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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:36 am 
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Location: Southern Indiana
Most 935s do have MMK 53s - but mine has MMK 45s in it and I am convinced they are original. I still think mine might have been a NAMM, employee, or endorsement deal guitar though - because it is more figured than normal (on the front and the back). I didn't check the black 935 I had before my friend bought it off me, but I just assumed it had 53s.

I replaced the pickups in some of my Electras and Westones, and kept the originals in some. I encourage people to give the originals a good listen to before considering changing them, and to possibly pot them if they feedback too much (and not to, if they don't). I used to pot all of them, but unpotted pickups can sound a little more lively and brighter - and that can be lost in the potting process. I also say consider keeping the original pickups and parts if you take them out, the guitar is always worth more to collectors if it is as original as possible. These used to not have great collector value, but now they do and given a normal economy, they will continue to go up. But it is your guitar so do what makes sense to you. After all, if you play it, it should sound the way you want it to. That way you will just play it more and more. My collector friends will cringe. But I am generally a fan of aftermarket and boutique pickups, and my Gibsons, Fenders, and more expensive guitars generally have replacement pickups in them and I think they sound and play better as a result. I have become a big fan of high quality locking tuning keys too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:44 am 
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Right on, certainly keep the originals and give them a good chance first.

There's something about keeping your guitar totally stock, using it the way it was designed to be. If it was well designed, that is. However if it was designed with cost being the absolute primary motivator, then that's a different story. Then it has no soul. :roll:

I'll have some of my original Electra pups potted so I can use them live.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:59 am 
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I generally agree.

There have been some very cheap guitars with terrific sounds in them though. Sometimes their cheapness is part of the reason they sound so good. I am thinking of old danelectros for instance - they sound fantastic, but just about everything about them is cheap and budget. Cheap can really sound good. It usually takes a good player to bring that to peoples attention. But, as you infer, cheap can really be pretty bad too!

But generally speaking, electra guitars were built pretty well. Even with all the innovation they had, they still are a product of their time. Pickups were not generally potted back then - so they weren't. They didn't have locking keys back then. Boutique pickups were new back then, pretty well Dimarzio owned the game. So Electra copied that look along with others and wound their pickups hotter and put ceramic magnets in them. They had the BRASS saddles in some, and brass nuts in some models - all a product of the late 70s and was innovative at that time (people were ripping out the real PAFs and putting in dimarzios, and replacing that bridge and nut with brass ones because it "created more sustain").

They had cheap models that frequently were still pretty nicely made, but maybe had the covered keys instead of nice sealed one. But there were a LOT cheaper and crummier guitars being made during that time. Even Gibson LPs at that time had sandwich bodies that weighed about 10-12 lbs, junk "machine gun" cases that would snap your headstock off if it took a hit in the front, and LOTS of bad wood and finish issues. Not that you can't find a good one, but it is a lot harder.

Now we have a LOT more options we didn't have then, and we want some of those on our vintage electras. Kind of what the new electra company is doing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:25 am 
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There's nothing cheap about any of the Electra's Ive had, top quality parts and now both have brass bridges and nuts, but even some high end guitars pickups may be mediocre pickups and even wiring compared to what's available, not everyone wants paf's or super distortions but you have a choice and IMO these guitars are not devalued by a competent pickup change and correct pot values for that matter.

I really don't believe in the weakening magnet theory either, and if they do weaken is it that reason original PAFs are more sought after ?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:05 pm 
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I agree - don't believe in the degausing theory either. Alnicos are fairly permanent, so under normal circustances they don't lose much power - I think I read and old one might lose a fraction of 1% - that isn't much. If you get a magnet very hot it will lose magnetism (such as by grinding on magnets), or if you expose it to another magnet it may too. But otherwise, it will tend to stay the same. I do imagine they can be charged to different strengths to begin with and maybe that is part of the magic, as well as the size and material.

Changing out magnets does make a difference for certain. I have experimented with "magnet swaps" in some pickups.

I think the PAF magic is a combination of things, the wire, the bobbin shape, the windings, the insulation, the magnets, the poles, the type of metal in the poles, the shape of them, and the bottom plate also makes a difference. The tension of the wire and the potting, and how deeply saturated the potting material is. It probably helps to have a good luck charm too. But some of the boutique ones are pretty darned good. Not potting makes a PAF a LOT LIVELIER - a difference you can hear. You are right, not everyone wants a PAF. It can sometimes be dramatic, like the difference between a solid body and a hollow body - one rings a little more than the other. This is part of the reason why people sometimes want OLD dimarzios for instance - the big difference between a vintage Super Distortion or PAF and a new one is the old ones were not potted.

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