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 Post subject: New guitar; questions.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Hello all,

I just bought an electra off ebay, looks like an 1982 2242 super rock. I have a question about the pick ups:

the seller stated that one is original, and one has been switched, am I right in thinking the bridge looks to be the original one? (please see link to photos at bottom of post).

I'm wanting to put a new humbucker in the bridge position, so if that is in fact the original would I face any problems by putting the bridge pup in the neck position? (if you haven't figured it out already, I know next to nothing about electrics).

Also, when buying a new humbucker, what are the things that I should be looking for to make sure it's compatible with the electra? I'm assuming things like the spacing of the screw holes, but anything else? (if anyone knows the spacing, or measurements of any kind for the Super Rock humbuckers I'd love to know as I don't yet have the guitar in front of me).

Lastly, I'd be looking to put a pickup cover on whichever of the two humbuckers end up in the neck position, so are there also measurements that I need to do to make sure the cover fits? And if anyone has an old original neck pickup or bridge/neck cover plate I'd love to buy it off you! (I apologize if that last statement should've gone in the parts wanted section)

Any and all information is very much appreciated. Thanks!

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v242/ ... h/electra/


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:44 am 
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I'm not sure either pickup is original... that being said, wait until you get it until you pass judgement on them, maybe they'll sound decent. Japanese pickups are rarely waxed, and the early ones were especially microphonic (prone to noisiness and feedback). The black cover with the oval holes on the bridge pickup looks original, but the pickup itself doesn't look correct.

Pickup sizes are fairly standardized, so you could probably shoehorn just about anything you want in there. The mounting screw is forgiving and as long as you use the mounting rings that are on there you should be ok. As far as polepiece spacing, the pickup puts out a field that extends beyond the size of the actual poles, and on many guitars the strings don't line up perfectly, again, I would not loose sleep over it.

The pickup cover is purely cosmetic, you may be better off buying a pickup with the cover already to save yourself the trouble of trying to solder on a cover to an existing pickup, which takes a lot of heat (and patience).

Players look for different things in a pickup, and would account for the huge variety of pickups available. Typically the more powerful a pickup, the less fidelity (read as not being uniformly efficient throughout the frequency range). A really hot pickup will usually have a middy peak, whereas a less powerful pickup will have a more uniform response. There are no absolutes, and there are plenty of exceptions to this 'rule'.

If you want to be able to coil-split (use as a single coil) or reverse phase, the pickup you buy will need to have more than two leads. Many early Japanese pickups only have two leads, hot and common. I could go on and on, but there are the basics, Mike.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:45 am 
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thickey1983 wrote:
I'm wanting to put a new humbucker in the bridge position, so if that is in fact the original would I face any problems by putting the bridge pup in the neck position?

To add on here, physically a pickup can go anywhere you want, but remember that the strings vibrate more (a lot more...) over the Neck pickup than the Bridge pickup, this is a given. So typically for balance manufacturers will try to put a powerful pickup at the bridge to compensate for physics.

There are no rules for players though, so again, you can do whatever you want. I typically like the neck pickup to be clean and pure for rhythm passages (read as low output) and the bridge pickup to be powerful enough to make the amp wail, so I almost bury the neck pickup (getting it as far away from the strings as possible) to get that blend. Purely taste, and most guitarists don't necessarily share my preferences! Tell us how it sounds when it shows up, Mike.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:20 am 
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Good info Mike. I was watching that one and it looks to be a nice one. It is hard to tell from the photo but the bridge pup looks original. You will need to see it in person to determine that. I like the sound of the original pups and they can easily be [pottes(wax coated) to get rid of the microphonics. Take it for a test run when you get it and see what you think. I purchased an X340 with pickups that had been swapped out with the intent on replacing them with originals. Once I got the guitar and played it I was happy with the changed out pups and left it as it was. It all depends on what you like as to what you can do it is endless. Most pickups will fit in with a few minor exceptions. Congrats on the score. :up: :up:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:56 am 
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Thanks a lot for all the info guys, I'll definitely let you know how it sounds when I get it. I'd take it to someone to install the pickups, and If I do change out the bridge I would definitely get a pickup that already has a cover on it, I just never really liked the whole look of uncovered pickups on a guitar (purely aesthetic preference), but then if I do swap for one with a cover I'll need a cover for whichever one ends up going in the neck position.

Yeah, I've heard that the bridge position will usually have a higher output due to the length of the string vibrations, so I was just curious if there's any 'norms' or things that will most likely occur to the sound if I place a bridge pickup in the neck position (for example, I heard that if you put a neck pickup in the bridge position you usually end up with a 'muddied' and weaker sound.) I'm really not looking to make the guitar scream like a banshee so I'm leaning towards not putting the bridge in the neck position if I'm correct in assuming it would increase the output, but lower the note definition, distinction, and clarity.

With the 'coil-split', if the super rock pickups were originally wired up with only two leads, is it still possible to put new ones in with four leads? (again, I would be taking it to someone to have the pickup installed, so don't worry, I won't be accidentally setting my electra aflame).

Thanks again for your help guys, it's much appreciated


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:40 pm 
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thickey1983 wrote:
I'm leaning towards not putting the bridge in the neck position

Sounds like the easiest way to go would be pick up a set of gold covered pickups, they can be had pretty reasonably, all those Gibby's that have been changed out have to go somewhere! I tell ya, Gibson makes some mean pickups, don't be fooled by their big corporation image, some of the hottest tones you've ever heard on a record were recorded with stock pickups.

thickey1983 wrote:
With the 'coil-split', if the super rock pickups were originally wired up with only two leads, is it still possible to put new ones in with four leads?

