I put real 1959 Gibson Les Paul pickups/harness in a $90 guitar...

thefyn

Member
Messages
675
don't kill me...

But I collected parts over the years to recreate a 1959 Les Paul harness/pickup etc. I wanted to test everything if it worked so bought a cheap p90 that played great. Here is my result:

 
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12,247
Without changing the dynamics and the gain, it's extremely difficult to tell what is going on sonically. Thanks for sharing the clip. I do have a guitar with P90's that can sound like that- the pickups were NOT made in 1959(nor was anything else).
 

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,713
I think the most predominant outcome is the fact that the harness from a 59 Les Paul isn't magic. It's not like the company said, in 1959, lets make a special harness and deploy it ONLY to Les Pauls. All the other components that make up the harness for other guitars will be just so-so.

I'm fairly certain, all measures being equal, the same outcome would be achieved with a harness from 1958, 1968, 1978... 2008, etc.

I have a CRL harness from a Gibson, all pots date the 7th week of 1959. Sounds just like a decent quality 500K harness with .022µF PIOs should.

Fun video though!
 
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Zeppe

Member
Messages
383
I am sorry, but these are just basic electronic components. They don't sound better than modern counterparts, and are probably best spent in a real vintage guitar. :)

In reference to pots/caps, I see now that you have vintage PU's as well. .
 

thefyn

Member
Messages
675
Sounds really good.I would like to hear that guitar with some cleans and non metal tones.

Thanks man!

Yep that's coming.

The failing bumblebee cap leaks and it has a great mellowing effect on the tone when you use the tone knob. Essentially all bumblebee caps are broken.

Just like all PAF's are. It's why some boutique builders try and age pickup magnets by degaussing (?) them.

It reminds me of bloom rather than regular shelving of freqs. It's like vynil vs digital. Modern caps are more accurate but sometimes a little less top end and rounded warmth is good.

I think I'll A/B it with my Taylor SB1. That has a similar spectrum with the mini humbucker and single volume/tone knob. The tone knob/setup on that is really nice. About as good as modern guitars get. So it's a perfect A vs B scenario.

I'll adjust for gain/output.
 

thefyn

Member
Messages
675
Whatever, I found this interesting, thanks for sharing Fyn

No prob. I'm really excited.

I'm not one for mystical mojo. Basically everything in that guitar is broken. Leaky caps and drifting pots and magnets losing thier charge.

Not magic. It's real world results of the effect of aging on components.

Another part of my results IMO can be traced to EVH. What was his most famous tone?

A 1959 Gibson PAF pickup
DIRECTLY screwed into the body
Body was cheap/soft/light wood
Body was a bolt on
Directly wired to the output jack (more highs)

Now listen to my setup:

A 1959 Gibson pickup
DIRECTLY screwed into the body
Body was cheap/soft/light wood
Body was a bolt on
Wired to a pure tone output jack (slightly more highs)

The humbucker vs p90 isn't a huge gap seeing as his PAF was low output. But the pots wide open would lower the slightly more bright p90 to drag it towards what EVH got direct on a humbucker.

Like I said. I'm not claiming magical bumblebee mojo rainbows.

Its not a happy accident.
 

thefyn

Member
Messages
675
I think the most predominant outcome is the fact that the harness from a 59 Les Paul isn't magic. It's not like the company said, in 1959, lets make a special harness and deploy it ONLY to Les Pauls. All the other components that make up the harness for other guitars will be just so-so.

I'm fairly certain, all measures being equal, the same outcome would be achieved with a harness from 1958, 1968, 1978... 2008, etc.

I have a CRL harness from a Gibson, all pots date the 7th week of 1959. Sounds just like a decent quality 500K harness with .022µF PIOs should.

Fun video though!

I'll bite.

Custom shop builders like you have to say that right? That I can make your guitar sound like a 59?

How are you going to do that exactly? Do you have a time machine to "break" caps over time? Do you squeeze the charge out of old magnets? Alchemy wires into older more thicker/pure military grade copper rich freq retaining wires?

I've heard every pickup winder and guitar builder claim they have cracked it. Then The Doug and Pat show sends every single pickup maker/custom guitar maker to the fail bin as his classic PAF/Bumblebee loaded 59 LP's electronics DESTROY the opposition...every time.

