Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Steve Tr

MHS Humbuckers

Recommended Posts

I believe it also depends on the pickup/amp combination?

 

My Deluxe is quite dark because I voiced it that way, so I get more of a "growl" and less shrillness out of my pickups when pushing the amp into breakup.

I also have a low power 12AY7 tube in the first stage (as it should be, although a lot get swapped out for 12AX7's), which also gives me more tone and less harsh distortion IMHO.

My 5F1 tweed champ reacts completely differently, as the 12AX7 has more gain and the amp is a lot more brash and in your face...Still nice, but a different animal altogether.

I have Classic '57's in my LP, which are more powerful, but sound great in that guitar; I had an SG Special with 490's in and didn't like them at all, they were just dull and lifeless. I changed them for a pair of Bare Knuckle "Crawlers" which were amazingly good. Another guitar that I should never have sold (sighs)....

 

A lot of this discussion is down to personal preference, so this is just my opinion of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of this discussion is down to personal preference, so this is just my opinion of course.

 

That's the truth of it Dave.

 

Personally, I love the MHS pickups on my reissue ES345. I couldn't believe just how good they are when I got the guitar and still feel like that.

 

On the other hand, I hate the original series 7 pickups in my Les Paul 25 / 50 (muddy crap) and if I have said once I'm going to swap 'em out I've said it a dozen times. Still haven't done it yet though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Personally, I love the MHS pickups on my reissue ES345. I couldn't believe just how good they are when I got the guitar and still feel like that.

 

Likewise here. What 345 did you get? Mine is the '64 reissue TDC Maestro VOS, and I like it just the way it is. (The varitone is interesting, but not essential)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Likewise here. What 345 did you get? Mine is the '64 reissue TDC Maestro VOS, and I like it just the way it is. (The varitone is interesting, but not essential)

 

Hi Wmachine,

 

I got a sunburst 1959 ES345 reissue and I love it. I have made two small changes to it - swapped the tailpiece for a TP6 (already faded) which I prefer and fitted a tortoiseshell pickguard which I also prefer. Of course I have retained the original fitments.

 

Many years ago I had a sunburst 345 (of course that one was stereo which I always found a nuisance) and I bitterly regret selling it on but then I was young and even more silly than I am now.

 

I love the varitone myself and just wouldn't buy a 345 or a 355 without one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Wmachine,

 

I got a sunburst 1959 ES345 reissue and I love it. I have made two small changes to it - swapped the tailpiece for a TP6 (already faded) which I prefer and fitted a tortoiseshell pickguard which I also prefer. Of course I have retained the original fitments.

 

Many years ago I had a sunburst 345 (of course that one was stereo which I always found a nuisance) and I bitterly regret selling it on but then I was young and even more silly than I am now.

 

I love the varitone myself and just wouldn't buy a 345 or a 355 without one.

 

Wow Déjà Vu.... I had a Sunburst '59 ES345 Stereo with Varitone & those amazing sounding PAFS too when I was a young guy. I had no idea what I had & sold it. I've been chasing that sound for the past 30 years. I've yet to find it. I recently purchased a new Sunburst Gibson ES335 with MHS Pickups. It is a great Tribute to the '59's & comes very close & may even be as good. Sometimes I wonder if it's the memory of the old Guitars we used to have that makes them seem just a little bit sweeter? Nah! That was the best sounding Guitar I've ever heard!

 

Lars

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Déjà Vu.... I had a Sunburst '59 ES345 Stereo with Varitone & those amazing sounding PAFS too when I was a young guy. I had no idea what I had & sold it. I've been chasing that sound for the past 30 years. I've yet to find it. I recently purchased a new Sunburst Gibson ES335 with MHS Pickups. It is a great Tribute to the '59's & comes very close & may even be as good. Sometimes I wonder if it's the memory of the old Guitars we used to have that makes them seem just a little bit sweeter? Nah! That was the best sounding Guitar I've ever heard!

 

Lars

 

Hi Lars,

 

Yes, the MHS are pretty close - very good indeed IMO. I shall certainly not be swapping them out that's for sure.

 

But you are right also about those original PAFS. They were indeed really sweet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also keep in mind that the pickup wiring style effects the tone and the versatility of the pickups.

