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made a big mistake

golfnut

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Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
So I ordered the vintage prewired kit for my les paul standard 50's from RS guitar works. I was expecting maybe at least a bit of improvement. Unfortunately it went the other way. I read so many reviews of people describing "like taking a blanket off my amp" with me it was like putting a blanket over my amp. Maybe a couple. Should have left well enough alone. The bridge pickup actually wasn't much different but the neck pickup is pretty much unusable now. The taper of the volume is much better. But when turning it down, it doesn't sound like it retains the highs. Unfortunately I spent a lot of money getting it shipped to Canada (Dam UPS import feets cost more than half what the kit cost) and having it professionally installed. Big let down. I hate the thought of paying more money to have my tech change it back. I wonder if I should just go all the way and get some boutique PAF pickups voiced with more highs? Actually when listening to the bridge pickup it sounds a bit warmer, it actually isn't bad. Maybe a slight improvement. But I'd definitely have to do something about the muddy sounding neck pickup.
 
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c_wester

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2002
Messages
2,070
Without having seen it. It sounds like you did something wrong. Are they 500k pots all 4 of them?
Have you measured them? Is it correctly soldered? Do you have the correct capacitors? 0.22uf
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
This is what they are. I had the kit professionally installed. I opened it up and looked at the diagram that RS guitarworks sent with it and it looks correct. I've been playing around dialing my amp in and actually there is some improvement. Its a warmer sound which I wasn't expecting. The bridge pickup actually sounds pretty good. The neck is ok but too dark for my liking. Now that I'm in to this project I may as well forge ahead and change the pickups. Either wolftone vintage or Vineham royals. I'll probably start with the vinehams as they're in Canada. I'm tired of getting reamed by UPS on import fees. The prewired kit from RS guitarworks cost $130 and the import fees were $63.
The pots are all 500k. The gibson pots that were in there measured 470k
  • Classic: uses two .022µF caps for both Tone controls.
  • Classic - Woman Tone: uses one .01µF in the Neck Tone for better clarity in the Neck pickup, and one .022µF in the Bridge Tone.
 

1allspub

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
92
For the neck, try lowering it significantly (like further than you think is reasonable), then start playing and adjusting it up slowly. Could be that the neck’s sweetspot with the new harness has changed significantly.
 

CK6

Active member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
385
This is what they are. I had the kit professionally installed. I opened it up and looked at the diagram that RS guitarworks sent with it and it looks correct. I've been playing around dialing my amp in and actually there is some improvement. Its a warmer sound which I wasn't expecting. The bridge pickup actually sounds pretty good. The neck is ok but too dark for my liking. Now that I'm in to this project I may as well forge ahead and change the pickups. Either wolftone vintage or Vineham royals. I'll probably start with the vinehams as they're in Canada. I'm tired of getting reamed by UPS on import fees. The prewired kit from RS guitarworks cost $130 and the import fees were $63.
The pots are all 500k. The gibson pots that were in there measured 470k
  • Classic: uses two .022µF caps for both Tone controls.
  • Classic - Woman Tone: uses one .01µF in the Neck Tone for better clarity in the Neck pickup, and one .022µF in the Bridge Tone.
Go for Wolfetone - ask him to put a lower value when he ships.

Also check out Sigil, another Canadian winder.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
I just realized something this morning. Last night while I was tinkering with the volumes I noticed that on the neck pickup the volume pot was noisy when turning up and down. Obviously a dirty pot. The bridge pickup was dead quite. And I noticed a nice but subtle improvement to the bridge with the new wiring But the neck pickup seemed muddier. I remember at the time thinking I'll have to get my Deoxit out and give it a spray. I had picked up a can a few weeks ago for my tele that was really noisy when using the volume. The deoxit cleaned it up nice. But on my tele the tone wasn't affected at all. Just noisy using the volume knob.
Is it possible that dirty pot is causing the neck pickup to be muddy sounding? I hope its not a bad pot. There was an issue that my tech addressed with the lead coming from the cap. It had a cold solder joint and came off. He had to fix it. Not real impressed with the quality from RS guitar works.
 

