The Electra Forums

Guitar Talk about Electra and other vintage imported guitars
Home
Index of Models
The Electra Forums
PM Inbox
It is currently Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:27 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Hi all! Board newbie...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 1:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:11 am
Posts: 19
Location: Central Illinois
And here I thought I was all alone in the world! Guitar-wise anyway!

New to the board and thought I'd say hi and ask a question.

I'm in Central Illinois and have played on and off since about '81-'82 or so. I currently play with a Christian band at a church in town.

My only guitar up until recently has been an Electra-Phoenix X175JB ("How mych more black can it be?"), serial 3063613, which was %100 stock up until last night when I put some new pickups in it. It's a 1983 model and was purchased 9/26/83 (I still have the receipt) with grant money I was supposed to use for school! It plays just as well as anything else I've really tried and cost a lot less!

Anyway, a question involving the pickups (maybe the shop talk area would be better?)...I have installed Lace Sensor pickups (Blue, Silver and Red) and they work but I don't know that much about pickups/electronics. I can run a soldering iron though and just wired these like the originals. The stock pickups, though, have two wires where the Sensors have three (one hot, two grounds). It looks to me like the grounds all go to the same place anyway in the wire diagram which is what I did. Anyone see any problems with this? I'm especially curious about the ground to the phase reverse(?) switch that looks change the phase of the middle pickup. The grounds to that go to one side of the push/pull switch. Is there a better way to do that?

I ask because these are touted as being quiet pickups and I was hoping to clean up some of the noise when switching in some distortion effects (really harsh distortion from a Zoom muti effects pedal). The noise is still there but the pickups seem fine in all other respects and seem to me to have a nice sound, sustain and all that.

So hi everyone! Great info on the board! And if anyone can offer up an opinion or advice about the pickup thing, thanks!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 4:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Hi and welcome!

One of the grounds on a three-wire pickup is actually a coil-tap, connected to the wire between one coil and the other. which means if you ground it you shunt out one of your coils, turning your humbuckers into singles, making a thinner sound (and more hum). That wouild explain the noise you're getting. Yout might want to try disconnecting one of the ground wires and see if it makes a thinner sound.

Correct me if I'm wrong, it's possible the Lace pickups are different from this, and separate the signal ground from the shield ground, but that'd be unusual. If that's true though, disconnecting one ground wire will have no effect (aside from a little more noise) and the other will make the pickup go dead.

You can tell if the pull switch is for phase reverse or coil tap by looking at how it is wired- a phase reverse is connected to both hot and ground leads of only one pickup (usually the bridge pup) and there will be an X of short wires cross-connecting the switch leads. This effectively reverses which way the pickup is hooked, up, exchanging the hot & ground wires.

A coil tap switch will be connected to one wire from each pickup (usually, although some earlier guitars had seperate coil tap switches for each pickup) and the switch will make a connection to ground to disconnect a coil from each pickup.

I would urge you to keep the original pickups as they are very good and that gives you the option of returning the guitar to stock if you want. Or, if you don't care about that, and want to get rid of the originals, they could go to good use for those of us restoring these guitars. For instance, I believe I have the identical guitar but it's missing the pickups- I'd love to find a set like yours, if you don't want them PM me and let's make a deal. However, keeping them with the guitar is the better thing to do.

Hope this helps. We want pictures! (and PM me or others if you need help with posting or hosting them)

Cheers,
Paul


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 4:30 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Oh, and BTW, in my experience the '83 Electra Phoenixes got an extra helping of soul and attention from the factory. I don't want to use the words 'custom shop', but all the 83's I've played had that magic 'made on a good day feeling' that's hard to pin down. Congratulations on owning a great guitar!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 4:51 pm 
A man after X189player's heart! If set up right, all the ones I've had were good players, and all the homes they've gone to save for one is still where they've gone to.

I'm not promising anything, but if you can point me to some diagrams I'll take a shot at it (and maybe draw a diagram of your guitar's original layout would also help).


