Upgrading my SG Classic

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Voxy Foxy, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Voxy Foxy

    Voxy Foxy Member

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    Hi guys, just looking into some upgrades for my SG classic. I like the stock Gibson P-90s so I don't think those are going anywhere, but I'd like some advice.

    First off, the nut is terribly cut like all of Gibson's nuts seem to be...probably just going to have my luthier cut me a basic bone nut.

    Next, I was thinking about new pots and getting some cloth wiring going on in there...what value pots do I need for P-90s? I know that they are technically a single coil so I was thinking 250ks, but I wanted to make sure. Also, would anyone know the value of the stock pots? I'm thinking they just might be 500ks because they looked like regular old Gibson pots to me.

    What pots should I look at? I know everyone raves about RS pots but I wanted to look at some other options...also, somewhere that has cloth wiring would be good too...Ideally, somewhere that can just send me all the pots wired so I can just drop it in and just make a few quick solders and be on my way...My options right now end at RS, so please let me know of other reputable pots...

    Budget-wise, kind of on a budget, kind of not...don't even want to spend the $70ish on RS pots, but definitely want cloth wire instead of that thin stock wire I saw in there earlier.

    Thanks in advance!
    -Chris
     
  2. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    I'm in the middle of upgrading mine right now, I've replaced the bridge with an Allparts "Old Style Tunematic", and it is great. It not only looks more vintage, but the narrower bridge allowed me to drop the stop bar almost all the way down, before with the cheap PingWorks Nashville that comes on the guitar the stopbar had to be excessively high in order for the strings to clear the back of the bridge. The Allparts bridge drops right on the Nashville posts, and the guitar now has more punch and generally plays better. I had no problem intonating with the narrower bridge, but I did turn around the G string saddle to allow intonation. Best of all, the bridge is only $30 or less if you get it from an Allparts dealer. I got mine new in the package for $10 on Ebay. It comes in Chrome, Nickel (which is what I got), and Gold. I'm also changing all the hardware on mine, so I'm getting nickel posts, stopbar, and tuners.

    As far as the electronics, the Classic I believe comes with the standard crappy Gibson pots, probably 300k linear volume and 500k audio tones. Most guys change to 500k CTS (either custom taper like RS or standard CTS). I'm going to try 500k for the volumes and 250k for the tones, because I found out that that was the standard on the early Juniors, and my '56 Junior sounds great that way. If I don't like it I can change one or the other of the tones back to 500k. On my SG, I'm going to try the Dimarzio custom taper pots, I've already got the 500k's but I'm going to order some 250's soon. For the tuners, I'd like to get some Keystones, I've heard the Tonepros Kluson are good, also the Gotoh are good but some think the color of the buttons is too green. There are also some Wilkinson Keystones out there for only $20 that I assume are the same good quality as the other Wilkinson stuff, but they don't come in Nickel, only Chrome and Gold. Those all have press in bushings, so I would probably have to use conversion bushings to fit those on the Classic. If you want to use screw-in bushings like those on the guitar, Grover makes a Vintage Keystone tuner that is like that and would probably go on without any problem.

    I'm going to wait to assess the pickups after I've redone the pots, right now I have no complaint about the stock ones.

    Anyway, I really would advise the bridge change, it made a difference on my guitar:

    http://www.allparts.com/store/guitar-bridges-tunematics-gb-0520-001,Product.asp

    Here's one source for the bridge, the three in the top row are the Allparts one I talked about:
    http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/gbridge_abrgibson.htm

    Hope this helps,
    Al
     
  3. Voxy Foxy

    Voxy Foxy Member

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    Al, thanks so much for all that info! I'm almost overwhelmed...:eek:

    Just to respond - Thanks for the pot values...do you know where I could get cloth wiring? I'm probably going to go with CTS as I think they're probably a little more economical than RS'...500k volumes and 250k tones.

    The bridge looks like a nice upgrade in terms of bang for the buck, so I'll probably look into that.

    As for the tuners, I love old kluson styles and will probably keep them until they break.