Joe Bonomassa said the pots/harness are key. He referred to the conductivity of the metal and the fact that they were military spec and they literally don't/can't make them like that any more.

Most pots are cheap Chinese pot metal. Most harnesses are cheap thin stranded Chinese pot metal.

Putting two modern components in a chain won't effect much. It's when you have crap Chinese thin internal wire, switch, pots, caps, output jack, guitar cable, internal speaker wire, speaker cable, mic cable is when you end up in blanket mode.

I know the value of more pure copper in the circuit. The most basic would be to A/B a pedal board loaded with either monster cables or evidence lyric cables.

You will lose top end with the monster rock cable. Cables filled with cheap crap like monster are so badly stranded/designed that they act like a capacitor. Shaving highs.

I used to use my monster rock cables on bass guitar. It acts like an EQ pedal leaving more room for the guitars in the upper mids etc. now I use the evidence forte. Again...I don't pay the going rates. I buy evidence cables etc used/cheap.

If I were to buy new, I'd probably go bournes, mogami gold, motor city pickups etc and it will get close without breaking the bank. but I'd still make sure the internal wiring was from the 50's-70's. I've tried everything. Including a resistor instead mimicking a 500k pot and using evidence monorail cables inside guitars. Like I said...the magical unicorn mojo rainbow does not shine through my window. I go down to component level to measure my gains.

Luckily I've collected enough to last me a 100 guitars. It's why at high gain my tone is so clear you can hear the make of my pick on the strings.

IMO people could put as much money into the signal chain and get more tonal gains for less money than buying a Neve or Manley preamp. Most top studios spend millions trying to eq/compress life out of muddy instruments/cabs/skins/rooms/strings/vocal chords.
 
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thefyn

Member
Messages
675
Sounds like any heavily overdriven P90. I would have saved my money for something worth doing, frankly. Sorry, not impressed.


This is a cheap Crate guitar through the same setup WITH crap internals but with a really nice vintage Gibson pickup.

Sounds like crap. Phasey, out of tune and despite going through an amazing amp etc it falls short tonally. Slightly muddy and the punch is squirrely. The test was so shameful I removed it from my viewable videos. Haha. It's only viewable with a link.

My new Epiphone build is head and shoulders better tonally. You can just take my word for it. I'm not lying.

I did the same treatment to that Crate guitar recently. I put in a better harness, switch etc and fixed the intonation/nut.

Remember it's not just electronics. I put on a bone nut, grovers (adds even weight to the headstock/neck which imo slightly improves sustain), nut sauce, removed burrs, polished/leveled frets (huge difference).

So I'm not claiming only electronic upgrades are part of tone. It's a collective.

I mean what makes a guitar cheap? A custom Strat is s bolt on with a swimming pool of wood taken out with pickups mounted on a piece of plastic.

I don't think a few screws in a neck makes an Epiphone a tonal vacuum.

But trust me...the old pickups/pots were sterile. No matter what I tired.
 

Ncp10

Member
Messages
1,443
If you bring up pickups, the deniers line up, wood, they line up. All I know is when I play say a '56 Les Paul Special it's just alive in a way no reissue can touch, at least the way I experience guitars.
 

Zeppe

Member
Messages
383
Sorry to be such a negative force, I think it's great that you are happy, and it can be fun to experiment. I'll give you one thing, vintage PU's have something to them and there's something to old wood and guitar construction.

Leaky caps are just that, they drift from their original value, and can be replicated by using a different value if you prefer. Alnico magnets lose a bit immediately after being fully charged. Assuming they are not exposed to physical damage or a magnetic field, they lose next to nothing for decades. Pots are just a wiper on a carbon track (resistor), they don't 'mature', but certainly wear out over time, become scratchy etc. The conductivity of the shield should be minimal at best, what matters is the actual resistance to ground, and how much it loads the pickup. Any shielded wire acts as a capacitor etc.

