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Thread: Pickup swap from hell.....

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    Pickup swap from hell.....

    I've just had an '69 335 in for a pickup swap and it's taken an unbelievable amount of time and effort due to the knobs being epoxied onto the pots. Who the hell thinks that was a good idea? That's a real trap for the next guy (which happened to be me). Pretty much a full day just to remove the knobs without breaking them or damaging the rather fragile finish, and two hours to restore the plastic bosses so they can be refitted. Am I glad to see the back of that one.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I don't care what vintage or how collectible a guitar is. If the knobs were epoxied to the pot shafts I would put some reasonable effort into trying to crack the knob off and then tell the customer that the knobs and pots were going to need replacement. Then I would destroy the knobs rather than spend "a full day" saving them (without even knowing if it was going to take longer). If the customer bought the guitar then they could take it up with the seller. If they, themselves did the epoxy work then it's just come uppins. You could probably buy actual vintage pot and knob pulls for the cost of a days labor and save yourself the effort.

    Glad you managed it though because you clearly wanted to keep this instrument original very badly.

    EDIT: Can we assume that the "pickup swap" did not devalue the vintage originality of the instrument? I'm just wondering how much value was preserved by the extra effort on the knobs.?.

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    Last edited by Chuck H; 11-10-2019 at 01:38 PM.
    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Original knobs are fairly pricey in the UK - something like £200 and often needing to be imported from the USA. A better bet would be just to fit new, but the customer wanted to retain the originals. The guitar was bought quite a long time ago in the 90s, so no seller comeback. I think I let a battle of wills get the better of me. My usual MO would be to saw down the side of the knob and crack off the remnants, but the guitar has celebrity history so I guess that's part of the reason to keep it intact. Apart form the pickups, which are too microphonic for live use but rather than do anything with them they'll be wrapped up and kept with the guitar so the next guy can decide what to do.

    Financially I'd have been better off delivering pizzas.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    Financially I'd have been better off delivering pizzas.
    Well that's certainly the case with every amp I've built The upside is the experience and the right to say you did it I guess.

    "I remember when I worked on (insert celebrity name)'s guitar..."

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    I checked the serial number and confirmed with the owner that the guitar is a '67, not '69. He's delighted though that the original knobs and pots got retained, so it was worth the effort. The pickups are pre T-top, which I thought a bit late for a '67 and over here they fetch an extraordinary price these days - probably a third or more of the value of the guitar.

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    So how did you get them off?

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    DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

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    A combination of wedges made from FR4 which were inserted from oppsite sides and then two levers used at right angles to the wedges. Two knobs came off with levers made from FR4 strips but I used a pair of endpin extractors for the other two. I could see the skirts flexing at first so made up a split washer that located in the recess under the skirt to concentrate force more towards the centre. I'd masked off the body and then laid on thin strips of FR4 to lever against. I also tried repeated warming and freezing to try to break the bond but decided this could damage the finish so didn't proceed. I worked around the knobs and left wedges in place to keep pressure on while gently levering each one in turn. I'd already tried string, the cloth trick, an extractor that I have that previously always worked and in the end it just came down to persistence with applying pressure for long enough. The two most difficult ones sure came off with a crack when they let go.

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    I admire your persistence. I think I would have told the owner that it couldn't be done, and I'd have to cut them off.

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    DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

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    How do you access to the inside ? I saw once the build of a 335 clone, and the guy put the electronic before gluing the top or the back to the rest of the guitar. It's quite risky, if you missed a wire ...

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tepsamps View Post
    How do you access to the inside ? I saw once the build of a 335 clone, and the guy put the electronic before gluing the top or the back to the rest of the guitar. It's quite risky, if you missed a wire ...
    They are serviceable. You have to remove components to solder to them. This requires tools that reach into the f-hole but for near components you can sometimes secure them with your fingers enough to loosen the nut. Usually there isn't enough lead wire to pull a single component so ALL the pot's and switches need to be removed. Then you would map placement and redo everything in harness fashion so that it's a little easier to locate holes. Then the tools (or your fingers for near pots) hold things in place while the nuts are re tightened. It's a pain in the (BEEP!).

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Edit: The one thing I do different is run the strings through the holes and f-hole before tying them to the parts. I find it easier to fish them through.

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    Last edited by The Dude; 12-06-2019 at 01:39 AM.
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    That string trick was (no way) filmed one take But it's clever. I like it.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    A 335 has a routed section at the side of the bridge pickup that gives access to the body cavity. I attach strong dental floss to each pot shaft before removing the entire harness through the access hole and then cut these off and tape them out of the way to use when reinstalling. Sometimes minor work can be carried out through the F hole and I always mask around the hole to prevent damage. I have a neat tool with a serrated gripper that holds the output socket while the nut is tightened. Gibsons are (were) wired up without much slack and the PVC sleeving to the output goes rigid with age. Also, the leads to the original caps can be quite fragile - especially if the guitar has been worked on many times before. You want to try your best to preserve as much as possible of an elderly instrument.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post


    Edit: The one thing I do different is run the strings through the holes and f-hole before tying them to the parts. I find it easier to fish them through.
    What a mess ! Here no special cavity !
    I would prefer this one !
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