Some Help, Please: Upgrading to Coil Split/Push-Pull Pots

Niloy63

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Hi guys,

I'm getting new pups for my LP (Duncan Custom/Pearly Gates) and I'm looking to coil split them. Since I'm such an amateur at modifying a guitar, I got lost in trying to figure out what pots to get. I'd be grateful for your collective advise. Here's my stock setup: 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone.

500K vs. 300K: I've read that replacing the stock 300k Linear Volume pot with a 500K would open the sound up a bit more (higher treble and gain). Is this true? If so, I want to do this.

Linear vs. Non-linear: Here's my amateur analysis... Linear would give me consistent change throughout a rotation (1-10), whereas Non-linear would be a more dramatic change towards the end (7-10). If this is true, why would I want to keep my tone pots Non-linear since theoretically, Linear Tone pots would give me finer control? Would it sound okay if all 4 (both Vol and both Tone pots) were 500K Linear?

CTS or Dimarzio pots:I've read more than once that these two are reliable brands for coil splitting/push-pull systems, but I couldn't find a comparison b/w them. Any preferences, or perhaps you may know if another brand has a better track record in Les Pauls?

Thanks in advance!

-Niloy
 

M.C.J.

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Hi guys,

I'm getting new pups for my LP (Duncan Custom/Pearly Gates) and I'm looking to coil split them. Since I'm such an amateur at modifying a guitar, I got lost in trying to figure out what pots to get. I'd be grateful for your collective advise. Here's my stock setup: 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone.

500K vs. 300K: I've read that replacing the stock 300k Linear Volume pot with a 500K would open the sound up a bit more (higher treble and gain). Is this true? If so, I want to do this.

Linear vs. Non-linear: Here's my amateur analysis... Linear would give me consistent change throughout a rotation (1-10), whereas Non-linear would be a more dramatic change towards the end (7-10). If this is true, why would I want to keep my tone pots Non-linear since theoretically, Linear Tone pots would give me finer control? Would it sound okay if all 4 (both Vol and both Tone pots) were 500K Linear?

CTS or Dimarzio pots:I've read more than once that these two are reliable brands for coil splitting/push-pull systems, but I couldn't find a comparison b/w them. Any preferences, or perhaps you may know if another brand has a better track record in Les Pauls?

Thanks in advance!

-Niloy
Pots:
I think that you have the right idea in regards to the sonic characteristic of the shaft rotation of a audio taper pot versus a linear taper pot. An audio taper pot might be a little harder to control and/or fine tune than the linear taper pot when used as a volume control. In an audio taper pot, the slightest turn will make a huge difference in tone. In the heat of performance, you might be fighting your volume control to get dynamics you want. It's really up to the player and their needs because for some playing styles and musical styles, an audio taper would fit the bill nicely. I personally like the response of the linear taper (I have a Les Paul Studio Deluxe '60's with coil tapping on bridge and neck pup) on the volume when I backoff or turn it up-it's a much smoother transition from quiet to loud.

More on pots:
Basic Electric Guitar Circuits 2: Pots & Tone Capacitors | Amplified Parts

500K vs. 300k vs. 250k vs. whatever:
Usually, the pot with the lower resistance value will yield a darker tone, while the pot with the higher resistance value will yield a brighter tone. The 500K will usually produce a brighter sound than a 300K or 250K pot. So, the value of the pot won't affect the output of the pup, but will affect it's eq frequencies.

But, you also gotta remember the specs in regards to the pups you are using. The amount of turns/winds, magnet type, and DC resistance value of a pup all work together with the potentiometer, caps, etc. as one complete system, so you really gotta look at the everything and pick your components carefully with a specific goal in mind (brighter tone, darker tone, hotter sound, etc.
 

Niloy63

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Pots:
I think that you have the right idea in regards to the sonic characteristic of the shaft rotation of a audio taper pot versus a linear taper pot. An audio taper pot might be a little harder to control and/or fine tune than the linear taper pot when used as a volume control. In an audio taper pot, the slightest turn will make a huge difference in tone. In the heat of performance, you might be fighting your volume control to get dynamics you want. It's really up to the player and their needs because for some playing styles and musical styles, an audio taper would fit the bill nicely. I personally like the response of the linear taper (I have a Les Paul Studio Deluxe '60's with coil tapping on bridge and neck pup) on the volume when I backoff or turn it up-it's a much smoother transition from quiet to loud.

More on pots:
Basic Electric Guitar Circuits 2: Pots & Tone Capacitors | Amplified Parts

500K vs. 300k vs. 250k vs. whatever:
Usually, the pot with the lower resistance value will yield a darker tone, while the pot with the higher resistance value will yield a brighter tone. The 500K will usually produce a brighter sound than a 300K or 250K pot. So, the value of the pot won't affect the output of the pup, but will affect it's eq frequencies.

But, you also gotta remember the specs in regards to the pups you are using. The amount of turns/winds, magnet type, and DC resistance value of a pup all work together with the potentiometer, caps, etc. as one complete system, so you really gotta look at the everything and pick your components carefully with a specific goal in mind (brighter tone, darker tone, hotter sound, etc.
Thank you for explaining! How about the short shaft vs. the long shaft pot... I'm not sure which would apply to my guitar. It would seem a better fit for me to go with Linear Pots so that I may control the subtleties better, which I like to do when playing a low key lick with low to medium gain. The LP is a darker toned axe in general, so I think going to 500K pots shouldn't hurt the guitar. It's not like a 300k to 1meg jump.

