Author Topic: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?  (Read 7918 times)

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Online tobyjenner

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PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« on: May 19, 2017, 06:58:59 pm »
Dropped off my Washburn HB32 and Fender T-Bucket for their first set ups today and was talking to the guys in the shop about bringing in my Roadhouse Deluxe Strat and my aging Squier Affinity, which hasn't been touched in 21 years, next month !!

On the way home from Rennes, I got thinking if I should give the Affinity a bit of a boost. Its always played well in my hands (?) but compared to my pucker Strat lacks character, so I got thinking about getting the PUPs swapped when it gets a service. So I guess the question is should I bother ? As it was a 40th birthday prez from the missus it has sentimental value, so I'd never junk it and it came in handy for Bridge of Sighs recently. :)

Looking at Thomann I can get various Seymour Duncan PUPS for around 60-65 euros each, so a budget of 150-200 pre fitment would seem reasonable - the shop I use in Rennes has reasonable rates compared to the UK, set up (strings extra) is 24 euros for acoustic and 40 euros for electric - so I can't see having new PUPs fitted would be that expensive (no I would not consider doing my self!).

So any recommendations for an aging Squier that will mainly be sued for Blues and Rock (hard rock planet rock yardee yah) ?

Gauge wise as I've got 9s on the proper Strat (well MIM at least) I was think about putting 10s on the old dog. Can't see it making that much difference but may help the tone a little, who knows. I've gone this way on the Washburns, 9s on the HB30 and the HB32 comes back with 10s. So at  least I'll get a feel for playing 10s before I decide what to do with the aging "strat".

Anyway before I just ramble on - oops another for the bucket list there - any guidance advice would be sorely welcome, as I'm as tech savvy as a turtle playing drums. All comments welcome.

Thanks in advice, for anyone still awake..................

Cheers

Toby 8)

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Online tobyjenner

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 07:00:42 pm »
that will mainly be sued for Blues and Rock

Freudian slip but probably true with my playing !!!
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Offline DarrellW

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 08:19:25 pm »
These would be nice, I've been looking at the Tele equivalent for my Tele!
https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_noisless_set_strat.htm
Or maybe the hot ones.
https://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_vintage_hot_noiseless_pickupset.htm

Offline Joerfe

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 08:21:47 pm »
Sounds like a good idea to have the pups changed.
I had a pair of Seymour Duncan Vintage Tele pups in my Fender Mex Tele and that swop is great for that old rock and roll/rockabilly sound. And with the right amp settings she also squeels like on a 70'ties hard rock lp.
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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 11:29:08 pm »
Cost of wiring the pickups will vary from country to country, and depends on how tidy and/or quick your tech works.
On average it'll be €25-€30 per pickup, although most shops will do 'package deals'where you pay less if you get a set and buy the pickups from them, or if you get two or more installed at the same time.
I'd not blindly go and buy ANY pickup though, i'd really read up on brands, types etc.
Suggestions, ranging from cheap to 'boutique' (aka expensive as xx--xx);

First we have http://www.irongear.co.uk/ a set of these would cost you as much as, or sometimes less than a single Seymour Duncan, and quality has been reported as good to great, i had a set of Metal Machines in a cheap Les Paul clone, did fine for gigs where i didn't want to bring my more expensive guitars.
There's also Bulldog pickups, which are in a close price class, but the official site seems to be down for me, so here's their facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bulldog-Pickups/
Bulldog is run by an apprentice of Tim Mills, who's company you'll see listed a little further down.

Then there's the big brand names, http://www.dimarzio.com/ , http://www.seymourduncan.com/ , http://www.emgpickups.com/ , varying prices and varying choices, generally more expensive, but very tried and tested, not as expensive or as special as boutique stuff though, and generally less customisation possible, in case that's your thing.

And then we get to boutique, with pricerange to boot;
First off, http://www.lacemusic.com/ the (in)famous lace pickups, well known among Fender owners for their Sensor pickup line.
Not my choice of pickup, tone wise, but very decent.
Then we move on to http://www.fralinpickups.com/ , also very well known, and very pricey, but worth it to some.
And on to http://jbepickups.com/ , don't have much experience with these, but The Boss used (and perhaps still uses) Joe Barden pickups, and that seems like a good enough recommendation in my book... YMMV though.

