Pickups?

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Steven Westberg, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. soulman969

    soulman969 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    IME you can maintain gear very well and still have a specific component or components fail from normal use. Some things just plain wear out or fail due to some manufacturing flaw.

    I've had a stop fail on a pot that wasn't forced beyond the stop. I've had switches and jacks malfunction where pressing on a tab to improve the contact still didn't fix the issue. $hit happens or there would be little need for replacement parts.

    FWIW I've also had shoes wear out just from walking in them and clothes wear out just from wearing them. DeOxit didn't repair them either. ;) Not trying to be a contrary bastiche but Duct Tape and DeOxit can't fix everything that breaks.
     
    Steven Westberg and IGRocker like this.
  2. imnotcreative

    imnotcreative Active Member

    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    164
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2020
    when it comes to pots, tonality wise it shouldn't make a difference as long as the exact values are the same. (IE both pots, cheap and expensive reading exactly 500k) it only provides a certain amount of resistance. logarithmic or linear taper does change behaviour, but when reading the exact same values they should sound the same. the difference between cheap and expensive is mostly build quality and/or brand name. a bigger pot may be able to handle a bit more abuse, however when it comes to soldering, a small pot is easier because less heat is required to sink in to the pot to take solder well. (a short blast of heat is less likely to damage the pot than the same heat for a longer period)
    when it comes to caps, there can be a slight difference in the behaviour depending on the ability of the capacitor to handle certain frequencies depending on the materials it's made of. (some caps perform better at certain frequencies than others) i can't say if it makes much of a difference but i think it wouldn't be much. if i remember correctly ceramic caps can become slightly microphonic but i really can't say if that would make a difference to the tone or not.
    pickups and the actual type and weight and position of the weight of the wood makes more of a difference i think.

    don't hold me accountable for anything i just said. i do like to mess about with electronics every now and then, but i'm far from an expert
     
  3. Supersonic

    Supersonic Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,539
    Likes Received:
    2,208
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Were they MIC? :rofl:
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,251
    Likes Received:
    4,957
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    I guess bigger is better as in USA pickup truck versus small Asian car.

    YMMV
     
  5. Xtypeintn

    Xtypeintn New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2020
    Parts sourced from AliBaba should cover that.
     
  6. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2020
    This might be true, but if we're only talking about the merits of upgrading Epiphone wiring, and not that of guitars you would buy on AliExpress, then that's off the table. I get inexpensive parts from Amazon in two days or less, stuff from AliExpress often takes a month or longer to arrive.

    But I've ordered a few guitars from AliExpress et el, I didn't replace the electronics except to add in a push-pull pot. There were no functional issues aside from needing to be cleaned. There's frequently a lot of dust in the control cavities. I wouldn't want to replace the pickups or wiring otherwise, just because the guitars are so cheap that they don't warrant it, but truth be told, the pickups were pretty good, too.

    I accidently broke a cheap pickup selector switch the other day, I got the metal connection too hot, the plastic underneath the metal melted and it broke the mechanical switch connection within. I was going to throw it away, it costs like $2, but I opened it up and I was able to fix in with my fingernail, and it went back into the parts bin. Some would say the cheap switch crapped out, but in the end it was operator error, and it was easy to fix, too. By contrast, someone on another forum melted a Fender TBX pot the same way, and that $12 part had to be tossed in the trash.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    LOL.....the last ones might have been. :D
     
    Supersonic likes this.
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    1,649
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    I've found much the same plus I don't mind spending $20-$30 to replace the electronics in an otherwise good guitar or bass when it's time to do it.

    Many of us recognize certain brands as standards when we do it and often as not that's what gets used or we use what's on hand in the parts drawer.

    I have my preferences just like everyone else and I'll always look to repair before replacing but there are times when it just makes more sense to me to take care of all of it as long as I'm "under the hood". My time is worth something as well.

    But I can say that other than pickups I've never expected any improvement in tonality from replacing electronics. Maybe the slope of the roll off of volume or high end but never the quality of the signal itself. If it exists I can't hear it.
     
  9. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Hey guy! I did not say that the components can be of poor quality and faulty!

    It is not even discussed.

    But. Huge price and "vintage" does not necessarily mean better quality automatically.

    Many "vintage" components are very expensive because they supposedly sound better. Not. This is what I'm talking about.

    Special copper wires wrapped in rags. is expensive, but doesn't make any sense from a technical point of view. Regular quality wire works completely as it should.

    If the potentiometer is of good quality, it doesn't matter what size it is.

    A capacitor as expensive as a car is completely useless. This is marketing and deception.

    As a telecommunications engineer, it is fascinating for me to read you. )
     
  10. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Cheap, low-quality potentiometers can have parasitic capacitance. Then it will be bad for the sound. Size doesn't matter.
    You can solder anything, you just need to know how. It's not a problem.
    Capacitors are more complicated. But good enough don't cost much.
    The pickups, the wood, the tightness of the guitar parts are all important. I agree with you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
    imnotcreative likes this.
  11. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2020
    The parasitic capacitance of a cheap or expensive pot will be neglibale in either case. That's more of a shielded cable issue. I think a valid pragmatic question exists as to whether the benefits of shielded lead cables out weigh the ~250pF capacitance you get from the shielded cable from the pickups to the pots to the switch to the output jack in a Les Paul or similar layout, since most of the noise comes from the pickups and not the wiring. But of course, that's not how things were done in the 50's so we're not even going to contemplate the possibility.

