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Guitar talk: acoustic, bass, classical, twelve string? You name it!

Discussion in 'off topic' started by windhoek, Oct 20, 2016.

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  1. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Pickups - some thoughts/and looking for a bit of advice ?

    With having a number of guitars round the place to play with, it has dawned on me just how much of a variety of tone(s) you can get when you have pickups that can be switched or tapped from the standard Humbucker configuration to having one or more switched into 'single coil' mode. The Spectrum I bought recently allows you up to about 20 or more(ish) variations - I haven't fully counted yet - on pickup configurations which allows you to go anywhere from a full-on DiMarzio grunge style to that distinctive out-of-phase sound you get with a Strat set at the 2nd position on the toggle switch. The slightly more conservative Tokai Doublecut I have allows you to switch either or both pickups from humbucker to single coil - but which also allows you access to a much bigger range of tones than you are ever going to get through an amp or effects pedal alone.

    Even though it's something you might not have considered a big deal - once you get used to having that kind of functionality, its pretty hard to do without it :) It definitely is an area where the Japs were definitely 20 years ahead of their Merkin partners/competitors. (As an aside - I am minded of an interview with Ed King of Skynyrd who said that when Steve Gaines joined the band as the 3rd guitarist, none of the guys could figure out how he got his Les Paul to sound exactly like a Strat..)

    Anyways to the question - I found a pair of original Tokai humbucker pickups on eBay to replace the Seymour Duncans the Les Paul (edit: sorry that should be - 'Love Rock' :) )came with. Should be arriving next week. Given how much more versatile the other Tokai is with the switchable pickups, I'd love to be able to set this one up to be the same.

    I know it's going to need new push/pull pots for a start - but I suppose the main question is whether you could do this with a standard humbucker, or does it have to be a specially wired one to start with ? (The innards of the guitar have been butchered before for the SD pickups btw, so I've no worries about destroying any originality it had).

    Pic of the innards just for interest sake:


    ... And if you can do it with the standard pups, is the rest of the work likely to be a straightforward series of cut/solder jobs - or are you looking at something that'll need extra capacitors, additional wiring circuitry etc - ie a bit of a mini-electronics project best left to somebody who knows what they're at ?

    Any advice or info much appreciated.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  2. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    You need the pups to have four wires, essentially the two coils separated out - sometimes two of these are just soldered together. Bourn (or CTS) push pull pots are what you want, avoid alpha and the cheap chinese things on ebay. They come with different shaft lengths so get the right one - 500k, audio taper is usually used for volume and linear taper for tone depending where you want the p/p. There are a host of wiring diagrams around but seymour duncan has pretty much the full set. 'Orange drop' caps are avalable on ebay...


    If you aren't confident you buy the whole harness made up ready to drop in and attach the pup wires, and bridge ground
    -alan- likes this.
  3. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    That's excellent - thanks Gav :)

    edit: Had another look at the innards. Looks like the SD pups have the four wires. Awaiting the new ones with interest now.


    A new drop-in loom might not be a bad investment at all either.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  4. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

  5. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    That's nice. more expensive than the last whole guitar I bought mind you, but very nice.

    Almost drifting into the realms of cable/interconnects here :)
  6. Steve Taylor

    Steve Taylor pfm Member

    What happened to the PJ basses?
    I kno nowt about that sort of thing being a 6 string mangler but they looked great.
    I recently bought a Squier Jazz Bass (2nd hand) to scratch that itch but those basses looked brilliant if a bit scary, being fretless.
    Am I looking at the wrong thread ?
  7. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx ⚢ Punk princess in a pretty party dress

    Reposting it... sorry about that... I had a crisis of self-confidence, it happens a lot now. Anyway, this thread is benign... so, for you, a repost.

    I too have a Squier (a Fretted PJ bass in black that matches the Black Fretless here) and Squier is absolutely a fantastic bass guitar and not just for the price, it is not a beginner’s bass, it’s a good bass for the long haul.

    No training wheels on these. Why Two? One for flats one for rounds, and well... why not?



    Oh and the other two... (The Trace cab restoration is located in /diy)

    gavreid and ff1d1l like this.
  8. Steve Taylor

    Steve Taylor pfm Member

    Crikey, flatwounds, sheer luxury!
    I thought about replacing the strings on mine but a certain Mr Jamerson disabused me of that notion!
    Of all the basses I thought I’d like one of the new Squier PJs because they really seem to be the best of both worlds. However I walked into my local shop feeling a bit sorry for myself (cancer diagnosis, now on the mend) and lo, there was my Classic Vibe JB in Olympic white with a red tortoiseshell guard.
    I’d never played a bass before but I love it.
    Yours look great, there’s some lovely grain in the maple headstock of the black one.
    You did well with that Trace, I bought a Celestion spkr and will make my own cab but the speaker alone was £40. Still it’ll stop me blowing a guitar speaker.
    Enjoy your new basses.
  9. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx ⚢ Punk princess in a pretty party dress

    #1 to kicking cancer’s ass. I am enjoying them thx; so my pref (and it’s not consistent) is LaBella Flats for that rolled off top end and less grainy string runs and pulls. Rotosound Rounds for Growl n bite. Fenders do Fender things, I don’t want them to sound un-Fenderlike. G&L (Being what Leo did after Ernie Ball/Music Man) does similar but is a more modern take on his original sound. On a fretless rounds are distinct. On a JB it’s distinct, in a different way... (that neck pup makes a big difference) with a block of foam wedged under the bridge the effect of picking flats is unique and sometimes perfect. Experimenting is key.

