New pots and caps for a stock 2011 R8. Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sjbennett, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. sjbennett

    sjbennett Member

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    Dear all: I have been reading up on the advantages of changing the pots and caps in a LP. There are several excellent choices available for pre-wired harnesses.

    While this would not be a major investment (ca. $100), or difficult task for a hobbiest like myself, I do wonder if the changes would be measurable in a stock 2011 R8.

    For those of you with R8's, have you swapped out the stock pots and caps, do you have a preference for pots and/or caps (or retailers), and do you like the results?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice,
    Sean Bennett
     
  2. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Meh. I did it to all my Pauls and honestly I think I would have been just as happy putting a treble-bleed mod on the existing vol pots (a few dollars worth of parts vs over $100 for a new harness). Much cheaper and and I like the way the guitar cleans up when rolling off the vol with the treble-bleed. Seems that most people drop cash on new pots because they don't like the roll-off. A treb-bleed keeps the sound focused all the way down.

    Not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it. Coupled with a very touch sensitive amp like my Kingsley ToneBaron, it's killer. I can go from hair metal brown sound to early breakup SRV Lenny tones with just the vol knob.

    You should try that first, since it is so cheap, before dropping $$ on expensive RS Guitarworks or similar parts. If you try it, be sure to wire a resistor in parallel with the cap... this helps keep some of the bass in the tone has you roll off the vol. It's a cool mod.

    RR
     
  3. nateco

    nateco Member

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    The pots in the historic are fine and they're the correct value.,,it's the USA line that's got the weird pots.

    You can mess around with caps and see if you like something better...I wouldn't go crazy on high dollar caps.

    Mojotone has a few worth trying, the dijon and the Vitamin T...under $10 each.
    You could also buy a truck load of orange drops and experiment with different values, they're super cheap and good quality.
     
  4. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

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    Yup ^^^^ do the treble bleed mod.

    If I buy your Les Paul off of you in a couple years I'm gonna want the original pots and caps.
     
  5. BlackStrat_Fan

    BlackStrat_Fan Member

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    I have a 2011 R8 also. The only change I made was to add a push/pull out of phase mod. I remember wanting to do all kinds of mods when I first got it, but then realizing that I was perfectly happy with the way it was stock.
     
  6. bartmcartman

    bartmcartman Supporting Member

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    I think post 2008 they started putting audio taper pots in the historics? Yours should be fine. It's probably wired 50's style which should help retain highs when rolling down the volume. Man I miss my R8!
     
  7. rummy

    rummy Member

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    Do you not like what pots and caps do with your guitar?
    My Les Paul Custom was muddy, and swapping the pots to 500K really helped. I changed the caps, since I was already in there with a soldering iron anyway.
     
  8. small axe

    small axe Member

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    i would leave it stock
     
  9. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member

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    it's funny... guys often buy used gear, pop the hood, and post photos with the question, Does this look original... Hoping against hope that the answer will be yes. that's all OEM..

    But.. they buy gear, and the first question asked is often, what should I replace first...

    If guys would just concentrate as intensely on their skills as a musician, all their "tone" quirks disappear...

    Remember changing pots and caps, even with the very expensive esoteric pieces is no guarantee the sound will be better, the only guarantee is it will be different.. for it to be better, you have to like it... the electrons have no idea if they're passing across the element in a 59 cent made in China pot, or a very esoteric carbon element in a made in Germany pot... they're just passing through, nothing to see here.. keep moving..

    Leave it stock...

    Ron Kirn
     
  10. sliberty

    sliberty Member

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    In the words of the great Frank Zappa...Shut Up and Play Your Guitar (no offense meant).

    Until you feel you have a problem that needs correcting, leave it stock. If you don't like something, the. We can talk about how to solve it.

    My Historics are stock (2 - LP Juniors and a LP Special). Gibson used the right pots and wired them correctly. The caps are what they are and tHey are fine. On all of my other guitars, I've installed CTS 500ka pots, Mallory caps, and used 50's wiring. I am not a fan of the treble bleed mod, but YMMV.
     
