Other Guitars

Pot values/capacitors

1

Hey all, my knowledge of pots/caps is entry level at best, but I've been wanting to open up the pickups on my P90 Les Paul, especially the neck. Gibson does not list the values on their site, but I've tried every adjustment possible and cannot get a neck pickup tone I'm happy with; its too dark/muddy no matter what. Would switching to a 1 meg tone pot help give it clarity? Would I also have to do the volume pot as well? I'm pretty happy with the bridge pickup, thats a beast. It also has orange drop capacitors, I've read that these roll off treble? Could simply removing these do the trick? I'm really not looking to replace the pickups, just open them up a little more. Any help is always appreciated!

2

I've found that changing the volume pots to 1 meg opens up the pickups more than changing the tone pots. I changed both anyway on my Duo Jet.

I think Gibson sometimes uses 300 K pots instead of 500 K.

3

I've gotta email them and see what it came with. It'd be nice to get a touch more twang from the bridge, but I'm more apt to just leave that alone. The neck is just so dark. I've lowered the pickup and raised the poles, which helped a little, but not nearly enough. So the volume pot is what I should be looking to change before the tone pot? If it does have 300k, would a jump to 1 Meg be too drastic?

4

When I put 1 meg pots in my Duo Jet it didn't change the character of the pickup. It sounded like all the frequencies could get through so the pickups realize their full potential. It also boosted the output a little bit but not too much. I don't think it would be too drastic to go from 300K to 1 meg especially on the neck pickup.

5

IIRC vintage Gibson was 250K for pots matched with P90s.

6

Sounds like your neck pickup is too hot for the sound you're after. I don't think changing a pot is going to get it to where you want, it might give you a little more treble though. If you use your volume pots a lot, keep in mind 1 Meg has lousy taper.

Have you measured your neck pickup's DC resistance? If everything else (wire gauge, magnets,...) is classic/vintage spec, I think you'd want somewhere around 7K for what you're after, and a stock current Gibson pickup is likely more around 8K or up.

I'd send it to someone for a rewind, maybe even a partial "un-wind". Not expensive at all compared to a new pickup.

7

Sounds like your neck pickup is too hot for the sound you're after. I don't think changing a pot is going to get it to where you want, it might give you a little more treble though. If you use your volume pots a lot, keep in mind 1 Meg has lousy taper.

Have you measured your neck pickup's DC resistance? If everything else (wire gauge, magnets,...) is classic/vintage spec, I think you'd want somewhere around 7K for what you're after, and a stock current Gibson pickup is likely more around 8K or up.

I'd send it to someone for a rewind, maybe even a partial "un-wind". Not expensive at all compared to a new pickup.

– WB

The problem, as far as I've read, is that the current P90s are exactly the same pickup in both positions, that's why balancing them requires jacking the bridge pickup super high and slamming the neck pickup flush with the body. They are both 9.1k. I do love the bridge pickup, for now anyway, but I'd like to do whatever small tweaks I can to make the neck useable before slapping down $150 for a TVJ pickup. Maybe my 6 band EQ could just solve everything...

8

But, then again, there are countless great guitarists who play totally stock P90 Goldtops and don't nitpick these things, I should probably just practice more lol...

9

9K is high by any standard, and won't get you the neck pickup sound you're after. No need for a $150 new pickup, you should be able to get a pro-quality rewind for less than half that, and I'm pretty sure it would do the trick.

Old guitars had the same pickups for neck and bridge too, and P90's were all over the place output wise, but 9K was a rare exception, 50's ones were usually around 8K or under.

10

Lower the pickup and adjust the amp to where it sounds good. This will likely be cranked treble and rolled off bass/mids. Now roll the bridge treble off a bit so you don't hurt anyone when you shift gears. If you don't have it, consider 50s wiring or a treble bleed so you don't get muddy when you roll off the volume. If you don't mind pedals, my lowly E-H LPB1 makes short work of muddy situations like neck pickups and cranked tweed amps.

11

Lower the pickup and adjust the amp to where it sounds good. This will likely be cranked treble and rolled off bass/mids. Now roll the bridge treble off a bit so you don't hurt anyone when you shift gears. If you don't have it, consider 50s wiring or a treble bleed so you don't get muddy when you roll off the volume. If you don't mind pedals, my lowly E-H LPB1 makes short work of muddy situations like neck pickups and cranked tweed amps.

– charlie chitlins

I have an LPB1! Never knew how to use it, always seemed to make things really wooly and muddier. So should I adjust the amp for a ton of treble and then kick on the LPB1?

12

Something weird there. Mine is the small pedal, not the old one that plugs right into the guitar. I use it because I find that it does very much what my Beano Boost treble booster does, but with less noise. If things got too loud and my tweed Deluxe got to wooly, I would step on the LPB1 and it gave me what I needed to slice through the mix...so that's anything BUT mud. Yours could be defective, or have a low battery or something. Do you use external power? Mine gets me close to that bite that Freddie King got live.

13

Something weird there. Mine is the small pedal, not the old one that plugs right into the guitar. I use it because I find that it does very much what my Beano Boost treble booster does, but with less noise. If things got too loud and my tweed Deluxe got to wooly, I would step on the LPB1 and it gave me what I needed to slice through the mix...so that's anything BUT mud. Yours could be defective, or have a low battery or something. Do you use external power? Mine gets me close to that bite that Freddie King got live.

– charlie chitlins

I've got the new small one as well, but when I turn it up it gets so muddy its literally unusable. It did that through both a Marshall and a blues junior. Have not tried it with my Vox yet. Maybe I had too much gain already, but it was sonic mud for me, ill have to revisit it. My best tone sculpting pedal thus far is the Way Huge Saffron Squeeze compressor, and second to that would be the EHX Soul Food

14

Give it a go and report back! IME, the LPB-1 is virtually a treble boost...no way a properly working one adds mud.

15

Keep in mind an LPB-1 is almost a completely different pedal if you have a buffer in front of it

16

I solved my clarity issues and have a 2018 Fender 50's telecaster lacquer coming Tuesday lol

17

Nice acquisition Chmanson and I agree with WB 9k is high. The P90s in my Edwards are 7.5 and really like them although I wish the neck was a bit warmer.

18

Nice acquisition Chmanson and I agree with WB 9k is high. The P90s in my Edwards are 7.5 and really like them although I wish the neck was a bit warmer.

– NJDevil

Ive never had a P90 guitar before, and I love it! I just had no idea that the neck and bridge were the same. I did get it to where it sounds good in the middle now, even more so with my amp opened up, but the neck is still too muddy with gain. Totally clean though, its actually kinda nice

19

Swap out all pots to 1 Meg.

Add a "treble bleed cap" across both volume pots.

If those 2 tricks don't do it for you swap out the pickup because there's not much else you can do.

20

Of course there is...wire a cap in series with the neck pickup to cut bass.


Register Sign in to join the conversation