    Live I use whatever I feel like on the night — usually the ASAT, dunno why.

    Andrew L Weekes likes this.
  10. Steve Taylor

    Steve Taylor pfm Member

    Looks like it may be lighter and doesn’t everyone like “the tele look”.
    Guess I picked a bad day to quit buying guitars!
  11. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    :) I chuckled.
    Damnit, the pair of ye have me perusing bass guitars - worryingly..
  12. Andrew L Weekes

    Andrew L Weekes Senior Reverse Engineer

    Having practiced fret dressing on an old disposable bass (my first bass I bought for £50 when I was 18 which is a looooong time ago), I spent this morning doing a full fret dress, recrown and polish on my son's Ibanez SR300B. Nicely levelled, polished and cleaned I'm really pleased with the results, it's now superbly playable with a lovely low action and minimal relief. Before it was hard to get a decent action without buzzes or clicks.
    Crazy fast slim neck on this thing, I've seen guitars with thicker necks than this bass.

    Also currently has a 3D printed nut, as the previous one was badly worn, wasn't sure how well it would work, but it actually works really well, managed to print it at exactly the right clearance, so no filing required! It's not the prettiest nut, but it works! I do have a new one to fit, but I'm going to see how this stands up to my son's regular drop tuning.


    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]
    claire.foxx likes this.
  13. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Nice job, it's not so hard with the right tools - deserves a bone nut though ;)
    Andrew L Weekes likes this.
  14. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx ⚢ Punk princess in a pretty party dress

    This spurred me on to setup of my own basses — so I spent the day setting up all four. Started out on the Squier P bass and got it down to about 5-6mm (factory is 8mm) then moved onto the Fretlesses basses and that’s 3-4mm as well so the action is ridiculously low. I`m also moving the saddle to regain tension where it is lost to lowering the saddle>I also adjusted the pickups a bit to stop the strings smacking into the pickups, that low, so far so smooth.

    The G&L ASAT likes to be a bit higher as it’s a hammering out picked bass lines and I like to avoid fret slap but also quit a bit lower. The neck was a bit off kilter so I adjusted that. I will revisit the truss rod’s adjustment later tomorrow, it can be a slow process.

    Have a fretless with great low and fast action, they sound more fretless-y when they are low and fast too.(still got to peel off the scratch plate plastics)... soon... soon...


    PS 2mm was way too low for rounds...flats might, doubt it. Currently at 4mm and will see about an adjustment tomorrow when I move to laBella flats.
    Steve Taylor likes this.
  15. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    I don't play bass but I always understood that the action should be similar to guitar (a little higher to make room for the thicker strings) so less than say 2.5mm at the '17th fret' so 2mm at the end seems too low as you say. Also if you move the saddle you change the intonation, so I'm not really following you there. Here's a link to a setup job on a fretless

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  16. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx ⚢ Punk princess in a pretty party dress

    Checked the adjusted truss rod work with the beam and neck now nicely straight.
    Final bass setup today then I can lay off playing the ASAT quite so hard.

    No post today so flats will have to wait.
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Just measured both my Shergolds, which are both fitted with years old Thomastik flats and both the fretted and fretless are 2.5mm at the 12th fret/not fret and much the same at the end of the neck where no one goes. I haven’t given either a setup for years now to the extent I can’t remember the measurements I initially used (I work in 64ths of an inch on guitars as that seems standard), but they both feel right to me, look to have the right amount if relief etc. I’ll be sticking a set of rounds back onto the fretted one at some point as I think I prefer them on that bass.
  18. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx ⚢ Punk princess in a pretty party dress

    What “feels right” is definitely the way to go. I’m habitually lazy and it takes ages to change the setup (usually too high). Once set it’s forget (unless you change from, say super heavy gauge to super light...)

    I cannot decide between flats and rounds on a fretless — but now I don’t have to.
  19. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Absolutely. Measurement is to get you into the right ballpark as a good starting point.
  20. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    @claire - as an aside, that's a really decent shot. Great pic without looking like it's been set up as a 'for sale' photo.
    D'ye mind me asking, is that just really powerful overhead/room lighting, or is there more going on there ?
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