#1
Hae guys,

Ive owned my Buzzsaw for around a year now and absolutely love it,
in my opinion it blows most other Epiphones out of the water (ones i've tried).
But yes....it still isn't the real american gibson.

What I would like to do is upgrade my guitar so that it sounds almost like an
american made Gibson. Something with a whole lotta grunt and power that can also
bust out the cleans.

I have a budget of around $150-180 USD and I am happy
with the EMG HZ-4 that are in it.

What i am looking at doing is changing the nut, resistors, possibly pots,
and anything else that is within or slightly above my price range.

I would like to know what upgrades are best and how
cost effective they are.

Any questions feel free to ask...

Cheers,
TheAscendant
#2
What amp do you have?
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#3
I seen a genuine Gibson LP wiring harness with steel casing included, on ebay for about 50 dollars or so. I believe it had all the pots included. 250k I believe they were. If looking into new parts, then most genuine gibson replacement parts are not cheap, bro. And, by the time you spent all the money to have the work done to your guitar in the upgrades, including the purchase of your guitar, you could have bought yourself a brand spanking new LP STD.
#4
At the moment I have a 30 watt BELCAT and an old 2x50 watt line 6 flexitone II.

My guitar teacher has just done a make-over on an 80's les paul. He says on the
newer gibsons they have real cheap resistors that are like $2NZD that really rip the tone
out of the guitar. Will just replacing the resistors make the guitar sound better? Or will
I have to get new pots to achieve getting the tone i want?
#5
Quote by TheAscendant
At the moment I have a 30 watt BELCAT and an old 2x50 watt line 6 flexitone II.

My guitar teacher has just done a make-over on an 80's les paul. He says on the
newer gibsons they have real cheap resistors that are like $2NZD that really rip the tone
out of the guitar. Will just replacing the resistors make the guitar sound better? Or will
I have to get new pots to achieve getting the tone i want?


No, replacing resistors will not affect the tone in any distinguishable manner. Resistors are always cheap, even high tolerance ones. Nothing wrong with cheap. There aren't normally fixed value resistors in a guitar anyway.

Are you sure he didn't mean capacitors? If there are ceramic capacitors in your guitar, then you would do well to replace those with orange drops.

Only replace your pots if they're scratchy or you don't like the turning effort on them.
Last edited by earthwormjim at Sep 26, 2010,
#6
Oh yeah....come to think of it, i do think he said he replaced the capacitors...haha
what does replacing the capacitors with these 'orange drops' do?
also how much would they cost and is this a normal procedure; replacing capacitors?

Cheers for your help...8)
#7
Quote by TheAscendant
Oh yeah....come to think of it, i do think he said he replaced the capacitors...haha
what does replacing the capacitors with these 'orange drops' do?
also how much would they cost and is this a normal procedure; replacing capacitors?

Cheers for your help...8)


This is a ceramic capacitor:

If you see those in your tone cavity (they also come in blue), replace them. I know the picture's kinda big, but they're really tiny capacitors. Way smaller than a dime, maybe 10mm wide.

If you see caps that look different but are still small, they're probably silver mica which are perfectly fine.

These are orange drop capacitors: http://thetubestore.com/orangedrop.html
They have excellent characteristics for the price.


Come to think of it though, doesn't your guitar have active pickups? I'm pretty sure EMG specifies good quality components.
Last edited by earthwormjim at Sep 26, 2010,
#8
Quote by earthwormjim
Come to think of it though, doesn't your guitar have active pickups? I'm pretty sure EMG specifies good quality components.
EMG-HZs are their passive budget pups.

I think TS should replace those if he wants a big change in tone. Replacing a cap or resistor in the guitar isn't gonna cut it.
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- TS9

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#9
My buzzsaw has hz-4's which are passive and find 'em great, i just want to make my tone even better than what it is now...

after having a look to see the capacitors they just look like orange/maroon rectangles about 2mm by 5mm. they have no letters or numbers on them, just blank. i think they are ceramic.

What are a good pair of orange drops that you could recommend for thrash metal, blues, and heavy rock?

