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Wildkat mods


Yorgle
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Calling all Wildkat/Alleykat owners here. I like to be different- instead of a Bigsby, I added a Vibrola-style tremolo with a custom rosewood tailpiece, changed the switch tip to cream to match the tremolo arm and binding, changed out the black/silver knobs for gold/silver bells and added a treble bleed capacitor to the master volume pot. In the future, I'd like to add a roller bridge and after that (if I can put it down long enough) I'd like to refinish the top to do a vintage-looking burst. I'd love to hear and/or see what others have done.

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I've got a trans orange Wildkat that I've had for 4-5 years now. The only mods I've done are Lollar P90's and thanks to Brad, I scrubbed the back of the neck with a Scotchbrite pad which made a lot of difference in the playability. All photo's are on Photobucket, so...

 

Great guitar for the money.

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I changed the knobs to pearl-tipped Tele style knobs. Matches the fingerboard inlays:

VPMDDqZ.jpg

I like that, a lot. :) I think it is a beautiful instrument, that thing, there, yes :) do believe that :)

When I did obtain this thing, the head stock emblem was not present, but I did obtain 1, and now it has that thing, back on it, there, now. I like that guitar though, and this 1 also :)

 

LsrKBGP.png

:)

I have not done any modifications to this thing yet. I might replace the saddles with a roller type bridge, or graph-tech things, some day, maybe. I did put a roller bridge on 2 of theses. things, and, they do work pretty good, after doing that, to them , now :) I do believe a roller bridge would work OK on a Wildkat thing also :) White and wine red, yes, very nice, Doing that improves the tuning stability and I haven't broken the high E string as quickly as what did happen with the "stock" saddle things on them.

fMHcL5w.jpg

:)

I will watch this subject. I kind of do not believe too many have modified their Wildkat guitar. I may be incorrect about that, maybe. But, no, I do not believe too many have modified theirs, maybe :)

Apq7Sig.jpg

Edited by crust
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The factory Antique Natural finish looked plastic and too yellow for my taste so this weekend I fixed it. I started by sanding the factory finish down to 1/3 of its original thickness with 220 and 320 grit. I didn't want to risk going all the way to the veneer because I don't know how thick it is and didn't want to accidentally sand through it. Next, I sprayed three on three coats of Minwax polyshade tinted polyurethane in a burst pattern, color sanding with 400 and 600 grit between coats. After the final coat hardened, I wet sanded it with 800-1000-1500 grit, then rubbed it down first with some 3000 microgrit and swirl remover. I stopped buffing just a wee bit less glossy than the original because I think it looks better that way. The first pic is after wetsanding but before polishing. The second pic shows the finished result. Unfortunately, my camera washes out the color. In real life, it's a very rich amber burst. The area between the pickups retains a hint of the original yellow. If you look at Crust's Wildkat in his post just above, you'll get a clear idea of the huge difference in color.

Jp0bkWM.jpg

sKuDbak.jpg

Edited by Yorgle
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I'm just about done modding my Wildkat, except I'm not entirely happy with how close the treble end of the vibrola "comb" sits in relation to the volume knob. It doesn't actually hit the knob, but it looks awkward. I think that the next time I change strings, I might cut the comb shorter and drill a new hole to attach the arm closer to the E string.

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I'm just about done modding my Wildkat, except I'm not entirely happy with how close the treble end of the vibrola "comb" sits in relation to the volume knob. It doesn't actually hit the knob, but it looks awkward. I think that the next time I change strings, I might cut the comb shorter and drill a new hole to attach the arm closer to the E string.

 

I also like your modification with that tremolo unit on that. I guess, if you do that, the tremolo thing will be at a bit of an angle, maybe. Yes, to me, these are very fun instruments. I believe I am not the only 1 that also has found that to be true, for themselves. :)

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  • 1 month later...

Bringing up this old thread again because I just finished the modification of my Wildkat Studio.

 

Now why modifying it at all? Because it has a lot of features I like, and some I did not like that much.

 

Pros:

• The overall look and semi-hollow construction

• Body size and shape

• Neck shape and width

• It has P90 pickups

• I like the stop-tailpiece version

 

Cons:

• It was neck heavy

• It sounded plain dull, compared to a couple of other P90 guitars I own (Epiphone ES-339 P90 with Kloppmann SB-52 PUs, Epiphone 1955 Les Paul Custom, Duesenberg Starplayer TV Hollow)

• The wiring scheme was way too complicated for my taste

 

Here's what I did to my Wildkat:

 

• To cure the neck-heavyness I changed the Grover Rotomatics for Grover V98N open tuners. To fill the big holes in the headstock I used sockets that are 10mm on the outside and 6,5mm on the inside.