The bridge pickup, Duncan Custom, is Ceramic wound w/ 14.1k DC Res. The neck pickup, Pearly Gates, has an Alnico II magnet w/ 7.3k DC Res. I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure what a "cap" is. But I feel that the LP can handle the 500k pots well, and I feel these pickups would sing with the configuration.

As for the Push/Pull Coil Split, I'm guessing that all I need to do is replace the pots (and not the knobs), right? So if I was to look for these products, would this be an accurate search...

  • 2 CTS 500k Push/Pull Tone Pots

  • 2 CTS 500k Volume Pots
Because when I search it, I don't get a definitive product. Thanks a lot for your help!


-Niloy
 

Lipinhu

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Rule of thumb:
DONT COIL SPLIT!

You won't get humbucker sound right neither the single coils. Save some money and buy a stratotype guitar. Even a cheaper model with true single coils will sound better.

Been there, done that... A LOT!!!:naughty:

EDIT:

By the way, CTS pots with split function are hard to find. Gibson used them in some traditional pros, now they are with something else.
 

SteveC

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I recently did exactly what you want to do. You can see my thoughts and the entire process in this thread.

And, FWIW... this was one of the best mods that I ever did. I love the coil spilt sound of my Seth Lovers. No! They are not a substitute for a Strat/Tele, but they are more than good enough for getting a very good single coil sound for use in live play. When recording, if I want/need single coil tones - I use the Strat/Tele.

Hit up Matt at MartinSixStringCustoms (Forum Member) for help with your wiring harness.

It's easier than you think and well worth the money, time & effort.
 

Niloy63

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I recently did exactly what you want to do. You can see my thoughts and the entire process in this thread.

And, FWIW... this was one of the best mods that I ever did. I love the coil spilt sound of my Seth Lovers. No! They are not a substitute for a Strat/Tele, but they are more than good enough for getting a very good single coil sound for use in live play. When recording, if I want/need single coil tones - I use the Strat/Tele.

Hit up Matt at MartinSixStringCustoms (Forum Member) for help with your wiring harness.

It's easier than you think and well worth the money, time & effort.
Excellent advise, Steve! Thank you for the detailed response!

I am a bit concerned, however, after reading Lipinhu's comment. Does coil splitting change the sound of the humbucker when it's not in split mode? I knew I wanted to coil split the Pearly Gates neck pup for sure, and I still do. But I'm debating whether I should split the bridge (Duncan Custom).

Just when I thought I started getting the hang of things, there was yet another aspect I had to learn about... capacitors. Apparently, the caps value is proportional to the bass output (the higher cap value, the more bass is produced; vice versa). So I'm thinking about getting a .022 cap for the bridge and a .015 cap for the neck. Do you think this would sit well with my LP? I also know that I have to get the long shaft.

I should probably get a hold of Matt from MartinSixStringCustoms, like you said Steve. Thank you very much for your input!!!


In case you were wondering, this is the guitar that I'm attempting to upgrade the electronics on...
 

JMB1984

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Don't really have anything to add, but here's a bump for a nice swirl.
 

SteveC

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Excellent advise, Steve! Thank you for the detailed response!

I am a bit concerned, however, after reading Lipinhu's comment. Does coil splitting change the sound of the humbucker when it's not in split mode? I knew I wanted to coil split the Pearly Gates neck pup for sure, and I still do. But I'm debating whether I should split the bridge (Duncan Custom).

Just when I thought I started getting the hang of things, there was yet another aspect I had to learn about... capacitors. Apparently, the caps value is proportional to the bass output (the higher cap value, the more bass is produced; vice versa). So I'm thinking about getting a .022 cap for the bridge and a .015 cap for the neck. Do you think this would sit well with my LP? I also know that I have to get the long shaft.

I should probably get a hold of Matt from MartinSixStringCustoms, like you said Steve. Thank you very much for your input!!!
Nice guitar, man!!!!!

Coil splitting does NOT change the sound of the pup in humbucker mode.

You can make any humbucker into split coil mode (don't try this yourself, buy one already configured for split coil). In a humbucker, there are two separate windings around two separate coils. In a non-split coil HB, the end of one coil winding is connected to the start of the next coil. And, only 2 wires come from the pup - the start of coil #1 and the end of coil #2.

Now, picture undoing the connection from the end of coil #1 and the start of coil #2. You'd have 4 wires coming from the pup.

1 = start of coil #1
2 = end of coil #1
3 = start of coil #2
4 = end of coil #2

Wires 1 and 4 go to the usual places, volume pot and ground.

Wires 2 and 3 go to the push/pull pot. In non-split mode they are connected together, making the pup operate in humbucker mode. In split mode, they are grounded, essentially taking coil #2 out of the circuit and leaving you with a single coil pup.

So, the only difference between a humbucker that cannot be split and a humbucker that can be split is, the extra length of wire that runs to/from the push/pull pot.

Trust me, that does not, in any way, alter the sound of the humbucking mode.

Have the cap/pot/wiring discussion with Matt at MartinSixStringCustoms. I used this harness: Prewired Les Paul® Dual Coil Split Harness It has a .015 in the neck and a .022 in the bridge. I think that is the right combination, but YMMV.

Take a look at the wiring diagram for the harness. The series link connection is wires 2 & 3 connected together. In humbucking mode, they are not grounded. In split mode, they get connected to ground.

Hoep it works out for you - I love my sound and I use it all the time!
 


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