Wilko

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Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,309
Seems to me that your "tech" messed it up. you had basically 500k stock, so you wouldn't hear a difference, but a .01 cap in the neck would make it brighter, not darker. tone loss with volume lowering is a vintage thing.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
Seems to me that your "tech" messed it up. you had basically 500k stock, so you wouldn't hear a difference, but a .01 cap in the neck would make it brighter, not darker. tone loss with volume lowering is a vintage thing.

I highly doubt he messed it up. He's been doing this a long time. Any way RS Guitars is sending me another volume pot for he neck and another cap that he says should give more clarity to the neck pickup.
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,015
I put an RS harness in my 83 Ibanez Artist and it sounds fantastic. Same harness you got. I’m curious about what you eventually have to do.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
I put an RS harness in my 83 Ibanez Artist and it sounds fantastic. Same harness you got. I’m curious about what you eventually have to do.

I know the "woman tone" is actually less clarity\brightness per claptops description but the description on the RS site said should add more clarity and definition to the neck pickup. Any way Billy asked what pickup my neck was (BB1) so I'm sure he's sending me something he knows will improve that pickup for clarity and brightness. I asked him what the value of the volume pot he sent out. He didn't say but said "Way above 500k". So I'll assume 1 mg
 
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BillyBling

Active member
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
4,025
So many people are chasing some invisible dragon. Stock ROCKS. It’s that simple.
If there is an improvement to be had….it’s so minimal that your dog could barely hear it.

I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’ve been there. Swapping, flipping, selling….it all always came down to my touch, phrasing and fretboard knowledge.

RESPECTFULLY
 

Amp360

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
481
I'm going to say something very unpopular and I'm not saying it to offend anyone.

99.9% most of the 'upgrades' that internet group think suggests aren't worth the money. If they were, all those people who sold their vintage Gibson, Fender and Gretsch guitars to buy Agiles back in the early 00s would still be touting the greatness of their purchases.

I've come to realize that I hate the tone that 90% of the YouTube videos I watch are after. What attracted me to the Les Paul wasn't someone playing (usually in this order) some mellow pentatonic, some thirds and then a cliched blues lick (played with the soul of a guy who worshiped at the alter of C.C. DeVille before he lost his hair, gained weight and discovered the fedora) then it ends with them shaking the neck of the guitar with the studio polished, uber compressed/eq'd (and oftentimes chorused, delayed and drenched in reverb). Once in a while they'll throw in some "jazz chords" to dazzle us as well :p

Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that sound. I can see why some people may like it. Maybe if you're playing at home or have one of those computer amps it's what you're going for and that's cool. For me, I'm going to a guitar and amp that sound good, not that sound like a studio recording. I think people have forgotten about that and we have people waxing poetic about LA-2As, 1176 Blue Stripes, Neve preamps and U87s. I mean, when I sit down and plug in my guitar I just want to hear the guitar and amp (disclaimer, I have a pair of LA-2As, a U87 and a 480L in arm's reach as I type this).

Just this afternoon I heard about that Waddy Watchel Les Paul and did a Google to hear some clips. Everything I found sounded nothing even close to what he sounds like. Some of the clips were well played, but it was just the same boring 8 licks every YT demo has with those polite boring tones (again, I don't mean clean tones, which would be fantastic as usually I'm looking for the sound of an amp or guitar not the wait listed GSP-21 sounding chain of stomp boxes). I finally ended up seeing WW himself playing a white Les Paul and he sounded amazing. It wasn't a new one or n old one but it sounded like he always does. Go figure.

