#1
Hello to all, a while ago I bought a Hot Rodded H'bucker set to install in my Epiphone Les Paul Studio. I followed the instructions and desoldered the old p'ups and soldered in the HRH set as the instructions/diagram say including soldering the red & white wires together for each p'up.

I'm not really sure, but I think the rest of the wiring that's in the guitar appears to be different than what is depicted in the HRH set's diagram. I'm just wondering if I have done something wrong or if more than just soldering the HRH p'ups on the right terminals like in the diagram is required.

The reason I ask is because although the output volume is at the right level the new HRH set doesn't sound anywhere as good as what the old stock Epiphone p'ups did and they also have a lot less sustain too even though the p'up height is set at just under 1/8'', within the 1/16'' - 1/8'' requirement in the instructions. Do I need to completely redo the Les Paul's wiring or should it just be a case of solder in the new set like in the diagram?

I don't really want to take it into a shop & pay to have them redone only to have it come back sounding no different and still be put off playing due to the guitar's poor tone. Surely there is something wrong somewhere as the HRH set receives such good reviews and is so popular with so many people.

Many thanks for any help provided, Owen.
#3
You should just follow the schematic exactly, there's nothing to do beyond that.

http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=2h_2v_2t_3w

One thing I noticed is that your red/white wires aren't taped off, maybe they are bumping into something when you put on the plate? They're used to split the coils so that could explain it.
I also don't know what that white box is for.

If you're confident in soldering (looks okay to me) then it wouldn't hurt to rewire it exactly like the diagram. It's not hard at all and you'll know for sure how it works and that it works.

Just double-check everything.

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#4
Did you use the volume and tone pots provided with the set? If you didn't, that might be your problem.
Guitars:
EVH Wolfgang Special LH
Gibson Les Paul Studio 2013
Ibanez EW20LASE-NT LH

Effects:
BOSS GT-100

Amps:
Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410
Laney IRT Studio + 112 cab
#5
JTHM- I did have the wires taped off normally but just left it off so you can see that the two wires are soldered instead just twisted together. Whilst I am quite confident with soldering the thing that throws me off is that some of the hardware looks a bit different than the wiring diagram say that white box for example. It's the connection for the p'up toggle switch and looks totally different to the diagrams one. So you reckon just desolder all the original factory wiring and start from scratch to try and get it like the Seymour wiring diagram then??

G-dog- the set to the best of my knowledge doesn't come with any volume or tone pots, at least mine didn't...

Thanks for the help so far guys.
#6
Quote by owen1891
G-dog- the set to the best of my knowledge doesn't come with any volume or tone pots, at least mine didn't...

Thanks for the help so far guys.

You might want to check what resistance your pots are and then the recommended resistance for your HRH pick-ups. I just assumed the pick-ups came with pots. My bad.
Guitars:
EVH Wolfgang Special LH
Gibson Les Paul Studio 2013
Ibanez EW20LASE-NT LH

Effects:
BOSS GT-100

Amps:
Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410
Laney IRT Studio + 112 cab
#7
3 of the 4 pots all say 500k on the back of them and the 4th one is slightly smaller for some reason and doesn't have a resistance stamped on the back of it at all. They're all the original ones so I assume it'd be a 500k like the others? The Seymour Duncan instructions call for 500k pots all round.
#8
Quote by owen1891

The reason I ask is because although the output volume is at the right level the new HRH set doesn't sound anywhere as good as what the old stock Epiphone p'ups did
That could mean anything - what is it specifically about the new tone that you don't like as much as the old tone?
Compared to the stock Epi pickups, the Jazz and JB model you have in now have more output (especially at the bridge) and should have a noticably upper-mid spike (again, especially the bridge). The stock pickups are more of a standard tone, with strong mids and treble and those upper-mids scooped out a little. The bass should be about the same. They're basically opposites. What was it you were trying to improve about your old tone, what kind of tone are you hoping to get?

and they also have a lot less sustain too even though the p'up height is set at just under 1/8'',
That's because your pickups are far too close to the strings. 1/8" is about where you'd put active pickups, let alone passives. Having the pickups that close vastly increases the magnetic pull on the strings, giving you crap dynamic response and murdering sustain. Back the pickups away for better sustain and more importantly, decent clarity and response.
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#9
Quote by owen1891
3 of the 4 pots all say 500k on the back of them and the 4th one is slightly smaller for some reason and doesn't have a resistance stamped on the back of it at all. They're all the original ones so I assume it'd be a 500k like the others? The Seymour Duncan instructions call for 500k pots all round.