    There's some posts and blog posts out there talking about the differences between types of capacitors in a guitar, but what they all seem to ignore is that these differences matter at very high frequencies, very high wattage, or extreme temperatures. A guitar is about as mundane as possible, works with audio range frequencies, at room temperature, at very low voltages. So you have a device that simply collects and releases electrical charge, because all of the extreme conditions that would make this part of the circuit more interesting don't exist in an electric guitar.
     
    soulman969 and grinwer like this.
  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,451
    Likes Received:
    5,481
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    "More sturdy" :laugh2: Those PCB switches are so damn flimsy it's ridiculous. Like @BGood said, it's called maintenance. A bit of Deoxit (and a good solder job on installation) is all you need. [/quote]

    It was designed to a price point, the goal was to save money on something that was "good enough" to get out the door and not come back during the warranty period. Don't delude yourself on that.
     
    The Convert likes this.
  13. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2020
    I'm talking about the blade switches found in import Fenders. They might be a lot of things, but flimsy isn't one of them. In particular, I have issues with the vintage domestic switches having issues because their electrical contacts are on the outside of the switch, more readily exposed to dust and whatever else.

    You seem to be making an underlying assumption that if something is cheaper it must also be more flimsy. Of course that's not true, many things are both cheaper and better. That's sort of the story of Japanese innovation, they took technologies invented in America and the West and found ways to make the same thing cheaper and better.
     
    soulman969, BGood and grinwer like this.
  14. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Yes sir. I agree with you. )
     
  15. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,451
    Likes Received:
    5,481
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    I'm not sure how you're getting an excessive amount of dust and "whatever else" inside your presumably properly assembled guitar, but it's a simple matter to clean a CRL style switch with a bit of Deoxit and a few switch cycles. I've replaced more than my fair share of those crap boxes you advocate and will continue to do so.
    You seem to be conflating Japanese and Chinese production methods.
    There is no doubt that the Japanese have a long and storied history of engineering efficiency, but they also have a long standing tradition of quality. If the Japanese make something they make it to the highest standards possible for that price. The Chinese, who make those box switches, on the other hand have no such compunction about quality.
     
    The Convert likes this.
  16. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2020
    The point is that the "quality" parts and the cheaper import parts have the same failure mechanism. How you go about fixing it, seems to have derailed the point.

    The moral of the story is that price can't always be used as a proxy for quality. Price is a function of supply and demand, and quality is only one of many factors in determining demand.
     
  17. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Traditions?
    List of Chinese inventions
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions
    Japan? Only the last about 80 years.

    Do you know how much is being done in China now? Google search.
    They make products of both good and bad quality. Yes, a lot of poor quality. But this is a policy of capturing markets. And they achieve their goals.
    It's not that simple in China. And this is changing.
    Engineering? They are already doing it.
    upd. Until Mao destroyed, they made the highest quality.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  18. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,451
    Likes Received:
    5,481
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Umm, and when exactly do you think the blade switches we're talking about were made?
    Exactly the time period your boy is trying to reference while simultaneously drawing a false equivalency with the Chinese.
    While there are some fine Chinese products out there, let's not delude ourselves into thinking that a $3 retail switch is anywhere close in quality to a CRL or even an Oak Grigsby (yes, I know they're the same company now - but the designs are still labeled as such)
    Not at all, that was the original point. With a "old-school" switch you just spray it out with some Deoxit and run the switch back and forth a few times - good for another decade plus. Your PCB wasn't designed to be serviceable, it was made cheap enough that the labor cost of servicing is more than the cost of the unit. Sure you can get away with it a time or two, (if you chose) but ultimately players opt for something made to last. As I said earlier, I've replaced more of those crap box switches than I care to count and I've only encountered one failed Oak Grigbsy - and even then it might well have been my fault it failed as I installed the thing without checking it.
     
  19. Antigua

    Antigua Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    106
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2020
    There are a few "box switch" designs, not all are created equal, but I have one style that is very nearly air tight and easy to pop open and close again. You seem to think that because something is easy to service that it's flawless, but something that requires no service is objectively better.

    The number of times you have to fix one over the the other isn't a useful metric, because a lot more box switches are probably sold, as cheaper guitars sell in greater volumes than expensive ones, it's logical that you would see more of them for that reason alone. Besides that, from browsing Reverb I've got the impression that people also take a lot less better care of cheaper gutiars, since they're aren't perceived as a store of value.

    Of the box switches you replaced, what was the point of failure?
     
  20. grinwer

    grinwer Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    I answered your broad generalization. You twist. I have no desire to practice casuistry with you. You are free to have any opinion. )
    I'd rather read about pickups here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021

Share This Page