#1
After quite awhile of searching, I have finally installed new pickups into my Epiphone Les Paul Standard. I went with a Seymour Duncan SH-1 '59 in the neck, and also an SD SH-14 Custom 5 in the bridge.

Seeing as I got ripped off when I replaced the pickups in my Stratocaster and was charged 210USD, I decided to not take the chance and learn to do it myself. I was quite nervous to perform surgery on my baby.

So, a few photos to share before we get to clips.

Just as I started to work...



The stock Epiphone pickups



After some struggling with getting the new ones to sit properly... it was a pleasant sight to see them securely in place. =)



Before the new pickups were installed...



After I soldered the Seymour Duncans into place...



After a little bit of wood oil and a scenic shot, she's ready to string





And finally ready to go!

I have recorded four sample clips of these pickups, which can be found on my UG profile. They are as follows:

SD '59 Neck Clean
SD Custom 5 Bridge Clean
SD Custom 5 Bridge Rythm
SD Custom 5 Bridge Lead

Clean clips were recorded using the Fender Twin Reverb amp model in Guitar Rig, no effects.
Bridge Rhythm was recorded with the JCM 800 model, no effects or OD.
Bridge Lead was recorded with the JCM 800 model, a Tube Screamer model, reverb and delay.

Sorry about only one clip with the '59, but I couldn't think of anything to play with a distorted neck pickup. I almost never use the neck pickup with crunch. It's very smooth, infinitely more than my stock neck pickup, which got very muddy.

Installing my own pickups for the first time was a pretty rewarding experience... the reward is worth the surgery. I recommend you try it... just get a lesson from someone with a soldering iron if you haven't used one before, and you are good to go.

I'd like to send out a special thanks to al112987 for giving me awesome advice.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
Last edited by SlinkyBlue at Jan 9, 2009,
#2
Nice, great sounding clips as well, though how the eff is your lp wired? I've never seen the inside of an Epi LP before, but I've never seen that kind of configuration either.
#3
Quote by al112987
Nice, great sounding clips as well, though how the eff is your lp wired? I've never seen the inside of an Epi LP before, but I've never seen that kind of configuration either.


Thanks al =)

It's a mess yeah, but I'm not too worried about it.

All I did was wire the single-conductor neck pickup to the neck volume pot, by grounding the braided outter to the back of the pot, and the wire on the third pot knob... and just typical wiring on the bridge pickup. Is the tie wrap throwing you off maybe?
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#4
Great job! And great tone!

How do you get that tone out of the Blues Junior?

x
'05 Fender Speed Shop So-Cal Stratocaster
'95 Squier Standard Strat

OLP MM1
Washburn X200v Pro

Tanglewood TW145-SC
Yamaha C40

Orange Dark Terror + PPC212
Jet City JCA20H + JCA24S
#5
Quote by Madsalty
Great job! And great tone!

How do you get that tone out of the Blues Junior?

x


Thank you

I didn't record that with the Blues Junior, I used direct-input recording with Guitar Rig. I have the details in the post. But the blues junior could do the clean channel no problem, and with a BD-2 I'm sure I could do the rhythm sample on the BJ.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#6
Quote by SlinkyBlue
Thanks al =)

It's a mess yeah, but I'm not too worried about it.

All I did was wire the single-conductor neck pickup to the neck volume pot, by grounding the braided outter to the back of the pot, and the wire on the third pot knob... and just typical wiring on the bridge pickup. Is the tie wrap throwing you off maybe?


No I'm talking about how the volume and tone pots are wired together, are there tone caps in there or are those just wire?
#7
Quote by al112987
No I'm talking about how the volume and tone pots are wired together, are there tone caps in there or are those just wire?


Oh. There are, but they are behind the wires on the after-picture. They are quite small. The caps in my strat are easily 5x as large.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#8
Quote by SlinkyBlue
Thank you

I didn't record that with the Blues Junior, I used direct-input recording with Guitar Rig. I have the details in the post. But the blues junior could do the clean channel no problem, and with a BD-2 I'm sure I could do the rhythm sample on the BJ.


Haha, i've just re-read and it would appear it was mentioned. I know the blues could do the cleans but i was curious to how you got a good marshall tone out of it. No matter how hard i try and regardless of what effects i use it still sounds fendery.