  11. sjbennett

    sjbennett Member

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    Many thanks to all for the great advice,

    Sean
     
  12. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I swapped mine out. Went extreme on the neck volume... 1M pot for volume and disconnected the tone pot. I can't imagine rolling off the treble there.
     
  13. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Member

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    I swapped the pots/caps out on all of mine out except for my Pearly. I find the taper on the aftermarket stuff is more usable and they are also spec'd better. 550K +/- 10% to guarantee you will get at least a 500K reading. I have measured stock Gibson 500K pots as low as 420K. Now, I don't know if anyone can actually hear the difference between a 420K pot and a 500K+ pot but you might.

    Same goes for PIO vs the stock fake caps Gibson uses. You may or may not be able to hear a difference.

    My first choice: Martin Six String Customs. Second choice: RS Guitar.
     
  14. icr

    icr Member

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    If you get a bunch of capacitors and a bunch of pots, you can go through them and find some that may be measurably different than the ones currently in the guitar. How far off are they from what you like?. Personally I have had good results even going down to 0.06uf on the caps. For pots I like to stay close to 500k.
     
  15. nateco

    nateco Member

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    The mojotone spec cts pots I've been getting have all been +/- 3 ohms...most are 499 to 501....they're not expensive either. Greta quality pot, I suspect not too far off what RS sells. I think the short shafts are under 5 bucks and the long shafts are under $10.

    You can certainly hear the difference between a 420k and 500k pot.
     
  16. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory Member

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    I'd definitely replace. At least the volume pots and the caps. I'm replacing the entire harness on mine. If you can solder, you can do it yourself for half of what a pre-made harness costs. The taper on the volume pots isn't great. I compare my 2014 to my Corsa with a Rewind made harness (which uses CTS TVT pots) and there's just no comparison, the CTS TVT pots have a much better taper and you're able to dial a sound with greater precision. The stock pots tend to be all on 10 and about 6 on 9 if you know what I mean, and then they don't do much until they kill the signal altogether. At first I didn't really notice that much (think it was the amp) but after I picked up two other guitars with the CTS TVT pots, game over.
     
  17. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    The only reason you should replace them is if the stock configuration isn't doing what you want it to do, or if it's faulty. That said, pot values and capacitor values make a difference; capacitor material does not. Don't waste you money on pricey caps.
     
  18. halcyon

    halcyon Supporting Member

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    Absolutely not; they're fine.
     
  19. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    from 2009 on...CTS 500K audio taper

    Yep 2009 and on...

    Changing caps in my 2009 R8 yielded very positive and noticable results for me...I now have a more usable taper and my guitar stays articulate and clear longer when rolling down the volume control than with the stock caps...I can now roll down to 4/5 on volume and tone (with 50s wiring I ike to roll both volume and tone down to the same values) and have my LP sound tele like...plus I have more tonal shadings...

    I like the green NOS Russian military caps...paid about $4 a piece and less if you buy a quantity...they are cheap and plentiful on eBay...I think Dr Vintage uses them in his LP wiring harnesses which are great albeit very expensive...

    K42Y-2 0.022uF 630V Guitar Tone PIO Capacitor

    The biggest improvement on my 2009 R8 was changing out the non-magnetic tailpiece studs for a set of Gibson magnetic/steel studs that I had laying around...I would check my studs to see what they are...tightens up the bass end...gives you better strings separation...more percussive-like guitar which has more sustain and is louder acoustically...highly recommended and reversable if you don't care for it...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
    thrashmetl likes this.
  20. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Pots and caps is a harness... Unless you mean jack and switch, too.

    Thanks R. Kirn for the reality check. Electrons and the speed of electricity don't change.

    IMO, the only think worth investigating is the cap value and possible the way the tone pot is wired. I believe many players opt for the treble bleed circuit where wiring the tone to the output of the volume (50's wiring) might perform better. Treble bled sounds fizzy to me.
    If you use your tone control at all, then I suggest lower value caps than stock. .015uf or even .012uf make a much more useful control than .022uf.
     

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