Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: Gibson R7 Les Paul Gets Electronics Upgrade

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gibson R7 Les Paul Gets Electronics Upgrade

As much as I love my Goldtop R7 Les Paul, and how it sounds with the Duncan JB and Jazz pickups in it, I decided to mess with it anyway. :) In a previous post I announced that I had purchased some Seymour Duncan P-Rail pickups, a set of creme Seymour Duncan Triple Shot pickup rings and an RS GuitarWorks vintage complete electronics kit. Well, as soon as all this stuff came in I got busy!

The P-Rail pickups are a special design by Seymour Duncan that incorporates two separate coils, a single coil and a P-90 on four conductor wiring that allows switching between either coil (true single coil, or true P-90) and a combination of the two either in series (regular humbucking mode) or in parallel (out-of-phase humbucking mode). The Triple Shot ring has two switches on it that allow you to go between all these modes on the P-Rails easily and without having to modify the guitar or use a bunch of push-pull pots.

I must say the Triple Shot rings are a wonderful invention. Soldering the pickups to this assembly has to be one of the easiest things I have ever done... the design is just perfect. The ring's two small switches are surrounded by two slight indentions that allow the fingers to easily switch between the various modes. Attached to the ring is a very tiny piece of PC board that controls the switches. This tiny board has the solder points for whatever pickups you decide to use (the Triple Shot will work with any four conductor pickup). The solder points are easily accessible for clean soldering and clearly labeled R for red, G for green, etc. Once the pickup leads are soldered to the board you then use the ring's lead wire for soldering to the controls. As such, I left all the wire on the pickups and just wrapped the excess wire around the bottom of the pickup in case I ever want to resell them or return them.

Once I had the pickups in the rings and soldered to the PC boards I then prepped the guitar for the RS GuitarWorks kit. This went in very easily, but once I got the pickups soldered in I got no sound! I could not figure it out for the life of me so I had to take her in to my good friend, Mike Stoker, at Yarbrough's Music here in Memphis, TN. Turns out I had a positive touching a negative somewhere. So, after a couple of days in the shop waiting for Mike to get around to it I finally get it home to hear the pickups for the first time. For whatever reason the bridge lead wires ended up needing to be reversed (red wire to green lead and green wire to red lead). Once I corrected this I was in business!

My first impression is the P-90 mode smokes, the single coil mode is kind of weak and the humbucker mode is way too thick and dark. The jury is still out on these. I'll post a follow up soon once I decide whether or not to keep them in the guitar.

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