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Everything posted by Blueman335

  1. Never had a Nighthawkm so I haven't given the PU's on them any thought. I have an Epi double cutaway LP Special. The stock P-90's were okay, but I upgraded them to Duncan SP90-2's. Not being a fan of ceramics, I pulled those and put in an A8/A5 mag pair in the bridge, and a pair of A5's in the neck. Great tones now. Try swapping mags on your Gibson double cut before buy...

  2. Gibson '57's have (warm) A2 magnets. Besides using higher quality materials and significantly less wax, they're wound differently. There's a secret art to winding PU coils, using various patterns and tensions, which have a big impact on tone (neat, uniform winding looks nice but doesn't give the best tones). The final sound is a mix of PU, magnet, wood, pots, caps, cord, amp, tubes, speakers, etc. All of them modify the sound to some degree. That's why a PU may sound great in one guitar and very different in the next. In my experiences with Gibson '57's and 490's, the necks seem to
  3. Dots have A5's, as do almost all Epi's. I upgrade the PU's in my Epi's, but if I'm selling one and want to improve the tone for the buyer, I'll do a couple things: 1 - Scrape as much wax out of the HB's as possible, being careful around the coils. I've taken apart dozens of high quality PU's, and they use very little wax. The least they possibly can use. At the other end of the spectrum, Epi HB's look like bars of soap when you take the covers off. That's overkill. You just don't need 95% of that wax to prevent microphonic feedback. All it does is muffle and muddy the tone. 2
  4. The better tones I have, the more inspired I am, the more I play, and the better I play. Any time spent swapping PU's, pots, and mags is well spent. Why settle for so-so tones, when it costs so little to improve them and get what you really want? I hate to be helpless. My advice is: Take control of your tone.
  5. Won't change your tone, I only do it if something's shorting out. If a wiring harness will last years, why be in a hurry to replace it?
  6. The way I look at it is: There's 10 types of alnico's commonly available these days (counting polished, roughcast, oriented, and unoriented). What are the odds that the PU manufacturer used the best one for your guitar, wood, amp, genre, and playing style? If you think they always do, you need to get out of the house more often. When you change magnets in a PU, you literally make a new PU. Since that'll only cost you $3 and 10 minutes to do it, why not try it? Sure beats spending $75 to $100+ for an entirely new PU, that still may not be what you want.
  7. Epiphone's probably been making '56 Goldtops consistently for at least 15 years, the ebony ones came out a couple years ago. So if you get a used one, it could be a year old, or got back to the mid '90's. If you keep them in a case or gig bag, they're less likely to get dust and dirt in the pots.
  8. I posted on a thread in the past week here how to rewire an F hole guitar; takes about 5 minutes to get the pots back in. Check it out. It's not hard. I've done several dozen. Whether solid, semi, or hollow, if you're changing pots or PU's, you should have a set of T-nut drivers (I got mine from StewMac). Much better than pliers, keeps from scratching the finish when you loosen and tighten nuts on pot stems. Also handy to tighten the nuts on tuners when the strings are off (they're always loose).
  9. Unoriented refers to the internal grain in the metal, whether it's aligned or random, and has nothing to do with the magnetic poles. That stays the same. Treat them like any other magnet. Remember, A2's, A3's, and A4's are unoriented too.
  10. GFS PU's get hit or miss reviews on the Duncan forum, but their Mean 90's (not Dream 90's) are highly regarded by almost everyone.
  11. Right, A5 unoriented magnet. 'Standard' size works for everything, so it's simplest just to get that (I believe it's 2.5x.5x.125). If you don't get them fully charged, you have to have the equipment to do it yourself.
