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Should pots, caps, and jack accompany a pick up swap? On a older guitar?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by diverse379, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-O-Master

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    i have been hot upgrading and customizing guitars and pickups for a long time.

    Tinkering and trying to get the best possible sound for how I play out of my guitar or Bass has always been a passion and hobby

    However I never paid any attention to the rest of the electronics until I dropped an Obsidian. Wire product into one of my projects, I closely followed this with something I bought from the tone guy

    And most recently a combination of rewiring from a brand new fender with some other pickups

    I am considering the opinion that in order to get the most of your build upgrade or project especially if your are working on a guitar over twenty years old. And you are putting in. Wa pickups
    That this should be accompanied with a new set of pots jack and caps.

    Probably not necessary but new is just less hinky and should prove to be more reliable and feel better as you dial around. Not to mention better wiring may just assist in more tone Getting to your amp.

    I’m just musing here but I would like to hear from some of the more serious
     
  2. Shaytan

    Shaytan Strat-Talk Member

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    Well, to me it depends whether the stock stuff is good quality, and whether they're working fine.

    Pots, the switch and the input jack suffer wear from use, but the cap is a stable electronic component, unless it's a PIO that could degrade overtime (and some guys love that "faulty" impact on tone, go figure), the only real reason you'd need to swap it would be not liking how much/ how little it cuts higher frequencies as you'd roll the tone knob down.

    I think a 20-year-old guitar already more than proved itself reliability-wise, so if something's working perfectly fine after all those years, I think to be a total waste to throw them out now "just because", mainly if they're higher quality parts (CTS pots, Oak Grigsby swith, film cap, Switchcraft jack).

    Short story time: recently bought a '96 Jackson DX2, 24 years-old and MIJ. The electronics are imports, but both the pots and the input jack work perfectly fine and solidly. The switch, however, a fully plastic-enclosed model identical to what my old '07 MIJ Jackson also had, seemingly had the inner plastic clicking pins broken, as it felt loose and unreliable.

    Got a new replacement Oak Grigsby (standard, but one of the pricier options, but if the idea is to replace, then you may as well call it an upgrade and get something that will last), everything else stayed. While being imports, the other components weren't crappy by any means, and served their purpose for that long. Nothing feels scratchy or loose. Granted, it would "only" cost about 15 bucks to replace everything else, but I just can't justify the time, money and wasting good parts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  3. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    If your hobby is as much about making your guitar sound it's best as anything else, I say replace things one at a time, starting with whatever is broken. If you replace 3 things, you will never know which one made the difference.

    On a guitar that may have collector value someday, keep all the parts. The date codes on the pots may authenticate the guitar.

    Having replaced both pots and pickups, I have noticed that sometimes pots make the bigger difference.
     
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  4. Stratoman10

    Stratoman10 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I say do pots, caps and height adjustments before pickups
     
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  5. s5tuart

    s5tuart Perfecting time travel since 2525 Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I agree!
     
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  6. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Modern Day Frankenstein Strat-Talk Supporter

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    If the components are working well and you are not having any issues with them then there really isn't any reason to change them. If you are changing p'ups from say single coils to humbuckers then I would recommend changing them to the correct values. If you want a different taper pot then change them. There are many reasons to change pots but if you like what you have now then you won't like them after changing the p'ups unless you burn a pot while soldering the grounds on.
    There are 150 people that will argue with me on this but this is what I have found IME and I have done several hundred p'up swaps. It's all personal preference.
     
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  7. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I consider 2 things before changing the pots/caps of my guitars: (1) do I ever plan to sell this guitar? (2) do they work ok?

    the reason for (1) is that it's much more convenient to swap the whole pickguard/cap/pot if you're swapping the whole pickup set and then moving back to original will be just as easy

    for (2), In my MIJ strat's pots, after about a decade of service, they started to crackle so I had to replace them.
     
