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Upgrading my Wilshire


altair

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Hey Epifans,

 

I still have my first guitar, which is an older Epiphone Wilshire reissue. The one with the fullsize Alnico humbuckers. See my profile picture [biggrin]

 

It was a budget guitar and I've been having great fun playing it. But now it's beginning to deteriorate. The pots are unstable, knobs come off, the jack is wobbly, and its tone is turning into a tin can full of angry bees.

 

So it's time to get her back to her former glory, and beyond!

 

I've done some searching and researching and I've come up with a couple of replacements. Since I'm new at guitar modding, can you please help me by looking over my list? Have I chosen the correct components, technically? Have I missed something? Do you think they will fit into a Wilshire body? How easy/difficult will it be for a novice to install these components? I must say, all the Wilshire components are attached to the pickguard so it's relatively easy to reach/wire. I think.

 

1x Göldo Trim Socket J002B BK

2x Gibson Poti 300kO Linear Taper Short (volume pots)

2x Gibson Pot 500kO Short (tone pots)

1x Gibson Toggle Switch Angle

1x Seymour Duncan SSH-JB Hot Rodded Humbucker Set (bridge + neck)

 

I chose the JB's because I'd like more distortion and sustain from this guitar, without having to go to active pups.

I'll be playing it through a Laney VC30 which doesn't have high gain distortion (but a gorgeous bluesy growl and clean bells to die for, hehe). The JB's are also affordable, €125 for the set.

 

So thanks in advance for your help, its highly appreciated!

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What about something like this, push pull pots will allow you to coil split the pickups, so if you really wanted to you could have single coils too, best of both worlds [biggrin]

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LES-PAUL-500k-complete-LP-GUITAR-wiring-kit-premium-FULL-PUSH-PULL-pots-/330732171292?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4d012c701c

 

Or just go for something like this, a standard wiring kit

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LES-PAUL-WIRING-KIT-ORANGE-DROP-10mm-Pots-CHROME-/350490164035?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item519ad77b43

 

Another thing to consider is that value of the pots and caps, different values will result in tonal changes although some will be slight and some more noticeable. Hope this isnt too confusing

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What about something like this, push pull pots will allow you to coil split the pickups, so if you really wanted to you could have single coils too, best of both worlds [biggrin]

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LES-PAUL-500k-complete-LP-GUITAR-wiring-kit-premium-FULL-PUSH-PULL-pots-/330732171292?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4d012c701c

 

Or just go for something like this, a standard wiring kit

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LES-PAUL-WIRING-KIT-ORANGE-DROP-10mm-Pots-CHROME-/350490164035?pt=UK_Guitar_Accessories&hash=item519ad77b43

 

Another thing to consider is that value of the pots and caps, different values will result in tonal changes although some will be slight and some more noticeable. Hope this isnt too confusing

 

Thanks for the comments!

Yeah I've been considering coilsplitting or coiltapping, but I don't know how much more complicated that would be compared to standard humbuckers. Also, I've not considered caps at all...

A complete rewiring package may definitely be a smart way to go. I'll have another look!

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One of the members here, jags, done the "ultimate mod" on a Wilshire last year. It's probably more than you (or I) would want to do but it made interesting reading. Have a look at his post as there's quite a bit of info regarding the difference different caps etc will give you. He posted a nice schematic and some pics of the finished project as well.

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/71752-wilshire-mod/page__p__976386__fromsearch__1#entry976386

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Generally, all humbucker pickups can be split to serve as a single coil and/or parallel wiring or phase reversal. For p-ups with 3 or 4-wire leads, it's a matter of sorting out the individual wires that are connected to the coils and connecting them to an appropriate switch.

 

For the common 2-wire (single shielded lead cable), it's a matter of accessing the series link between the 2 separate h-b coils.. a wire link that connects the 2 coils in series as supplied from the factory.

For covered h-bs, the cover needs to be removed, then removing the outer layer of woven/cloth-type wrapping tape around both coils. The plastic tape around each coil doesn't need to be disturbed/removed. For open coils h-bs, just removing the outer cloth tape from around both coils is more easily accomplished since there is no cover.

 

When the series jumper wire is located, it can be carefully stripped (for 3-wire cable) or carefully cut in the center and now the p-up has 4 connection points.

The typical factory wiring for 2-wire h-b p-ups is the center conductor of the signal cable goes to one end of a coil, and the shield is soldered to the other coil end and also the p-up base plate.

 

Depending upon which particular wiring arrangement is desired, a different cable is chosen to be attached as the new signal cable. When the connections have been soldered and insulated, the rewired p-up is ready for installation.

 

I think there are help suggestions in the forum DIY THREAD

DIY HELP THREAD link

 

One thing that I'd like to make clear is that the plastic tape around the separate h-b coils should not be removed or disturbed, only the outer woven/cloth-type tape should be removed.

With only the outer tape removed, all the required connection points are exposed and removing the underlying plastic tape risks damaging the ultra-fine coil windings.. while removing just the outer woven/fabric-type tape does not risk damaging the coil windings.

 

With some careful handling, soldering and insulating, the p-up will be modified to offer the various other features that most premium p-ups provide.

While coil-splitting features are a definite improvement, replacing the factory magnets is another worthwhile consideration, and even easier than the coil-splitting modifications.

 

Bill

 

 

I have two more questions:

Would it be possible to coiltap the current alnico humbuckers that are in my Wilshire?

Would Wilkinson Zebra pickups be an upgrade compared to my current pickups?

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Would Wilkinson Zebra pickups be an upgrade compared to my current pickups?

Wilkinson pickups are quite nice for the money and if you were putting them in a really cheap guitar you'd probably notice a difference. I don't think that you would really notice a great improvement over your current Epiphone pickups though. They may be different but not necessarily better or worse. I don't know where you are in the world but if you can afford a bit more than the Wilkinsons I'd really recommend IronGear pickups. I've just installed a pair of their (Irongear Classics) Blues Engine pickups in a (non Epiphone) Les Paul that had Wilkinsons in already and the difference is a very much improved sound, especially as the pair only cost around £70.00 UK. I've used their Strat replacements in a Mexican Strat and a Squier Strat and they were equally as good. Worth a look anyway.

http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec%20guitar%20parts%20spares%20pickups_074.htm

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Thanks Jonny!

I've checked out the link you posted and listened to a couple of soundclips. Nice!

Unfortunately no dealer in my country, I could have them shipped but that would be extra shipping/handling cost.

 

I've also had someone point me to GFS pickups. American store brand, apparently quite nice, and there's a guy I know who imports them. I might give those a try. Or I might bump into something nice on the 2nd hand market.

 

Also, I've decided to make this a joint project with my oldest son. Get that father/son bonding thing going y'know. :)

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Mojotone currently have a half price sale on their clone series pafs...almost infinite options on these and great reviews. People upgrade their gibsons with these, so they are probably ok. I just ordered a set for my g400. $120 us for a pair of custom made pickups, handwound, to original paf specs is a good deal in my books.

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