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Old 11-02-2007, 06:41 PM   #102
J Kennedy
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: ocean mists
Posts: 858
Default Gibson modification


Two pickup humbucking Gibsons even look great and minimally hacked from the outside in spite of a comprehensive mod. They already have enough knobs, and only one switch needs to be added unless you want to go nuts. That is the DPDT phase switch, which goes gracefully in the center of the 4 knobs. Stretch two rubber bands across the pot posts to get dead center for the drill.

You have to unsolder and take the cover off one of the pickups if you want to rephase, because the ground wire is internally soldered to the casing. Least noise is accomplished by routing the hot and ground wire just outside the cover and picking up the wires with thin double lead coaxial with the braid grounded to the casing (Radio Shack deluxe). You can cover the joint with some good electrical resistance RTV. Gibson grounds their body cavities better than Fenders, so minimal extra tin foil is needed to quiet things down.

Only one pickup has to be taken apart to switch phase. Connection and wiring of the DPDT is the same as with the strat. Ground all casings together. You can go overboard by adding DPDT and pots to one of the internal coils as well. DPDT should be center off if you do this extra route so you can run the humbucking as a single coil taking one coil out of the circuit. You get some very strange sounds when phase canceling coils so close together.

The idea is to use one knob as master volume, one as master tone, one for blend and one for a variable Telecaster rolloff, which in essence acts like a treble boost when the volume control is not all the way open.

I always used the nearest knob for volume, the knob right below as mixer, upper right for tone and the lower right for the Tele filter. You will notice that this setup allows you to get a specific ratio of pickups in any phase and turn the master volume up and down without altering the ratio. You can’t do this on a stock Gibson since raising or lowering volume in the standard configuration changes the proportional gain of the pickups. The only way you can keep a certain mix is to turn the amp up or down which is a drag.

Graphic is attached. This will radically change the Gibson. This design can be used as a prototype for other guitars. Last advice is that with the new Neodymium magnets available, the pickups themselves can be given a major overhaul as well. Humbuckings are okay stock, but they have an inferior magnet system and don’t output their real tonal quality and gain potential. Replace the inert poles with real magnets and change the bar to a Neodymium class N42 or greater. Now you have a real pickup to get full advantage of the mod.

Best to all,
John K

Maxed Out is a pix of a Gibson I went overboard with. Sounds great when I can remember what all the switches are for. The small double coil selects either coil and mixes the coils in and out of phase (at the expense of excess hardware). Went back to simpler designs after this creation.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Gibson.jpg (64.3 KB, 289 views)
File Type: jpg Maxed Out.jpg (72.2 KB, 308 views)

Last edited by J Kennedy; 11-03-2007 at 12:56 AM.
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