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New Nighthawk

#1 User is offline   pearsonrk 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:18 AM

I just bought a new Epiphone Nighthawk today, and was thinking of changing a few things. The first thing I am going to do is switch out the stock saddle for a Fender Chrome Vintage Strat Saddle. The other thing I was thinking of doing is switching the pickups.

With me still being new to guitars, I want to ask if the combination I was thinking about would work well. I play a mix of Blues, Hard Rock, Metal. Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, good and bad, are welcome.

The bridge would be replaced with a Seymour Duncan JB Nighthawk

The middle pickup would be replaced with a Seymour Duncan Texas Hot

The neck pickup would be replaced with a Seymourized Mini-Humbucker SM-3.
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#2 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:28 AM

I considered doing a similar exercise with mine...

In the end I decided to leave everything as standard...IMO although excellent, the Nighthawk is not worth spending big money on P/U's etc

(Partly because I already own a Firebird)

There is a Gibson around which may be a better proposition

For the money though, the Nighthawk is unbeatable [thumbup]

And the suggested P/U's sound like very good choices [thumbup]

V

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#3 User is offline   damian 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:28 AM

Hello Pearsonrk; Welcome to the forum.......Sounds good to me......There are several threads on both here and the Epi Lounge which

are about Nighthawk upgrades..........Good info for you.........
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#4 User is offline   johnston 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:10 PM

Will that middle pick up fit?

Don't forget the Nighthawk has more of a half a 'bucker single coil pickup than a normal strat style single coil.
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#5 User is offline   hawkfanatic 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

You no doubt read my posts, and good call on the saddles. you will not regret that, and i have no doubt thats the best thing you can do to it, even more than pickups. But pickups are what i wanted to mention to you. First, the middle pickup is unique in the way it mounts and i don't believe anyone makes anything that will fit except benson custom, and he makes a middle single coil for the nighthawk. the only option i know of for replacement. The good news is that it's dirt cheap at $36, (scroll to bottom of this page... http://www.bensoncus...m/services.html )and while i don't know whether it's any better than the stocker, he told me he will wind it any way you want and use whatever magnets you want. So it's quite a good resource even if it is the only one. However, the stock single according to the gibson site (yes, they have specs on epi's and even better info than the epi site)the pickups have alnico 2 magnets which are about as soft as anything. So if like me you find the middle a bit harsh on it's own, i'm not sure how you could tell him to do it that would be any smoother. it's already hot for a single which should cut harshness and with the A2 mag i wonder if anything he winds will be any smoother. i suppose you could ask him and he should know if it's possible. Of course thats all assuming you gear it as a bit harsh like me. if you just want it hotter or lower output that would be no problem.

as for the bridge, personally i don't like JB's, and a lot of people say they are very influenced by the guitar and that they work fine in some and lousy in others. i heard they are very hit or miss in mahogany set necks so i'd be a bit leary in the NH myself. But duncan has a 21 day exchange, and the slant 59 i tried is on it's way back right now in exchange for a p/u for another guitar. After looking at a few pickups however i have realized most will easily fit the stock bridge pickup's plate. The holes line up and all. So i'm going that route. already tried it once and i was able to mount the coils and magnet of a anderson H2 on the stock plate perfectly. But when i went to install it the cavity was too shallow because the anderson's coils are too tall. But i see now most seymours and even dimarzios should work. so i'm going to search out a pickup i think will sound good in it and try that. But 1st i want to try one more thing.....magnet swap. the stock A2 mags are very soft in the highs, and to me the stock pickup actually sounds fine except for that....the top end is too soft and has no cut and also therefore theres not enough cut and articulation in the low strings. So i'm going to swap a ceramic magnet in it and if that does what i think i may be happy with it like that.

The neck....well, that things is just WAYYYY too hot for anything but santana like solos up the neck. It sings like a bird to say the least. It however doesn't do rhythm at all being so hot. It's double the output of a typical mini. I think you may do well with the duncan. For me i believe i'm going with the dimarzio mini just because i always seem to like dimarzios and rarely find duncans that work for me. But chances are the duncan mini will be a vast improvement. I may even go with that if i can't find much in the way of reviews for the dimarzio, or if i do and they aren;t good.

anyways, good luck, these are great guitars. And to the notion they aren't worth upgrading and gibson may be better....hogwash ! This is a common mistake thinking like that. i have a friend with the early 90's one and he much prefers my epi as do i. It's neck is worlds better and it sounds much sweeter. Don't decide to upgrade a guitar based on it's monetary worth....do it based on it's worth as a player !!! This thing is as good or better IMO as a player both neck wise and tonally than any of the gibsons i owned in 40 years. Better than most of em, and some were vintage. I'm ravenous when it comes to defending this guitar because it's that good. i am a fender man thru and thru and always will be. But if i werent this would easily become my #1 and stay there till i croak.
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#6 User is offline   pearsonrk 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:15 PM

I have spent many hours at music shops looking for that perfect guitar body and neck, and I found it in the Nighthawk, and that my friends, you cant put a price on. So I will be upgrading this to my liking. No matter the cost. I took it in to my guitar guy and he told me he could fit a single coil in there but I might like the cool rails better. So thats what I will be putting in the middle now and an SM-3 to replace the mini. Will still have the JB installed, and if I dont like it, I can have it removed....
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#7 User is offline   hawkfanatic 

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:59 PM

Have a look at the middle pickup. You'll see the cavity is the same size and shape as the cover. There is no room for a rails or any other pickup because they all have thier coil sitting on a base that it larger than the cavity. The only way he can do it is to route the guitar and put a single coil bezel on it. When i said the benson is your only option i didn't mean you can't put anything else in it, but you can't unless you route the guitar. if you don't want to do that then having benson wind one to your specs is the way. In fact, the bridge humbucker's bezel may get in the way of routing or the sc bezel.
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