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Old CGS Forum > Upgrades & Parts

Hardware for my Supreme desert sunburst

posted Jan 25, 2014 15:21:01 by steffebi
I received my beautiful LP desert sunburst the other day, after changing the strings and the nut it now plays like a dream, except some buzzing on the thin E string on fret 4-6, i guess the fault is a tall fret somewhere close to fret 6-8ish?

I got some hardware questions if anyone wants to help me out;

what about combining these two pickups for my metal, rock and everything guitar?
Seymour Duncan SH-6 Distortion - Bridge
Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz - Neck

Anyone willing to come up with a list of hardware I should change to make it sound better? Pots, toggle, wires, jackinput? whats the difference between the 300k and 500k pots?

I'm quite happy with the turners and the bridge for now.
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16 replies
MichaelWamback said Jan 25, 2014 16:43:49
Much of this, especially pickups, is a matter of personal taste. But if it were mine:

Upgrade the pots to something with good quality. CTS or Bourns are the best. CTS will be USA spec shafts, so you will need new knobs. Bourns are Asian spec, so your existing knobs should fit. And yes, go with 500k pots. Generally, audio taper for tone. If you use your volume control to do volume swells, then you may want to use audio taper there as well. If you don't do that, then linear for the volume.

Wire the pots with the "Vintage 50's" wiring configuration. You won't loose as much clarity when you turn down the volume (but you will get a tiny bit of volume drop when you turn down the tone.)

Please don't spend a fortune on capacitors. You can get some really nice Russian PIO caps if that's your thing for about $3 each. The value of the capacitor is important for tone, the type makes no difference at all.

The standard cap value for humbuckers is .022 - but that's something you can change as well. The higher the number (.047 for example) the less low end it will filter off. You usually see .047 in single coil guitars like Strats since those pickups are bright to begin with and you don't want to loose any bottom. Humbuckers tend to be darker, so a .022 will brighten them some. Some guys like Clapton used a .015 cap in the neck and a .022 in the bridge. But .022 in both is the norm.

While the bridges on these guitars will work, I much prefer a quality bridge. Tonepros or Gotoh are good alternatives. You can get them pre-notched and they are under $50. They are actually the same exact bridge, the only difference is that Tonepros has been modified to add a set screw that locks the bridge to the post. In theory you get a bit better sustain, but the big advantage is your action doesn't change or bridge fall of when you remove the strings.

Not a fan of the plastic nuts, so I usually knock them off and replace them with tusq.

Some of the tuners on these guitars are good, others are crap. You can decide if it needs the tuners upgraded or not. It's basically okay if it is staying in tune (assuming the nut isn't binding.) But locking tuners are a nice treat. But certainly not a necessary upgrade if your tuners are working fine.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
steffebi said Jan 25, 2014 17:15:26
Thanks for the quick reply, Ill trow together a shopping list and post it here for comments.
MichaelWamback said Jan 26, 2014 01:18:27
When you open the back of the guitar, if you have full size pots there is a good chance the Bourns would fit without having to enlarge the holes. CTS always require some enlarging to the holes for the shaft as do mini pots for either Bourns or CTS (the mini shafts are extremely small in comparison to any full size pot.)

You should also have a quick peak at the switch. If it's a "Gibson" style which looks like a smaller verion of the Switchcraft, they are pretty decent and you won't need to change it out. If it's a big hunk of chrome metal switch - they are early Epi style switches which are total crap and should be replaced ASAP.
[Last edited Jan 26, 2014 01:19:57]
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
ChibsonsandMore said Jan 26, 2014 06:46:23
I've got the SH-6 in my cherry sunburst LP and a SH-5 (the "Custom") in my white LP Custom. I use 500k CTS pots in both of these guitars with a switchcraft switch.

The SH-6 really lets me dial in some heavy crunch tones. It's easily comparable to a fuller ranged but less harsh EMG 81.

The SH-5 is basically a JB (the Jazz Bridge) wound a little hotter. It's better for heavy rock and a bit better at cleans than the SH-6, but doesn't drive as hard as the SH-6.

500k really helps tame the treble on these pickups. 250k will make it brighter, and honestly you may not like it at all under those conditions. I've also toyed around with wiring directly to the output jack, but with higher output pickups like the Distortion I would really avoid it.
SteveTebble said Jan 26, 2014 08:42:00
When you talk about 250k and 500k pots, do you mean tone or volume?
God give me patience ... but I want it NOW!!
ChibsonsandMore said Jan 26, 2014 09:34:26
While I've heard of people mixing different pots, I've never done so myself. Most of my experience I was talking about here is just with the tone pot wide open so not impeding anything (other than just being there in the loop).