    Thanks again!
    -Chris
     
  4. Rhomco

    Rhomco Silver Supporting Member

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    Chris,
    Take a look at stewmac.com for cloth wire or anything else for that matter. They also have wiring kits with EVERYTHING you need included. I have been down the road with RS and frankly cannot hear a difference between thier pots/caps and any others. Just to confirm, use 500K pots for P-90s.
    Good luck,
    Rob
     
  5. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    I know that there has been some discussion about the cloth wire, some has some king of inner "sleeve" or something that people don't like. I don't know if the StewMac wire is the good stuff, but I remember that the wire that Allparts distributes is supposed to be good, you can get it it short lengths, or longer, black or white and they have a combo package. I think that link I gave you for the bridge (GuitarParts Resource) also has the Allparts wire. Maybe someone more knowledgeable about push back wire can chime in.

    As far as the tuners, I want to change the hardware to nickel, so I thought I'd replace with the vintage Keystones (Kluson type), same as the ones on there only with the Larger "Tulip" knobs instead of the little white buttons, I think they give a better grip and look a little cooler, but to each his own!

    Good Luck,
    Al
     
  6. Voxy Foxy

    Voxy Foxy Member

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    Thanks!

    Can I just use that braided Gibson style pickup lead wire to wire the pots and stuff?
     
  7. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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  8. Voxy Foxy

    Voxy Foxy Member

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    Al, thanks so much!

    What are the differences between the "old style" and whatever came stock on my SG Classic? (other than the brass saddles)
     
  9. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    The Old Style Tunematic is like the Gibson ABR-1, it has a wire to retain the saddles, and is narrower than the Nashville. So it's more vintage looking. The ABR-1 bridges use posts screwed into the wood, while the Nashvile uses posts screwed into bushings set into the wood. The Nashville bridge was I think first made by Schaller, although the ones Gibson is putting on their guitars now are a cheaper version made by PingWorks, I believe in China. The Nashville is a little wider to allow more intonation range, and does away with the wire. Many players prefer the ABR-1, including me, although the Schaller Nashville is supposed to be a good bridge if you like that style. I didn't have any problems intonating a "10" set of strings with the Allparts bridge, though I did have to turn the G string saddle around to get maximum range. You usually have to do that even with the Gibson ABR-1 with a plain G string, and it's not difficult.

    The main thing the bridge change did for me was allow me to drop the stopbar down, with the Nashville it was way up for the strings to clear the back of the bridge, which isn't good for the best tone. Add to that the fact that I think the ABR type just looks better, at least it looks more vintage. If you don't like the unplated brass saddles, Allparts sells replacement saddles that are nickel plated brass that I'm pretty sure will fit that bridge. They have them at that same store I gave you the link to. Another good thing about the Old Style bridge is that it will install on the Nashville posts without any modification, which the Gibson one won't. Other narrow bridges that will go on those posts are ones made by Gotoh or Faber, the Faber is twice as much money and the Gotoh ones are good bridges, but look different, they don't have the wire like an ABR-1. I've been looking into this for some time, and I think the Allparts bridge is the answer if you want a vintage type bridge and don't want to pay a high price.

    Al
     
  10. Voxy Foxy

    Voxy Foxy Member

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    Cool, thanks again!
     
  11. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    did you guys notice the neck became heavy after replacing the tuners?
     
  12. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    I haven't replaced mine yet, I've been checking out the various brands. I'm thinking I'll go with the TonePros Kluson Keystones, they are supposed to be better construction and the knobs are a nice cream color, but they are more expensive. They shouldn't be any heavier than what's on there now, but if you were to put Rotomatics or another sealed tuner on that might be an issue.

    Al
     
  13. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    got an SG classic on the way. Probably first thing I'll do is replace the nut with a bone one.
     
  14. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    I also have a set of wolfetone Mean/Meaner P90s which I plan to drop in too! I am glad they never sold in the emporium....
     
  15. tcforec

    tcforec Member

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    Put the TonePro Klusons on mine and love it. Not heavy at all. The nut sucks. I need to stick a bone one on there as well. I did throw some Lollar P90s int there that smoke but the stocks sound good too. Think I'll do the pots and bridge as well.
     
  16. Priestunes

    Priestunes Member

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    Great info. Glad I found this. Thanks for writing it!

     
  17. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Silver Supporting Member

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    Great info on this thread.

    Anyone know whether installing Grover Rotomatic tuners will require changing the size of the tuner holes? (I know that installing Rotomatics will leave one screw hole on the back of the guitar exposed, not worred about that, just whether I'd have to change the size of the hole through the peg head).
     

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