If you’re putting high-end pickups in a low- to mid-price guitar, we’d also recommend upgrading the pots and tone capacitors. But proceed with caution…
For example, you might want to upgrade your Epiphone Casino with American-made 500k CTS pots. However, the threaded shaft of the US pots is too big to it the Casino’s smaller body ferrules by 0.5mm. Want to drill that guitar? Or buy pots the right size in the first place? Measure before you buy…
Pot values? Generally, humbuckers and P-90s work best with 500k pots; Fender-style singlecoils with 250k. The higher value the pot, the less treble it attenuates and the brighter the guitar sounds, particularly with the volume rolled back.
Cap values? The higher the value, the darker the tone. Our opinion is that Strats work well with 0.047uf caps (vintage spec is 0.1uF but many ind those too woolly), while vintage Les Pauls had .02uF. Experimenting on a thinline semi is a faff - try CTS 500k pots and, if you want to treat yourself, repro Sprague Bumblebee or Black Beauty .02uF caps are a fine indulgence.
For more expert maintenance advice, check out Guitarist magazine's monthly Q&A section and email your own questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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