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Wow!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:11 am
Posts: 19
Location: Central Illinois
I have found me a home! It's great to find folks who know this stuff and are willing to share. Thank-you.

The X175 is wired with a phase reverse; the middle pickup is wired to the push/pull switch on the bottom volume pot and has the cross-over you mention. It has 3 single coil pickups and the other two are wired straight through. It looks like with the 5-pos switch and the push/pull you get the middle out of phase with either the neck or bridge which gives a humbucker effect and cancels the noise. That works well so I think I have things wired correctly.

The Lace pickups, as far as I can tell and have read, are single coil and must be as you describe, with a signal and shield ground. they have a page outlining the wiring at: http://www.lacemusic.com/wiring/default.asp . The effects that make the most noise are very high gain and I'm thinking that it is beyond what these pickups can cancel. Thay ain't humbuckers after all. My other guitar, with humbuckers, does a much better job with the noise (Peavey JF-1).

I'm afraid I have planned to hang on to the orginal pickups. I had no complaints about them but just had the bug to experiment with some new ones.

And thanks both of you for your comments. I guess I have always kinda thought of this as a, well, cheepo guitar, Strats, LPs and Gibsons all cost boo-koo bucks more and must be better. Right? I've been lusting after Les Pauls revently but are they really worth the bucks (I play 'em, I don't collect 'em after all.)? You've given me an answer to why I've never been impressed by anything else I've taken a look at!

I do have a diagram of the wiring. My scanner doesn't do a good job and a photo of the (hand drawn) page doesn't come out. I'll see if I can put together a diagram at work (it's Friday, what else do I have to do) and I'll get some pitures up sometime soon. (Took some this evening. It's a real pain to take pictures of an all black guitar ya know!)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Ahhh... I see what you mean. OK, there's an article you should read:

'Quieting the Beast'
http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/shielding/shield3.php

The premise is that although it is 'common knowledge' that single-coil pickup guitars like Strats pick up noise and hum, that actually you can shield out most of the noise. Part of it is improving shielding, but a big part is that the stock factory wiring scheme of most guitars includes built-in ground loops, which are the source of much noise. The article describes how to break the ground loops by using 'star grounding' which essentially means getting rid of loops in the ground circuit. The biggest source of ground loops is... ready for this? connecting shield ground and signal ground to the same point.

No problem on the pickups, i was hoping you'd keep them with the guitar.

As far as 'cheap guitars', one of the downfall of Electra as a brand was that they'd so firmly established that name with inexpensive (though good quality) copies of Fenders and Gibsons, that when they began innovating their own excellent guitars, they were dismissed as more 'cheap guitars'. That was what people said when I bought my first Electra new in '84- it was a 400$ guitar, but I thought it was better than the $1000 guitars I tried. I always thought that if they'd only doubled their prices, people would take them more seriously. But then again they made it possible for a lot of poor musicians like me to afford quality instruments.

In the years since then I have lost count of the number of times other musicians have tried my Electra and then offered to trade their Strat or LP fror it- which I always refused. I'm not putting down Fender or Gibson, they make good instruments, but a big part of the price is demand and name recognition- it's hard to compete with endorsements from players like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, etc etc etc. Electra's endorsements were from the likes of Elvin Bishop, Rick Derringer, etc...

If you like LP's, why not pick up a nice Electra LP? you can find them as cheap as 200$ on ebay, more for pretty flamed maple tops.

When photographing something shiny and black like a guitar, try to position it so you get reflections in the guitar- from an open window or sky or some such. Taking pictures of guitars outside with natural light is always so much easier- photographing a black guitar with lights would be tough (especially with flash). Forum regular ririraa recently posted some exemplary pics of his black guitar that use reflection very nicely:

http://www.therathole.org/guitars/ggboard/viewtopic.php?t=1551&highlight=

I'd love to see what you have for a wiring diagram!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:03 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 3:21 pm
Posts: 400
Location: Seattle, WA
I second X189player's recommendation of the Electra Les Paul-style guitars. I've gone through about 5 of them over the last year or so (long story...) and I think they are fantastic guitars, especially when you factor in cost. I can't vouch for the bolt-on styles, but the set-necks are sweet. If you haven't already, you should check out:

www.herons.ca/electra

for a great overview of these guitars.

