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Wildkat mods


Yorgle
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I haven't tried it with the amp yet. I'm curious if I'll start getting feedback with the gain at distortion level. As for the ground wire, it's still there inside one of the post holes. I suppose I could just pull it up a little further and solder it to the bottom of the thumbscrew post. I wonder how that's done on actual archtops?

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I haven't tried it with the amp yet. I'm curious if I'll start getting feedback with the gain at distortion level. As for the ground wire, it's still there inside one of the post holes. I suppose I could just pull it up a little further and solder it to the bottom of the thumbscrew post. I wonder how that's done on actual archtops?

If you get static noise that goes away when you touch one of the pickup covers, you may need one to ground the strings. If not you're good to go.

 

I think the archtops with floating bridges that have tail pieces or Bigsby's run a ground to the mounting peg. If this is the case you could just a a ground wire from the peg to wiring harness.

 

Or, if you just make a small jumper wire to go from the bridge mounting stud insert (right side or closest to the controls) to the metal on your bridge. Should work and keep it simple.

Edited by mihcmac
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  • 4 weeks later...

I can't stop messing with this thing. Over Thanksgiving, I focused on tweaking the Vibrola. First, I took off the spring and flattened it in a vice a wee bit to get a better break angle over the bridge. I also figured out a cheap, easy solution to prevent the string eyes from sitting cockeyed in the slots- just run a bit of thick wire through them:

 

O0p0HAJ.jpg

 

Finally, here's my version of the teaspoon style Vibrola arm- it's literally the handle of a large serving spoon. I call it a mash potato style arm. I think it fits the Wildkat look better than the plastic on the regular arm and it has a more substantial feel.

 

B7i8lKC.jpg

zWE4u3b.jpg

 

Oh, you'll notice I ditched the roller saddles. They didn't really add that much by way of tuning stability and the knife-edge style just sound better to my ear. I think my next mod is going to be either a brass nut or zero fret to further brighten the tone.

Edited by Yorgle
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The modding continues... this weekend I added a piezo pickup to pull out even more of the acoustic sounds. The cool thing about the piezos is that they're practically free (I pulled mine out of a smoke alarm buzzer) and you can stick them anywhere in (or even on) the guitar to take advantage of the different tonal qualities of different areas. At first, I stuck it in the slot I had cut under the bridge, but that was way too bright. Sticking it to the underside of the top, itself, sounded great, but picked up too much noise (hand movement, bumps, etc). Eventually I found a sweet underneath the neck pickup, sticking it to the end of the neck. The piezo is wired directly into the jack (no pre-amp) so it's always on, but eventually I'll add a switch- maybe I can replace the master volume pot with a push/pull style like the Epiphone pros.

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The modding continues... this weekend I added a piezo pickup to pull out even more of the acoustic sounds. The cool thing about the piezos is that they're practically free (I pulled mine out of a smoke alarm buzzer) and you can stick them anywhere in (or even on) the guitar to take advantage of the different tonal qualities of different areas. At first, I stuck it in the slot I had cut under the bridge, but that was way too bright. Sticking it to the underside of the top, itself, sounded great, but picked up too much noise (hand movement, bumps, etc). Eventually I found a sweet underneath the neck pickup, sticking it to the end of the neck. The piezo is wired directly into the jack (no pre-amp) so it's always on, but eventually I'll add a switch- maybe I can replace the master volume pot with a push/pull style like the Epiphone pros.

Sounds like you are well on your way to getting the archtop acoustic sound, nice project....

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This piezo phase of my project has me thinking about a total re-wire of my Wildkat. There must be at least a 1/4 mile of wiring in this thing! Last night I played around with different wiring schemes and finally settled on using the master volume pot as a balance control between the piezo and the P90s (at 10, it's all P90, closer to 0, the piezo has priority. Balance between the P90s themselves is still controlled by the 3-way switch and individual volume pots. The Tone pot rules all three. It might be nice to have a separate tone control for the piezo so an onboard preamp is probably needed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Added a home-made zero fret:

T02R5tS.jpg

I can't say it really sounds that much different, but I like the concept of both fretted and open strings being treated the same.

 

I also replaced the chrome phillips head screws on the headstock badge with more vintage looking brass slotted head screws. It's a subtle change, but I think it looks better. I'm going to do the same with the truss cover screws.

ALwhEGi.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

I accidentally reclic'd my Wildkat this weekend- tipped over my guitar stand and a quarter-size chunk of the polyester finish cracked off by the cutout. My attempts to sand the area flat and re-coat with some clear failed because I ended up sanding through the colored layer all the way to the veneer. (Did you hear that, Rev6? It's got veneer!) Anyway, after trying several times to match Epiphone's mysterious yellow grain filler, I gave up and decided to do something drastic. Stay tuned for pics after I do some final wetsand/polishing.

 

Reborn as a goldtop:

aQahc8A.jpg

Edited by Yorgle
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  • 1 year later...

Awesome topic!  Just bought a Alleykat TB and I'm loving it! As a rock player and a mod lover, I did some...

Removed the "treble Rythm" plate;

Changed the master volume knob to and old and better grip one;

Removed original pickups and replaced it with a pair of EVH Wolfgang humbuckers.

Changed the  potentiometer to a Gotoh A 500k with treble bleed master volume.

 

20200220_141437 (3).jpg

Edited by Raphael_Luiz
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  • 6 months later...
On 9/17/2020 at 5:26 PM, Warning500 said:

So I recently bought a 2011 Epiphone Wildkat Royale Electric Guitar Pearl White what mods do u guys think I should have done to it? Does the rewiring really help it and does it apply to the 2011 model?

I’m sure the wiring upgrade would be an improvement, but whether it’s enough to justify the cost/difficulty of doing it is questionable.   If you like the way it sounds now, just leave it stock and play it.  

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