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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:05 pm 
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Hi to all,

I am a French newbie here both for the guitars and the Electras in general.
I bought this Outlaw x720 (with Octave & Flanger modules) for a relative.
I want to offer it to him for a special occasion.
As you can see on the picture, it has been badly modified (or butchered I would say).

Image

From the other x720 pictures I could find on the net, it seems to me the neck pickup has been removed and replaced by the bridge pickup.

My intent is to revert this x720 back as much as possible to its original state as I believe it truly deserves.

Would someone be so kind with providing me the x720's pickups specs (the famed Super Magnafluxes?) ? Or where I could get the one I miss... and possibly how to wire them (does the MPC 5 way rotary switch wiring schematic that one can find on this forum apply to my model?)
I understood that Matsumotu pickups are quite close.

Thanks in advance for your help!
:)

F.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:49 pm 
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Mate, I can't help you - but there are many in here who can, and will!!! - but I'm just glad to see another foreigner on the board!!

Vive la belle France!!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:35 am 
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The neck pick up also looks to have been changed as the original super magnaflux has a different edge on the pickup. The pickups do show up on ebay often and one of our member may have the correct originals. The pick guard looks original except for all the holes and that can be fixed via a trace of the original and someone cutting a new pickguard. Be certain to check the MPC connectors and make certain they are original as that would be the most work to restore. The mat pickups are an excellent replacement pickup and that might be what is in the neck position now. You can look on the bottom side of the pickup for the MMK mark. Welcome to the forums and I will keep an eye out for a set of pickups for you. :up:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:15 pm 
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Guys,

Thanks for the warm welcome. :D

Today, I took a little time to dismantle the x720.
The 5 way rotary switch is disconnected but all the wires look OK to me as far as I can see (as per the MPC diagram).
The pickup is unnamed but ink-marked 27025 S on its back side and is directly wired to the pots.

Image

I take the advice and will look at the MPC wiring to see if it has been tampered with.

If anyone has a set of original pickups and are willing to part with them, they can make someone happy :)

F.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:27 pm 
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Yes that pup is a replacement but may be a Japanese maxon pickup from an earlier LP style Ibanez or Electra. Hard to say. Looks like from the point the wire was cut it was just a pick up swap. The original wire to MPC connectors would have been that color. MPC connectors should be blue and have some small writing in silver or black on them. Glad to hear the 5 way is still in place. :up:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:04 pm 
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That pickup could be the original bridge pickup. There would have been a black cover with two big openings over the coils originally, look at any good photo of a unmodified MPC guitar. The gobs of solder on the bracket indicate that something was on there at sometime.

A quick description of Electra pickups are in order, and since you're new to the brand that is understandable. Basically, 'Magnaflux' and 'Super Magnaflux' are just marketing terms, all of the pickups seen in Electra's can be found in other Japanese guitars of the period, notably Matsumoku made examples.

Early Electra's had Maxon pickups in them (as well as others) and they can be identified by the Maxon logo faintly stamped on the bottom plate. Probably around '73 we start seeing the pickups that you have there with a five digit code (most likely a dating production code of some sort), and these were used in many of the MPC's, regardless if they had zebra coils, solid black pairs or gold/silver covers on them. These 'serialized' pickups are found in other Electra's as well.

Around 1980 we start seeing the MMK pickups (MMK45's, MMK53's, as well as others), these pickups were made by Matsumoku, or at least designed by and exclusively produced for them. The Outlaws were discontinued around '79 or '80, and I personally doubt any had MMK's in them. There were only a handful of MPC guitar models made after 1980, the most common are the X960 Ultima and X930 Dot neck Vulcans. The Ultima I used to own had MMK45's in it, I've never seen inside a dot neck Vulcan, but they probably had MMK's.

To recap, those five digit 'serialized' pickups are found in many of the '75 to '79 MPC guitars.

If you could include a photo of the control cavity (pots and switches) we can see if yours has the correct value pots installed (500k ohm), about a third of them seemed to have been shipped with 50k ohm pots, which I can attest make the guitars sound dark and muddy (high end attenuated).

