I'm upgrading an Ibanez copy of a Gibson recording (a 2380 from 1973). I believe Ibanez went the low impedance route, but didn't include the transformer/XLR output. The pickups are certainly very clean and difficult to add any dirt too without turning gain right the way up.

So I'm installing two new high impedance pickups (making new pickup surrounds). These are Adeson copies of the Burns Tri-Sonics).

So my question is, will I need to upgrade the other electronics to compensate for the increased impedance?

The guitar is pretty hummy even with low impedance pickups so I'm shielding with copper tape, but all the components are plus 40 years so would these be prone to introducing hum too? I'm aware that the Adeson's maybe potentially noisy, but I'll be wax potting these.

Look forward to any input, been Googling for days and found nothing so not sure I'm phrasing the question right!


2 Answers 2


You can probably find documentation on the web detailing the electronics layout of your guitar. You should do this and find out the impedance of your current pots. Alternatively, look in the control cavity if it is a solid body.

Your new pickups should work fine with lower-valued pots. Switching to higher valued pots won't necessarily give you much in the name of volume - a higher value volume pot will make your sound slightly brighter, and a higher value tone pot will give you more "headroom" on the knob (e.g. your old "10" might become your new "6").

If your old pots are very low impedance as per modern active pickups, you should change them. Are you doing installation yourself? If so, go ahead and try your current pots. If not, do some more research and confirm.

250K pots might sound nice with those pickups in my opinion. They should be fairly bright.

Happy modding,


  • Worth noting too that older components can indeed induce hum. Pots and caps are usually fairly cheap, and if you're replacing the pots it is likely worth doing the whole control cavity. May 14, 2015 at 21:00
  • Thanks Greg, it has 500k pots, but they are 40 plus years old so may well replace just as I have the soldering iron out. Looking forward to hearing what happens when the Adesons turn up.
    – Graham
    May 15, 2015 at 12:26
  • Cheers. Give it a go with 500Ks (old or new) and see how you like it. If it's too bright you can always put in 250K pots. I personally like the feel of "broken in" old pots -- so long as they sound OK. Also don't discount height when you test -- many pickups (especially boutique ones for some reason) can be very ... picky :) May 15, 2015 at 19:22

Have you seen this link, by the way? (Doesn't answer your question directly but may be interesting. It also mentions pickup hum...) http://www.sustain-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/What-Are-Low-Impedance-Pickups-by-Helmuth-Lemme-SUSTAIN-Magazine-2.pdf

If your Ibanez curreently has really low value Tone & Vol pots, you might need to change them to the much higher value ones (250-500K) used in regular guitars. The tone capacitor may need changing to more regular values too, I guess...

  • Hi Andy, thanks for taking the time to reply. I hadn't seen that article, but it is extremely useful especially towards the end where it confirms the hum issue with the 2380 and ways of resolving. The tone pots are 500k, so I think I'll install the Adeson's and see what I end up with. Whatever I do is non-destructive to the guitar so may well follow the advice in the article and put the Adeson's on something else.
    – Graham
    May 15, 2015 at 12:16

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