Change pups yes…do I need new pots and caps ?

Gr8guns

Electromatic
Aug 2, 2019
82
Johnson City TN
I saw a reply to my post ‘bout finally changing my pups in my 5422, and a guy posted about changing pots and caps…..I meant to ask that very question….what value are the stock pots in my 5422 ? Do I need to change pots and caps ? Switches seem tuff enuff, but for the long haul do I need to change them too? And the 64,000 dollar question ( telling my age now ), where is the best place to buy ? My luthier suggested I listen to some Guitar Fetish pups….what is that ? I looked at them, but they look cheaply made, but you can’t see inside the covers. I suppose some people like them. I wish I could hear them. You guys are the best to put up with me……….
 
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Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,001
Albuquerque
What pickups are you looking for?
I've bought quite a few sets of GFS alnico 2 and 5 HB pickups and like all of them. For imports you can go to amazon and find them for as little as $15 each but GFS are an actual brand name with a reputation for decent stuff and are only about $35 each for most. The company is in Florida so returns are easy. No idea why you say they look "cheaply made."
Edit: and a lot of the GFS pickups have videos to demonstrate the sound. Not perfect but better than nothing.

Lots of players here say to replace your electronics and many buy $100+ harnesses to do that but I'm too cheap. I don't replace anything unless I have trouble with it, IOW is there something about the pots you don't like? If it ain't broke don't fix it.
I do my own electronics work and get my CTS or Bourns pots off amazon or other retailers and GFS sells imports that cost less but aren't as high quality. I don't know the values offhand.
 
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Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,518
Petaluma
If you're happy with the sound, then leave the harness. But if you were happy with the sound, you wouldn't be shopping for pickups. If you do your own work, the cost of the new harness is pretty low.
 

ZackyDog

Friend of Fred
Feb 6, 2015
7,481
In the USA
No for me on both of these. It's amazing what Deoxit D5 did for my red G5230T.

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jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
162
Near Detroit
.

Only change the Pots and caps if you need to push the guitar tone around (or the pots are worn out where even cleaning sprays don't make them better).

Using a meter you can measure your pots (and primarily the volume pots are important for this) and you will find that while the case is stamped '500k' you will measure something different than 500kohms. Pots have a factory tolerance range that spans 20% of the target max to min.

If you know how 250kohm vs 500kohm vs 1Megohm volume pot selection will make a guitar darker to brighter then you will understand how a 450kohm vs a 550kohm volume pot can make your guitar darker to brighter. Gibson used to put pots in their LPs that was 300kohms, and so they are darker than the typical 500kohm put in modern LPs. Old amps were brighter and so the darker pots helped take the ice pick edge off. Some players call that 'warm' or 'smooth'. Others who like to hear all the frequencies call that 'muddy'.

Caps can alter the amount of 'presence' by clipping the high frequencies off, even when the tone knobs are 'dimed'. Caps have a 10% tolerance range and sometimes sorting out high or low from a batch can get you a better guitar tone.

That is why players recommend 'running the racks to find a good one' when you go out shopping. It's not the wood but the control electronics and their variation that push the electric tone of the guitar. If you wholesale swap the wiring harness you will get something different but maybe not what exactly you want from the guitar. Just like swapping pickups, you might get lucky but many players become serial swappers because they try finding an (often expensive) pickup that matches with the control parts they have.

So it all depends on what tones you have in a guitar and what you want out of it. If the guitar sounds great as is you won!

I used to swap pickups to change a guitar from a dog to a star, but then I realized how much impact the pickup height, bass/treble tip, and screw poles can provide for free, and then if more is necessary I measure and selectively swap the pots 'n caps for under $5 or $10. I rarely swap pickups these days unless I want a different style of pickup. Like say a Gretsch pickup in the neck of a LP model.

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