Is a Bad 3-Way Switch a Reasonable Excuse to Replace Pickups?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ReverendRevolver, Feb 12, 2020.

Is a bad 3way switch a reasonable excuse to buy new pickups?

  1. Obviously! Why bother asking?

    32 vote(s)
    53.3%
  2. No. Calm down.

    16 vote(s)
    26.7%
  3. Yes, if you can convince your spouse they didn't change.

    4 vote(s)
    6.7%
  4. Other

    8 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Welcome to TDPRI where you never need an excuse to change pickups, and nobody here to tell you different!
     
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  2. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the input. Its looking like I'll at least pop a PAF of some kind in the bridge. I want it to do more than is practical with just coil splitting as it stands. So might put something else in the neck, even contemplated a p90 or something. Visually, a p90 ina humbucker hole that looks like a gold foil would be neat. I can't really say gold foils have a sound I need or want (they all sound different, but not ina good way, if that makes sense...)
    I just need to decide if I want something to attempt sounding like my Toronado or decide on another kind of sounds I'm after.

    My wife knows her spending habits warrant me getting whatever I want within practical bounds and her not having much room to raise questions. BUT, this guitar has been out on a stand in my bedroom for at least 3 years, I bought it 6 years ago, and she wouldn't notice a pickup change unless it randomly shoots fire or lights up. She would only notice if she heard it compared to the toronado, since its audibly not as good.
    If I could reasonably flip it for what it cost me, it would already be gone. But since I can't, theres a handful of things that may happen to it to make it what I want, since I can't turn it into a MIJ CAR jag with matching headstock or a different mustang.
    I raised pickups ages ago. I briefly considered a new pickgaurd and wiring in gold foils like a regular mustang's single coils are wired, removing the 3way switch. But I like the look of those things better than the sound, so that improves nothing.

    I'll check around for pickups.
     
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  3. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm of the "while you're at it" school. Sure, change the pickups.
    Though you didn't ask for recommendations, I have some.
    Best sounding HB's I've played: Rio Grande "Texas/BBQ" set. Simply outstanding.
    Great set with excellent sound when tapped. Fender special Seymour Duncan SH-1 rwrp neck, Pearly Gates Plus bridge - It's really an overwound SH-1 and different from the Pearly Gates offered by S-D. These can only be found used. Some fool is selling them after pulling from one of the Korean-built models with a long name ending in HH.​
     
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  4. pblanton

    pblanton TDPRI Member

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    The third option is bullsh!t for so many reasons. Two of which are...

    1. Don't lie to your spouse!
    2. It's your guitar! You don't have to justify getting new pickups for it!
    Why would that milquetoast option even be put in the survey?!?

    "I've been unhappy with the stock humbuckers for awhile."

    ^^ There's your reason for getting new ones! ^^

    Head over to Seymour Duncan's wiring diagrams site and noodle around until you see something you like, then head over to GuitarFetish.com and see if you can get the lower-priced option. They have some great pickup sets for about $75.

    If GuitarFetish doesn't have something that trips your trigger, then try IronGear. Their Steel Foundry Telecaster set is awesome, and also about $75.

    Dragonfire Also have some great Telecaster pickup sets for very good prices. I recently redid a Johnson telecaster copy with the Dragonfire Tele Rails set (http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=271294704823) I also added a small switch to coil-tap the hummers into single-coil pups. Here are the details of that build. The last post has a price breakdown and links for each part I bought...

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/i-grabbed-a-johnson-today.993637/
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  5. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Tele-Meister

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    A typical new guitar routine for me is ...gutting all electronics...
    Use selected cts dimple back “450g pots, that have a value of at least 250 ohms, for singles anyway , you would be surprised at how many measure much lower, I use lux caps, cloth pushback wire, and crl switches.
    Pickups are swapped a bunch till the perfect set for that guitar is found.
    All dog sounding guitars get gone right off the bat...
    Once I complete this process, I am done, the guitar is studio tracking ready, I never mess with it again.
    But I am ocd about things...
    My les Pual and strat are done...
    My telly I am still looking for the right pickups.
     
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  6. NBS2005

    NBS2005 TDPRI Member

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    The best!
     
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  7. larsjm

    larsjm TDPRI Member

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  8. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    amen! and pass me router!:cool:
     
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  9. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    If you are unhappy with the current pickups, changing a switch won't solve that. However, try to put into works (or thoughts) exactly what you don't like about them, and that way you are more likely to make the right decision about pickups. It is really easy to make a sideways step if you are just looking for 'better'. So if you want more power, different EQ, etc, then you have a lot to research.
     
