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MHS Humbuckers '59 ES-335 Pickups

#41 User is offline   Djhblues 

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 06:23 AM

I have them in my ES-Les Paul and am very impressed with them, although this is my first Les Paul since my LP Deluxe back in 1972 (which I still have). It could be the total package with the ES-Les Paul, but running this guitar through my rig and adding a Full Drive 3 for gain is a sound all its own. There's a lot to be said of the vol and tone pots on the guitar, which are 500k with orange drop caps. Very smooth taper and control.
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#42 User is offline   Chaseface 

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 09:06 AM

Steve, I too ordered a new Gibson, mine is the 339 studio. The specs say the pickups are classic 57 humbuckers with enhanced highs via Gibsons' new electronics. Personally I'm not liking the enhanced highs. It seems like when the 1st and 2nd string when picked hard have an extremely hi-mid response, it's kind of annoying. Thinking about trying a graphic when I can get hold of one. Just thought I'd chime in.
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#43 User is offline   dodona 

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 11:27 AM

 Dave1963, on 24 January 2018 - 07:54 AM, said:

I have the Memphis ES335 '63 fitted with MHS pickups. I find they are suited unbelievably well to the guitar. They are articulate, clear and voiced wonderfully. I have '57's in my LP, but I wouldn't want those in the ES to be honest.

I own a Memphis ES335 '59. The MHS are the best choice for these vintage style 335'ths. There is absolutely no need to change them ever. Thanks Gibson!
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#44 User is offline   WildBillMojo 

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 08:16 PM

OK, I bit the bullet and did it; I ripped out the harness from my beloved 2016 '64 ES-345 VOS (Mono) and modified it.

So I've always loved the Varitone, but the treble roll off when turning down the volumes always got to me as I'm used to the 'Vintage' wiring approach on my Les Pauls and use the volumes a lot. Also the guitar was really dark sounding even with everything open.

So, job 1, carefully remove the harness. Easier said than done and it took hours.

Job 2, carefully trace out the circuit so I understood exactly what's here. What I found is in the first attachment. This circuit is almost exactly like the (difficult to read) Gibson stereo diagram except the outputs of each pick up are connected together at the mono jack. So, two Varitone's ganged together, in parallel with the tone pots, 'before' (connected to the top lug of) the volume.
Yes the tone pots are wired opposite to each other but in passive electronics terms this makes no difference (a capacitor and resistor in series works the same which ever way 'round they are).

I drew this schematic as I found Gibson's really hard to interpret, particularly how the Varitone is wired. This was important to understand as I was going to rip it apart and put it back together again.

The second picture is the Varitone and its' two networks. These were mounted as two blue Surface Mount 'ICs' on the switch.

The way the Varitone switch works is as follows:
Although in a true passive electronics sense, it’s not really correct to refer to ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ on a simple filter circuit like this one, it does help illustrate how the circuit is wired.
So, for the IC (NOT the switch), consider Pin 1 to be the input (from the pickups), and Pin 2 to be the output (towards your amplifier). All the other switch connections are there simply to bring different components into and out of the signal path.
  • In switch position 1 (Bypass), IC pins 1 & 2 are shorted so the signal ‘sees’ the IC as a 2MΩ load (10MΩ/5 parallel resistors) which is so much bigger than the alternative paths via the volume control and amplifier input impedance that it has no effect in theory (bypass mode).
  • In position 2, pins 2 & 3 are shorted, so the signal ‘sees’ a notch filter consisting of a 100kΩ resistor, a 0.001µF capacitor and a 15H inductor (not shown here, connected to IC pin 5);
  • in position 3, IC pins 2 and 4 are shorted, so the signal ‘sees’ a notch filter consisting of a 100kΩ resistor, a 0.033µF capacitor and a 15H inductor (not shown here, connected to IC pin 5);
  • in position 4, IC pins 2 and 6 are shorted, etc;
  • in position 5, IC pins 2 and 7 are shorted, etc;
  • in position 6, IC pins 2 and 8 are shorted, etc.

Hope that helps.

I heard from a guitar tech that the IC's are of variable quality so I built my own single network out of discrete MIL spec components.

Next step was to decide on a new wiring solution. There are a number of options here; I could have moved the volumes to before the tone's and kept the rest in tact, but Gibson's own Mono circuit uses 'Modern' wiring with a single Varitone after the pickup selector switch. I chose to wire it as a 'Vintage' circuit, and then add a single Varitone after the pickup selector switch. The last diagram shows the circuit I used.

The results are simply astounding. The guitar rings like a bell, it's resonant with clear highs and a huge bottom end. The volumes now work like my Les Pauls but best of all the Varitone still sounds the same.

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