Pickup's Wiring Question, Pots, Caps, Les Paul Custom?

brhokla

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I just got my Les Paul Custom back after having the neck worked, dressed, leveled and a Bone nut installed. It feels great now and is a pleasure to play. Question is, the guitar has all stock guts, wiring, pots, caps and pups.

I have a Duncan Pearly Gates bridge just laying around and what I'm wondering is if I have the wiring replaced 50's style with high quality wiring, the pots replaced with new bumble bee oil in caps can I expect that the Epiphone Bridge PUP, Alnico Classic Plus and Neck Alnico Classic pup with the new hardware will sound good or great or should I invest even more and go get another Duncan Neck pickup and replace all of it and the pups?

Anybody get killer tone, sound not mudded out from these stock epi pups with better caps and pots, wiring? I have to think the lower quality caps and pots in these guitars probably reduces the capabilities of what these stock Epi pups can actually do. Is it necessary for the pickups to be upgraded too?
My thinking is that anybody trading out pups would typically upgrade the caps at least so it would sound better mainly because of the upgrade caps. Any Idea's? Is my thinking wrong and the Epi Pickups just cannot measure up to a Seymour Duncan or Gibson pickup? Suggestions?
 

SJM

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This is all up to you and what your ears perceive as sounding good. Certainly upgrading the electronics is going to improve the overall tone whether you use 50's style or modern wiring. The difference between the two is just where you place the caps. CTS pots are the best, 500K audio taper all the way around for modern wiring but my personal preference for 50's wiring are CTS 500K audio taper for tone and 300K linear for volume. Bumblebee caps are really spendy so you might consider vitamin Q or mojo tone instead. I'd do the electronic upgrade first and see if you're happy with the improvement. If not then put the SD's in. However, IMO a set of SD Pearly Gates will be very hard to top. Good luck with your mods. :)
 

jrt12

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couldn't agree more. if budget is an issue, the electronics is a great place to start and the pups can come later. but personally i'm a fan of the SD sound and would upgrade both if possible.
 

Giant

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This may be blasphemy, but I wired my Standard with 50s wiring and couldn't stand it. It was like it shaved off all the bass. Some say its a more open sound, but for me it was just a little too trebly. I dunno. Maybe its my ears. Ha ha. That's why ya gotta try stuff and see how it sounds to you.
 

thinkgreen

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i put cts pots and russian pio caps, with sd pickups in my custom. im so glad i put the time, effort and money to do it. it made a great guitar sound fantastic:thumb: in other words, it sounds as good as it looks now:D.
 

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brhokla

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Yea, probably right. Hell, I already have the Bridge Pearly Gate so why not spend a little more to give it all the tone it deserves.
 

straybeat

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One thing I have never understood in all my years of playing is changing pups? An example of my confusion is that I have a particular sound, style, etc. best expressed in this song;

Pat Travers - Heat In The Street - free mp3 download

While I didn't steal this sound from Pat, he did help me refine it and find what I was looking for 37 years ago (BTW, Pat used his red '63 Melody Maker for this song). I own/owned Les Pauls, my '81 Carvin, I had a Kramer with the aluminum "V" neck, etc. Always heavy, solid, humbucker guitars. After tweaking my amp tone, effects, etc. all these guitars sounded like this song. Until about 7 years ago I also used a '65 Fender Vibratone leslie too for that kind of warbling smoothness (but the damn thing weighed about 60 pounds and I got too old to lug it around).

I used to joke that I judged my sound by striking the bottom "E" chord and seeing if the peoples hair blew back in the 10th row, then I knew it was right. :D

The point is that if I couldn't achieve this sound with whatever guitar I picked up off the shelf, the guitar was immediately returned. No need to change pups. To me it's like buying a Volkswagen and spending 10 grand to make it run like a Camaro. Why not just buy a Camaro to begin with? Excluding of course, for the tweakers who just like to tinker with their new toys. :D
 

brhokla

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I think I just like to tinker and since I have a Pearly Gates Duncan just laying around, I should probably put it to good use.
 

straybeat

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I think I just like to tinker and since I have a Pearly Gates Duncan just laying around, I should probably put it to good use.

I agree to a point. When I was 14, 15, 16 and foaming at the mouth to learn everything guitar, I soldered and unsoldered everything in sight. But then I had to learn to balance tinker time with playing time. Then once I started getting good enough jobs that paid okay I just stopped tinkering and started buying what I wanted. I was HEAVILY into effects. So I would point and say, "I wanna sound like THAT!" and would buy the effect to accomplish it. :D
 

SJM

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I agree to a point. When I was 14, 15, 16 and foaming at the mouth to learn everything guitar, I soldered and unsoldered everything in sight. But then I had to learn to balance tinker time with playing time. Then once I started getting good enough jobs that paid okay I just stopped tinkering and started buying what I wanted. I was HEAVILY into effects. So I would point and say, "I wanna sound like THAT!" and would buy the effect to accomplish it. :D

I kinda did things bass ackwards of everyone else. I started doing my tinkering when I got older. I change things around a lot just because I enjoy it for some odd reason. You make an excellent point though Stray. If you get the right effects you can pretty much make any guitar sound the way you want it to. I know not everyone will agree with that statement but I believe it. :)
 

straybeat

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I kinda did things bass ackwards of everyone else. I started doing my tinkering when I got older. I change things around a lot just because I enjoy it for some odd reason. You make an excellent point though Stray. If you get the right effects you can pretty much make any guitar sound the way you want it to. I know not everyone will agree with that statement but I believe it. :)

I know what you mean on effects. I had a buddy Terry growing up who thought Frank Marino sucked because he used all of his effects (who I stole it from to some degree) and Terry was a purist (and an F'ing great guitarist) who thought you ought to play straight guitar. He figured if you developed well enough on your own, you didn't NEED effects? And that would weed out the guys who sucked and relied on effects to sound good? It didn't of course.

As for tinkering, I guess I tinkered at work enough and lost my drive to come home and do it too. You know the old saying, the best auto mechanic has the crappiest car. :D
 

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