Epiphone Pickups

el_1598

Member
Messages
62
A friend asked me, which pickups he should buy to upgrade his Epiphone Special II. I don't really know since I just use strats, so I know nothing about gibsons or epiphones. What pickups would you recommend? I don't really know his budget, but I think it is in the low-medium mark. Also he wants to upgrade the pots and electronics, is there any kit available?
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,631
I'm guessing the budget is pretty low, so my recommendations are geared to that. It would be helpful to know what style music he plays, since some pickups are better suited to specific styles.

I'd look for a used Duncan '59 set first, also check out some GFS (Guitarfetish) offerings, the Mean 90s get good reviews but will hum more in some conditions. I'd also consider the GFS "Vintage 59" alnico V. Also consider the Wilde pickups L500 series.

As far as pots and electronics, not sure if there is a "kit", but its a pretty simple job just to get better quality components of the same type and size and change them out. CTS pots are bigger - make sure they'll fit before ordering.
 

el_1598

Member
Messages
62
I'm guessing the budget is pretty low, so my recommendations are geared to that. It would be helpful to know what style music he plays, since some pickups are better suited to specific styles.

I'd look for a used Duncan '59 set first, also check out some GFS (Guitarfetish) offerings, the Mean 90s get good reviews but will hum more in some conditions. I'd also consider the GFS "Vintage 59" alnico V. Also consider the Wilde pickups L500 series.

As far as pots and electronics, not sure if there is a "kit", but its a pretty simple job just to get better quality components of the same type and size and change them out. CTS pots are bigger - make sure they'll fit before ordering.

Thanks I would check them out, do you know if the pickup's size are stardard or should he also check if the pickups will fit?
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
9,497
Depends entirely on what kind of sound he wants. There is a huge variety of humbuckers available these days and you haven't given us enough info to begin giving suggestions yet.
A good starting point would be bands or guitarists he likes and what kind of music he plays.
 

doc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,631
All the pickups discussed so far should be the same size. Another budget option is Guitar Madness on Ebay. I'd see what he doesn't like about the stock pickups before modding. (Just got beaten to that by the cap'n) The stock ones are actually fairly hot, so if he likes metal or heavier styles they may not be a bad choice. The mod I usually would consider first for these guitars is upgrading the tuners.
 

el_1598

Member
Messages
62
Depends entirely on what kind of sound he wants. There is a huge variety of humbuckers available these days and you haven't given us enough info to begin giving suggestions yet.
A good starting point would be bands or guitarists he likes and what kind of music he plays.
True, actually I know he really likes Santana, also I think he is an Slash fan. But mostly, he always mention Santana
 

zombiwoof

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,900
The newer Epi Probuckers are supposedly a good PAF type pickup, they only come in certain guitars but are sold separately. I also noticed when looking at a limited edition Coronet that they have a new more vintage-correct P90, so if you get a current Epi these days, I would listen to the pickups before changing them out, you may like them. This won't help the OP, but I thought it was worth mentioning here.
Al
 

Mincer

Member
Messages
4,588
It is an inexpensive guitar, so it is easy to exceed the price of the guitar with a set of pickups. Also, what is wrong with the current pickups and what would your friend want to change? That being said, a used 59 set would be easy to find.
I wouldn't change the wiring or electronics unless they didn't work. It won't make a difference in the sound.
 
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Messages
910
That's a very inexpensive guitar. Truthfully, I wouldn't bother with a swap. Your friend would be better off buying a graphic eq pedal. He can use that to dial in any tone he wants.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,909
A friend asked me, which pickups he should buy to upgrade his Epiphone Special II. I don't really know since I just use strats, so I know nothing about gibsons or epiphones. What pickups would you recommend? I don't really know his budget, but I think it is in the low-medium mark. Also he wants to upgrade the pots and electronics, is there any kit available?

It's not that the pickups are cheap, it's that they're hot, most likely it has a 700T and a 650R. He probably wants more "PAF" like pickups that have a decent clean tone. This is as close as you can get for the least amount of money https://www.byoguitar.com/Guitars/Blizzard-of-59-Vintage-Humbucker-Set__BYO-BLIZZARD-SET.aspx . I wouldnt bother with any domestic brands, as that would both exceed the value of the guitar, and it would be a waste of money, aside from the fact.
 