I'm by far not the best player anywhere but for me lessons have always been a better way to spend $100 (or $1000) if I want to sound better. Sure, I have some cool guitars hanging on my wall but I have probably a lot more time invested in playing.
</rantoff>

:)
 
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golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
Played an outdoor gig yesterday afternoon and used the Les Paul. It sounded pretty good as I was able to really turn the amp up. The neck pickup was very powerful sounding.
So today I plug in, in my music room and the neck pickup is very rich and big sounding with lots of clarity. Much fatter than with the stock wiring but now it sounds very clear with some good bite on the high end. WTF!!!. Thats not the impression I got when I first got it back from the tech with the new wiring. Was my mind playing tricks on me, with expectations or were my ears just plugged? I do suffer from allergies and have been stuffed lately. Or does it take a little time for electronics to "break in"? I've never believed that electronics have a break in period but I've heard other say it does. I'm hearing more high end on the bridge pickup now. Now I can keep the treble and presence knobs on the amp lower, closer to how I'd set them with my Fenders, which is what I was hoping for.
The biggest thing I've had to adjust for is that both pickups are much fatter sounding and if I don't tame bass on the amp it gets too rumbly, especially on the neck pickup. This particular benefit sounded fantastic live with my amp pushed. The neck pickup with mid gain was very angry sounding. Its like the pickups had a bit higher output.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
I'm going to say something very unpopular and I'm not saying it to offend anyone.

99.9% most of the 'upgrades' that internet group think suggests aren't worth the money. If they were, all those people who sold their vintage Gibson, Fender and Gretsch guitars to buy Agiles back in the early 00s would still be touting the greatness of their purchases.

I've come to realize that I hate the tone that 90% of the YouTube videos I watch are after. What attracted me to the Les Paul wasn't someone playing (usually in this order) some mellow pentatonic, some thirds and then a cliched blues lick (played with the soul of a guy who worshiped at the alter of C.C. DeVille before he lost his hair, gained weight and discovered the fedora) then it ends with them shaking the neck of the guitar with the studio polished, uber compressed/eq'd (and oftentimes chorused, delayed and drenched in reverb). Once in a while they'll throw in some "jazz chords" to dazzle us as well :p

Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that sound. I can see why some people may like it. Maybe if you're playing at home or have one of those computer amps it's what you're going for and that's cool. For me, I'm going to a guitar and amp that sound good, not that sound like a studio recording. I think people have forgotten about that and we have people waxing poetic about LA-2As, 1176 Blue Stripes, Neve preamps and U87s. I mean, when I sit down and plug in my guitar I just want to hear the guitar and amp (disclaimer, I have a pair of LA-2As, a U87 and a 480L in arm's reach as I type this).

Just this afternoon I heard about that Waddy Watchel Les Paul and did a Google to hear some clips. Everything I found sounded nothing even close to what he sounds like. Some of the clips were well played, but it was just the same boring 8 licks every YT demo has with those polite boring tones (again, I don't mean clean tones, which would be fantastic as usually I'm looking for the sound of an amp or guitar not the wait listed GSP-21 sounding chain of stomp boxes). I finally ended up seeing WW himself playing a white Les Paul and he sounded amazing. It wasn't a new one or n old one but it sounded like he always does. Go figure.

I'm by far not the best player anywhere but for me lessons have always been a better way to spend $100 (or $1000) if I want to sound better. Sure, I have some cool guitars hanging on my wall but I have probably a lot more time invested in playing.
</rantoff>

:)
I've been playing for 45 years. Toured full time through out the end of the 70's to the mid 90's. Back in the touring days I had the guitar strung across my back 24\7. Even now all I do is play. I don't maintain my own amps or set up or do any mods on my guitars. I spend all my time playing and don't have patience for the mechanical side of gear. Lessons for me is really a redundant issue. I'm quite capable of adding to my skill lever through youtube videos or other sources I can find.
As far as what lead me to wanting a Les Paul. I'd been a mostly tele players, sometimes strat player all my life. I had owned some humbucker equipped guitars over the years. Recently I wanted to add a humbucker guitar to my stable. I landed on the standard 50's. I had no idea when I picked it up a few months ago that it would end up being my number 1 guitar.
 

ch willie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,015
I got my RS harness for my 83 Artist because the original wiring and switches were an irredeemable mess.

Some guitars benefit from new pups, but I know that I’ve spent way too much on pickup swaps over my 45 years of playing. And yet I’ve got guitars that came to life, the latest being a hand wired Kent Armstrong 12pole that I put on my Eastman archtop.
 

