Opinions? Upgrading some old favorites.

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by BLD, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. BLD

    BLD Fast Is Fun!

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    Hello,

    I’m getting back into recording and writing heavy music, and am Thinking about upgading a couple of old 7s. They sound a little rough, but have been with me for decades and mean a lot to me. I’d like to do them some justice and get their best tone, and get rid of all the noise.

    The first started as an MIJ Ibanez RG7420. Since it was an early model it came with a 7620 neck! When the basswod body cracked at one of the trem studs, I ordered an Ibanez 7string AANJ replacement from Perle Guitars on Ebay (poplar body). This required a trem upgrade so I swung for the fence and ordered a new old stock Floyd from Germany. I don’t remember the model but it was very expensive and heralded as one of the best Floyds that fit the trem cutout on this body.

    The tone is better with the new body (stained and wipe on poly finish) and the new trem. More clear, less mushy and a great mid-range boost (helps get a hint of that Bloodbath/At The gates buzz saw tone). It still has a hint of buzz on high gain and the 5 way switch is noisy. The pickups have aged nicely, and while a little squelchy, they have some great character through a tube amp. If I replace them I am thinking of going with the Duncan Mark halcomb Alpha and Omega 7s. What 5-way switch and pots would you recommend for these? Should I foil wrap the cavity, and any grounding/bonding tricks to quiet the 60hz buzz?

    The second is a De Armond S67 (7-string SG copy). It’s a turd and makes a terrible crackle on high gain, but the tone this thing can carry... huge!!! I don’t think my Les Paul could match it even if it could do drop A.

    Should I foil wrap this one and upgrade the scratchy pots and 3-way switch only, or should I ditch the pups that may have developed nicely over the years??? Hard to gauge the tone with so much crackle and buzz...

    I can solder and am handy with a meter so any help is appreciated!
     
  2. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    I'd sand back the poly on the Ibanez and finish it with a really thin coat of nitro lacquer. Should improve the sound significantly! :coffee:
     
  3. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Only if you spray the finish while aligned with the Earth’s local magnetic field, while the moon is full and at it highest point, as long as the Sun is not within 30 degrees of its zenith.
     
    Zhysick and Lemonbaby like this.
  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    I always coat the electronics cavity in copper foil tape or grounding paint (if it hasn't been done already).
    CRL/Oak Grigsby/Dimarzio all make good 5 way switches, but if you're going to use a super switch like the dimarzio make sure you have enough room in the electronics cavity.
    3way/pots are scratchy? spray em with contact cleaner first, if it doesn't work, check the solder joints (shiny joints=good). barring that, replace them. Worst case you're out 10-15$ for better stuff.
     
  5. BLD

    BLD Fast Is Fun!

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    I know, I know everyone loves Nitro! I cannot spray and sand to my standards (or just don’t sand and polish enough) so I went with what I knew and love the feel more than my laquered guitars... It doesn't stick or get slick when I sweat, just feels smooth!

    I hadn’t thought about contact cleaner... I’ll try that and foil wrap both guitars first. Should I bond the pickup shields to the foil? Solder joints are good, already cleaned all those up lol.
     
  6. BLD

    BLD Fast Is Fun!

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    I have ordered some copper foil tape and will be treating the inside of my DeArmond S67 first. If I have enough left I will also treat my MIJ RG7420 mutt. After programming some custom patches in my new Pod HD Pro X (via my studio monitor headphones), my Ibby seems to need some foam in the trem springs more than anything else... My DeArmond however, crackles harder that Janice Joplin (even with up to 3 noise gates set to 60% and extensive EQing)... I will also take some contact cleaner to the pots and switches of both axes while they are apart.

    I’m going to hold off on new pups for now since I may have an opportunity to order a Kiesel DCM7 soon. Getting a sweet, custom top shelf sounds funner than polishing my existing 7-string turds... Kinda like buying a fast car (or motorcycle in my case) is almost always a better place to start than trying to make a slow ride fast, that also handles well...
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  7. BLD

    BLD Fast Is Fun!

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    It appears my humbuckers don’t actually buck the hum... I foil wrapped the control cavity, control cover and both pickup pockets on my S67. I made sure all the foil was bonded and grounded to my elecrronics as well. All grounds, shields and foil reads less than 1 ohm between any two points and still so much humm.

    What is strange is now the hum changes depending on where the guitar is pointed. It used to hum like crazy no matter where I faced, now moving around towards or away from other electronics, the hum seems to increase or decrease. It sounds like it’s the pickups themselves and they don’t look like something I want to pull apart to fix.

    I also put some foam in trem springs and the headstock of my Ibanez. While it killed a lot of the weird metallic ringing that comes through, it also killed some of the dynamics that are a part of my tone...

    On a positive note, using contact cleaner was the ticket on the noisy pots. They are silent and smooth now!
     
  8. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    You could try desoldering the wire that connects to the tip of the output jack, and placing a 470pF ceramic disc capacitor in series, then placing a 1 watt 5.6M ohm resistor between the tip and sleeve.

    Or in other words: take the wire off the hot lug, and solder it to one leg of the 470pF cap; solder the other cap leg and one leg of the 5.6M resistor to the hot lug; and solder the other resistor leg to the ground lug.
     

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