  12. The reason for this being: magnets have all sorts of industrial applications, and electric guitars are only one of them. To get odd alnicos, you usually have to place a large order (like $500 worth) to get them cut to guitar PU size. We'd love to try out some A1'a and A7's; have no idea what they'd sound like, but I've never seen them offered in the right size. I have a few A6's, which are like an A8 with less treble, and A9's, which are surprisingly bright. A10-12 would probably be too strong and have too much string pull (and kill sustain). I'd also like to find some really ro
  13. A8's became commonly available several years ago, and took things by storm; been tried in many bridge PU's (high, low, and medium output, and also in P-90's). It's a great middle ground between A5's and A2's, leaning towards the A5 side. On the Duncan site, most of us get our magents from Addiction FX, who is on eBay. They have the biggest selection and the lowest prices (several dollars per magnet). With any of them, you'll want to get the 'standard' size, fully charged. These will fit any HB and P-90. A more recent magnet introduction is the UOA5, again a middle ground between A5'
  14. PAF's are always a great choice in 335's and 339's. There's lots of high quality ones to choose from these days, and you can save some money by getting them used online (which is how I get most of mine). Seymour Duncan makes some of the best PAF's. Their '59's have A5 magnets, which give sharper highs, scooped mids, and a tight strong low end. The Seth, PG, and A2P have A2 magnets, which have more mids, a rounded high end, a looser low end, and lots of vintage dynamics. The Seth is especially good, developed by Seymour and Seth Lover (the guy who invented humbuckers back in the 1950'
  15. I have an ebony '56 Epi LP and love it. The stock PU's are decent, although you'll get more depth, clarity, and definition by upgrading to high quality P-90's (which I did). If the bridge PU is a little thin and scooped (common P-90 comment) you can beef it up by swapping a magnet or two. P-90's have two magnets, laying side-by-side, repelling. In the vast majority of P-90's, it's A5's (following Gibson's lead). A5's are bright and midscooped, so replacing one of them with an A8 will add mids and dial down the treble. In bridge P-90's I use these pairs: A8/A5, A8/A4 (a little warmer
  16. Right. A PU with bright highs will have tight clear lows, because that describes an A5. Likewise, one with round full highs will have muddy (loose) lows, which is classic A2. The '59/Custom hybrid is a great PU and just went into Duncan production this year. Both coils are from bright PU's ('59B and C5), and the unbalanced part of it also adds some highs, so it can be bright and thin with the stock A5 magnet. Since A5's have the brightest, sharpest high end; your choices are warmer magnets. A8's are popular, they still have treble but not as much, and they have more mids, the low end is
  17. If they're an odd size, you'll have to do a little routing for anything else to fit. One option is to widen the holes for an HB and there are a lot of HB-sized P-90's available these days made by a number of manufacturers. Another option is to go with dog ear P-90's, cut what you need to around the holes, and hide any gaps with platic P-90 spacers. GFS makes some good quality P-90's for reasonable prices, especially their Mean 90's.
  18. Depending on the coil thats active during coil cut, you can have a 'virtual' HB in position 4, maybe position 2 also. If you put in a push-pull on the bridge HB, along with a coil cut push-pull, you get to choose which coil is active and which is shut off (screw or slug). One will give you noise-free.
  19. Ceramics are high output, with a tight low end, moderate mids, and fairly bright highs. To some ears they have a somewhat sterile, stiffer, in-your-face-sound. That makes them great for heavy distortion and effects, they'll cut thru better than alnicos. That's their strongpoint. Downside is they lack the color and character of alnicos, and aren't as good clean. If you play blues, jazz, country, or classic rock, they're not ideal. For heavy rock and metal, they're very good. Depending on your needs, ceramics may or may not be the way you want to go. Over the years I've wound up wit
  20. +1. I have both. Both are well made guitars, same workmanship and materials, except that Customs have more bling: gold hardware, bigger fret inlays, bigger headstock motif, & extra binding. Other than that, they're the same guitar.
  21. Glad to help, A2 - warm, rounded high end, lots of mids, not much treble, loose low end, lots of vintage dynamics, organic earthy tones, low output. A3 - like an A2 but with more treble and less bass. A4 - flat EQ, medium output. no big EQ push, which lets the PU's and wood's tones come thru; some guys find it bland. A5 - bright, sharp high end, scooped mids, lots of bass. firm low end, relatively high output. UOA5 - unoriented A5, sounds like the middle ground between an A2 and A5, warm but with a little more treble than an A2, lots of dynamics, organic tones, medium output
  22. Pu winders are all about winding patetrns and tensions. Once a PU is made, then the most you can do to change the tone and EQ is swap magents. But when you change the magnet you truly make a new PU. The supplier most of us get our magnets from is Addiction FX, and the have about 10 kinds of alnicos (counting polished, roughcast, oriented, and unoriented). That means any hunbucker you have can be turned into 10 different PU's. That's a lot of tone options. You can do even more with P-90's, as they each have 2 magents in them, and you can mix and match different kinds and blend EQ's.
  23. Actually, you might want to upgrade the PU's while you're at it. Look on eBay for some high-quality used PU's (Duncan, DiMarzio, Gibson, etc). The weakest link on Epi's is the stock Asian-made PU's.
  24. Just replace it. When they crackle, it's time for them to go. I get my pots and caps from StewMac online.
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