Anyway, great job!

x
'05 Fender Speed Shop So-Cal Stratocaster
'95 Squier Standard Strat

OLP MM1
Washburn X200v Pro

Tanglewood TW145-SC
Yamaha C40

Orange Dark Terror + PPC212
Jet City JCA20H + JCA24S
#9
Those soundclips sound great. I've got to buy a nice Les Paul.

Edit: I've just realized my avatar is almost the same as yours. Sorry
Fender MIA Stratocaster (with SD Twang Banger)
Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Johnson Acoustic
Palmer FAB5
#10
Congrats! Kudos for doing it yourself.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#12
Thanks everyone. I could do more clips, if anyone has a request for a certain lick.

Quote by hansolo1106
Those soundclips sound great. I've got to buy a nice Les Paul.

Edit: I've just realized my avatar is almost the same as yours. Sorry


And it's all good, mines better. hah.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#13
Nice work.

Thanks for the clips by the way, I'm looking at getting a Custom 5 for my guitar too.
#14
Quote by Mitchell?
Nice work.

Thanks for the clips by the way, I'm looking at getting a Custom 5 for my guitar too.


If you would like, I can record something in particular for you, to give you an idea of how it sounds.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#15
Quote by SlinkyBlue
If you would like, I can record something in particular for you, to give you an idea of how it sounds.


Thanks, but you don't have to. I've pretty much decided, and the clean clip on your profile definitely helped.
#16
Alright dude, glad I could help.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#17
Quote by SlinkyBlue
Oh. There are, but they are behind the wires on the after-picture. They are quite small. The caps in my strat are easily 5x as large.


Stock ceramic caps! And I'll take it stock pots as well?

Your tone sounds great, but whenever time and funds permit, you may want to consider replacing the stock caps with higher quality PIO (Luxe Bumblebees, Vitamin Qs) caps in there to hear what those pickups can REALLY do, you're only getting part of the big picture with the stocks. Also, if you're the type who likes to diddle with your volume and tone controls on your guitar to get different tones, consider new pots as well. They really make a huge difference and I would always recommend them to anyone who owns a les paul, even those with $6000 VOS les pauls.
Last edited by al112987 at Jan 9, 2009,
#18
Quote by al112987
Stock ceramic caps! And I'll take it stock pots as well?

Your tone sounds great, but whenever time and funds permit, you may want to consider replacing the stock caps with higher quality PIO (Luxe Bumblebees, Vitamin Qs) caps in there to hear what those pickups can REALLY do, you're only getting part of the big picture with the stocks. Also, if you're the type who likes to diddle with your volume and tone controls on your guitar to get different tones, consider new pots as well. They really make a huge difference and I would always recommend them to anyone who owns a les paul, even those with $6000 VOS les pauls.


Could you possibly link me to them? Do they really make that much of a difference? What exactly do they do? I haven't looked into capacitors before.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#19
Here is a good article on them and how they affect tone

http://www.singlecoil.com/docs/paula.pdf

And if you run a search over on the LPF you will get enough info on caps to make your head spin.

As for buying the parts, RS guitarworks has a kit of good caps and pots

http://www.rsguitarworks.net/rsstore/index.php?cPath=31&osCsid=n1cirm4fdrlbnnggvjv6u3udq7

It's not really cheap and you can really source some of the parts yourself from places like allparts etc. There are guys on the LPF that deal in things like caps as well. How big a difference it is can be kind of subjective. Some people are really anal about certain qualities which might be subtle, and to them it's a huge difference. I personally just like the usability the RS kit gives my volume control and tone controls since I use a single channel amp and high quality pots with the correct taper really help in cleaning up the sound better. The whole wiring scheme and electronics are an integral part of that old vintage LP tone.
Last edited by al112987 at Jan 9, 2009,
#20
Great clips and nice work on the install!!
I've been thinking of changing the pup's in my EPI you have just inspired me to get this combo for mine!!
If you start a reply with: I have never played one but I have heard good things about it! Your opinion is invalid.
#21
Quote by SlinkyBlue
I'd like to send out a special thanks to al112987 for giving me awesome advice.

In all fairness, I was the one who suggested the SH-14, actually.

Nah, it's all good. But sounds like you're satisfied?


Also, FWIW, I don't believe in all this "Bumblebee" or "Vitamin Q" capacitor voodoo.
Nor do I believe in CTS pots greatly improving your tone.