I have no idea about capacitors and could hardly tell a good one from a bad one? haha...8)
#10
by the way, im on a budget and also venturing into other instruments so a new pair of
pup's is outta my price range at the moment
#11
Quote by Kanthras
EMG-HZs are their passive budget pups.

I think TS should replace those if he wants a big change in tone. Replacing a cap or resistor in the guitar isn't gonna cut it.


Oh OK, I didn't realize they made a "Zakk" guitar with passives.

I do like the Seymour Duncan Alnico II pro's (Slash uses them) on my Les Paul. They're very PAF sounding, so if you're after a regular Les Paul's tone, they might be more what you're after.

Not sure what upgrades you could really do, if the guitar is staying in tune, no reason to change the hardware. Pickups are about the only thing that can be changed (besides ceramic caps, which definitely must go), or "upgraded."
#12
Quote by TheAscendant
My buzzsaw has hz-4's which are passive and find 'em great, i just want to make my tone even better than what it is now...
You aren't satisfied with your guitar's tone, but somehow you really like your pickups? That's a bit of a contradiction.
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- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#13
Quote by TheAscendant
My buzzsaw has hz-4's which are passive and find 'em great, i just want to make my tone even better than what it is now...

after having a look to see the capacitors they just look like orange/maroon rectangles about 2mm by 5mm. they have no letters or numbers on them, just blank. i think they are ceramic.

What are a good pair of orange drops that you could recommend for thrash metal, blues, and heavy rock?

I have no idea about capacitors and could hardly tell a good one from a bad one? haha...8)



Like this? (Invalid img)

Ceramic are very distinct looking, if your caps don't look like the ones I posted earlier, they're fine.


As said above, if you don't like your tone, it's your pickups. Not the little things like passive components (pots and caps). Those do affect tone, but minimally compared to pickups. Could also be your amp. Pickups, amp and amp speakers are the biggest players in your tone.

*edit* you said maroon, gotcha. You must have these.

Which again, are fine (they're metal film btw). It's mainly only ceramic capacitors that are no-nos in audio equipment.
Last edited by earthwormjim at Sep 26, 2010,
#14
Quote by Kanthras
You aren't satisfied with your guitar's tone, but somehow you really like your pickups? That's a bit of a contradiction.


I guess it is but i just want to have more of a tonal range like high highs and low lows on touch when i want them, i suppose i just get bored of the same tone and i dont have much of a tonal range?
#15
Quote by TheAscendant
I guess it is but i just want to have more of a tonal range like high highs and low lows on touch when i want them, i suppose i just get bored of the same tone and i dont have much of a tonal range?


Tonal range comes from your amp and effects pedals.
#16
Quote by earthwormjim
Oh OK, I didn't realize they made a "Zakk" guitar with passives.

I do like the Seymour Duncan Alnico II pro's (Slash uses them) on my Les Paul. They're very PAF sounding, so if you're after a regular Les Paul's tone, they might be more what you're after.

Not sure what upgrades you could really do, if the guitar is staying in tune, no reason to change the hardware. Pickups are about the only thing that can be changed (besides ceramic caps, which definitely must go), or "upgraded."


Yeah, dont mind slash but thats not what im after, im a tool fan and would kill to have adam jones guitar tone, i think ive worked out that they are a small silver mica capacitor. so really the only answer to having a better tone is to change pups?
Damn, well seeing as that is the only option i guess i better stick with them unless changing the plastic nut to a bone or graph-tek one does anything.....
#17
Quote by TheAscendant
I guess it is but i just want to have more of a tonal range like high highs and low lows on touch when i want them, i suppose i just get bored of the same tone and i dont have much of a tonal range?
Well, you're not gonna get that kind of options out of your guitar unless you put some serious active electronics in there.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#18
Quote by Kanthras
Well, you're not gonna get that kind of options out of your guitar unless you put some serious active electronics in there.


Alright then, so there isn't really any special mod that i can do to my guitar to clear up the mud then change the capacitor, thats annoying.....