Finally, keep in mind that the MPC modules were pretty primitive circuits, this was the mid 70's after all. It is totally normal to hear a volume loss when engaged, and all of the 'booster' circuits (Power Overdrive, Dynamic Fuzz, Frog Noise) added a noticeable amount of hiss when engaged. Curiously, despite these drawbacks, they continue to go up in price. They are admittedly fun to play around with, but most players prefer to use stomp boxes frankly. It was one of those ahead-of-it's-time ideas that never really took off. Best of luck, and keep us up to date as you restore it!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:23 pm 
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A quick addendum here, none of the Electra pickups were waxed or 'potted', so they will squeal at high volumes or amp settings with lots of gain. Some owners aren't affected by it, but at the Neanderthal levels I play at, it becomes very noticeable. You may want to weigh your options while you have the guitar basically disassembled now. If you have them waxed you could lose some ultra high frequencies, and some 'purists' may consider it undesirable. However, if you want to play them live, it's almost a requirement.

Lastly, the Bridge and Neck pickups have basically the same resistance (serialized or MMK's), and there is a significant drop in output with the Bridge pickup (because the strings don't vibrate as much that close to the bridge). This is why modern guitars almost always have a hotter pickup near the bridge, to compensate for this bit of physics, and why it is so common to see the Bridge pickup replaced on this era Rock Warriors. Cheers, Mike.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:14 pm 
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Cool info.... thanks for that, Mike! i love learning new stuff!

(Slight hijack!) On an Electra note, I bought my X195 to the inside rack today to join a Vantage 696-12, Westone Genesis II and Vantage VA30 acoustic... it looks right at home!!
(hijack over... sorry, Franzy!)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:24 pm 
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Thanks for the info Mortarman & Mike,

I opened the two cavities to take a quick picture tonight.
The MPC connectors look original but the pots installed are the 50k not the 500k...

Image

By the way, does anyone know the "correct" resistance range for these pickups?
I'll try to find a multimeter to see if I get some readings.

F.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:25 pm 
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corsair wrote:
(hijack over... sorry, Franzy!)


No offence taken :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:21 pm 
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Location: Southern Indiana
I am away from home for work, so I can't check the ones I have. My estimation is that they were around the 8K range, maybe a little more or less.

Later MMK pickups (which these were NOT) were around the 10-11K range. The bridge pickup usually had an partial cover, covering the sides of the pickup but no the top - and it was a brass like material painted satin or flat black. The set of non-adjustable poles were typically square too. The neck model was usually fully covered. I am not certain because it has been a while, but those neck ones might be covered versions of the bridge one (with the square poles underneath the cover). One thing I also recall, once the cover was removed they would basically fall apart. So those models were not likely to have the cover removed. I am remembering a lot of this from a LONG time ago. So I invite my friends to correct me.

But if you put in a good set of vintage PAF-output pickups you will get pretty close to the original sound and output. I think the square metal poles on the "slug" side would make the pickups maybe a little more output and a little brighter - possibly. But a good uncovered PAF type pickup sounds great and right. The only thing that is different about these as far as the wiring goes is they are full humbuckers, with the ground wire separated from the beginning and ending wire of the humbucker. So it is a 3-conductor pickup, basically a regular humbucker with an isolated ground. So you can get a typical 4-conductor pickup - wire it as a humbucker tying the two middle wires together as you would normally do and then tape them off. That would leave you with a ground and the two wires. Then you wire them as it shows in the MPC wiring diagram.

It sounds more confusing than it really is... I hope you can follow me. But a 4 conductor dimarzio or duncan (or whatever good pickups you have available to you in france, possibly a tonerider?) will work fine. You just have to substitute the new pickup wiring for the old electra supermagnum in the diagrams.

I hope you can follow! :up:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:26 pm 
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Hey, replace those pots with some newer metric style pots such as bourns or alpha, or chinese ones will work too (just get the similar sized ones and not the smaller ones). Wire them exactly like your picture. Only change the first two 50K pots, NOT the 150K ones (not the second two that go to the modules). Leave those 150K pots alone.

Your knobs should fit perfectly on the modern metric replacements.

Good luck!

:)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:03 pm 
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I was going to say that same thing... to keep the 150 pots! Hard to find them!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:20 pm 
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The pot issue was a mistake seen often and I would replace those but keep the two that control the MPC modules(150K). MPC compartment looks original and good from what I an see. You will find new pots give a much better tone and are not so muddy as the 50K pots. :up:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:35 pm 
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So basically now the way forward for me is:
1. Change my two 50k pots,
2. Find a good set of PAF humbuckers (not necessarily old Electra SMs or MMKs) and install them,
3. Find another pickguard to replace the damaged one,
And then, it should be good to go :)

Thanks guys for taking time to give me some good advice.


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