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Author Topic: Jazz electronics, pups & pots  (Read 5295 times)

Offline marllr

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Jazz electronics, pups & pots
« on: March 11, 2010, 12:20:50 PM »
I have found scattered information and opinions regarding pickups, pots and other electronics, but my thirst has not been satisfied.  I know this is sort of a religious topic, but can we get a lively discussion on electronics for jazz / blues guitars?

I think my ~1989 HB35's future holds some SD Seth Lovers.  Currently playing thru an Epiphone Valve Jr.  I am looking for a very smooth and warm sound something like Barney Kessel gets here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAsEfhU2Ehg

So the questions are (in the context of Jazz guitar electronics)[?]:  What do you have?
What does is sound like?
What do you want (what is optimal)?
What is most important?
On an older guitar does it make sense to replace pots & switch with pups?

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions!
 

Offline Tio Kimo

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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 12:56:42 PM »
keep in mind, he plays a true hollow body, with a wooden saddle, and a vintage single p'up.

And, he's Barney f'ing Kessel.

Having said that, I've got the original neck p'up in my 35, which is too muddy, but does lean towards those tones. I've got a vintage JB in the bridge, which is split and has tons of bite, not that jazzy sound at all. 35's often lean toward a good crunch don't forget. There's still alot of wood in there.

I have a split 59 in the neck of my Idol, which is a mohogany bodied, maple capped guitar(like an LP)but with a cavity and f hole (much like a thinline), and that neck p'up through my Roland amp, on the JC Clean setting (JC being a noted jazz amp) sounds unbelievable. I've silenced a room FULL of electrics when doing a lead run just because of how sweet the notes ring out. REALLY awesome. I suspect you could do similar with Gibson 57's, SD 59, OR for sure seth lovers. There WAS a dude on here who plays a box more like Kessels, a J6, true hollow body, and couldn't stop gushing about the sound. Pro musician, too.

Maybe you should hone your soldering skills and buy p'ups off craigslist, learn what kind of winds get you close to where you wanna be, swap 'em in and out on your own.

Pot's are cheap and you gotta solder anyway, I'd think new p'ups warrant new pots.

my .02


cheers

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Offline marllr

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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 10:42:45 PM »
Thanks TK!  If it were only as easy as getting the right rig!

I'm reasonably handy with a solder iron... I even got to where I don't burn shrink rap!  Maybe I'll try a few and get lucky!

So are all pots created equal or is there a brand worth the extra couple of bucks?

Thanks
 

Offline Doc Helliday

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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 03:06:34 AM »
CTS pots are good. I heard Billy Zoom, talk about how 1meg pots being great cos they don't take away anything. Give those a try. I have CTS pots in a few guitars and havent been let down.
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Offline Rocket

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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 04:05:03 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by marllr

So are all pots created equal

Definitely not. There are tons of garbage electric parts sources... price usually tells the tale. Generally speaking, one usually gets what one pays for.
Make sure wherever you source parts that they maintain a solid return policy.
quote:
...or is there a brand worth the extra couple of bucks?

Depending on what you're looking for, CTS® offers decent pots but cheaper ones have some pot-metal shafts that can be fragile. I've also heard of brittle aluminum shafts that won't tolerate much abuse (although I haven't seen one myself.)
I use Genuine Gibson on all of my LP's & ES's (especially the Epiphones) only because I have a discounted source.
I've experienced many Epi's arriving new with crap electrical parts... they have a reputation for it. I'm guessing that Gibson disposes of electric parts that fail quality control inspection by tossing into the for Epiphone bin.

As always: Caveat emptor.

Offline ncmreynolds

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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 05:11:20 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by marllr

Thanks TK!  If it were only as easy as getting the right rig!
So are all pots created equal or is there a brand worth the extra couple of bucks?


I wouldn't buy the cheapest of the cheap mini pots, but I would say any branded (eg CTS) pot would be acceptable.

I'm not a believer in the 'oil and paper caps hand-rolled on the thighs of virgins' school of guitar electrics but IMO you are well served by using good quality conventional parts.



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Offline marllr

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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 09:17:30 AM »
Alright, another silly question... is there any documentation on these guitars or do you have to pull them apart before you get parts (a manual or spec sheet would be great)?  It seems funny to guess and use other companies instructions: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=2h_2v_2t_3w

How do you know split, solid, mini, long, series, split/parallel/ phase, spin-a-splits, 250/500/1000?.

I guess I need the idiots guide to guitar electronics.
 

Offline Tio Kimo

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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 11:57:39 AM »
you're not going to find schematics for your 21 yr old HB. The Seymour Duncan schematics are actually a great resource, and represent standard wiring practices.

It is possible that you have a different lead than represented in the drawings, but if you take a look at your pots, compare the existing wiring to the schematics, it is either consistent with it or not. There are dudes here, and certainly on the Duncan forum, who are well versed in various pickup configurations and can tell you how to run a 2 lead wire, as opposed to a 4 lead wire, for example. That's what the forums are for, don't be afraid to ask.

If you were to go for the Lovers, for example, that drawing is your ticket.
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
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Offline marllr

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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 10:36:05 PM »
What are the pots on the HB 35, standard size split post?

My local luthier suggests SD SH2 Jazz for the neck and SH4 JB for the bridge.
 

Offline Doc Helliday

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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2010, 04:22:20 AM »
do your volume knobs come off or do you have to take em off with a tiny allen key?
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Offline Tio Kimo

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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2010, 12:35:44 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by marllr

My local luthier suggests SD SH2 Jazz for the neck and SH4 JB for the bridge.


So does Seymour Duncan, and his marketing dept. If you spend some time on the forum, you'll read along and find that that is the standard pairing, sold as Seymour's Favorite that is all over the forum. AS a result, a lot of guys are selling JB's and Jazz p'ups because they felt they didn't provide the tones they wanted.

Having said all of that, I suspect that the bulk of the modders posting aren't going for Kessel-esque tones, and I suspect you may get what you want from that neck p'up.

I've got the JB in my bridge, as posted ad-nauseum, and I love it.

You need to take the plunge, man! The journey is at least as rich as arriving at the destination. Do it, and tell us what you find.

Cheers
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
Marshall AS50D
Little Lanilei 3350LT
Champlifier
Boogie DC-2