Gibson Les Paul Halcyon stock electronics worth spending dough to replace?

Angus Blackmore

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Hi folks,

I have the below guitar, and the 4 pots sound noticeably worse than on my other 3 Gibson USAs: when engaged the vol and tone pots provide that muffly ‘blanket on amp’ tone that forces me to ride all the controls at 10, all the time.


Looking in the cavity the caps are these teeny tiny little blue cylinders but the (push /pull) pots themselves seem to be CTS 500s. The wiring looks like a rat’s nest (something I have read about before on forums, regarding this model, I can provide pics later). I bought the guitar used from a guy that didn’t mod it at all he told me, except for moving the ridiculous TRC.

In addition, after a long pickup quest to find my perfect set for this guitar, my ham-fisted soldering temps have resulted in scratchy volume pots, So I am tempted to purchase a wiring harness that can add clarity over anything else. I’m currently eyeballing the Obsidianwire option, but it is plenty spendy.

A lot of the praise I hear about these wiring looms are from people upgrading Epihones, Squires, and other less expensive guitars and I’m concluding that those harness upgrades really only yield results for guitars with worse stock electronics then my Halcyon.

So my question is as follows: are the stock components on the Halcyon just as good or bad as on the rest of the Gibson USA line, and will buying a fancy wiring loom GUARANTEE me clearer tone?

Or should I just replace the scratchy pots?

If anyone knows of less expensive wiring looms than £100 - £120 in the UK, please chime in!

Thanks all!
 
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Classicplayer

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I have a year-old Trad where the pots cannot be moved much below 9 on the volumes. Every component is stock and it has decent Orange Drop caps and I think, 500k pots. I hesitate to get a new harness to be able to expand the range of my volume pots; not sure it's worth it because I'm an at home player. If on the other hand I would be playing out, I would most likely change to a custom harness to get more range in the volume pots.

You have to judge for your own situation to do what you originally asked. I would get new pots for the scratchy ones first, the see if those new ones improved your issue. Change pickups only as a last resort......save yourself some hard earned cash.


Classicplayer
 

morbidalex666

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That's a bitch!

I am not familiar with the paricular Lace model pickups.
It is most probable that the pots are not actually 500K but considerably lower, resulting in a more muffled sound - especially when turning them down.
And they are push-pulls, which makes the available options limited. You could try to get 550k push-pulls and have some kind of security against 500k pots that are actually 450k.

Before doing that, you could try and clean the existing pots with contact cleaner (applied sparingly) and install treble bleed caps on both volume pots. 180pf is a good starting value for 500k pots with humbuckers. That would cost you very little.

Do you use the coil split function? If not, you could get rid of them for some quality regular pots like these:

Best of luck!
 

Angus Blackmore

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I have a year-old Trad where the pots cannot be moved much below 9 on the volumes. Every component is stock and it has decent Orange Drop caps and I think, 500k pots. I hesitate to get a new harness to be able to expand the range of my volume pots; not sure it's worth it because I'm an at home player. If on the other hand I would be playing out, I would most likely change to a custom harness to get more range in the volume pots.

You have to judge for your own situation to do what you originally asked. I would get new pots for the scratchy ones first, the see if those new ones improved your issue. Change pickups only as a last resort......save yourself some hard earned cash.


Classicplayer
Thanks CP, I might do just that!
 

Jymbopalyse

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How good are you with a soldering iron.
You mention you might "just replace scratchy pots", but then mention purchasing a prebuilt harness.


If you're not afraid of the soldering iron, you can start with the pot replacement, but you might as well rebuild the entire harness if you're in there.

You can get the parts on Amazon if you can't find them any where else.
 

Angus Blackmore

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That's a bitch!

I am not familiar with the paricular Lace model pickups.
It is most probable that the pots are not actually 500K but considerably lower, resulting in a more muffled sound - especially when turning them down.
And they are push-pulls, which makes the available options limited. You could try to get 550k push-pulls and have some kind of security against 500k pots that are actually 450k.

Before doing that, you could try and clean the existing pots with contact cleaner (applied sparingly) and install treble bleed caps on both volume pots. 180pf is a good starting value for 500k pots with humbuckers. That would cost you very little.

Do you use the coil split function? If not, you could get rid of them for some quality regular pots like these:

Best of luck!
Thanks Morbid Alex (great moniker btw).

I got rid of the Laces, which were amazing when dirty but not transparent enough for my Alt Rock band (where I’m 60% clean, on average). The spec says 500k pots and I think I saw they were stamped CTS ....i’ll potst pics this weekend. I do use the coil split sometimes, mostly on the neck pup, or on both pups in the middle position... great for percussive funk riddims.

I think I’ll combine Classic Player’s advice with yours, and source some good quality split coil pots (any recommended brands or models?) and instal a treble bleed circuit.

Note that it took me a lot of work to find a pickup set I was happy (actually overjoyed, because most sets had the muddy neck / ice pick bridge syndrome, even with matched sets such as the Pearly Gates) with in that guitar and the pickup set I’m using is well balanced, so I’m now mulling over if I should get 2x 550 pots or a 550 for the neck and a 500 for the bridge? I don’t want to male the bridge the bridge too shrill.... as it’s *just* right!

I’m a clumsy oaf when soldering... I think I actually went a little crazy with the switch cleaner when trying to remove the first crackles, I may have gummed up the works!!

Thanks again.
 

morbidalex666

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A 500k pot with 10% tolerance is within spec from 450k to 550k range. You can do the math if the tolerance is 15% or 20%.

These seem like quality ones - yet still are just 500k spec'd:

You could measure them with a multimeter and put the ones above 500k to the volume positions.

Good luck!
 




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