When do you STOP? (Conversion question)

jeggz

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Ok so, my conversion has the purple wire Pat #’s, the milled saddle wired Abr, the formerly gold tailpiece, the 50’s long studs, the vintage Bees, the 50s Grovers, the 50’s thumbwheels.

All that’s left “tone” wise would be to find 50’s pots, 50’s tailpiece bushings and 50’s Abr posts.

But is it worth it?

The time?
The cost?
The effort?

She already has the 50’s TRC and knobs, but I wouldn’t drop any money in plastics.

What says you guys that been down this road?
 

jeggz

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Even vs the Creamtone harness with 50’s Bees?
 

Jumping@shadows

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In my experience absolutely- high end pots work well, but are characterless for me. All the ‘50s pots I have rate 600k+ and often up to 800k, and when combined are a much different circuit to a modern 500k rig, and give much more clarity and clacky vintage character- fwiw, not a single conversion I’ve done has had modern harnesses fitted.
 

jeggz

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Ok.

What about the other stuff?
 

Jumping@shadows

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Hmm, I don’t think you’d decipher any difference from ‘50s stoptail bushings, but I do use vintage correct long ones, or recycle stacked short ones on occasion ;)
I use steel ABR posts across the board fwiw
 

jwinger

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I've gone old pickups and pots, which are where I hear the main differences Vs good repros. I don't hear anything in the bees Vs luxe to be honest.

Hardware granted I haven't a/b compared with originals but I'm very happy with pigtail
 

jeggz

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Ok

So, I’ll go for pots and call it DONE.
 

RAG7890

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Johnny, have you put Vintage Long Magnets in to your Pat. No.'s?

I did with mine ('58 Longs) & I think that is a worthwhile upgrade & won't cost a bomb.

Cheers, Rudi
 

jwinger

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Johnny, have you put Vintage Long Magnets in to your Pat. No.'s?

I did with mine ('58 Longs) & I think that is a worthwhile upgrade & won't cost a bomb.

Cheers, Rudi
The bridge in my goldtop is a long mag. It sounds great, but then so do my short mags, so who knows! I wouldn't say one is better than the other in my experience to date. There were also some short mags in a few 59s apparently, like the Mick Taylor burst. According to throbak pickups at least.

The mag thing is tricky though. I don't know if there is anyway to really know a supposed old one is old unless it comes from a pickup you know is not messed with. And most that are real and avaliable and from p90s which are, in my experience, are a fair bit weaker. I don't know whether it's the two magnets degaussing each other over time or something...

Or perhaps by chance I've just come across weaker magnets in old p90s and maybe that happens with the PAFs too, so take it all with a big pinch of salt!!!
 

RAG7890

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The bridge in my goldtop is a long mag. It sounds great, but then so do my short mags, so who knows! I wouldn't say one is better than the other in my experience to date. There were also some short mags in a few 59s apparently, like the Mick Taylor burst. According to throbak pickups at least.

The mag thing is tricky though. I don't know if there is anyway to really know a supposed old one is old unless it comes from a pickup you know is not messed with. And most that are real and avaliable and from p90s which are, in my experience, are a fair bit weaker. I don't know whether it's the two magnets degaussing each other over time or something...

Or perhaps by chance I've just come across weaker magnets in old p90s and maybe that happens with the PAFs too, so take it all with a big pinch of salt!!!
Yep can be a crap shoot, especially getting real Vintage Sets vs. bogus Sets.

I'm lucky I have 3 x spare Sets from '58 - '59 just waiting for a project.

I also agree that Long is not necessarily better than Short, I suppose it all depends on the actual Magnet itself but it is a lower cost rabbit hole.

:cheers2:
 

el84ster

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I’d say go for the old bushings too. Compared to modern metal ones, they seem to give more low mids and guts.
 

Barnaby

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Well, I've messed around with vintage parts a bit and think that, of the parts you mention, all have the potential to affect sound to varying degrees, but it depends on your ear and taste. My guess (from experience) is that you'd be looking at the following:

Vintage pots: not huge, but noticeable difference and probably worth doing if you really want a vintage vibe (not just sound, but taper and feel)
ABR posts: the difference is there, but subtle, and it really depends on what you've got now
Bushings: as above, but even more subtle - I don't think I could notice a change in these, but maybe you can

"Worth it" is subjective, of course. If I had to do only one, I'd do the pots. I think that changing the bushings and posts is a bit more of a dubious call tonewise but, if it can be done cheaply or you have the money to burn, then why not?
 

sparky2

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Here's how I do it;
I try a guitar out thoroughly before I buy it.

If it doesn't sound quite right, or feel just right, or doesn't sing to me, then I don't buy it.

If I try it out, and it feels and sounds magical to me, and really sings to me, then I buy it.
And then I rock it, bone stock, as is.

I have neither the time, money, nor patience to modify a guitar in the quest for 'the perfect tone'.
(Tone is a subjective matter anyway, unique to each performer, and isn't subject to modification based upon the opinions of others. And most of it is in your fingers anyway.)

Anyway.
That's how I do it.

:wave:
 

jeggz

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I think pots, and call it a day.

I ain’t even gonna go for the fancy “still together“ harness, I’ll just find pots and use the Bees I have.
 

Liam

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Jeggz, love the thread! The moment that you ask the question, "When do you STOP?" is quite possibly your subconscious trying to tell you something. It might even be now...

I'll be the heretic here. I don't think pots carry tone in a big way, because they are effectively resistive components, and unless their basic makeup had changed substantially since the 50s, changing them cannot make a huge difference. I change them for repros in any of my "player" guitars when required (generally hoping they actually read 550K+ when I get them), if just to lose the "vintage magic" of a scrunchy sound when adjusting volume, or occasionally the tone that I hear going up, when I have actually turned the control knob down.

A friend used to take repro pots apart and remove some grease to make them feel like the old ones, because they do feel a little stiff to turn. I might try it yet. Neither of us were terribly sold on "vintage taper", but I used RS "Super Pots" anyway, and the taper has suited me. It doesn't have an objective effect on tone to my ears.

I know vintage harnesses "complete" are a prized commodity, but the only electronic components that make an objective difference to my ageing ears are capacitors and pickup components.

Most of my 50's P90s still scream, so if the magnets are very degaussed by age, no-one told them yet. Capacitors maybe age less well, with most of my old ones reading well over where they were new, but they sound OK, and you just need to roll the tone off a little less. But they most definitely interact with the pickups in a characterful way that means good old ones, or great repros are worth having. Failing that, since I have gone full heretic this evening, I prefer a good Orange Drop to a knackered Bumblebee. There! I said it, and I feel better for it.

I noticed the other night that my "main squeeze" '59 replica has a mid 50's Bumblebee on the neck tone control, and a late 50's Bumblebee on the bridge tone control. The former is 0.018uF, and the latter 0.020uF, so I clearly sacrificed vintage correctness for what sounded better some time back. I think that was the result of experimentation back in 2011, vintage bees vs. Luxe. Luxe were really, really good.

I probably do need to change the pots in the aforementioned replica, but fortunately MOST of the 50s ones seem to be a little more resilient in my older Gibsons. I don't think I will lose any particular "magic" if I do need to change them though. I know how they work...

From your list, I would maybe shop for something that's not on it, which might be expensive, but late 50's PAFs can sound incredible. Failing that, I would just be playing that guitar. It has everything it could really need.

Liam
 


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