Welcome to the board!

Matthew


Last edited by treeoflife on Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:18 am 
I had quite a bit of fun with one whose wiring was badly doinked. Sadly, few people could figure out how to use the darn thing until I explained what it was capable of, and then they'd fight over the silly thing. :lol:

It had the HSS config, three push-pull pots, and a 5-way selector. One push-pull I used for coil split on the H. One I used to send the output of the middle pickup to either tip on the jack or ring (I installed a stereo jack). The last push pull was used for alternate tone cap for the tone control. One pot was tip volume, one was middle pickup volume (the same one that routed the middle pickup's signal), and the last was a tone pot which switched between two different tone capacitors (.022uF and .01uF). When used with at stereo cable like the Parker guitars, one could rout the signal from the center pickup to a seperate amp and control the volume independent of the other pickups. This center pickup was phase reversed. The end result was when used in stereo with two amps, it almost sounded like two guitars side by side. Quite a full, fat, rich tone to say the least. Much like what Robin Trower used to do.

In all, they're fun guitars to start out with, but if one is boogered, there's also a lot of creative fun to be had as well.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: X175JB Wiring...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 9:56 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:11 am
Posts: 19
Location: Central Illinois
I think my noise is in fact interference from lights and the like. I'll read though that article in detail, gather parts and do the operation when I can. In the mean time, here is a link to the wiring diagram for the X175. I've double checked it against my original drawing and will check it against the guitar before I go through the shielding exercise.

http://dbeedle.com/Guitar/X175JB_Wiring.jpg

Hope you guys find it useful!


Last edited by dbeedle on Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 10:24 am 
That looks FANTASTIC! :up:

I'll be sure to tip Electraman off on this. You don't mind if he adds it to his site with a nod your way do you? There's a Westone section planned here, with X189player at the help coming soon (I'm the weak link in getting things going) so I'd sure like to include your diagram in this section as well. Of course I'll add a nod your way! :D


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:49 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:11 am
Posts: 19
Location: Central Illinois
AriaProII wrote:
That looks FANTASTIC! :up:

I'll be sure to tip Electraman off on this. You don't mind if he adds it to his site with a nod your way do you? There's a Westone section planned here, with X189player at the help coming soon (I'm the weak link in getting things going) so I'd sure like to include your diagram in this section as well. Of course I'll add a nod your way! :D



No problem, you're more than welcome to it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:49 pm 
I know how you feel about your pauls, so some leeway is easily allowed. :D

I would have tossed you a note about the diagram, but instead I spent the evening in video driver hell. I think I'd wet myself if anything I laid hands on worked straight out of the box. Well, I've yet to foul up instant oatmeal so I can't really say I haven't had ANYTHING work straight out of the box. :wink:


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 1:27 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 3:21 pm
Posts: 400
Location: Seattle, WA
It's my impression (I'm a relative newbie compared to some of these guys) that my X-340 is also laminate. (I think Leia has one; care to comment?)

However, as I've mentioned before, I've been getting compliments lately on my X-340 tone. It has a little more jangle than an actual LP, something I wanted. But, as you know, amp and cabinet have a lot to do with that as well.

Anyway, it's my favorite guitar right now. The rest of these guys probably remember that I almost didn't keep it! I'm considering buying another for a backup. Keep in mind that I used to be an L6-S guy, so a little extra presence may just be my bias.

The Omegas kick butt, too, and are usually a little less. You may consider that route.

Keep in touch. We can always use new fanatics!

Matthew


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Pics...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:27 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:11 am
Posts: 19
Location: Central Illinois
Got some pictures up on the web, including the wiring diagram. Went looking at Radio Shack yesterday for shielded wire and the cap to do the shielding on my guitar, no luck. Isn't shielded twisted pair common as dirt? Anyway, the pictures: http://dbeedle.com/Guitar/index.html


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Fatal: Not able to open ./cache/data_global.php