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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Ibanez AS73 Retrotron Swap

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Controller, Aug 19, 2017.

  1. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    This is the next installment in my AS73 series. In the last thrilling, fast-paced episode I succumbed to GAS when innocently minding my own business and browsing in a music store.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/the-as-73-tale-of-gas.744928/page-4#post-7796642

    In this episode, I take action when faced with decidedly uninspiring OEM pickups in the same AS73. They were OK but just kind of blah for my tastes. I like more lively humbuckers with clarity and good note definition. I have a pair of GFS Retrotron Nashvilles in my Xaviere XV-950 and really like them. I figured I would stay in that genre for the AS73 and after listening to the sound bites I settled on the Liverpool Retrotrons. They are AlNico while the Nashvilles are ceramic. Decided not to go with the Hot Liverpools since I have read that overwound pickups tend to go a bit darker and I didn't want to go in that direction but wanted something that would work with the larger resonant body of the AS73 but still have nice clarity.

    I installed them this morning along with D'Addario Nicket Wound 10s. Decided not to do coil split so it was a simple clip and resolder using the old pots and wiring. I may put in coil splitting in the future. Wow! These pickups are great for my taste and playing style. Strumming, finger picking and flat picking sound very nice. They have transformed this guitar into a nice sounding as well as nice playing instrument. Mission Accomplished!

    GFS Retrotron pickup boxes.jpg D'Addario Nickel Wounds.jpg

    Old Ibanez pickups.

    Old Ibanez pickups.jpg AS73 with Retrotrons (2).jpg
     
    Zepfan likes this.

  2. pcampbell

    pcampbell Tele-Meister

    421
    Jan 9, 2013
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Cool! I used to have an AS73 (traded it in, which is the only guitar trade-in I truly regret), and I thought about putting in either Nashvilles or Liverpools, but I ended up with Seymour Duncan phat cats. Maybe you could post a sound sample. It would be neat to hear the Liverpools in an AS73.
     

  3. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    The AS73 is a nice platform and I suspected that a pickup swap would bring it up to speed. Not sure I can do a sound sample that will tell you anything useful. Most sound samples I have listened to are simply awful but at least I realize that I don't need to be in tune to post a sound sample! :p I listened to all I could find with the Liverpools and finally just took the leap based on what I knew of the Retrotons and my taste, which is a bit off the beaten path it seems. I will see if I can put something together that is worth listening to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017

  4. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    Latest installment. After fiddling with the Retrotron Liverpool heights and settings I came to the conclusion that I just couldn't quite dial in the sounds i wanted. Almost, but just not there. I tried to tell myself that I would get used to them but knew it wouldn't feel quite right. I wonder if the Liverpools are better suited to a solid body guitar. So I returned them to GFS and ordered a set of GFS Gold Foil Ferrite Humbuckers. They arrived and I was just playing some blues. So much nicer than the stock Ibanez pickups. Clear, clean, rich tones. Got them dialed in in a matter of minutes. They will stay. Really nice in this 335 style guitar. I don't know what the original vintage Gold Foils were supposed to sound like but it doesn't matter to me.
     
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  5. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    The GFS Retrotron pickups are GREAT replacements for the sometimes dull Artcore stock humbuckers.
     

  6. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    Yes, those Artcore stock humbuckers are just not very inspiring. I would like to try the Retrotron Memphis sometime as well.
     

  7. pcampbell

    pcampbell Tele-Meister

    421
    Jan 9, 2013
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Do those gold foils fall maybe more into the PAF-ish tone camp?
     

  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    The one positive thing that I noticed about the Artcore pickups (and I didn't realize this until after I put the Retrotrons in mine) was that with the stock pickups the guitar exhibited more of a "hollow body" sound. Yeah, they were dull and lifeless but the guitar sounded like a hollow body.
     

  9. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    634
    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    I'm not a PU expert but I took my AM73 and put a bone nut on it and put DiMarzio PAF Joe Mo Joe PU's in the thing. All toll the mods cost around $150 ( I get discounts ). The guitar plays great and it sounds outstanding.

    I really wasn't crazy about the stock PU's. That said, the 58's they use on the high end versions of this thing are outstanding.
     

  10. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    Yes, they definitely are more in that camp. Not jangly but rich and clear. Very nice and I think they work well with the resonance of the AS73.
     

  11. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    That was the sense I got as well. The Retrotrons are a different direction from normal 335 pickups.
     

  12. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2010
    Montana
    If I didn't like the GoldFoils I was going to try the 58s.
     

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