All Humbucker pickups have four leads, at the pickup at least; an input and output for both coils. Many times the output of one coil is connected to the input of the next so only an in and out is sent down the cable to the controls. You can put new leads on your pickup, which isn't rocket science, but its pretty delicate surgery. I had to do this for the Futura project I'm waiting on because I wanted it to have coilcut switches, I'm man enough to say I had someone else do it.

You can use a modern four wire pickup in there regardless whether you want to have a coil cut switch or not, you just end up connecting the output of one coil to the input of the other. You guessed it, all the pickup companies use different color codes, so get your ohm meter out.

After looking more closely at the pictures, the bridge pickup could be stock on that new guitar of yours, I just don't remember them looking so gold, but it would be a lot of work for someone to unsolder and resolder that black cover. If you like the way the bridge pickup sounds, you could get away with just putting in a covered Neck pickup, aesthetics aside, that is how they would have looked when sold...

Welcome to the Forum, do you have any other Electra's or Japanese treasures already?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:04 pm 
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hey thanks for the welcome!

I've been thinking about putting a gibson 57 classic in the bridge, which is why I've been wondering about switching out the neck with the current pickup that's in the bridge (I would've liked to keep the neck position original), but now I think I might just start searching for another covered pickup to put in the neck position. I mean, there's always another 57 classic, but two of them will get pretty pricey, so I'd prefer something a little cheaper, or if I really like the sound of the guitar when I get it, then just a cover for the neck. Any opinions on how a 57 classic would sound in the bridge of a super rock? And what might be a good/cheaper neck pickup to compliment it?

Sadly I have no other electras (haven't even received my first yet :roll: ) but I do have a MIJ 77 Alvarez dove that I will keep until the day I die.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
I really like the GFS mean 90's. It's a humbucker sized P90. I put one in the neck of an Epiphone Firebird Studio and it sounds great - not good - great (to me anyway). http://www.guitarfetish.com/Mean-90-Gol ... c_133.html
I've also used GFS Classic II vintage alnico as a neck pickup in a Telecaster build. That's another nice pickup and I did coil split that. I don't think you'd want to split the P90 though.
Image
I just noticed this pic has the Squier Strat 7.5 degree radius neck I originally used - Since changed to a 9.5 degree Tele neck.


Last edited by Jead on Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:28 pm 
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thanks a lot! I checked out the link for the mean p90s, and I'm seriously considering that for the neck. I appreciate it!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:30 pm 
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So I got the guitar, and plugged it in thinking that since it was advertised as being 'fully operational and functioning as intended' that it would be. Guess not. Like I said before, I know next to nothing about electrics, but it appears to have a faulty input jack (the volume cuts in and out), and poor connections with all of the knobs (there's crackling every time I adjust one of the knobs, be it tone or volume, and adjusting any either volume know invariably makes the guitar cut out). I emailed the seller and complained, so I hopefully that gets me somewhere :roll:
I don't really want to send the guitar back, and I don't know how much it will cost to get the electronics fixed, but I have a hunch it will be a lot. I'm hoping he'll offer a partial refund, but I doubt it :(


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:29 pm 
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A $10 can of Deoxit will most likely solve your potentiometer and switch crackle, and frankly that's part of the deal (charm?) when seeking out 30+ year old guitars. The Output jack can most likely be cleaned or judiciously bent back into functionality, worse case that's a $5 part and 5 minutes with a soldering iron. The other weak link is the pickup switch, which often need cleaning or replacement.

I wouldn't be too bummed out about the deal, this is common with older Electrics and is very fixable. You should check out the 'repair and restoration' area if you want to see some basket cases brought back to life! We've all fell victim of the expectations vs. reality scenario when making long distance purchases... you get all jazzed about a purchase, which only builds as you wait for it to arrive, and then your heart sinks when you see the actual condition in person as opposed to the grainy camera phone photos. Thankfully, there are also those pleasant surprise box-openings too, so keep the faith.

How does the neck feel? What shape is the finish in? How do the Pickups sound when the output jack is behaving? Hang in there, Mike.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Thanks, I appreciate the consolation. And the advice :)
Yeah I'm going to bring it by a local shop tomorrow hopefully and get it all set up. The pickups are okay, not too great, but still okay. There's too much relief on the neck, but hopefully they're able to adjust that tomorrow (my biggest fear is that there's something wrong with the truss rod). The finish is not too bad, definitely a lot of scratches on the back, but the front's not in that bad of shape, and there's one nick on the side of the body, and several smaller ones on the back of the neck.
I mean, all in all, once I get it set-up nicely, and the electronics cleaned and working properly, I'll be more than happy with her.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:47 pm 
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That's the spirit! As Mike said most of the stuff you're talking about is really common and quite easy to fix. With a little googl-ing you can learn to fix just about anything. You can fix or re-wire that guitar with nothing more than a soldering iron and whatever parts you need. You can adjust your action and dial in your intonation with a couple screwdrivers and some patience. You get to learn a lot and save some bucks along the way. If you're taking the guitar into a shop ask them if you can watch as they do their work - they may just let you and you'll see there's not much that could be called rocket science.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:04 pm 
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Oh definitely. Yeah I plan on taking it to a guy who works right out of his house, so I'm sure he won't have a problem with me watching. I've done some research on installing pickups and such, but I wouldn't want to risk it with this guitar (plus I've never used a soldering iron before). I wouldn't hesitate to try it on a cheaper beater or something. And yeah, I can adjust the action no problem and intonate it fine. I actually converted an acoustic bass into a baritone guitar not too long ago, and I had to adjust the truss rod for that, but again, I just wouldn't want to risk messing something up with this guitar, especially with the truss rod being a little older. And I know; google is a life saver!

Thanks again


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