 

The "Memphis Tone Circuit" is IMO a lousy wiring scheme and it makes it difficult to find the sweet spot of the guitar. It's similar to 50's style wiring. 335's don't sound good with it IMO. I'm not sure what model years have that wiring style, but I believe it includes model years starting around 2010. My 2011 had it. My 2007 339 had it. My buddy's 2015 335 had it. I had to change the wiring in my guitars to "sixties style" (modern wiring) get a more "normal" tone out of it. [thumbup]

Edited by badbluesplayer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also keep in mind that the pickup wiring style effects the tone and the versatility of the pickups.

 

The "Memphis Tone Circuit" is IMO a lousy wiring scheme and it makes it difficult to find the sweet spot of the guitar. It's similar to 50's style wiring. 335's don't sound good with it IMO. I'm not sure what model years have that wiring style, but I believe it includes model years starting around 2010. My 2011 had it. My 2007 339 had it. My buddy's 2015 335 had it. I had to change the wiring in my guitars to "sixties style" (modern wiring) get a more "normal" tone out of it. [thumbup]

 

I have a '63 ES335 and don't have an inkling of the wiring....I might try and get a mirror in the f hole to find out... [confused]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a '63 ES335 and don't have an inkling of the wiring....I might try and get a mirror in the f hole to find out... [confused]

 

Good idea. The Memphis Tone wiring can be confusing to look at. The little ceramic cap goes between one of the lugs on the tone pot and the case of the pot. But it might be all encased in some shrink wrap and might be hard to see.

 

The wiring diagram is attached.

ES-339.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good idea. The Memphis Tone wiring can be confusing to look at. The little ceramic cap goes between one of the lugs on the tone pot and the case of the pot. But it might be all encased in some shrink wrap and might be hard to see.

 

The wiring diagram is attached.

 

Many thanks. I have investigated the differences, including the schematics and the full spec of the guitar (It doesn't actually state the wiring type that I can find).

From the volume/tone interaction though, it appears it is not the '50's wiring however.

 

Whatever it is, I love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks. I have investigated the differences, including the schematics and the full spec of the guitar (It doesn't actually state the wiring type that I can find).

From the volume/tone interaction though, it appears it is not the '50's wiring however.

 

Whatever it is, I love it!

I just noticed that the current '63 Block 335 appears to have the Memphis Tone Circuit. It calls it the "MTC Historic control assembly." If you ever feel like the tone is too dull when you back the volume down then you might have that circuit and may want to consider using regular 60's wiring.

 

See Specs Here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again and good find. I like it the way it is so far (it's early days) and will keep it thus, unless I get a hankering to tinker....(a well documented fault of mine)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The MHS's are standard in my '64 VOS ES-345 of course. Flat out I think they are really great but the lack of top end becomes an issue for me when I roll back the volume (I use the VOL control quite a bit). Thinking of changing the wiring to Vintage instead of Modern which should brighten it up a bit, although I'm balking at the prospect of coughing up $000's on a VOS guitar and then CHANGING it! Not to mention that pulling the harness out of a 345 seems to be quite a bit of trouble........

Still, the guitar's for playing, right? So it needs to sound good.

post-79184-037218600 1522371715_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The MHS's are standard in my '64 VOS ES-345 of course. Flat out I think they are really great but the lack of top end becomes an issue for me when I roll back the volume (I use the VOL control quite a bit). Thinking of changing the wiring to Vintage instead of Modern which should brighten it up a bit, although I'm balking at the prospect of coughing up $000's on a VOS guitar and then CHANGING it! Not to mention that pulling the harness out of a 345 seems to be quite a bit of trouble........

Still, the guitar's for playing, right? So it needs to sound good.

Looks like you have the 2014 model version of the 2016 that I have. Yours has the anchors under the Custom Made plate, mine doesn't have either.

Edited by Wmachine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

post-79184-058177900 1547432069_thumb.png

post-79184-053481200 1547432132_thumb.png

post-79184-012440700 1547432147_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

This is INCREDIBLE information! I've got a 64ri 345 as well and the terrible controls and super dark tone are really tough at times to deal with. I have very little idea what any of what you posted means but if you've got a chance I'd love to talk about it with you more in detail!

 

Mine is of the Frost Blue variety. Super pretty guitar that plays great, just want to get the usability up.

 

BuTP03w.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...