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  10. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    I'll chime in with some food for thought. This sort of applies more to Asian or Mexican guitars, though.

    >> Swap the electronics before swapping the pickups, much less expensive and you might like the results.

    I have more experience with Strats than Teles, but if you send the guts of a Squire or Mexican Strat to the trash can, replace the wiring with push-back wires (slightly bigger wires mean less resistance and more signal can flow through them)(in my experience, the Asian/Mexican guitars use very thin internal wiring), swap the pots with CTS, the jack for a Switchcraft jack, and the switch for a CRL (in a STrat anyways)... I can buy a kit for all of that for a Strat for $25 from TheArtOfTone guy https://theartoftone.com/guitar-wiring-upgrade-kits/

    To me, this is like adding a set of headers and a 4-barrel carburetor to your 350 Chevy engine. The original pickups can now breathe, and the guitar will take on a completely different tone. You get some extra horsepower for $25 by swapping out the electronics, kind of like you get extra horsepower in an engine by adding headers and a 4-barrel carb.

    >> Compared to....... if you just swap the pickups, they still have to struggle to make it through the old crappy cheap electronics to get to the output.

    OR...

    >> If you want to change pickups, go all the way and dump all the old crappy Asian/Mexican electronics while you're at it... you'll get the most out of your pickup dollar that way.
     
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  11. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    if you are not happy with the pups, than why not, but if that is not the case, why destroy a happy family (of parts)?
    but i read your 'problem' than why not ask Bootstrap to wind you some to your specks?
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Here's how I "look" at it..

    If a component is questionable.. out it goes.. If you do not replace something you have doubts about.. it will nag at ya, rattling around in your brain until you DO SO... so.. while ya have the booger open.. get rid of anything you have doubts about.. including the pickups..

    all this crapola about keeping it original so it maintains maximum value for resale is crazy... for one, you won't live long enough for it to ever cultivate an intrinsic value high enough to worry about...

    and second, if you do keep it original with a sketchy part.. that's gonna cut in to the amount you COULD sell it for if it was working..

    Fix the little mutha... fix it now..


    r
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
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  13. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Look closely at the MIM electronics before you toss em. I'm sure it has varied over the years, but the last MIM PBass I opened up - purchased new and arrived to my dealer sealed in the Fender factory box, had CTS pots from factory. That one was a Player Series, so the current entry level MIM. I did other work recently on an MIM standard (circa 2007, if I recall, but I wouldn't stake my life on that) and it had CTS pots, as well. I noted the pickups were original, but I cannot confirm that the pots were not upgraded in the past.
     
  14. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    I just re-wired a fellow's MIM P-Bass. When I popped the top (I don't know what year it was) it had the dinky dime-sized pots and super-duper thin wires, so out they went.

    We live on the coast in Florida and it seems the salty air took its toll on this bass's wires where they connected to the pickup. As soon as I touched them they simply disentegrated in thin air. So I had to replace the P-Bass pickup.

    It makes sense for Fender and other brands to just simply install the USA CTS pots... but buyer beware, not ALL CTS pots are made in USA. I fugged up and not-knowing, bought some of the CTS-brand push/pulls with the made in China little circuit boards on them.
    https://www.stewmac.com/Pickups_and...e&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=2020-02-gp


    After Guitar Center raped my poor Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro, and burned the pots ... I took the guitar to a REAL guitar repair guy who has had his own mom and pop for 25+ years, and has been doing repairs even longer. He informed me those CTS push/pull pots with the circuit board are made in China.

    Isn't that special?

    So much for buying anything these days by brand name loyalty..... they say 70% of everything sold at Wal-Mart these days is made in China... weeee... we gotta make sure and keep the Communists working, I guess... haha

    Some of the new "Inspired by Gibson" Epiphones coming out in 2020 have (what they are calling at least) "CTS Electronics"

    Their LP Custom does... (inspired by Gibson - Original series)
    https://www.epiphone.com/Guitar/EPIUYZ684/Les-Paul-Custom/Alpine-White

    Their LP Standard does... (inspired by Gibson - Original series)
    https://www.epiphone.com/Guitar/EPINA3562/Les-Paul-Standard-60s/Ebony