And then we got to the last one i'll mention here, and still my personal favorite, despite their VERY heft pricetag : https://www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk/
Run by Tim Mills (told you we'd get to him  ;) ), they were one of the first boutique pickup companies to do a rather broad range of pickups suited to all styles, and in contrast to some other companies, their staff is more than willing to give you suggestions based on what you're looking for, and you can even ask the man himself, he may take a (work)day or so to respond, but i've yet to see him not answer.
They're expensive as hell, handmade to order if ordered directly, often hard to come by unless you order directly, and despite all that, i'm still the proud (and happy) owner of two of their sets, where i've gotten rid of plenty of other pickup brands in the past.

Of course, i'm a 'tone snob' according to some, so caveat emptor  8)

Offline DarrellW

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 09:26:15 am »
One thing I would add is, have you shielded the cavity and upgraded the Pots and 5way switch and jack socket? If not spending on expensive pickups might not be a good idea.
You need to budget for that sort of work in your upgrade if you want to make a good job of it, it's these components that are always inferior quality on cheaper instruments so need to be upgraded if you intend to spend on pickups.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2017, 02:51:31 pm »
If you want to go noiseless, I would go Kinman.

I would stick with 9s  or even go to 8s.

Many of the pickups on the Squire strats sound the same. Just that bright brittle ceramic magnet sound.

Get a set of SDs and don't look back. If it plays well physically it will end a much better guitar. If you want to spend more money you can.

The Fralin P90s sound great but that's a different story.

I too have been doing a little bit of guitar altering....... so been listening to lots of pickups. The one thing I find consistent are the cheap ceramic pickups... and they are not horrible, but you really only need one guitar with them and a lot of other pickups sound better.. less edgy.


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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 12:53:48 pm »
Guys thanks very much on the info and advice. Must admit many of these are probably out of my price range, especially when you consider I'm upgrading something which actually cost less or about the same as it did back in the mid 90s !

I certainly found the Irongear website interesting but need to do some more digging.

One thing that struck me looking at other comments on the web about upgrades, is the apparent lack off unity when it comes to changing pots caps etc in respect of what Darrell said.

One thing I would add is, have you shielded the cavity and upgraded the Pots and 5way switch and jack socket? If not spending on expensive pickups might not be a good idea.
You need to budget for that sort of work in your upgrade if you want to make a good job of it, it's these components that are always inferior quality on cheaper instruments so need to be upgraded if you intend to spend on pickups.

I've not got the technical knowledge to make a judgement on this but there's as many folks saying you don't need to do this, as there are who say you should. Just wondered what the consensus was here ?

As an aside I actually spent about 40 odd minutes last night, setting up a base setting on my Mustang with the Affinity plugged in. Just playing my "known" chords over and over, tweaking and adjusting things until I settled on a nice overall sounds. So looks like a good amp setting works just as well, hey but I'll have a think on what route to take before the starts go to the shop.

Thanks again for the help guys.

Cheers

Toby
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 05:13:11 pm »
If your see those guitars I have laying there. My friend has 4X that easily. He doesn't shield anything.

Kinmans, shielding is a waste of money. None of the guitars in that photo are shielded and they all sound pretty damn good through his Ampeg.

Oh the SG laying there... we just redid that. 60s Japanese pickup,, unshielded and microphonic. We both like the way it sounds.

The pots on the cheap guitars can be those little cheap things. A good CTS pot is only a couple of dollars. A cap is under a dollar. So yeah, you might as well put some nice controls in it.

If you like the way the guitar feels and plays, then that's what I meant... putting new pickups will take it to another level. If you don't like the way it plays then forget about it. Even if it sounds good you won't play it.

BTW, shield if you want to .. I didn't mean to say don't shield, but it's certainly not a must do type deal.

Guitar Fetish has a lot of discounts and blems. You might find some pickups there cheap.

Pots, pickups, switch and cap... IF... you really like the way the guitar plays. Yes, you spend more on those items than the whole guitar. But it will sound and play like 3X the money. If you want your money back, remove the pickups and sell them. They will always have good resale value.
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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 06:49:20 pm »
Thanks for that TB.

Yes I still love to play it after all these years, so it would be good to bring it to level someone where near my year old Roadhouse Deluxe. I'll be going back to the shop later this week, so I'll try and talk to the guys there about these upgrades (my tech French is eh rudimentary at best!) but I should be able to get by and at least get an estimate for labour+set up if I furnish the parts. Probably won't be for another 5 or 6 weeks, so I can have a look for what's out there etc.