Don't mean to piss on your thread, man, I just feel there is a lot of superstition regarding this stuff and many unwarranted claims... Rock on
 

coltranemi2012

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,068
So you put pickups that were intended to play clean/jazz and put heavy distortion on it? Doesn't really show the pickups at all in my opinion. I think clean through a black face type amp would have been a much better demo. All I hear is distortion. But awesome effort though!!
 

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,713
I'll bite.

Custom shop builders like you have to say that right? That I can make your guitar sound like a 59?

How are you going to do that exactly? Do you have a time machine to "break" caps over time? Do you squeeze the charge out of old magnets? Alchemy wires into older more thicker/pure military grade copper rich freq retaining wires?

I've heard every pickup winder and guitar builder claim they have cracked it. Then The Doug and Pat show sends every single pickup maker/custom guitar maker to the fail bin as his classic PAF/Bumblebee loaded 59 LP's electronics DESTROY the opposition...every time.

Joe Bonomassa said the pots/harness are key. He referred to the conductivity of the metal and the fact that they were military spec and they literally don't/can't make them like that any more.

Most pots are cheap Chinese pot metal. Most harnesses are cheap thin stranded Chinese pot metal.

Putting two modern components in a chain won't effect much. It's when you have crap Chinese thin internal wire, switch, pots, caps, output jack, guitar cable, internal speaker wire, speaker cable, mic cable is when you end up in blanket mode.

I know the value of more pure copper in the circuit. The most basic would be to A/B a pedal board loaded with either monster cables or evidence lyric cables.

You will lose top end with the monster rock cable. Cables filled with cheap crap like monster are so badly stranded/designed that they act like a capacitor. Shaving highs.

I used to use my monster rock cables on bass guitar. It acts like an EQ pedal leaving more room for the guitars in the upper mids etc. now I use the evidence forte. Again...I don't pay the going rates. I buy evidence cables etc used/cheap.

If I were to buy new, I'd probably go bournes, mogami gold, motor city pickups etc and it will get close without breaking the bank. but I'd still make sure the internal wiring was from the 50's-70's. I've tried everything. Including a resistor instead mimicking a 500k pot and using evidence monorail cables inside guitars. Like I said...the magical unicorn mojo rainbow does not shine through my window. I go down to component level to measure my gains.

Luckily I've collected enough to last me a 100 guitars. It's why at high gain my tone is so clear you can hear the make of my pick on the strings.

IMO people could put as much money into the signal chain and get more tonal gains for less money than buying a Neve or Manley preamp. Most top studios spend millions trying to eq/compress life out of muddy instruments/cabs/skins/rooms/strings/vocal chords.

I wasn't baiting you. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't put words in my mouth. Never once did I say that I can make your guitar sound like a 59. What I did say is this: The harness from a 1959 Les Paul is not magic. It has no more mystical qualities than the harness that was used on an ES-3x5, or the ES-175 (like the one I have) - all those parts were pulled out of the same box before they went to their respective bins for installation - Gibson did not distinguish Les Paul pots and pickups from any other model.

But you're so hung up on posturing - you missed my point, which you basically reinforced in your rant.

I do agree that cheap material will yield cheap results. And I'd much rather have vintage gear inside my guitar - not because it's any better than quality components made today, but because there's something endearing to retaining and maintaining legacy stuff - long after the wood gave in to flames, smashing, breaking, etc.

I recently converted a 2006 Gibson Flying V into what I called "Retro '67 Flying V". I stripped the finish down to bare mahogany and built it up with white lacquer. I reshaped the neck profile and heel to mimic a 1967 slim. The Nashville Tune-O-Matic posts and stop bar posts were plugged, and converted to deep set 6-32 posts for an ABR-1, and I added a Vibrola. All the parts except the pickguard and TRC came from 1967 Gibsons. The sticker'd T-tops were scavenged from an SG Standrad, and harness was an authentic Flying V (so I was told). It sounded awesome, just killer. I decided to keep the V. When I broke it down and sold or used the parts on other projects, I replaced the pickups with a set of Wolfetones, and the harness with RS Guitarworks pots. Guess what? It still sounds awesome, just killer, with nary an audible distinction between before and after. Just the idea that vintage parts were used was alluring to me. But the V is no less a tone monster now than it was with the vintage bits.

I dig vintage parts. I just don't believe they are any better than today's quality parts.
 




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