Les Paul Custom inspired by Gibson: how to get it better

Raiyn

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There's CTS pots and there's CTS pots, of course. Some are a tighter tolerance than others, I believe. Also matching the values in one set might be important, I don't know.
You can find higher tolerance pots, sure, I'm quite fond of buying 525KΩ ±5% CTS pots from Art of Tone for builds.

Key word: builds. I'm generally not swapping pots for the sake of swapping pots - there's usually a more elaborate plan where a clean sheet is preferred. Paying customers get what paying customers want, but since all of them are friends / referrals they get stuff explained to them first.

For my work, and if I'm buying parts for someone I like using pots on the hotter side of the spectrum, and with those I know I'm getting at least 500K. It satisfies an itch to give at least stated spec. Having said that, a ±20% 500KΩ pot can have the same resistance as a 525KΩ ±5% but it's generally more a matter of sorting than a quality concern.

Also matching the values in one set might be important, I don't know.
Not as much as you'd think. I put the hotter ones on volume duty while the cooler ones go on tone patrol. It makes sense to me, and I'm doing the work slowly and patiently. I'm not on a 50's / 60's production line at F or G grabbing pots out of a bin for assembly - back then you got what you got.

Edit: Some quick internet searching shows that some of those Centralabs pots were up to ±30% 🤔

If I get bored enough I'll get the multimeter out and test them all.
Ok. Testing is never a bad thing.

Don't hold your breath waiting though...
Never.
 
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How does sound of the guitars compare when you play them unplugged with fresh strings? All guitars aren't created equal... neither are all pickups, even of the same type... especially on less expensive guitars... There is greater uniformity in higher end pickups... It's just the way it is sometimes...
 
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BGood

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All guitars aren't created equal... neither are all pickups, even of the same type... especially on less expensive guitars...
I don't remember hearing someone complaining that two of the same pickups sounded different in that one guitar. A fake or a copy yes, but from the same maker ... nahhh.
 
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I don't remember hearing someone complaining that two of the same pickups sounded different in that one guitar. A fake or a copy yes, but from the same maker ... nahhh.
No, the complaint was that the same pickup types in two different guitars didn't sound the same..

Mass production pickups and pickup components are made in production "lots" just like everything else. Anyone who thinks that two products that may have been made months or even years apart are identical just because they carry the same part or model number is probably not very familiar with the mass production environment.

The same "model" pickups in those two guitars were likely made at different times by different people, on different winding machines, possibly using slightly different components, inspected by different QC inspectors, in potentially different factories even. Could they sound different??? ........ Nahhhh
 
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BGood

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Lets take the Probucker for example. Epiphone, or should I say Gibson, has a spec sheet to be followed, when building that pickup. It being made anywhere, the client (Gibson) will probably periodically check that those specs were closely followed. Their reputation is on the line there.

It's the same for any upscale gear. I doubt that Burton for example, would have their snowboard built by a factory that doesn't closely follow what was asked for. Same with bikes, cars, etc.

Fake Probuckers sold for $39.99 on eBay, that is another story.
 

Raiyn

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Seems like the days of Epiphone guitars being mod platforms are ending.
In recent times, they put in better quality pots, caps and more robust pickups.
Oh yeah, the days of the deep dive "day one" mods are gone. You've got brand name components in the control cavity, Graphtech nuts, and Probucker pickups. The locking hardware is a nice touch (though I wish they'd move away from the wire retained saddles) as is the generally improved QC.

There is greater uniformity in higher end pickups... It's just the way it is sometimes...
<sarcasm>
Somebody had better get Larry DiMarzio on the horn then and tell him he's not a higher end manufacturer anymore.
</sarcasm>
DiMarzio Specs from the website:
Gravity Storm Neck: 12.56KΩ
Gravity Storm Bridge: 15.19KΩ

As measured by me in my Jag:
Neck: 11.85KΩ
Bridge: 14.19KΩ

Legit old school Holy Grail hand wound Gibson PAF's vary wildly and everyone wants those.

If I'm not mistaken, DiMarzio has his made by machine to a specific turn count using a specific gauge of wire which moves things to the metallurgy of the wire... how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Two guitars, plucked from the same line, the same day, worked by the same people from start to finish will sound different from each other. I don't care if you're talking PRS or Cort.

To OP, just play the guitars and enjoy the fact they're different.
 
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Oh yeah, the days of the deep dive "day one" mods are gone. You've got brand name components in the control cavity, Graphtech nuts, and Probucker pickups. The locking hardware is a nice touch (though I wish they'd move away from the wire retained saddles) as is the generally improved QC.


<sarcasm>
Somebody had better get Larry DiMarzio on the horn then and tell him he's not a higher end manufacturer anymore.
</sarcasm>
DiMarzio Specs from the website:
Gravity Storm Neck: 12.56KΩ
Gravity Storm Bridge: 15.19KΩ

As measured by me in my Jag:
Neck: 11.85KΩ
Bridge: 14.19KΩ

Legit old school Holy Grail hand wound Gibson PAF's vary wildly and everyone wants those.

