Swap the magnet?

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
My 79 custom needs some brightening up but I hate making mods to it which can't be undone or detected later. I have no plans to sell it but I do like the idea that it's all original (or I can put it back that way). I don't know squat about pickups so I'm including a pic. Would a magnet swap offer increased mids and highs? If so, which would you recommend I go with? Alnico, ceramic?
 

Phil W

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
1,070
Reaction score
1,334
Good question and one I can't completely answer but a more powerful magnetic field will induce more power output resulting in more gain but probably across all frequencies.
Magnets can be 're-charged' as well as replaced but for the price of either why not just get new pickups?
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
I am attempting to brighten the tone without replacing anything which is soldered in place. It just occurred to me that I'd have to break the solder joints to get the cover off if I wanted to swap the magnets. Sorry for the pointless thread.
 

Machine Man

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
1,434
I just put 550K pots from Vintage Inspired Pickups in the neck circuit (vol and tone) of my Les Paul. Previously it had 500K pots. It made an incredible different in the tone with the vol wide open and it reduced the muddiness when I roll the volume back. Not bad for $20.00
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
I'm gonna have to do something it appears. I was hoping to avoid it but I can't leave it alone when I know it can sound better.
 

Tubejockey

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
131
Reaction score
231
Without touching solder joints, about all you could do is lower the pickups, maybe even way down, and raise the pole piece screws.
 

Tubejockey

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
131
Reaction score
231
I would probably replace the pots with 500k or higher, and remove the covers.
 

Brian N

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
73
Reaction score
108
Try sawing the neck off and replacing it with maple. Simple, noninvasive, and easy to reverse.
 

Roxy13

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
10,911
Reaction score
27,979
You can always save your old wiring harness. Pack it carefully and if you aren't gigging the guitar just leave it in the case. That way too if something happens to you and your family sells it it's there with the guitar.

I would try a new harness first. Those VIPots are very nice and have a great taper. I would also consider 50s wiring to retain treble as you roll off the volume.

Worry about your magnets and covers last. And again you can always change pickups and leave the original ones original.
 

AcVox

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
203
Reaction score
151
T Top magnets in your 79 Custom tend to be highly charged. A change of magnets may not produce the results your looking for.
Previous posters have suggested that you increase the value of your volume and tone pots.
I agree with their advice. By 1979 Gibson had long been using vol and tone pots between 100k ohms and 300K ohms.

By reducing the value of tone and volume pots initially intended to 'warm up' the Les Paul Deluxe, Gibson ended up using these pot values for all Les Paul's, your Custom amongst them.

For this reason I would consider increasing your volume pots to 500K ohms.
This will have a greater effect on clarity than increasing the value of your tone pots alone. This may be enough to meet your needs.

If your desired tone is still lacking clarity replacing your tone pots to 500k ohms will provide maximum clarity.
All of this is my personal opinion, and should be taken as such..
 
Last edited:

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
17,305
Reaction score
25,753
I am attempting to brighten the tone without replacing anything which is soldered in place. It just occurred to me that I'd have to break the solder joints to get the cover off if I wanted to swap the magnets. Sorry for the pointless thread.
You won't be breaking any solder joints that haven't already been broken. You do realize that the solder joints on the cover in your original photo are not original, right? Someone's already taken that cover off, previously. Taking it off again won't harm the value or originality, as long as you don't make a mess of it.



For 1979 humbuckers, you could have a variety of things going on inside that cover. Could be A5, could be ceramic. Nobody could really say what a new magnet will change without knowing for sure what you have. Both of those options are going to be pretty bright, as far as humbuckers go, though.

Like previously mentioned, if you've got 300k pots, that the first thing to change if you want more brightness.
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
You won't be breaking any solder joints that haven't already been broken. You do realize that the solder joints on the cover in your original photo are not original, right?
I did not know that but I appreciate the info. I was under the impression that the electronics were still untouched. Oh well, makes the decision to go forward with mods an easy one. How about the pots & caps, etc?
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
If I remove the cover from the pickup(s) do I need to worry about grounding?
 

hamerfan

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
489
Reaction score
173
Your vol pots and your tone pots are 1978. But the solder blobs on the vol pots tell me that they were made by newbie to soldering. Best guess: the pickups were changed - at least for a while.
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
Right on, no more apprehension about modding it!
 

Phylodog

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
205
Reaction score
417
Well.... I had a Seymour Duncan SH-4 lying around and I thought I'd give that a try. It sounds awful, definitely brighter but awful.

It's entirely possible I soldered it in improperly. Red & white taped off (not together), green and bare wires grounded and black to the pot tab where the old pickup was soldered.


ETA: Oops, the red and white are supposed to be together. I'll fix that lol
 
Last edited:


Latest Threads



Top