 

hUKD0NMcFe.jpg

 

yZSwhRc~xr.jpg

 

• Pulled the original wiring harness. It's amazing how much cable you can stuff into a single guitar.... I ended up with over 10 feet after I pulled everything out (note there are running 3 or 4 wires in parallel):

 

w9WIxIRrzl.jpg

 

• For the new harness I decided to keep things as simple as possible. So I made a Tele-style wiring with single Volume and Tone pots. The wiring goes PUs -> PU switch -> Volume -> Tone -> Output, straight forward. 2 of the original pots are now superfluous.

 

To get the right pickups right was a bit tricky. The original pickups are wound way to hot for my taste, the neck PU reads 11,7k and the bridge PU 12,2k DC resistance. I wanted a full and round sound, with open high end, creamy distortion - not the bite of a modern P90 like in the 1955 inspired Les Paul Custom. This guitar should go in direction warm jazz tone, or a creamy bluesy crunch if you dial up the gain on the amp.

 

For that purpose, and given the straight forward wiring, most of the aftermarket P90 with AlNiCo 5 magnets and 8,5-9,5k were still way overdone for my taste. Finally I came across the Lollar P90 dogears in 50s wind specification. These have de-gaussed (weakened) AlNiCo 2 magnets, and the spec sheet reads 7,1k for the neck and 7,4k for the bridge PU. This is even less than the underwound AlNiCo 5 P90 that Lollar offers.

 

nJ5&pbkx9d.jpg

 

What can I say? The Lollar 50s wind P90 did nail it! The sound of these in my Wildkat is spectacular, exactly where I wanted it. On the clean amp channel you get a warm full jazzy sound with well balanced low end, and lot of sparkling top end. If you slightly roll back the volume on the guitar it sounds almost like an acoustic. On the drive channel with moderate gain you get a nice creamy distortion. Increasing the gain the thing starts singing nicely. And even at higher gain you still have a a lot of dynamic control, that 50s wind PUs do not compress the amp the way a full powered AlNiCo 5 P90 does. First thought: No way this is the same guitar...

 

For good measure I also added a TUSQ nut and an ABR style quality bridge that was left over from another project. The look of the black PU covers is a bit odd on the first sight, but the pole piece spacing of any aftermarket P90 seems to be different from the slanted Epiphone neck P90. On the other hand there are other Epis like the 50ths anniversary Casino that also features black P90 dogear PUs. At least this plastic covers will not cause any microphonic effects.

 

Hope I did not hurt anybody with this modifications :-) But it is so much more joy to play now...

 

6emYAOPlaE.jpg

Edited by LongMan
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After trying several different pickup configurations on my Casino, I too, found a used set of Lollar dog ears with the low wind and they nailed the P-90 sound I was looking for. Good on you, to find a set and try them. Best P-90s I've tried. Congratulations on your upgraded Wildcat.

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Bringing up this old thread again because I just finished the modification of my Wildkat Studio.

 

Hope I did not hurt anybody with this modifications :-) But it is so much more joy to play now...

 

6emYAOPlaE.jpg

Beautiful simplicity in you mod design, very old school I think. [thumbup]

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  • 1 month later...

Beautiful simplicity in you mod design, very old school I think. [thumbup]

 

 

After reading all the posts on mods to Wildkats I thought I'd ask what I should do if anthing to my 2001 turquis Wildkat?? Would I benefit from a rewire job?? I bought this the first year they were available and don't know how well they stack up to the current models.....

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After reading all the posts on mods to Wildkats I thought I'd ask what I should do if anthing to my 2001 turquis Wildkat?? Would I benefit from a rewire job?? I bought this the first year they were available and don't know how well they stack up to the current models.....

Show us a pic.. is there something wrong with it? some thing you would like to improve?

 

does your look like this one below.........

 

b1d60f7f621a1dc061bcf5b6dbff1a57.jpg

 

update... wildkat1 I noticed on your thread where vomer is helping you.. but you are having trouble posting images.. our accounts are limited to 500k upload, which isn't much.. you have to use a photo hosting site and link them here using the "Insert Image" button in the post editior.. picture.png... you need to use something like www.imgur.com .... to host your photos and link them to your post...

Edited by mihcmac
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After reading all the posts on mods to Wildkats I thought I'd ask what I should do if anthing to my 2001 turquis Wildkat?? Would I benefit from a rewire job?? I bought this the first year they were available and don't know how well they stack up to the current models.....