If I'm not mistaken, DiMarzio has his made by machine to a specific turn count using a specific gauge of wire which moves things to the metallurgy of the wire... how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Two guitars, plucked from the same line, the same day, worked by the same people from start to finish will sound different from each other. I don't care if you're talking PRS or Cort.

To OP, just play the guitars and enjoy the fact they're different.
Hey smart a$$... Do those DiMario pickups sound good? I bet they do.. And I bet that the ones that were made 50 before and 50 after yours sound good too.... And i know the PAFs sound good.
THEY UNIFORMLY SOUND GOOD !

So, if the ohms readings didn't match specs then why didn't you send them back? ANSWER... Because you know like most of us that a slightly different ohms reading is not that uncommon and not a big deal and what real matters is how they sound.. So quit looking for petty little BS to pick apart....
 
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Raiyn

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Hey smart a$$...
Hey! Congratulations on seeing the part where I labeled that as sarcasm. Why? Because I was being sarcastic and making a joke. :laugh2:
Do those DiMario pickups sound good? I bet they do.. And I bet that the ones that were made 50 before and 50 after yours sound good too....
You're the one making claims of "more uniformity in higher end pickups".
And i know the PAFs sound good.
THEY UNIFORMLY SOUND GOOD !
Clearly, they don't because otherwise they (boutique manufacturers) wouldn't bother making the various P.A.F. clones, each of them patterned after a "special" set or individual pickup.
As you probably know, P.A.F.s were hand wound, some have a few less winds, or a lot more -they aren't uniform. Or are you saying that uniformity doesn't matter?
So, if the ohms readings didn't match specs then why didn't you send them back? ANSWER... Because you know like most of us that a slightly different ohms reading is not that uncommon and not a big deal and what real matters is how they sound..
Sure seems like you are.
I simply pointed out that even "higher end" brands aren't "uniform".
You made a comment about "lower-end" Epiphone products when even the big boutique boys aren't all that consistent.

The original issue was that the OP' s guitars don't sound the same with same pickups.

Two guitars, plucked from the same line, the same day, worked by the same people from start to finish will sound different from each other. I don't care if you're talking PRS or Cort.
Perhaps we should just enjoy the fact that there are variations in the recipe that allow us all to have our own tone rather than focus so hard on duplicating everything?


I've no idea why you're posting like you're all mad though.
 
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Equalphone

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@bbb: Like others said, put fresh strings on both. Set them up as identically has possible. Measure the pickups and see if they have the same resistance.

Still different? You could swap the pickups or electronics from one to the other. Not good if you're still under warranty or thinking of a return. But if you're committed to them, it's worth a shot to see if the sound follows the electronics.
 

bbb

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This evening I had time for a further check. It seems that probuckers in my custom have 2 wires (black + red) per pick up, while as far as I know probuckers should have 4 (or 5) wires.
Now, it seems a little strange to me and maybe this could explain differences in sound.
However, I bought a phat cat for the neck and I will swap it with my current neck pickup.
I'll let you know....
 

syco

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This evening I had time for a further check. It seems that probuckers in my custom have 2 wires (black + red) per pick up, while as far as I know probuckers should have 4 (or 5) wires.
Now, it seems a little strange to me and maybe this could explain differences in sound.
However, I bought a phat cat for the neck and I will swap it with my current neck pickup.
I'll let you know....
Unless your Custom has coil split or Series/Parallel ...... 2 wires is all that it needs . Mine are Red/White on my Pro Buckers

EDIT :
Upon further inspection ....... Red/White Neck ........ Red /Black Bridge .
 
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AJ6stringsting

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Since I play Classic Rock 60's, 70's, 80's Metal and some Thrash ( Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth ), I used to have to buy new pickups, not anymore.
I just use the resonance switch on my first SD SFX-01 Pickup Booster to beef up my humbuckers to play more high gain oriented music.
You can use that pedal to not only beef up single coil pickups, you can use it for humbuckers as well .
 

Noodling Guitars

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This evening I had time for a further check. It seems that probuckers in my custom have 2 wires (black + red) per pick up, while as far as I know probuckers should have 4 (or 5) wires.
Now, it seems a little strange to me and maybe this could explain differences in sound.
However, I bought a phat cat for the neck and I will swap it with my current neck pickup.
I'll let you know....
The ones in the Custom are 2 wires (black/red) - it also uses the "simpler" plug. Moderns and Classics come with the 5 wire type that go with the push/pull harness.
In any case, that should not affect sound - in a 5 wire type, the only difference is that the north and south finish are available outside of the pickup housing so that you can tap the coils. In a 2 conductor type, the north and south finish are just soldered together and tucked into the pickup and wrapped inside the tape so you don't see it. Otherwise, they're both constructed exactly the same.

Enjoy the Phat Cat! Those are pretty neat. P90 neck and humbucker bridge is a great combination
 


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