Amp360

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
481
I've been playing for 45 years. Toured full time through out the end of the 70's to the mid 90's. Back in the touring days I had the guitar strung across my back 24\7. Even now all I do is play. I don't maintain my own amps or set up or do any mods on my guitars. I spend all my time playing and don't have patience for the mechanical side of gear. Lessons for me is really a redundant issue. I'm quite capable of adding to my skill lever through youtube videos or other sources I can find.
As far as what lead me to wanting a Les Paul. I'd been a mostly tele players, sometimes strat player all my life. I had owned some humbucker equipped guitars over the years. Recently I wanted to add a humbucker guitar to my stable. I landed on the standard 50's. I had no idea when I picked it up a few months ago that it would end up being my number 1 guitar.
That’s cool. I still took a few lessons a year with Mick Goodrick before he got sick as well as a one off here and there from some other folks. I’ve always felt that if some amazing player was out there and willing to talk to me for an hour or two I would take advantage of it but I totally see the other side of the coin as well.
 

Any Name You Wish

Active member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
176
Played an outdoor gig yesterday afternoon and used the Les Paul. It sounded pretty good as I was able to really turn the amp up. The neck pickup was very powerful sounding.
So today I plug in, in my music room and the neck pickup is very rich and big sounding with lots of clarity. Much fatter than with the stock wiring but now it sounds very clear with some good bite on the high end. WTF!!!. Thats not the impression I got when I first got it back from the tech with the new wiring. Was my mind playing tricks on me, with expectations or were my ears just plugged? I do suffer from allergies and have been stuffed lately. Or does it take a little time for electronics to "break in"? I've never believed that electronics have a break in period but I've heard other say it does. I'm hearing more high end on the bridge pickup now. Now I can keep the treble and presence knobs on the amp lower, closer to how I'd set them with my Fenders, which is what I was hoping for.
The biggest thing I've had to adjust for is that both pickups are much fatter sounding and if I don't tame bass on the amp it gets too rumbly, especially on the neck pickup. This particular benefit sounded fantastic live with my amp pushed. The neck pickup with mid gain was very angry sounding. Its like the pickups had a bit higher output.
Probably your ears/hearing. With allergies (or wildfire smoke/pollution) your Eustachian Tubes (tubes that run from your middle ear to your nasal passage) will clog and your ear will not be able to equalize internal/external pressure, and you may even have fluid build-up in there behind your ear drum. If bad enough you will experience tinnitus and vertigo. This little problem will wreak havoc with your hearing and will cut out highs or lows, changing day to day. Ask me how I know.

Realize that hearing varies significantly from one person to the next, just like eye-sight. Never rely on someone else's perception of sound/tone.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
179
Probably your ears/hearing. With allergies (or wildfire smoke/pollution) your Eustachian Tubes (tubes that run from your middle ear to your nasal passage) will clog and your ear will not be able to equalize internal/external pressure, and you may even have fluid build-up in there behind your ear drum. If bad enough you will experience tinnitus and vertigo. This little problem will wreak havoc with your hearing and will cut out highs or lows, changing day to day. Ask me how I know.

Realize that hearing varies significantly from one person to the next, just like eye-sight. Never rely on someone else's perception of sound/tone.
I played a small outdoor gig this past weekend. A private party pig roast with about 80 people. We decided not to mic the guitar amps. When the band leader was out listening to the sound he said the Les paul was way too bright. It sounded that way to me on stage as well. Even when I put it on the neck pickup, same thing too bright. I set the treble and presence way down about where I set it for my tele and strat to get the brightness down. It seems that when played at stage levels there is no muddiness and the new wiring and pots have much more clarity than the factory electronics. I think part of the problem at home is that I have my amp very close to the corner in a narrower part of the room and that causes it to sound muddier. On stage I have no issues.
The next step in this was changing the pickups to either Wolftones or Vineham but I really love the way it sounds with the Burstbuckers so I think I'll just stick with them.
 
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