 

For some visual improvement, I'd swap in cream-colored pickup covers, switch tip and poker chip. Then I'd go with gold bell knobs. I think that would really look classy with the turquoise finish.

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  • 1 month later...

Show us a pic.. is there something wrong with it? some thing you would like to improve?

 

does your look like this one below.........

 

b1d60f7f621a1dc061bcf5b6dbff1a57.jpg

 

update... wildkat1 I noticed on your thread where vomer is helping you.. but you are having trouble posting images.. our accounts are limited to 500k upload, which isn't much.. you have to use a photo hosting site and link them here using the "Insert Image" button in the post editior.. picture.png... you need to use something like www.imgur.com .... to host your photos and link them to your post...

 

 

Yes this is exactly what mine looks like....I think it sounds fine as is but can't help wonder if it would improve with braided wire, etc. BTW thanks for the tip on uploading photos!!

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I think it sounds fine as is but can't help wonder if it would improve with braided wire, etc. BTW thanks for the tip on uploading photos!!

Rewiring the guitar with high quality wire may slightly improve the high end, especially if you reduce the wire length to the absolute minimum. On the other hand it will not change the overall sound character, which is determined by the pickups and type of wiring.

If you like the sound of the guitar with the stock wiring, and nothing is wrong with the pots and switches, it may be a good idea to leave it as is.

Keep in mind that a rewiring job may potentially ruin the resale value of the instrument, no matter how much it improves the sound. Buyers normally prefer instruments in stock condition.

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Rewiring the guitar with high quality wire may slightly improve the high end, especially if you reduce the wire length to the absolute minimum. On the other hand it will not change the overall sound character, which is determined by the pickups and type of wiring.

If you like the sound of the guitar with the stock wiring, and nothing is wrong with the pots and switches, it may be a good idea to leave it as is.

Keep in mind that a rewiring job may potentially ruin the resale value of the instrument, no matter how much it improves the sound. Buyers normally prefer instruments in stock condition.

 

Thanks for that tidbit of info LongMan!!! I didn't know that it could affect value of the guitar. I'm rather fond of the turquoise color and the Epiphone bigsby type of whammy....

Not easy to find this year and color anymore!!

Wildkat

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I love the look of my Wildkat, but I've always suspected that the semi-hollow guitars are somewhat of a gimmick- you get the look of an archtop, but because the bridge is mounted to a solid block they really have little to no real acoustic properties. Despite its hollowed body and f-holes, my unplugged Wildkat sounds pretty much the same as my Les Paul. So a few weeks ago I decided to try some experiments- to see if I could make my semi-hollow into more of a semi-solid. As seen in my previous posts, I first replaced the bridge with a modified floating style. My thinking was that at least some of the vibrations from the strings might be transferred to the top over at least a part of the open chambers on each side. I noticed a very slight increase in unplugged volume-- but it still sounded like an unplugged electric solid body. So this weekend, I took things a drastic step further and using an offset saw blade (inserted through the neck pickup opening) I physically separated the top from the block in the area underneath the bridge. Now that made a definite difference- in fact, my wife (who had just put the baby to bed) told me to turn off the amp!

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I love the look of my Wildkat, but I've always suspected that the semi-hollow guitars are somewhat of a gimmick- you get the look of an archtop, but because the bridge is mounted to a solid block they really have little to no real acoustic properties. Despite its hollowed body and f-holes, my unplugged Wildkat sounds pretty much the same as my Les Paul. So a few weeks ago I decided to try some experiments- to see if I could make my semi-hollow into more of a semi-solid. As seen in my previous posts, I first replaced the bridge with a modified floating style. My thinking was that at least some of the vibrations from the strings might be transferred to the top over at least a part of the open chambers on each side. I noticed a very slight increase in unplugged volume-- but it still sounded like an unplugged electric solid body. So this weekend, I took things a drastic step further and using an offset saw blade (inserted through the neck pickup opening) I physically separated the top from the block in the area underneath the bridge. Now that made a definite difference- in fact, my wife (who had just put the baby to bed) told me to turn off the amp!

Yorgle very interesting, good experiment. My Blueshawk's are built the same way, un-plugged I have noticed very little difference between them and my solid bodies. However the plugged in the Blueshawk has a little more sustain. Have to see how you like it plugged in, I suspect your Wildkat will have lots of sustain.

 

Any issues with grounding? There is a ground wire going to one of the bridge mounting studs to ground the strings.

 

 

Edited by mihcmac
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