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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
Posts: 980
Location: Southern Indiana
Electra MPC guitars frequently are gutted when one breaks because they are complicated to work on (much more so than a regular guitar such as a Les Paul). So what do you do when you find you need replacement parts to restore an Electra MPC? I have been restoring them for at least 20 years now so I will tell you what I have learned. Maybe it will help you (that is my hope).

Please check the excellent McBrat/Higdon post on any questions on wiring, and here regarding parts first before asking on the forum because most MPC questions will be answered. This was the excellent information that led me to this site when I started on it a long time ago when Steve and others ran it. Some of this info was likely handed down from some others on the board too. I am sorry I am not thanking everyone that has contributed, except to say thanks collectively now. These are pretty well all my secrets, even though I have shared pretty well every one before I just never put them in one spot until now. Also, sometimes parts might require slight modifications to work, sorry, that is the price we pay for our hobby. But hopefully this will help you get you where you are going.

MPC Modules
Look for them on ebay, and in this forum, as well as get them sometimes with the guitars you purchase. The overdrive and phaser came with the guitars originally I have heard. They are by far the most common. There are 12 different ones, and some have multiple versions. The earliest were solid blocks of colored epoxy with a sticker on them. Some early phasers were in a blue plastic box. Most will be the beige molded plastic box. We all have our favorites, most agree the phaser is quite nice. You can find info on them here.

MPC Parts. These are some of the hardest to find.

Ebay or on our Forums
Very occasionally someone will sell the parts pulled out of an electra on ebay - it does not happen often and expect to pay a lot when it does. But if you get them they will be the right parts. It does not happen often. If you can get cheap then buy them. Also sometimes you can get a guitar for cheap that has been destroyed by shipping and buy for parts. Be careful, sometimes key parts are crushed in the process. Also, our parts section is a good place to look - someone might have some MPC parts in a drawer or a project piece they never got around to completing. MPCs are cool, but they are not for everyone (they are for us :D ).

5-way rotary 5 position 4-pole switches
Ebay has a cheap 5-way switch that will work for MPCs but it is not an exact match. You will have to determine the common or switched pole in each 4 sets of contacts and adapt the diagram online to match it (that pole will likely be in a different place or order). Also you will need a good lock washer and maybe even to trim the post if it sits too high.

Other 5-way rotary switches will work too, but this one is really a bargain. You just just need a 4-pole 5-throw switch and then to adapt the diagram to your switch. It takes work. If that link does not work you can find a solution. They just need to mount right and fit, and be adapted. All parts and other parts supply houses will likely have some too.

Large Flapper MPC switches
Next Radio Shack - if you still can find one or them online - carries the large "flapper" MPC switches. They were made in the 70s originally for mounting to a panel for things like putting fog lights on your jeep or things in my case on my old subaru brat back in the day (I digress). Anyhow it is a double pole double throw switch and way OVERKILL for the miniature amount or power required for this circuit, but it is exactly the right switch (probably made in china now rather than Japan but exactly the same design - maybe even the same tooling). Radio Shack part number is 275-0652 and the number on the part itself is R13-258 so you can search and find on your own.

Miniature DPDT switches
Some models such as the dickey betts or maybe the ultima use these to turn on and off the MPC modules instead of the flapper. I think GFS has them in black or chrome, and if not, you can still find this other places, maybe all parts or some similar supplier.

MPC blue sockets
I could not find originals, but you can do searches for original part numbers. I have found a couple replacements One is marked LW-S10A2G and was made in Japan. The main difference is you may need to drill a little hole on then ends to mount it, and this one has top and bottom contacts, but MPCs only use the bottom contracts. You can learn to wire from the diagram posted in this area. I might update with other model numbers too.

MPC cards
MPC cards can be bought to make your own MPC modules if you are adventurous. They came from Japan, and are labeled Sunhayato UK-10P-67 (also looks like 87 instead of 67, very hard to read). Don't ask me how to make one, this is if you are into making your own FX and want to make your own.

Input Jack
The input jack is a 1/4" stereo phone jack or plug. It uses the "stereo" lead to switch on the ground from the battery to the guitar's ground. Use a good one such as a switch craft if you can find one. This is used every time you plug in and out so don't skimp here.

Rotary Knob
This is referred to as a tear drop knob. I used to see these all over the place, but now they are hard to find in this size. I have bought some and they always seem to be the wrong size. So right now I only have vintage ones as a source. But I am confident some exist out there. Somebody find a source and I will publish. I black or cream "chicken head" knob will work in a pinch until you can find a right part.

1-5 Rotary Poker Chip
The only source I have now for these are vintage ones - right now I don't know anyone making replacements. These are like the rhythm/treble "poker chips" that are used by Les Paul copies except for the labels - the Electra's have 1 2 3 4 5 on them. I used to have a few vintage replacements but I don't any longer (and I can't get them). I have seen metal replacements that are black and don't really look right to me on ebay. If somebody finds a source I will publish but you are on your own.

