Les Pickup-Ectomy

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fatcat, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. cottonmike

    cottonmike Tele-Meister

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    I don't think I've ever seen that picture of AC. Got any more? What can you tell me about it.?
     
  2. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I swear my Epi es339 was easier because the switch wasn't all the way across the body...
     
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  3. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Ok, so the next thing was to get the switch wired up with the components in the control cavity. This was a pain for me. Soldering over the guitar made me a bit uneasy. But here is the result.

    IMG_20190824_200014620.jpg

    That big silver wart is the tied and soldered shields of the conductors. Which is soldered to the ground lug of the switch.
     
  4. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Next was to put the switch in place; install the pickups.

    IMG_20190824_213255519.jpg

    The Pickups, my favorites:
    IMG_20190708_161908938_20190708232250484.jpg

    At the control cavity, I barely had enough cable length to lift the harness out and put a towel under it so I could make the final connections. But with much difficulty, this is it.

    IMG_20190824_213152514.jpg

    I had lots of excess conductor from the pickups, I had to coil it back up into the pickup cavities.
     
  5. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    You guys pray for me...

    All that is left is to connect the output jack and test it. If it doesn't work, or something is hooked up wrong, Im going to probably loose my mind.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Nice mod, fatcat!

    In fact, I did the same myself a while back, to my Les Paul Standard that is like an identical sister to yours!

    I didn't like the push-pull business nor the circuit board. And I wanted brighter humbuckers, as well. I went with Dimarzio PAF Masters, which have a good, bright tone to them, for humbuckers.

    Next to my 1976 hardtail Strat.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Holic

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    Nice work fatcat. Let us know how it sounds!
     
  8. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    So...jack installed

    It passes the screwdriver test. All controls work as they should when you tap the pickups with a screwdriver...

    But. It still has one issue it exhibited before. It has a low buzz that goes away when you touch the tailpiece.

    As before I think it is the bridge ground, or in this case, the tailpiece. But the issue isn't in the control cavity. The bridge ground is an uninsulated solid conductor which is now soldered to the volume pot. The issue is at the tailpiece. I think.

    Thoughts on the buzz? It's not terrible, just annoying.
     
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  9. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    well, you do it way better than i can, respect!
     
  10. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I know it's late but I am kinda obsessed.

    I got it strung up and tuned up.

    I'll have to wait for tomorrow to crank it up.
     
  11. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Found some good info on the tailpiece ground.

    A guy put up a video on YouTube showing how he fixed a bad ground.

    Don't know if his issue be was the same as mine, but based on what he found; probably.

    Bushing was not making good contact with the wire. The ground wire was pushed into the wood a little bit too far.

    He even showed how he removed the insert.

    He put in a small piece of copper foil tape that made up the difference between the insert and the wire.

    I'll try it someday.
     
  12. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    Recording guru Les (remember, invented sound-on-sound / sound-with-sound multitrack)... hated hum on stage or in the studio. I'm uncertain, but I'd not be surprised if Bill Lawrence (the real one, the L-6s guy) had a hand in the electrical design. It just looks like his wizardry. I spoke w/ Bill a few times oh... gotta be 15 years ago now, but I can't remember him saying anything about the LP Recording (or Professional that preceded it). The silver and black thing in the middle (on top) is a humbucking inductor, one of Bill's favorite things.

    [​IMG]

    No circuit board!
     
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  13. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Ok I feel better about how mine looks..
    And my obsession with shielded cable.
     
  14. CFFF

    CFFF Tele-Holic

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    I have a lp with one of those circuit boards. I do not have a supply of those quick connectors or a tool to install them so when I try different pickups I solder directly to the pots. I do not like the circuit board very much really but everything for now is working well so no reason for me to change it.

    It looks nicer then les paul's system though! :eek:
     
  15. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    OK.. 2 minute tone report.

    I have those SD 59's on 2 other guitars, I knew they had less output, but until now I never realized how much less.

    I did this swap because, after several years, I just didn't like the burstbuckers.

    The 59's have a tonal character/eq curve that gets me closer to the sound I'm after.

    So far in the 2 minutes I have spent, I have achieved exactly my goal.

    That buzz I observed last night isn't there now. Maybe because it now has strings on, or maybe the shorter patch lead I was using for the tap test. But, it's dead quiet now.

    When my girls are gone for church, I'm going to plug my Plimsoul into my Fender and see how close I can get to Live at the Fillmore tones.

    Duane's sound is what I am truly after. These pickups and wiring style should get me a lot closer.
     
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  16. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I'm comfortable enough with it that I'm going to put all the covers back on and button it up.

    All that work and I only have one new small scratch on the back, and a little ding by bridge volume pot on front.

    IMG_20190825_103943832.jpg

    Ha! There's 5of those Seymour Duncan pickups in that photo.
     
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  17. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Oh YEAH!

    That's what I wanted.

    Plimsoul into a cranked Princeton with 12" AlNiCo.

    Plimsoul set up to do the tube screamer thing.

    It's got the right mid-range grind I was after. Close to that Duane tone. The burstbuckers just weren't right. It's cliche, but they were too modern sounding.

    I'll be DANG if my mission isn't accomplished.
     
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  18. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    Smart use of the awl. :)
     
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  19. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    Lessons learned and clarifications...

    All of the conductors are shielded.

    The shield of the output conductor from the bridge volume pot is soldered to all the pot casings and then run to the switch. All of the casings are bonded to the same potential this way.

    The primary output conductor from the switch runs over the end of the switch; the shield of the output conductor is tied to the ground lug of the switch, and serves as the ground to the output jack.

    The output conductor from the neck volume pot runs from the control cavity to the switch.

    All three of these conductors; the primary output and the two from the volume pots, have there shields tied together at the switch.

    IMG_20190824_213152514.jpg IMG_20190824_200014620.jpg

    All three of these conductors have been insulated so that they cannot touch and make an accidental ground loop.

    Notice that in the control cavity the neck pickup conductor running to the switch is completely insulated and its shield is only grounded at the switch. This is the black wire over the top of the neck volume pot in the photo of the cavity. If this shield were also connected to a volume pot there would be a ground loop.

    The shielded conductors from the pickups are not insulated, and that's okay. The shield /pickup grounds are bonded to the tops of the pots. And from there, there is only one path to earth; through the shield of the bridge pickup conductor to the ground lug at the switch; Then through the shield of the output conductor from switch to jack.

    The third lugs of the tone pots have a small bit of heat shrink on them just to satisfy my OCD that there would not be any odd shorts.

    Heat shrink wrap was used anywhere there could be an accidental short or ground loop.

    The pot values were chosen from what was available for the brightest tone.

    Capacitor values chosen so that the cutoff frequency would be as high as possible, also for brightness.

    I studied this circuit quite a bit. This is the 5th one I've built from scratch, and the best so far. I learned a lot by studying a harness I bought from an old expert.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  20. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Holic

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    Nice job on the switch wiring. I'm going to copy your work.

    Mark
     
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