By the way great collection you have there ! Will drop a mail re Trower in the next couple of days, really appreciate the info and links you sent me.

Cheers

Toby
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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 06:14:57 pm »
Shielding helps with lower quality pickups, old pickups, and some types of interference, but it really varies.
Some guitars really benefit from it, others don't need it.
My cheap-ass Epiphone Les Paul has absolutely no shielding whatsoever, my ESP EXP (no, not a typo, i got my hands on a pre-lawsuit EXP) needed to have all cavities fully shielded because otherwise it would pick up a boatload of 'noise'.
The reverse is true with my no brand Strat versus my Fender Strat, cheapo needed shielding out the wazoo, my early 2000's U.S. Strat just works without any shielding.

Another source of noise on (older) guitars is the wax inside them getting too old and brittle, or having no wax-potting whatsoever...
Feedback, radiosignals, the whole 9 yards.

@TB-AV : i knew i was forgetting a brand, now i know which one : Kinman  :-[
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 07:08:23 pm by Dan Graves »

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 07:12:55 pm »
Shielding helps with lower quality pickups, old pickups, and some types of interference, but it really varies.
Some guitars really benefit from it, others don't need it.
My cheap-ass Epiphone Les Paul has absolutely no shielding whatsoever, my ESP EXP (no, not a typo, i got my hands on a pre-lawsuit EXP) needed to have all cavities fully shielded because otherwise it would pick up a boatload of 'noise'.
The reverse is true with my no brand Strat versus my Fender Strat, cheapo needed shielding out the wazoo, my early 2000's U.S. Strat just works without any shielding.

Dan

Many thanks for that. Been having a side bar chat with TB but having looked at the Irongear site I really like the idea of their Smoke Stack IIs. As these are double coiled I'd have to upgrade pups to push/push (yeah push/pull perhaps but push/push seems simpler) and a new cap to match. I'm going to work all this out in French and ask what they'd charge to fit and set up with a new scratch plate, when I go back later this week.

http://www.irongear.co.uk/irongear_pickups_032.htm
http://www.axetec.co.uk/guitar_parts_uk_053.htm
http://www.axetec.co.uk/guitar_parts_uk_049.htm
http://www.axetec.co.uk/guitar_parts_uk_054.htm
http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec_media/spst01-grey_pearl-v4-1000.gif  if back in stock

about £120 (140 euros) all in with postage.


If its OTT I've thought about learning to solder and doing it myself - old dog new tricks ! But seems like a good way of spicing up the aging Squier ! Lets face it, I'm a home player and can't see myself in a band at my age so no point in going over the top. 

Cheers

Toby
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Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 07:27:50 pm »
A stack tone pot is going to be a tight fit in an Affinity. The bodies aren't full depth.

The body of my Affinity is 15/16" (35mm). A full depth Strat body is 13/4" (44mm).

The depth of the cavity route is obviously going to be less than that, so check that before ordering.

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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 07:40:51 pm »
Well, joueur de guitare beat me to it, but yeah, those are not the Pots you'd want for a Strat, they're waaaay too big.
I'm also missing a Cap for the tone Pot, or do you plan to salvage the ones you have right now ?
(I'd suggest getting a new one, they're less than 2 pounds)

can't see myself in a band at my age so no point in going over the top. 

...Eh, Toby, the ghosts of Les Paul and Chuck Berry are on the phone for you from the afterlife, and they sound rather peaved.
Shall i tell them you're not here ?  ;)

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 07:53:13 pm »
Well, joueur de guitare beat me to it, but yeah, those are not the Pots you'd want for a Strat, they're waaaay too big.
I'm also missing a Cap for the tone Pot, or do you plan to salvage the ones you have right now ?
(I'd suggest getting a new one, they're less than 2 pounds)

Caps are at the bottom of that pot page, just didn't add as a separate link. Mmmm why is size always an issue in life ? Ok some more research required but Irongear seem to have some good kit at reasonable prices.

...Eh, Toby, the ghosts of Les Paul and Chuck Berry are on the phone for you from the afterlife, and they sound rather peaved.
Shall i tell them you're not here ?  ;)

Ah never say never but opportunities in rural France somewhat rare, pour un Anglais ancien ! Been looking around some guitare websites but most folks are looking for experienced peeps for bands, hey but who knows..................one day!
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2017, 09:36:30 pm »
Do places like Allparts not ship to France?

