|My customer, Nathan Moore, loves the way his Epiphone Casino plays, but he’s not so crazy about the sound of its pickups.||Published:|
June 7, 2012
|Nathan plays in a local band, Sport Fishing USA. Talking after one of their gigs, Nathan told me the pickups in this Epi are considerably overwound. They don’t give him the P-90 tones he feels the guitar should have. |
He wants to get that sound without sinking a lot of money into this guitar. We discussed whether to rewind the stock pickups or replace them. Nathan wanted to switch to Golden Age P-90s – Parsons Street model. They’d be perfect except that they’re soapbars, not mounted in dog-ear frames like his guitar’s pickups.
|Lucky break: As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to transplant a Parsons Street into a dog-ear frame if the polepiece spacing matches the holes in the cover. Here’s how I did a quick P-90 transplant:||6" Steel Rule|
|Out come the stock pickups|
They were soldered to their covers, but a quick hit with a soldering iron broke the joint easily:
|Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set|
|The bobbins unscrew from their metal frames|
I removed the two screws holding the dog-ear frame to the bobbin and unsoldered the ground wire:
|Parsons Street transplant|
Two screws held the P-90’s bottom plate, too. I took those screws out, but didn’t remove the plate:
|Golden Age P-90 Pickups|
|I left this plate on to show how simple this swap can be. Removing the plate would be no big deal: I’d just have to resolder a ground wire to the Epiphone’s dog-ear frame. But the P-90 screwed right onto that frame, baseplate and all. It fit tightly, with the metal plates establishing a good ground. Easy!|
Now it's time to solder the cover back on. Using a couple of spring clamps to hold the frame tight to the cover, I reflowed the solder joints that hold the cover and frame together.
|What about rewinding? |
The Epiphone’s neck pickup was way overwound, reading over 12k on my multimeter! It sounded super muddy. Modern Epi P-90 neck pickups use a different string spread than the bridge pickup, even though vintage Gibson P-90's are the same string spread for both neck and bridge positions.This means we can't transplant a Parsons Street P-90 in this dog-ear cover. The polepieces wouldn’t match the holes.
|Fieldpiece Digital Pocket Multimeter|
|The thing to do here is to rewind the stock pickup to get a more usable DC resistance. I cut the wire off the coil and broke down the parts. I underwound the coil with about 8,500 winds of AWG wire to give it more clarity and punch. ||P-90 Pickup Kits|
|It came out right around the high 6k range; that’s a perfect complement to the 8k Parsons Street bridge pickup.|
A little less power on the neck pickup has a balancing effect, since there’s so much more string motion at the neck position compared to the bridge.
|Schatten Pickup Winder|
|The P-90 transplant and the rewound pickup dropped right back into the guitar. They look factory, but they don’t sound factory. |
|Since I had the guts out anyway, I took this chance to redo this wiring harness with vintage push-back wire, CTS pots and a Switchcraft jack.|
Nathan’s stoked: his Casino is finally sounding the way it should. Rock it, man!
|CTS Control Pots|