335 wiring upgrades

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Kappy, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I thought it would be easy to find a kit of upgraded electronics for my '01 335, but I've found out there's a fairly big difference between vintage ('50s) and modern wiring, and also that not all kits/pots are created equal.

    I use the tone and volume knobs a lot, playing through touch sensitive D* style amps. The tones I generally like go from RF or LC type OD/gain as a starting point, but a bit more gain is always nice too. I'm not sure if I'm looking ideally for audio or linear taper. I'm thinking audio is more of a gradual taper whereas linear gives more of an on or off kinda' vibe. Is that correct? Which one is indicative of modern vs. vintage wiring?

    Any recommendations for kits? I'm going to be paying someone to upgrade all this, so I'd just assume put some pretty high quality stuff in and do it "right" from gate. I'd buy all separate parts, but I'm worried that I'm enough of a newb to leave something critical out and show up to the tech without all the parts I need.

    Thanks for any info/ideas for further research.
     
  2. Zelmo

    Zelmo Member

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    For me, it's all about treble bleed when rolling off the volume, even slightly.
    Why don't you try the straight '50's wiring first, as that's the least 'invasive', and then try a kit if that doesn't work for you. I recently did the 50s mod and the jury is still out...

    (From: http://dominocs.com/AshBassGuitar/Gibson50s.html )
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks, Zelmo. I take it that's something I can try with the existing hardware? I'm taking the guitar to an out of state tech to swap the pups, and while he's working on the guitar I figure I'm going to upgrade all the guts. I'll check that out though.

    I happen to have an RS guitarworks LP kit lying around and it's really tightly damped. If the 335 kit they sell (which appears to be out of stock anyway) is that tightly damped, it's not for me.

    I may just get all these pots and caps individually, but could use some guidance.

    All the best,

    Dave
     
  4. Zelmo

    Zelmo Member

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    Actually, I spoke before I thought...as ususal...

    With a 335, you'd have to pull the pots to do the simpler 50s wiring conversion, so there's no advantage to trying this easier mod first. Either way, the guts have to come out so it's 'six-of-one' whether you replace the whole thing or just re-wire it.

    On a LP or similar, you can easily do the 50s mod first and then replace it if that wasn't to your liking.

    Sorry I couldn't be more help.

    Put out a page for John Philips and see if you can get some info on the pot tapers, etc.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    No worries man, I appreciate any info since I'm still learning about this stuff myself. Thanks for chiming in!

    Dave
     
  6. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

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    Depending on your guitar you could have a variety of pot values in it to begin with. I just rewired my 82 es which already had a set of Florance Voodoo 59's that I found too dark. Skulking around here and LP forum I found pretty good information that while my tech changed the volume pots when installing the pickups, the original tone pots were likely either 100 or 300k. I yanked the harness and measured them and for sure they were 100k. I also was in posession of a 500k volume that read only 400. I rewired everything, added some NOS Sprague BB's and set the lead pickup up 50's style wiring and the neck 60's wiring with a smaller resistor in the treble bleed circuit to allow more highs to pass as I turn down. Sounds great. Your guitar likely has 300k pots unless its a historic. How does it sound? Going to 50's wiring with the same values or 500k pots with either schematic will slightly brighten the sound, and make things feel a little more immediate. Is this what you want? Most luthiers in my experience are great at the aesthetic and structural aspects of the instrument but not tuned in with the electronics or how a guitar sounds plugged in. My suggestion would be to try some different wiring schematics on say a les paul or SG and see how they effect the tone, and see what you like. My personal preference is for the rs superpot on the volume for the 50's wiring. It doesn't sound any better than an equivalent value CTS though. Its best benefit is the taper when wired 50's style, as stock cts pots have an abrupt rolloff in this schematic. So if you like what the 50's style does, you will probably be in a good place with two RS Superpots 500k, and two RS Cts 500k. If the treble bleed sound (just a hair darker but more consistent rolling down the volume) is your speed save the money on the superpots and just get 4 RS or allparts CTS 500k pots, and with either, a couple of good caps (NOS Spragues are nice and not too expensive as are zoso caps mallory's orange drops etc). Likely any 335 will benefit from 500k pots and likely your pickup manufacturer if its a PAF replica, voiced them for 500k's, but hedge your bet and pick up a couple 300k's which you could sub into the tone pots if for some reason things turn out too bright. Ask your tech if they will let you audition the different wirings (if you omit the treble bleed the difference is one solder point) also ask them to pay attention to the tone cap grounding scheme in the 50's wiring, mysteriously it seems to affect the viability of this set up, and works fine in the modern version. As I mentioned 50's style is my schematic du jour but as the bright cap arrangement does not work correctly in this arrangement (its hyper bright, even on 10) I ues modern wiring on the neck, reducing the resistor value to allow the high end to push up a little more as I turn down for sort of stratty neck tones like David Hidalgo from los lobos gets on his goldtop.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    to drop back a bit and punt from skylab's detailed post, if you're playing through amps with creamy, gainy tones and want to control the gain from the guitar, then you will want 500k audio tapers all around. linear volumes are good for bone-dry clean amp sounds (think jazz thru polytones) and basses.
     
