LesPaul SL 5: Demonstration with Factory Settings

Last Updated on October 5, 2020

As opposed to Fender's one, Les Paul's neck is set to its body with sloping, i.e., the height of body-to-strings around its bridge pickup is higher than the height around its neck pickup. If you replace the bridge pickup to other single coil pickup, you may face an issue that the distance between pickup and string is so wide. Both pickup cases of my Les Paul SL is approx. 18.5mm height. My Les Paul SL is bowed approx. 0.5mm forward (examined 7th fret with fingering 1st and the last frets), making 2.5mm distance between the top of 12th fret and the bottom of strings. The distance between a pole piece of the bridge pickup and the bottom of 1st string is around 2.3mm at minimum, adjusting to 2.8mm on 6th string (measured with fingering the last fret). As for the neck pickup, the distances are 1.0mm to 1.8mm. So far, I haven't use my solder iron to the one, but fixed placing of the bridge pickup.

Let's demonstrate Les Paul SL with my DIY preamp by UCA222 and Raspberry Pi 3 using Audacity without noise reduction, software amplification, and any effect. Note that I used JACK, but didn't use Guitarix to probe sound with no boost or effect in Linux:

Golden Track (Country)

Playing chords only with the bridge pickup, and playing solo with neck and bridge ones. Tone is set around 6 to 7, and the thickness of my pick is 0.46mm on both plays. You can hear the sound is so trebly, even you can hear that a string scratching a fret on choking. This also transmits all nuance of picking. However, the attack is milder than Telecaster. Note that the pickup has no pad to wire hot and cold wires, but wires directly to its coil. Pots of Les Paul SL are 250K ohms B type for Volume, 250K ohms A type for Tone (both bodies are 16mm diameter). Bridge's character domains on using both pickups, and one reason of this seems to be because of having lower impedance than neck's one (it's at least on DC resistance). So I guess this balance is made by a skilled builder of Gibson in the U.S., and it's difficult to change the balance to get better by replacing pickups.

Let's demonstrate with another style:

Sunrise New York (Jazz)

Playing only with the neck pickup toned 0. I applied room reverb effect and amplification for the play by Audacity.

So, I'm plotting to remove Tone POT, replace Volume POT with one of 1M ohms, and implement electric circuit for a impedance converter to connect my DIY preamp directly. How will the sound change?

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