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Thread: My first PB build - ES-1GT with modifications

  1. #1
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    My first PB build - ES-1GT with modifications

    Hi All

    Well, it is now official. I ordered an ES-1GT and according to Auspost it is currently in the air on its way to UK.
    Many thanks to Adam for his fast email responses to my questions and requests. He has chosen a kit with very nice flaming on the maple veneer.

    I set my heart on a Gibson ES335 style guitar and in fact have loved that shape since I was a kid - I am 67 now.
    My plan is as follows

    1. Gold hardware (in kit and ordered)
    2. Bigsby style vibrato (but I cannot justify a real Bigsby) (ordered)
    3. Roller bridge (ordered)
    4. Gold Warman hb pu's (ordered)
    5. Crimson Guitars Stunning Stains ----- Purple I think for the maple body. Not sure for the back ... maybe black??
    6. 2k Urethane clear coat (I spray this myself)
    7. Some airbrushed artwork on the back of the body (one of my other hobbies)

    This now leaves me with a couple of questions.
    I want to load the guitar as much as is reasonable so I am considering split coils on the hb's.
    Are they worth doing and what is the best gear to get?

    Tuners. Is it worth getting locking tuners? I have never really noticed a problem with my tuners but maybe this will add something to the guitar.

    Anyway, that is the plan. Any advice would be very welcome.

    I will update this thread with photos and comments on a regular basis.

    Cheers
    Ricky

  2. Liked by: Joe Garfield

  3. #2
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    I've found that split coil humbuckers aren't really worth it if they're low impedance. I had SD 59's and they were quiet and thin sounding when split. Vintage single coil pups are usually > 6 ohms, modern medium output single coils are 9-13 ohms. Vintage sounding humbuckers are ~7 ohms, so split in half you're only at 3.5 ohms which is basically half that of a vintage single coil.

    I'm not saying it won't work, and not saying it's not worth doing, but it may not sound and react the way you're hoping it would.

    I'm personally still doing it with my build, just for the experience, and in case I decide to change to a hotter pup in the future.

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    Hi Joe, Thanks for the reply.
    I know very little about pu's - just what I am reading on these forums really.
    I checked the humbuckers I have ordered. The neck is 7.07 (about what you said) but the bridge is 13.33 which suggests to me that it is ideal to split. (Am I right?)
    What can I expect is tonal variety if I do split the bridge pu? Or what should I be looking for?
    I ask this not for what I can play - I am fairly mediocre - more that the whole build will be an experiment and learning curve (albeit an expensive one).
    Thanks

  5. #4
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    I have a Dimarzio 36th anniversary PAF in my HSS G&L and yes, split it sounds like a thinner, weaker version of itself. I recent read of a wiring variation where instead of shorting one coil to ground in the split position, you put a resistor in the path to ground instead (something in the vicinity of 5k to 7k). So instead of the split position giving just one coil, it gets signal from around 1.5 coils instead. Fralin recommend it particularly for low output vintage humbuckers (like my PAF). See here, here, and here for more details.

    I haven't made this mod to my G&L, but I will try it soon before deciding whether to do the same thing on my in-progress TL-1TH.

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    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    Since your pickups have different impedances, you will likely find you want a different partial split resistance on each one. You could get a small piece of stripboard (3x2 or 3x3 depending on the type of trimpot) and solder a 10K trimpot in to each one, then solder wires to the board as well. This will be not much larger than a resistor and will fit inside the control cavity. But now you can dial in the amount of partial split, all the way from full split. Adjust by ear. Once you have a sound you like you could measure the resistance and replace with the nearest fixed resistor, or just leave the trimpot alone.

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    In that case I personally would do a traditional split of the hotter pup, and decide whether or not to experiment with resistor in the neck pup circuit.

    Iím doing the exact same Ďexpensive learning curveí project. I donít need split or parallel coils, but want the experience of building a guitar setup that way.

    Worst case is if you have coil split and you donít like it, you just donít use it. Itís really only an extra $5 for extra wire, push-pull pot, etc.

  8. #7
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Garfield View Post
    In that case I personally would do a traditional split of the hotter pup, and decide whether or not to experiment with resistor in the neck pup circuit.

    Iím doing the exact same Ďexpensive learning curveí project. I donít need split or parallel coils, but want the experience of building a guitar setup that way.

    Worst case is if you have coil split and you donít like it, you just donít use it. Itís really only an extra $5 for extra wire, push-pull pot, etc.
    Same here. Because I didn't like the sound I rarely use the split position on my G&L. To be honest, I rarely leave the neck/middle position anyway

    But yes, part of the fun for me with the kit is the freedom to experiment. That's why I will be doing the trimpot partial split mod to both humbuckers in the BlueyCaster.

  9. #8
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    Thanks guys - excellent comments.
    I have some vero-board lying around somewhere and I am sure I can butcher a redundant circuit board for the resistors and trim pots so only the cost of a push-pull!

    Now I can practice some electronics and see what results I get.
    I have to do some fretwork on my daughters SG that I built for her so I will try the new PU's and splits in that when they arrive.

  10. #9
    Looking forward to seeing how this one turns out! Sounds great, Ricky.

  11. #10
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
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    I am very interested to see how it goes. At the rate I am moving on my kit, you will probably hit the wiring stage before I do. I will be at least another month because my limited spare time keeps getting distracted by other projects (such as several DIY effect pedal builds).

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