500k pots cut down even more high frequencies than the 250k pots do. The "standard" is 500k for humbuckers and 250k for single coils. There are some humbuckers (some of the LACE products for instance) that are recommended for use with 250k pots though, but that's a whole different story.
VinceRadice said Jan 26, 2014 12:51:44
I use JBs in most of my guitars, they sound amazing and have heaps of output, I would recommend them to anyone. Make sure the buzzing on your thinner strings isn't coming from the bridge saddles, often the notches are too wide for the thinner strings, causing them too buzz
VinceRadice said Jan 26, 2014 12:55:38
Ive used 250k pots with a JB, unless you want to lose a lot of the brightness from your sound, I wouldn't recommend it. It fattens up the sound so much you lose some of the versatility of the pup.
steffebi said Jan 26, 2014 22:29:43
There isn't any backplates on the supreme, so I need to pull everything out trough the pickup holes:/

What about going with one of these premade kits I found on a Norwegian site? the price seems pretty good.

Something i threw together on, any comments?
Gotoh MLB3-G 3-On-A-Side Locking Tuners 6-Pack Gold
Gibson Speed Knobs Gold 4-Pack
Gibson 500kOhm Potentiometer Audio Taper/Long Shaft 4x
MusiCaps 022microF 2x
Seymour Duncan SH-2N Jazz Model
Seymour Duncan SH-6 Distortion

MichaelWamback said Jan 26, 2014 23:48:33
Tie some strings to the shafts of the old pots before you unscrew the nuts. Color code the string with a bit of different color paints or markers on both ends. Leave the strings in place one you pull out the old electronics. when you have the new electronics ready to go in, you can tie the correct color string to each part to help pull everything into place.

Definitely on these guitars you would want to use the best quality pots available - CTS or Bourns. Because of all the hassle of doing anything to the controls in these, you don't want to have to fish everything back out a year later because a pot is acting up. Using the best quality parts, you will only need to deal with it once.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
vambostrausser said Jan 27, 2014 10:33:46
First check the size of the (known as Hovland) Musicaps before you purchase this type of capacitor,as they can be on the large size.They are also directional meaning they only work one way.There are plenty alternatives to these,such as RS GUITAR,SOZO,and some great Russian PIO(K40Y-9) which are small enough for your project,if you want high grade caps.You can always cut the legs on other caps and solder wire to them to make them more flexible.
Gibson potentiometers are over priced,so go for CTS PREMIUM 450 same as Gibson,since you want to use Gibson branded knobs.You also have the choice of using CTS 450 MINI POTS they are the same quality.I recommend you check you need long shaft pots before ordering any,also keep in mind you might need to slightly enlarge the holes.If you do, then tape around each hole so as not to damage the top and make sure you clean any debris out of the cavity before refitting.I have used CTS 450'S on many many projects and to date all have been within the specifications,usually on the higher side rather than the lower.I also recommend you check the pots and use the highest value on the neck vol then neck tone then bridge vol and the lowest on the bridge tone.
As Michael has pointed out you really only want to do this once,Check everything works before you pull everything through.

This PDF will give you all the information on the sizes of CTS 450

This PDF will give you all the information on the Bourns sizes
Good Luck
[Last edited Jan 27, 2014 20:39:49]
sjcrowe6 said Jan 28, 2014 07:25:50
Does your Supreme have the oversized jack plate for accessing the pots like the real Supremes?
steffebi said Jan 28, 2014 18:53:32
I'm not sure, but I don't think there will be to much hassle installing the hardware, the access and view from the picup ports to the pots and toggle is pretty good, should almost be able to fit a small hand/big fingers in there.

For my next project I will be going for a EMG kit with EMG solderless Install System.
MichaelWamback said Jan 28, 2014 20:42:09
In this day and age, everything should be plug and play. There is no real reason to use solder anymore.

I actually toyed around with the notion of using little plug connectors for radio control cars/planes. They are really tiny, and you could cut and solder the pickup leads to them. They are one directional, so you would always know which is hot and which is ground. You could mount different pickups in different rings. If you wanted to swap out hot pickups for metal with pickups for classic rock, you would just have to unscrew the pickup rings/pickups - unplug them - plug in the new set and screw the rings back in place. You would be able to swap out a set of pickups in under two minutes without ever having to heat up a soldering iron. And since you would keep each set of pickups in their own mounting rings, you would always have the perfect pickup height.

You could hand your LP or SG to a tech before you start a song, and he could hand it back to you with an entirely different set of pickups in it before you finished the song you were playing. Now that would be the ultimate in tone options :)
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
ChibsonsandMore said Jan 28, 2014 23:25:42
Look at Seymour Duncan's liberator for solderless or what EMG is doing with their plug n play kits. I love EMG's fast connect system they ship with all their pickups (even if actives aren't everyone's thing). I wish they'd make some 500k versions instead of just the 25k versions for their actives.
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