You basically want this...

https://www.allparts.com/EP-0085-000-CTS-250K-Split-Shaft-Audio-Pot_p_1269.html

https://www.allparts.com/EP-0076-000-Original-CRL-5-Way-Switch-for-Stratocaster_p_1255.html

You can also go this route... I gotta give it to this guy, he is certainly making lemonade out of lemons. If you want to limit your spending try that first... if you screw up or it doesn't work, you can still just buy new pickups.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqzoAbG7Nug


The only other way to go, would be a new capacitor to knock down some of that top edge off the ceramic pickups. Then run it into a nice clean drive pedal.

Other than that new pickups also will most likely have a very different resonant peaks so besides more drive you will have a new EQ curve as well.A new generalized voice + drive.

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Offline DavidP

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2017, 06:47:19 am »
Ah never say never but opportunities in rural France somewhat rare, pour un Anglais ancien ! Been looking around some guitare websites but most folks are looking for experienced peeps for bands, hey but who knows..................one day!

Hey Toby,

The only pieces I recall listening to you that you've posted sound pretty band-worthy to me ... certainly way way above my pay grade (as you fond of saying  :) )

So put it out there and who knows ... if you want it ...

Cheers
David

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2017, 07:27:21 pm »
Hey Toby,

The only pieces I recall listening to you that you've posted sound pretty band-worthy to me ... certainly way way above my pay grade (as you fond of saying  :) )

So put it out there and who knows ... if you want it ...

Cheers
David

First off - David thanks for that. I still look at myself as an advanced beginner not much more. Guess its all about confidence, as with the singing we talked about. Biggest problem is living in a fairly rural area and I suspect most musicians play the accordion............oops that won't help me stay post Brexit  ;)

@TB - allparts have a UK website and an online outlet in France, so I'll check them out. Strange not all of your post appeared on the community app ? But hey ho.

Now moving on, after looking at dual coil "single" pups, I now realize I've been a bit narrow minded in my thinking. The Affinity is SSS and I was stuck in the mindset of keeping that config. But having now thought about changing scratch plates, there's nothing to stop going for a complete make over, say HSH. So as I was due to change string soon, I whipped the plate off today to check out the routing, as I read that most early Affinity models were set up for humbuckers. See pics



So that seems to be true and gives me a bit more to think about, although HSH sounds a good way to go. Especially if I can select single coils off an HB, which I guess the neck HB would be best.

Measurement wise,
neck "slot" is 90mm W x 45mm L x 22mm D
mid/bridge "slot" is 90mm W x 95 mm L x 22 mm D

So an HSH set up should be possible and will certainly make it a bit different to the stock MIC set up. But I can also now look at pups and ensure they will fit which ever way I go.

Views comments more than welcome. Off to Rennes tomorrow to get my T-Bucket and HB32 back but I'll discuss modernization with the guys and get and idea on price for labour. Will let you know the outcome.

Cheers

Toby
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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2017, 07:31:19 pm »
Now after all that, I checked the specs on the Smoke Stack IIs and the height/depth is 17mm. So would they fit after all given the body cavity is 22mm ?

Think I need to finish string changes and lie down ............................ ???
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Offline joueur de guitare

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2017, 07:55:31 pm »

Mine's got HB routes too, as it goes..

Now after all that, I checked the specs on the Smoke Stack IIs and the height/depth is 17mm. So would they fit after all given the body cavity is 22mm ?

Think I need to finish string changes and lie down ............................ ???



Pickups shouldn't be a problem, it was the push pull pots I was on about. If you're going for an Oak Grigsby/Fender style selector switch like below, you might want to check the dimensions of that too.

And for the love of gods, do a better job of routing the pickup leads than the factory did.  ;D

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2017, 06:59:25 am »
How about a Humbucker in the bridge and a p90 in the neck... or 2 P90s.

Pickguards are not cheap if you have someone make them.

If you look at the SG above in my photo. I bought that pickguard material cheap. My friend cut it all out by hand and shaped it by hand. We just drew it up to cover all routing and damage to the front of that body. It looked like rodents had been gnawing on it. Not much wood left to it. In fact wood was actually added so we had something to screw the pickup into.
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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2017, 06:58:44 pm »
Sorry guys been a bit tied up the last couple of days.

@TB like the idea of adding P90s but seems there at lot of ways to go config wise.

