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 Post subject: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 47
Location: San Rafael, CA
I talked, on some thread here, about the sound of my Invicta being on the weak side.
I have an MMK53 four wire pickup that I wanted to try in the Invicta. I had to extend the wires, to reach the neck position. After I got it all connected, no sound. So I took it out to check my connections where I extended the wires. They looked fine, but no continuity when I checked resistance. I cut them off and checked the resistance of the original wires, and still nothing.
So I guess I must have disturbed something inside. I hope I can save it.

In the meantime, I came across an Epiphone HOTHB8B bridge pickup, that I forgot I had. It came out of an old boat dismantled at the boatyard where I work. I tested it and got 14.3k ohms. I put it in the neck position, because I play there more. There is a big difference in output. Not bad sound to my ears, but not as warm as the MMK45s in my two Workingman guitars. The sweet tone of the guitar itself still comes through, though. This pickup is only two wire, so I can't coil split it, but I don't use that much anyway.
The correct pickup used by Epiphone for the neck would be the HB6N. These are Alnico pickups.


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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 47
Location: San Rafael, CA
In my post above, I mentioned that I apparently messed up the MMK53 pickup, probably lost connection to coils inside.
Can anyone advise me on how to go about trying to save it?


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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:19 pm
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Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
MMK53's are probably my all time favorite pickup. Great for anything gritty.

I can't help on pickup wiring... hopefully someone can!

If you have it repaired, you may be in for a $50 fee from a professional (If it needs rewound).

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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 47
Location: San Rafael, CA
Thanks Chad
I paid $50 for the MMK53. My only realistic option is to try and fix it myself.
From what I've read, if the disconnect is at the signal wire and not the ground, it may be fixable. I was wondering if there was anything I should watch out for, when I open it up, not wanting to make it worse than it is.
In other words, how to go about opening it up, safely.
Hopefully I can locate the end of the coil wire and re-solder it to the lead, without unwrapping too much of the coil.

You may remember that I was trying to improve the sound of my Invicta, which for some reason has a kind of weak, though sweet, sound with the original MMK45s, not a lot of sustain either. Right now I have an Epiphone pup at the neck. It's powerful, but the tone isn't as good as the MMK45s in my two Workingman x290s.

I was also wondering if it just needs new pots or capacitors. The volume pots are 500k.


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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
Posts: 958
Location: Southern Indiana
Your 500K pots are likely fine. No guarantees, but they are very reliable and seldom go bad. I have had much more problem with some models having 50K pots by mistake, but I have not seen that on an invicta before (so you are likely fine).

As far as taking a pickup apart and getting it to work - the windings are so fine (like a strand of hair) that they are very easy to break and if they break off inside the coil you are SOL - it is rewind time. Generally, you can get an idea of where to look by testing each coil if you have a pickup wired that way. If you do, you should be able to likely find one coil reading 5.5 to 6K or so, and may find the other one open. So both coils together should be about 11-12K. But again, it is a bit tricky to save one and almost impossible if the strand is losing connectivity in side the wind somewhere. Also a little ding on the side of a coil can take it out. If that is the case you may be able to unwind to that point and then connect it there - but that usually is limited to just the outside layer. Again, if I breaks on the inner winging - forget it. I have at least two here that this has happened to, and one just because I messed with it and shouldn't have... just sayin!

Good working MMK53 or MMK45s are fairly high output. I thought near the same as an MMK45. If you get a higher output pickup, you can always swap the bridge pickup to the neck, and put the hotter one in the bridge. Also, a lower output pickup in the neck would likely balance well with a fairly high output correctly functioning MMK53 pickup. A more vintage output (meaning PAF-like output) will sound great in the neck even if paired with a higher output pickup. That is because the strings vibrate more nearer the neck and a higher output pickup typically sounds woollier in then neck position. If you gotta have an MMK53 you can look for another one used or pull one out of an old lesser guitar in rougher shape to restore your Invicta. An invicta is a pretty high end guitar as far as electras go.

Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 47
Location: San Rafael, CA
Thank you Thorny.
One idea I had, is to find a set of 1970s DiMarzio pickups. An
SD at the bridge and PAF style at the neck. I understand that MMK45 pups were modeled after those.
I think I checked the ohms of the MMK45 that came out of the neck and got about 11k, but maybe I'll check it again. I like the Invicta a lot, but the lack of volume and sustain is a mystery.


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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
Posts: 958
Location: Southern Indiana
You have any luck?

If you receive 11K ohms resistance on this particular pickup it is generally a good reading. That would generally indicate it should work, it has continuity through both coils (about 5.5K each, so x2). It most likely is a wiring or electronics thing. You could also have a problem with your magnets, but ceramic magnets generally keep their charge. If the screw driver sticks to the poles pretty well you generally are OK.

If you have an open coil, that can be caused by corrosion in the coil, or a bump in the side of a coil while installing or removing it. I have not had much success repairing coils myself, but if the fine wire is broken it could potentially be unwound to the broken part and soldered down if on the outside winding of the coil. If it breaks on the inside winding it is rewind time. I generally do more damage that good at this point but it still may be worth a try if the coils are open. You may get lucky. I never won the lottery yet either, and your odds are a lot better than that.

Recheck your pickup's resistance between leads to determine which are which. If dead, Dimarzios and Duncans do sound good in electras too - putting the right pickup for the right position. I have had various project Electras and Westones, and while most have stock pickups - I have WCRs, Sheptones, Harmonic Designs, Dimarzios, G&B (PRS SE model pulls) - and they sound great. If you are collecting Electras or Westones, I can understand keeping things as stock as possible. As you know, they sound darned good stock. But if you are intending to play that instrument put in what you want. I do it with some of my Gibsons and Fenders too.

I don't know if they were really modeled off the dimarzios or not. Dimarzio inspired a lot of companies to put in hotter pickups. But the MMKs are a bit less winding than an SD, and more than a PAF. The allen pole pieces were just like a Dimarzio. I think they intended to try to double the resistance of a strat pickup (at that time was probably close to 5.5K) so the lead tone was HOT and the split stone sounded a lot like a strat. At least that sounds logical. They tried to make a better all around pickup for the time and I think they did an admirable job. I have no verification of this and these are my own assumptions though. A lot of makers were putting hotter pickups in their guitars, and they still are today. I think the new Electra Omega was probably around 14K in the bridge but 8K in the neck for example. Most PRSs have hotter (than PAF) pickups - especially in the bridge position. A dimarzio SD is around 13K and a duncan JB can read 16K. A duncan distortion can be even more. I know that resistance is only one part of a pickup design too.

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 Post subject: Re: Invicta pickups
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:32 pm
Posts: 47
Location: San Rafael, CA
That was great Thorny. Thanks for all the information. I haven't tried fixing the MMK53 yet. I tested it before installing, and got at least 11 k ohms. I tried to handle it gently during installation, avoid pulling on the wires, but something happened.

I'm not really a collector, though I have four Electras. Being a somewhat new player, I wanted to see what guitars felt and sounded good to me. Also, I paid reasonable prices for all of them. Having said that, I would love to have a semi hollowbody and would like to try a Westbury Standard or Performer.

I couldn't afford to be a collector, nor do I have the space.
I live on a relatively small sailboat. My total of six guitars is a little bit much. Besides the Electras, I have a Squire II Strat and an Aria Pro II RS Knight Warrior. The Squire was loaned to me, but the owner recently said I could have it. He has two American Strats.


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