:edit: if i do change the capacitor to an orange drop, what one would you recommend?
Last edited by TheAscendant at Sep 26, 2010,
#19
Quote by TheAscendant
Alright then, so there isn't really any special mod that i can do to my guitar to clear up the mud then change the capacitor, thats annoying.....
Well, you could install a passive high-pass filter. Like the standard tone knob, but for lows instead of highs.

I thought you wanted to add lows, that can't be done without active electronics.
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#20
Quote by TheAscendant
Alright then, so there isn't really any special mod that i can do to my guitar to clear up the mud then change the capacitor, thats annoying.....

:edit: if i do change the capacitor to an orange drop, what one would you recommend?



Would have to know what value your potentiometers are before recommending cap values (should be labeled with something).

Keep in mind capacitors do nothing when your tone knob is at 10. Capacitors just affect how bright/dark your guitar sounds when the tone knob is set low, and how fast it goes from bright to dark when turning the knob.
Last edited by earthwormjim at Sep 26, 2010,
#21
Maybe this weekend i will take my guitar into my local guitar tech to get it looked at.
Pretty much what i want done is to have my tone clearer at lower volumes, not so muddy, i realise that i cant change the actual tone without a pup change...they should know what to do....sweet as,

Cheers for your guys help,
TheAscendant
#22
Quote by TheAscendant
i realise that i cant change the actual tone without a pup change.
Well, you can. That's what the tone knob on your guitar does. If you just want to remove some lows or highs, you can do that passively.
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- VJ & VJ cab
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- TS9

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#23
yeah i suppose its just that in low volumes it becomes really muddy and i dont have enough highs to get rid of the muddyness....
#24
That's probably due to your amp, not your pickups.
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- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#25
sorry i mean that in low volumes my tone knobs dont do much to get rid of the muddyness,
thats why i thought if i change my capacitors they would clean the muddyness up, like a treble bleed i think...?
#26
Quote by TheAscendant
sorry i mean that in low volumes my tone knobs dont do much to get rid of the muddyness,
thats why i thought if i change my capacitors they would clean the muddyness up, like a treble bleed i think...?
Your tone control only removes highs. You could indeed use a treble bleed cap on your volume control to reduce high-end losses when the volume knob is turned down.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#28
Quote by charles_ebarb
I seen a genuine Gibson LP wiring harness with steel casing included, on ebay for about 50 dollars or so. I believe it had all the pots included. 250k I believe they were. If looking into new parts, then most genuine gibson replacement parts are not cheap, bro. And, by the time you spent all the money to have the work done to your guitar in the upgrades, including the purchase of your guitar, you could have bought yourself a brand spanking new LP STD.



So in other words, they took about $25 worth in used parts and they're selling ot for about three time times what its worth?
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#29
Quote by conor1148
So in other words, they took about $25 worth in used parts and they're selling ot for about three time times what its worth?
Hey, don't blame the salesmen, blame the customers who buy that stuff.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

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#30
Don't use tone pots unless you're old, bald and playing jazz in neck position. Or Eric Johnson. Prob have to go w/ a pickup change. My Epi has an Invader and is quite the opposite of muddy. Invaders are cheap as dirt.
#31
If you want Adam Jones' tone, that's more from his amp rig than his guitars... The guy runs a Diezel VH4, a Marshall bass head and a Dual Rec all at once.

You aren't gonna get a massive change from your guitar's tone unless you change the pickups. Changing the other electronics will just give you a very very slight change (you probably won't even notice).
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Last edited by Steve Holt at Sep 26, 2010,
#32
I'd just like to clarify that changing the capacitor in your tone control won't really make an audible difference. The only signal the passes through the cap is signal getting dumped to ground. A higher quality cap might be closer to the stated value, but there's no real reason to spend tons of money on something fancy when a cheap cap does the same job

And TS, its already been said, but changing your pickups is going to make a bigger difference than any of the other electronics
#33
Okay, thanks for your help, i'll just stick with what i've got, i hardly play in the low volumes anyway, just wanted to know someway of getting rid of that unwanted muddyness....8)

Cheers,
TheAscendant