Picked the Washburn HB32 and Fender T-Bucket today and talked to the guy who was in the shop. After explaining what I wanted to do, maybe going down the HSH route or P90 S H route, all in French, sod starts chatting away in English - first time after my 4th visit! So yes they could do the work but the guy who wields the wrenches wasn't in today, so he couldn't give me a price on labour, either that or got it wrong as I was speaking French while he answered in English. Love it ! So plan is to email them once I spec out what I want and ask them how much to fit and tweak. No rush.

Right more questions though and apologies if they are a bit stupid........

Been reading up on soldering kits and guitar internals in case a take the DIY route but would destroy some ancient hifi gear gathering dust in the loft first !

Would this fit the bill or be to hot ? I can get a hand free mag glass for around £6 or there are similar sets that include them.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N2XVO6C?psc=1

Back to internals.

I've been trying find somewhere that explains PUP dimensions to no avail, so thought I'd better get back to you guys. If an ad say 22mm or 24mm is that from the poles to the bottom - mounting plate for HB ??

I had another look at the Affinity body today and although it looks routed for HBs the cavity is actually 20mm. But when you add 2mm for the thickness of the scratchplate and the 4mm my current singles sit above the plate, the 22mm "high/deep" original pups are only 16mm into the cavity. It seems like looking at an iceberg but I'm trying to figure the max pup size I could go without gouging out heaps of wood. Any views on this.

Same issue with the selector switch and pots. Pot cavity is again only 20mm so no way can I get push/pulls or push/push to fit even mini pots. So I thought about a 5 way Super switch but the selector cavity is only 34mm deep, so looks like I'm stuck with a normal 5 way switch unless anyone knows of shallower switches out there somewhere ?

I also looked at the pots and found that the tones were both A500k. Is this right for singles ? On what I've read recently most single have 250k recommended, so I guess this could explain some of that brittle sound, if I understand things correctly. Can someone elaborate please ?

Also I thought I'd check the cap and found it was a A473K which equates to a 0.047, so at least that seems to be right. If I go down an HSH route and want separate tone controls for the pots (ie 1 pot for H and 1 pot for S) would each pot need its own cap ? ie .022 for the 2 Hs and  .047 for the S ? Or is there another way around this ?

Finally, given the restrictions I have body wise and assuming I find the combination of pups to give me an HSH config (or poss P90s) is there a way to configure the wiring so both bridge and neck pups are active but keeping the "normal"

1 Bridge
2 Bridge/Mid
3 Mid
4 Mid/Neck
5 Neck

Or would I need an additional switch to link 1 and 5 ?
Would a single tone for both HB work or should I leave the mid "toneless" and use the tone pots for the HBs ?

Really need to play now but feel like I need to lay down after typing this up  ???

Anyways I'll appreciate and comments.

Cheers

Toby
 8)
Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2017, 01:01:53 am »
That iron is going to be borderline. Especially heatig up the backs of pots to make ground pads.

The solder will melt at 370d and you only have 450 max. So not much extra to heat the components.


ETA: ... forget that... I was reading the temp wrong.. that in C not F...


Here watch all three of this series... then try to find the stuff that fits your budget as closely as the higher priced stuff he has.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sb21qbpEQ

How to spot a fake HAKKO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvOJL8aAUO8

The money you will spend to pay the tech will pay for a Hakko 888D if you watch for a sale.

Also if you ever wanted to sell it you could.







« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 02:33:27 am by TB-AV »
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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2017, 03:05:45 am »
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Re: PUP and Gauge update for old Affinity ?
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2017, 07:25:45 pm »
@TB

Thanks for pointing me to those soldering tutorials, he makes it look so easy, so I'll review some Guitar specific ones on YT.

Re the wiring diagram. Really love this as a way to engage bridge and neck with a dummy tone switch and a master tone switch. Seems like a good way to go.

I'm not sure which way I'm going to go but an HSH set up seems favorite at the moment.

Still need to work out cavity/routing depth against pup depth so I can assess what pups could fit this old dog but I've also read that narrowing the distance between poles and string will make things hotter and that will also give me more room. BUT I don't want to compromise adjust-ability just to make something fit.

So hopefully someone will respond to the cavity/pup size dilemma and give me an idea of the max pup depth that would work and an alternative 5 way selector switch.

In the meantime, a week to our 40th wedding anniversary and a week to get Stairway To Heaven to a recognizable stumbling effort................................so Project Squier on hold for now.

Cheers folk

Toby 8)
 
Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wcjHmnrFuQyom6tqUtdrQ
Roadcase : https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?to

 

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