  8. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the replies. They've been informative and helpful.

    I went with the RS premium vintage electronics upgrade kit for this. I was spending more time researching this than I really wanted to, so I took the "easy" route. I'm sure it's going to be fine for me. My biggest concern is about the damping of the of pots (RS feel kinda' stiff to me). Gonna have my tech install it with molex mini quick connects so I can swap out the pups a little easier. This is happening in conjunction with a pickup upgrade, so it's basically going to be another guitar after I get it back. I'm looking forward to hearing the difference. I've been pretty ignorant of guitar electronics up until now. Gonna have to start doing some of this on my own with some of my beater guitars.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    if the pots feel stiff, just flush them out with naphtha, and they will instantly loosen up.
     
  10. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Cool, thanks for the tip. Is that a maintenance thing that you need to do periodically? Do they stiffen up again?
     
  11. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    dkaplowitz,
    I've read that it's some waxy/greasy gunk that they intentionally put in there to both lube it and make it have that 'solid' feel (but which sucks for doing volume swells)...the naptha just cleans out a lot of that grease (or whatever it is) and makes it feel loose again. It shouldn't 'stiffen up' again. Whether it affects the reliablity or longevity of the pot I don't know.

    IMO, linear vs. log depends on 'where you start'.

    If you start at 0 (and turn up): linear will ramp up quickly but won't do much at the top of the range (near 10)...log will ramp up slowly but do more near the top of the range. Quick volume swells are a breeze with linear.

    If you start on 10 (and turn down): linear won't do much until you get near the bottom of the range (near 0)...log will turn down quicker but won't do much near the bottom of the range, you may even find that anything below, say 5 or so, is basically unuseable.

    FWIW, that last image near the top of this thread might turn some people off (or make them laugh) because it makes no difference which way it's connected here. Cap first then pot...or pot first then cap...no difference. And it doesn't matter which lug you connect the cap to (as long as it's not that third unused lug)...it's just a variable resistor and the taper is the same either way. That is...electrically speaking they are identical. But it appears that skylabfilmpop might be claiming that for some strange reason...there is a difference? Is that so skylab? Could you elaborate?

    dkaplowitz, I just redid my Heritage 535 with an RS Premium kit and if your guitar turns out anything like mine expect it to be noticably brighter...I mention it because you're trying new pickups so it might be difficult to attribute 100% of the tonal changes to either the wiring harness or the p'ups.
     
  12. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the info. I was looking for more brightness in the neck (better bite too). It's hard to imagine being able to use more brightness in the bridge, but I got a set of pickups that are pretty highly regarded, so I'm hoping that the changes will be positive and hopefully will retain some of the good warmth in both positions.

    Dave
     
  13. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Dave Good luck. I get more and more amazed how much latitude the polepiece screws give to the tone, especially with a good paf. If you are getting too much brightness from the bridge, screw those polepieces in all the way and listen to it darken up. Then back them out until you
    get the attack you need.
     

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