sd, and the list goes on.

Why doesn't anyone change the pots first?

I read and hear a lot of people saying the high end pots like vip pots( look at vintage inspired pots), bk pots, tad to name few with better quality and performance (550k), matched pair, that opened up the guitar so much better?

Also better, real pio caps. Dont know if gibson bumblebees are real pio, maybe nowadays they are i dunno.

So who gave it a shot and gave their lp other pots with the same pickups and had a whole other guitar?
There’s nothing wrong with either
 

Brek

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
2,957
Reaction score
3,194
I tried it all, new pots, caps, pickups, from no difference in some cases, to different in others. I guess pickups to tune sound if there is something you don't like about stock, most builders provide tasting notes with the products, and taper of pots if you prefer a different placement of what volume at what position.

I think a good amp helps in general, with tone as is, and picking up any differences after a change. For example my Wizz Beanos are more sensitive, not always a good thing as they reveal sloppiness in my technique lol. which I noticed today after playing through a little dsl1 for a few weeks with a guitar with stock custom buckers in, to the Mini dirty Shirley with the beano set in revealed all sorts of nasty noises from my hands and pick.
 

Latest Threads



Top