The only way quality pots will improve your tone is if the original pots had a really bad tolerance; CTS pots have a much lower tolerance, so their actual value is much closer to the written value. But CTS is expensive. Alpha pots get the job done, IMO.

And while ceramic caps are lame, I don't think you need to spend the money on caps. Spend a few cents on poly film or metal film, but nothing more expensive than that.
The guitar's circuit is passive, and I'm a believer that the material on the components do not have that big an impact on tone.
Last edited by forsaknazrael at Jan 9, 2009,
#22
Quote by SlinkyBlue
Thanks everyone. I could do more clips, if anyone has a request for a certain lick.

FREEBIRD!!!


edit: sorry man! i had to do it!
The Best Floyd Rose Is A Setup Floyd Rose!

Gear:
STARcaster Strat
Dean Tradition Acoustic
03 B.C. Rich NJ Warlock Speedloader
Xaviere XV-599
Epi 1984 Explorer
Crate GTD65
Epi Valve Jr
Bogner Alchemist Head
Marshall 1960B
Last edited by f22master at Jan 9, 2009,
#23
Pics and clips? This is an above average thread.
Feel free to call me Kyle.

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#24
Quote by forsaknazrael
In all fairness, I was the one who suggested the SH-14, actually.

Nah, it's all good. But sounds like you're satisfied?


Also, FWIW, I don't believe in all this "Bumblebee" or "Vitamin Q" capacitor voodoo.
Nor do I believe in CTS pots greatly improving your tone.

The only way quality pots will improve your tone is if the original pots had a really bad tolerance; CTS pots have a much lower tolerance, so their actual value is much closer to the written value. But CTS is expensive. Alpha pots get the job done, IMO.

And while ceramic caps are lame, I don't think you need to spend the money on caps. Spend a few cents on poly film or metal film, but nothing more expensive than that.
The guitar's circuit is passive, and I'm a believer that the material on the components do not have that big an impact on tone.


I agree there is some degree about the snake oil surrounding things like caps, but there is no denying that the stock ceramic caps are terrible. They're huge tone suckers.

However, I absolutely recommend the pots, you're right to a certain degree, the only thing that matters is the tolerance, but that's only if you're constantly running your guitar's volume wide open. Like I said, if one is a person who uses their guitar at various volume and tone settings for different sounds, having the right tapers is really important. I'm not 100% sure about Epiphones, but Gibsons use a linear taper 300k pot for volumes which 1) dulls out the tone of les pauls 2) the taper is just not smooth at all. Which is why I prefer audio taper pots. It just gives a much smoother roll off.

Thanks for the shoutout Slinkyblue
#26
Quote by al112987
I agree there is some degree about the snake oil surrounding things like caps, but there is no denying that the stock ceramic caps are terrible. They're huge tone suckers.

However, I absolutely recommend the pots, you're right to a certain degree, the only thing that matters is the tolerance, but that's only if you're constantly running your guitar's volume wide open. Like I said, if one is a person who uses their guitar at various volume and tone settings for different sounds, having the right tapers is really important. I'm not 100% sure about Epiphones, but Gibsons use a linear taper 300k pot for volumes which 1) dulls out the tone of les pauls 2) the taper is just not smooth at all. Which is why I prefer audio taper pots. It just gives a much smoother roll off.

Thanks for the shoutout Slinkyblue


To be fair, I have noticed that there is an uneven volume change rate when I roll down my pickups. But that is not important; I do not mess with my volume or tone knobs.

I will consider the capacitors when I've got the cash. When I put the CS'69s in my strat, my local tech put $15 caps in my strat, and I can tell they really do open up the tone.

And I'm glad you're all satisfied with the thread, haha.
"The future's uncertain, and The End is always near."
-Jim Morrison
#27
^The volume change isn't due to the taper, it's just how the volume control works. When you roll down your volume knob, you lose treble, which makes it sounds like it's uneven. If you do something called a "treble bleed mod", it'll make the volume swell gradual.

Also, how do you know the 15 dollar caps "opened up the tone"? Did you A/B the guitar before he put the pickups in? The tonal change you heard might've just been the pickups. Also, changing the capacitor to a different value will change how the tone sounds, so it may have had nothing to do with the material. Some people use .022 uF capacitors, but it's common for people to use up to .047uF.