Okay, it's probably a wiring issue, then. I'm no expert!
Guitars:
EVH Wolfgang Special LH
Gibson Les Paul Studio 2013
Ibanez EW20LASE-NT LH

Effects:
BOSS GT-100

Amps:
Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410
Laney IRT Studio + 112 cab
#10
G-Dog-

Ok thanks anyway.

Mr Flibble-

When I set the p'up height the SD instructions said between 1/16''-1/8'' when the string is fretted at the heighest fret not when the string is open, I just thought I'd clarify what I'd done. Anyway I set the height more by using my ear to get the best output/tone from them possible without impairing sustain as you previously described and then checked to see if they were within the range SD states. From memory if I lowered them any lower than where they sit now the output got weaker progressively. I had a good look at the wiring in the guitar again last night and it seems to be overall the same as the SD diagram, just in a slightly more complicated way than they've drawn it, one thing that was different though is the ground connection for the bridge is on a different pot than the SD diagram (it won't even reach the one depicted in the SD instructions) and also the guitars caps are of a different mF rating too, I don't know enough about guitar circuitry to know if this will make a huge difference. It's kind of annoying because the SD instructions just say how easy it is to do if you can solder. All that's required is to desolder the originals, remember where they went and then solder in the new ones, no mention of changing caps or anything like that even though they call for .047mF ones.

I'm sorry I don't really have the know how to describe why the HRH sounds worse than the originals other than they just sound kind of weak with no presence and just not as good a tone, kind of the reverse of what I was expecting from putting aftermarket upgraded p'ups in. At the moment I'm kind of thinking about just putting the originals back in and selling the HRH set instead and be happy with the Epi ones the way they were.
#11
Don't worry about pot or cap values at all.

It looks like you shouldn't have had to change anything except put the wires from the pickups on the pot terminals. Are both pickups weak? Do the volume/tone/switching controls work correctly? Just leave the guitar plugged in and do a lot of testing and checking while working on it.

There is a possibility that the pickups are bad. Maybe exchange them

And as for the ground, make sure all the grounds are connected. The ground wire from the bridge can go on the back of whatever pot, then just run wire to the back of the others.

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Last edited by jthm_guitarist at Mar 19, 2012,
#12
Quote by owen1891

From memory if I lowered them any lower than where they sit now the output got weaker progressively.
That's normal. The lower pickups are the lower the output is but the more sustain, clarity and response you get. The higher pickups are the more output you get, but obviously this comes at the cost of less sustain, less clarity, worse response and i the pickups are too high then they can even pull your strings out of tune.

I think you may be overestimating and putting too much stock in the output. If you're playing through an old single-channel all-valve mid-gain amp like an original Plexi head, and you want to get all your distortion purely form cranking the amp's volume and relying on pickup output, then you do need pickusp with higher output and every little bit counts. If that's not your rig then your pickup's output means very little. Modern amps - even modern reissues of older styles of amp - have much more gain than early amps and they don't respond as drastically to pickup output. You'll notice a difference if you take things to extremes, but merely going from a medium-wound A5 pickup (the Epi stock) to an overwound A5 (the JB) won't create any discernible change. Not to mention if you use transistor-based pedals or have a solid state of hybrid amp then pickup output really does mean jack-all unless you're comparing some low-output passive single to an active humbucker or some other vastly different pickup like that.

I'm sorry I don't really have the know how to describe why the HRH sounds worse than the originals other than they just sound kind of weak with no presence
I think what you're finding is that the brighter tone and increased clarity of the new picups is coming across as ''weaker'', since you're used to the more mids-heavy tone of the stock pickups. As I said before, the JB and Jazz both have large upper-mid spikes, while the Epi's stock pickups have that spike shifted down towards the middle. The Epi technically doesn't have as much output but because its tone is concentrated in the middle rather than slightly higher, it hits your amp harder and carries the fundamentals of your tone better. The JB and Jazz carry the overtones and harmonics better, but are weaker in the core tone.

It sounds like what you really want is something like a SD Custom 5, 59/Custom Hybrid, Alternative 8 or DiMarzio Tone Zone or Super Distortion in the bridge, and something like a DM Breed in the neck. Those all have more mids and less upper-mids than the JB/Jazz, and are enough of a jump in output compared to the stock pickups that you should notice a difference, if your amp/rig is suitable.
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#14
Mr Flibble thank you so much for taking the time to respond in such detail. I would've responded sooner but have been away with work till now.

You've put my mind at ease with regards to the p/up installation and I guess these pickups just aren't the kind of sound improvement I was looking for. Will just go back to the stock Epi's and sell the SD's on eBay or something.

Thanks again to everyone who gave their advice and time!