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  8. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    yes.. I replace everything in older guitars... pots and the switch are inexpensive enough to more than offset the PITA it is to get one back a few weeks later with a bad whatever..... I don't try to "resurrect" old pots, or trouble shoot an intermittent switch... I "file" em, and replace them..

    r
     
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  9. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-O-Master

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    I suppose my thought was that if you have an older guitar let’s sAy 10 years or older and you are doing all new pickups it doesent cost much more to swap all new pots and jacks

    and at least you know that you should be good on that front


    As well as having the opportunity to
    Do wiring mods

    but if you don’t one day you may grab your guitar and notice your sweeps aren’t as dialed in your jack is giving pops and rattles

    I mean it’s not a big deal I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t

    I am just thinking this may be something that I begin with mods moving forward.

    for older guitars
     
  10. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue All roads lead to Stratocaster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Unless the cap is made of wax and has stopped working because the wax has melted, maybe changed value etc. There's no reason to change the cap, a 0.047 uf will do the exact same job whether it's made ceramic or paper in oil.

    The pots, only reason to change is if they're cheap Chinese pots that don't have the correct value and don't have a nice sweep. The Chinese use a different technique when building pots compared to CTS or Burns. So if the pots are already CTS and do what they should, again no reason to change them out.

    The wiring can either be correct or have flaws, you can't have two correct wirings and say one produces more tone than the other. If it's flawed then it must be fixed.

    If you're doing mods then you're after to switch the original circuit to achieve something different. It's not the same as changing to same as old in order to get more tone out of it.
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just remember.. a while there's a lot of "rumors" about vintage electronics... here's a fact .. Vintage electronics ONLY GET OLD... old electronics Will do one thing when you least expect it... Fail... replace the old shi*.. you won't know it. . . but you'll be glad ya did..:p

    See, here's what happens.. You're gigging a totally rockin' joint... only a few hours after you were "served" with the Divorce papers. At least the good news is this episode with the bytc* is over :thumb: .... you're really "digging In" ... Your eyes connect with this drop dead gorgeous "model" type.. she smiles.. winks... you gulp, step up ready to rip that guitar to shreds showing the hottie your "stuff".... and . . Buzzz... Zapppppp and silence.... You know how "cool" you are with a dead guitar?? You look up and she's gone.... all for a 10 buck switch :rolleyes:. .

    r
     
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  12. Mike Furlong

    Mike Furlong Strat-Talker

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    Exactly
     
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  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    It's kinda faded, bit the PIO fanatics still raise their heads occasionally...

    you will not find an Engineer anywhere that will use a PIO in any quality component. the reason ... the paper... if you notice about all paper turns yellow over time... that's because it's becoming acidic .. and acidic paper is conductive.. further it's not supposed to be inside a cap... so... over time as the paper in the caps become more and more acidic, leakage occurs.. and by leakage I mean the voltage leaks across the paper where it was supposed to be insulated not some goo dribbles out of the cap... :p

    check it out . . it's explained in the first 3 minutes..



    rk
     
  14. ozshadow

    ozshadow Strat-Talk Member

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    On a Strat, going with a fully wired pickguard with new components just seems right to me when you swap pickups on an older guitar, even if you do the wiring. Don't like them? Easy swap back. On a Tele, I'd leave them until they are a problem.
     
  15. wrvond

    wrvond Senior Stratmaster

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    Don't change anything, you're ruining the future collector value of your guitar!
    50 years from now, that 100% original Strat will be worth far more than the one that was modified! ;)
     
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  16. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Collectors always look to see if the pots and caps are original, so if the guitar has any value at all, try to keep it original.

    Even totally frozen pots on old Gibson hollowbodies can 98% of the time be salvaged with techspray.

    If you are itching for a project, and feel you MUST change things, save all the old electronics/harness in a zip bag in the case. If the guitar becomes a collector's item one day, it can easily be restored.
     
  17. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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  18. s5tuart

    s5tuart Perfecting time travel since 2525 Strat-Talk Supporter

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    :eek:
     
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