Calebz

Member
Messages
1,537
http://irongear.co.uk/

I just bought a set of humbuckers from there for a cheap les Paul clone. For about a hundred bucks, they really did wonders for making a cheap guitar sound pretty damned awesome. (I bought the hot slag/rolling mill set)

They even have a slash humbucker clone I think ;)
 

DiNiro

Member
Messages
737
I wouldn't change the wiring or electronics unless they didn't work. It won't make a difference in the sound.

? I disagree. Notice a big difference in the sound with good Cts pots. Can you explain more? Not trying to argue, I know you’re knowledgeable so I’m surprised to see that comment.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,909
? I disagree. Notice a big difference in the sound with good Cts pots. Can you explain more? Not trying to argue, I know you’re knowledgeable so I’m surprised to see that comment.

Through what actions of physics would the CTS pots improve the tone? And in what way would it sound better?
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,065
Through what actions of physics would the CTS pots improve the tone? And in what way would it sound better?

Since most of the tones in the instrument are obtained with the knobs elsewhere than 10, good pots make a huge difference. Cheap pots are almost like on/off switches. It's noisy. It's not. It's muffled. It's not. Good pots let you dial in some nuance.

That said, I'd take the money from upgrading the pickups, harness and tuners and trade up to a better guitar. You never get your money back on mods. You always get some money back from a better guitar.
 
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xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,909
Since most of the tones in the instrument are obtained with the knobs elsewhere than 10, good pots make a huge difference. Cheap pots are almost like on/off switches. It's noisy. It's not. It's muffled. It's not. Good pots let you dial in some nuance.
What is it about the CTS pots that give them all these superior qualities?
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,065
What is it about the CTS pots that give them all these superior qualities?

I have an Emerson CTS low friction harness in my Les Paul. With 50s wiring the tone knob also affects the gain, and you lose less highs when you dial back the volume. So there is a lot of interaction of the controls, especially on a four knob Gibson.

A lot of classic recorded tones weren't done with a dimed guitar. Dickey Betts is a great example, you have to roll the volume back to 8 or less to get that singing tone. On 10 things get too edgy.

Also, since you're going to be using the controls a LOT, once you get into it, the feel is important. I'm not much of a cork sniffer, but I have to admit that just turning a volume knob feels pretty sexy. I have a background in large format analog consoles sales, and pre digital the first thing you'd do is feel the faders. You could really tell the difference with a Penny and Giles or an Alps fader compared to the rest. Silky smooth.
 

xmd5a

Member
Messages
2,909
I have an Emerson CTS low friction harness in my Les Paul. With 50s wiring the tone knob also affects the gain, and you lose less highs when you dial back the volume. So there is a lot of interaction of the controls, especially on a four knob Gibson.

A lot of classic recorded tones weren't done with a dimed guitar. Dickey Betts is a great example, you have to roll the volume back to 8 or less to get that singing tone. On 10 things get too edgy.

Also, since you're going to be using the controls a LOT, once you get into it, the feel is important. I'm not much of a cork sniffer, but I have to admit that just turning a volume knob feels pretty sexy. I have a background in large format analog consoles sales, and pre digital the first thing you'd do is feel the faders. You could really tell the difference with a Penny and Giles or an Alps fader compared to the rest. Silky smooth.
That doesn't answer the question though, what is it about the CTS pots that would actually cause the sound to improve?
 

Mincer

Member
Messages
4,588
? I disagree. Notice a big difference in the sound with good Cts pots. Can you explain more? Not trying to argue, I know you’re knowledgeable so I’m surprised to see that comment.
Electronically, if 2 pots measure the same (due to tolerances), you won't be able to tell the difference electronically and sonically between one or the other. It might be worth changing the pots if you want a different taper, or a looser feel, but otherwise it is just a sideways step.
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
12,065
That doesn't answer the question though, what is it about the CTS pots that would actually cause the sound to improve?

The sound is better when the pot is not on 10. That's when it sounds better.

If you don't like pots, then don't buy pots.
 

DiNiro

Member
Messages
737
Through what actions of physics would the CTS pots improve the tone? And in what way would it sound better?

The obvious difference is value, I get 550k pots instead of 300k or 500k in there.

More importantly the taper is better so it doesn’t sound the same from 2-8 on the dial.
 




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