Opinions Wanted on Electronics Upgrade

Kong

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I bought an Epi Les Paul Custom in Silverburst new in 2008. After a few months I swapped out the pickups for the Duncan Hotrodded set (SH-2 / SH-4). When I did the pickup swap I just left the stock wiring in the guitar. I didn't really know what I was doing and I was actually amazed when I buttoned it back up and everything worked as it should. My soldering skills remain pretty weak to this day.

I was in a modding frenzy for a few years with all my gear but pretty much left the Epi Custom alone after the pickup swap. The only other mod I did was install a GFS brass bridge and tailpiece last year. I've remained extremely happy with the guitar and I think it sounds and plays beautifully. The action and intonation are very good, it sounds good through my amps and I think it is my best playing guitar even vs. my Elitist or my Clapton strat. It just feels and sounds right in my hands.

So I've read a lot of posts that advocate throwing the stock harness in the trash and going with 50s style wiring with new switch, pots, caps and braided wiring. Full disclosure - I have had zero issues the the stock harness, pots are quiet, switch works, and I like the taper of the volume and tone controls and the stock caps sound fine to my ears. I do think that pio caps are snake oil. I'm asking for opinions on what would be the benefit to upgrade the harness at this point?


 

chupe442

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I was happy with mine until I started messing with the wiring.. I think the harness was the first thing I swapped out of my Epi/standard, and then pups. Both were huge improvements for me. My Gibson Studio still has the stock pups but I opted to go 50's wiring with 15/22 PIO caps (I dont understand the "snake oil" deal. Its not like they are expensive) with coil tapping.. For me, perfect! For some, its not for them. I love to dinker and there are differences that may only makes sense once you have made them. Its not an expensive adventure as long as you can read a schematic and can solder (by solder, I mean correctly and not by leaving 2lbs of lead and bad joint).. Have fun, make sh*t! Go!
 

GitFiddle

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If the controls work as expected and you love the sound, no reason to change anything. I bought a 1989 MIK Epi LP when it was brand new. I immediately started gigging with it. Within weeks started having problems with knobs, pots, switches etc. Played great but electronics were cheap. It ended up in a closet for many years. Finally, after joining MLP and learning how easy it was to mod LPs, I pulled it out of the closet and gave it a makeover. It now has Duncan JB and Jazz, Jonesy 50s harness, switch and jack, new bridge and tailpiece. Very very nice and very reliable now. If you are just jamming at home or with friends and happy with the sound, leave it as is and let 'er rip.

 

Zoobiedood

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I say, if it all works and you like the taper of the pots, then you are good to go. I don't upgrade wiring unless there is a problem. I bet it is a great guitar.
 

HCRoadie

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Stop picking at it. It'll just fester...I love tinkering with my guitars as much as playing them. There are guitars I got specifically to tinker with, then others that I don't want to change. Those all seem to work and sound as they should. The ones I have worked on are for the most part better off, some not so much. Sorry, I'm rambling. Leave it be for now. a harness is more about reliability than "tone". If it starts acting up, THEN start digging in.
 

jeff_farkas

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Honestly.. I'm in the same situation and I'm getting the pickups changed today. I've been thinking of a wiring harness upgrade but I have no interest in having coil tapping so I don't see the reason. I have that feature on my EPI ES-339 and I don't make use of it so I don't see the need to have it on my LP

Just my 2c
Jeff
 

moreles

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A good response would be a long one, but I'm going to keep this short. I do tons of work on pots, caps, etc., and my goal is always seeking to arrive at what sounds/feels to me to be the best match of PUs and wiring for a particular guitar. Pot values, cap values, and the modern-or-50s wiring choices do make a massive difference -- at least as much as PU choice, IMO. This forum is full of posts by people reworking a guitar's "innards" for some conceptual reason, obsession, or because they read somewhere that "50s wiring is better than modern" or other absolute statements that are never true -- all mods are relative -- and should be disregarded. The two good reasons to redo your wiring and components are (1) a part is failing mechanically; (2) you have some tonal goal or ned in mind. Well, I suppose there's a third good reason: (3) tinkering for the fun of it. Epi parts used to be crap, so plenty of players bought drop-in harnesses just to avoid problems. It's up to you to decide what you want. If you love your tone now, you are in the position to focus on your playing and musicality, which is, after all, the point of owning a guitar. Good luck thinking this through.
 

Kong

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Good replies. Pretty much confirms where I'm at. If it ain't broke, don't fix it indeed! I hated the stock pickups but love the Duncans. I really didn't like the stock bridge either because I can hear that stupid retainer wire buzzing. I love the replacement bridge. The only thing I may do is get a bone nut. Bone looks nicer than the plastic and I do get a bit of binding at the nut from time to time.
 

07rogersg

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If you're happy with the sound and feel the only recommendation I'd give is a Puretone Mono Jack, just a QOL upgrade.

 

Dolebludger

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If you are looking for an even better tone, I'd recommend another mod that would be cheaper than a total electronic swap. Get a Gotoh bridge. Stewmac sells them for about $30 delivered to your door -- even with their sky-high shipping charges. I have never been impressed with Epi bridges, and the Gotoh really tidies up the tone.
 

Kong

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If you are looking for an even better tone, I'd recommend another mod that would be cheaper than a total electronic swap. Get a Gotoh bridge. Stewmac sells them for about $30 delivered to your door -- even with their sky-high shipping charges. I have never been impressed with Epi bridges, and the Gotoh really tidies up the tone.
I installed a brass bridge and tailpiece from GFS. I really like it, everything is locked down, the tailpiece locks to the studs, the bridge locks to the studs and the saddles are fastened to the bridge with set screws.

1120171750a.jpg
 

Crunchy

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If you're happy with the current harness you don't need to upgrade it,

don't fix something that ain't broken
 

Side Burns

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If you're happy with the sound and feel the only recommendation I'd give is a Puretone Mono Jack, just a QOL upgrade.

Darn you rodger... (put that on the bucket list) :doh:

@Kong I use upgrades/mods like this to get me that new toy feeling. If the guitar works than keep it as is. If you get board, than small mods are good to keep you excited about the guitar after a few years.

Welcome to the can't leave well enough alone club, you seem to have the symptoms/itch
 

Jymbopalyse

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Good replies. Pretty much confirms where I'm at. If it ain't broke, don't fix it indeed! I hated the stock pickups but love the Duncans. I really didn't like the stock bridge either because I can hear that stupid retainer wire buzzing. I love the replacement bridge. The only thing I may do is get a bone nut. Bone looks nicer than the plastic and I do get a bit of binding at the nut from time to time.
I have to agree with others here and say if it ain't broke - Don't fix it.

Especially if you really like the way your current harness responds now !!!

One suggestion for a replacement nut.
Try a Black Tusq nut. The black will look totally bitchen on your LP.
 

charlie chitlins

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Sounds great?
Plays great?
Reading stuff on the internet?
Change everything! ;)
Cloth covered wire will turn your tonez to pure vintage and pio caps will lubricate the tonez and help them slide out of your amp.
All you need is a tweed amp with the new electrolytics slid into the old cardboard housings.
Really...I've gigged Epiphones heavily.
If it has full-sized pots, I just change the switch and output jack (make sure there's a toothed star washer behind it) to make a dependable gigger.
I also melt the wax out of the pickups, but that's personal preference and might be overkill for others.
 
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