    Their SG Modern Figured does... (inspired by Gibson - Modern series)
    https://www.epiphone.com/Guitar/EPIJ6C34/SG-Modern-Figured/Trans-Black-Fade
    (I'm looking hard at this one...)
    - CTS electronics advertised (whether they are USA or Chinese CTS is yet to be determined...)
    - locking Grovers
    - (sort of) flamey top
    - ebony FB w/ pearl traps
    - 24 fets (I could personally live without the 2 extra frets)
    - $549.00 MAP
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EISMFTBFNH--epiphone-sg-modern-figured-trans-black-fade

    Very similar to the Gibson SG Modern, which MAPs out at $1,999.00 (OUCH !!!)
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SGME8CH--gibson-sg-modern-trans-black-fade

    I don't have an SG right now, and I love the body style and love that they tend to be lighter guitars for my old back... LOL.

    For me, one of the Epiphone SG Modern Figured models is definitely on my horizon. If they are new for $550, they might possibly be $300-$400 used just down the road... better components than Epiphone is usually installing, and if I hated the pickups, you just replace those and bah-duh-bing... nice player guitar for el-cheap-o money.

    My last Epiphone LP Traditional Pro I got from a kid for $150 off the Craigslist and it came with an Epiphone hard case. Gutted the electronics, replaced the pups with Dimarzio John Petrucci Dream catcher bridge and Rainmaker neck... holy crap... hahahaha... the pups were new $89/each, and about $30 or less of electronics... turned that one into a soul burning tone bastard... haha... Its not for everybody, and I was never really a fan of Epiphones... but when the CL ad said "$150... I burned rubber to get there... haha

    The one thing I have realized recently... damn the torpedoes, these are made in Indonesia... that those folks in Indonesisa have been doing wood crafting for a few centuries before there ever was a United States of America...

    I also now have an Epiphone Nighhawk Custom Reissue that I gave $200 for from a guy who said he now has rheumatoid arthritis and can't play any more (what a drag)... made in Indonesia, and its just a badass guitar. The fit and finish is spotless, and I love the tone the thing has right out of the box...

    Go Indo go...

    I also heard PRS is now going to have their SE models made in Indonesia... and G&L has had their Tribute series made there for quite some time... just because another human being doesn't have white skin, and live within the borders of the USA, doesn't mean he can't do exceptional work. Its not his or her fault the greedy board of directors demand they limit the quality of the guitars by choosing to use cheap electronics, and a lower quality wood (if that is what they do)...

    Real ebony FB (not the Richlite compressed paper crap Henry J had Gibson using on their $4,000+ LP Customs a couple years ago... yikes)... real mother of pearl inlays --- has a 4-conductor mini hummer and the tone pot is a push/pull that coil splits the mini at the neck and the angled hbummer at the bridge -- Grover tuners -- I don't need to change a thing, I love it just the way it is... and its light as a feather
    Nighthawk Custom Reissue - 02.jpg
    Nighthawk Custom Reissue - 01.jpg Nighthawk Custom Reissue - 03.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
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  15. pblanton

    pblanton TDPRI Member

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    Indonesian guitars are in many cases, better than American made. I always get excited when I see a cheap guitar at the pawn shop, flip it over and see that it was made in Indonesia.
     
  16. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    FWIW my understanding has been that factory-installed original equipment pickups from Gibson have single conductor braided coax, so the used market is probably going to consist of pickups that people pulled out to modify their guitar. It's only if you buy the pickups as aftermarket parts that you'll get multi-conductor wiring. There simply weren't too many factory models that took advantage of series/parallel or coil split or phase switching options.

    Having said that the '57 classics are great pickups - the way Seth Lover intended them without pretending that they were a happy accident of unevenly or inconsistently wound coils.
     
  17. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    Some years ago, I had a coworker that told us as he left work in the evening he had to get new tires on his family minivan. Next day he came to work in a brand new SUV. When we poked at that, he said “Well the minivan needed new tires!”

    Using that logic, you could buy a whole new guitar; only changing pickups is the economical thing to do.
     
  18. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    Is a Bad 3-Way Switch a Reasonable Excuse to Replace Pickups?
    I dont think a pickup can replace a switch :)
     
  19. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Absolutely. The replacement 3-way switch will work, but to really get the most out of the crystal lattice of tone hiding in the circuit, the switch needs to be pared with fresh pickups. It just seems to obvious so me that it's a necessary added expense of replacing the switch.

    Dumbleism theory applies here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  20. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    Its also getting a new pickgaurd and bridge.

    :)
     
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