Volume and tone pots
These should be 500K typical pots used in most Import Les Pauls and humbucker guitars. But I encourage you to actually check these pots because many Electras were shipped with 50K instead of 500K pots by mistake. If you have one of these, put in some good current 500K Audio pots and wire the same and you will greatly improve the sound. Otherwise the stock pots are usually fine and just clean them.

MPC pots
These are 150K pots. I think these are linear taper, but I have not checked. Hopefully you have them, because replacements are darn near impossible to find. I found that some "wah wah" pedal pots are 150K, but they would not have the right size or type of post for the knob. I found a few miniature pots on ebay before that worked. But I don't have a good replacement now. I will report back if anyone does. I suppose you could try a 200 or 250K linear if you can't find one, but I have not tried. Do a search for 150K pots or potentiometers on Ebay or Amazon. Look for Linear or "B" type tapers. Good luck.

Brass Nut
You can still find these from some parts suppliers and possibly on ebay. I have done this. So check the usual suspects such as Allparts or Ebay.

9V battery clip
These always get a short in them and need to be replaced. You can get them at Radio Shack, but radio shack is going out of business so I would look for them on ebay or electronic parts suppliers like mouser or where ever you go in your country. Also, you may have an old radio or device you no longer use in which you can clip out and reuse. Reuse stuff if you can, it costs nothing and it is one less thing to throw away.

Other Common Parts

Speed Knobs
Common speed knobs generally look like the originals - usually used back or gold depending on the model. Sometimes some metric replacements are a little tight, so if that happens you can slightly widen with a drill bit. US replacements have a different number of teeth in the part so they may not fit correctly. Buy the cheap ones from China and save some money.

Tuneomatic Bridge
Electras use a standard metric size tuneomatic bridge. Frequently the originals corrode and lock up. I have had to change a lot of them. Gotoh wider style and likely tonepros for metric bridges will work. Generally, you have to replace the posts and the bridge, not just the bridge. But generally, you do not have to do anything to the bushings in the body (good thing, most MPCs use a sustain block under the bridge, so you can't easily replace). I have gotten some nice ones from GFS as well and on ebay that looked like clones of the Gotoh. I'd say 75% of the larger metric styles will fit but you have to use the posts too.

Here I have had less luck finding a replacement that fits the electra posts and bushings. I have found that most metric replacements won't fit electra posts, nor will the replacement posts fit the electra bushings. So you wind up pulling the bushings and replacing with the new bushings and posts. You may have to drill out the holes slightly. You may have to trim the depth due to the MPC hollowed out section is underneath all of this. Proceed with caution. Also, you may get luck if you have a pile of old vintage parts or by going to a music store that does - as you know lots of people from that same time period used the same parts. Handle with care.

I have had to replace tuners on the LP styled guitars and generally go with Grover Rotomatics. Grovers were stock on some of the models. Grovers will generally fit the same holes with no mods and do as good or better job than the originals. They generally have the butter bean style key though if that bothers you. I generally go function over cosmetics here - preferring the Grovers. I expect you may be able to find a replacement gotoh or similar that has a single screw in the right location. Some GFS ones are pretty good.

Here it is a matter of personal taste. Most humbucker replacements will work fine if you use 4 conductor wiring with a separate ground and adapt it to the standard Electra wiring scheme. Electra pickups generally have a beginning and end leads with a separate ground. The ones in MPCs generally do not split coils. I'd describe most of the stock magnaflux pickups as typically vintage to slightly more output, not sure the supplier. There are exceptions such as the Ultima and Dickey Betts, those were Matsumoku made guitars with MMK53 or MMK45 pickups and are fairly hot with around 11-12K range and those pickups had single coil capability without the 5 way rotary. Still, wiring is pretty straightforward to adapt any current humbucker if the original is missing or you want some newer flavor of the month. Old pickups are generally good too. If they squeal feedback you can pot them and that generally fixes it. Newer pickups offer an advantage of F-spaced or Wider spacing for the bridge pickup, and normal spacing for the neck (if the model you chooses supports that) so you can match poles more correctly.

I suggest giving the originals a good try and don't immediately replace them - they are very good pickups and you will loose some collector value switching them out. If you have originals keep them so you can put back to original if you sell in the future. If you are looking for originals look on ebay for the models for your guitar. MMKs are listed under Electra, Westone, Aria and Vantage guitars. I have seen maganflux looking pickups under mainly Electra, but have some some similar on Univox guitars from the same era (but I have no experience to tell you if these are the same pickups).


PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:47 am
Posts: 1336
Location: Amarillo, Texas USA
Great source of information - appreciated -

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:32 pm
Posts: 4
:hyper: Cool Very Little Actvity theswe days eh...Just ordered twp replacement plapper toggles from Radio Shack as I have 76--77 X330 Sunburst Les Paul Copy all modules evrything works last time I played iy all modules all work buit brokr plastic flapper about 8 years ago ...I luv my MPC Paul still play a lot of Skynard ,Blackfoot Hatchet etc on it when I play it Southern Rock any one. The glory days of my youth bought the same guitar new at 17 $1500.00 ... just bought a STRAT for everyday playing - The Elctra is getting babied as i quickly approach 60 y/o glad to find some relevant info still available Thanks

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