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Author Topic: Washburn repair  (Read 1081 times)

Offline gfields

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Washburn repair
« on: February 18, 2017, 08:11:42 PM »
Hey guys. I wanted to do some work on my old Washburn, and I needed some help IDing some things.

First off, does anyone know what model Washburn this is? It says G.W. on the headstock, and there's a serial number on the back, but other than that, I have no idea.

I wanted to replace the pots. Do you know what kind it would take?

I also wanted to replace the pick-ups. Do you know what kind it takes, or is there a better set of pick ups that you'd recommend?

http://imgur.com/a/RZ37b
http://imgur.com/a/Ly6U8
http://imgur.com/a/MmMLg
http://imgur.com/a/5hnwo

Thanks!

Offline bigcity2

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2017, 05:04:33 PM »
If you're replacing the pots and the pickups...why do you want to replace them with the inferior electronics that came with the guitar?  (This is an entry level guitar that was manufactured with the most inexpensive foreign electronic components available.)  Buy whatever pickups you desire and  then buy the pots recommended by the pickup manufacturer.

Have you done this kind of work before?

Offline gfields

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2017, 09:13:45 PM »
Well, yes, I'm trying to figure out specifically which pots and pickups I should put in. I'd like to put in good pick ups. Better ones than what the guitar came with. Do you have any recommendations? For this model, there's 1 (neck) 1(middle) 2(bridge). Is there a configuration like this from stewmac that you'd recommend?

This was my first guitar. I bought it way back in the early 90s. I've been mainly playing violin since, but I'd like to get back into guitar. I'm not sure what would be a good choice for pickups and pots. I'm no expert on electric guitar components.  Do you have a recommendation?

No, this will be my first go at it. I've seen some youtube vids on it by some luthiers. Doesn't look too difficult.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 09:18:11 PM by gfields »

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 10:57:52 AM »
You'll find that your pickup configuration is often referred to as hss (or maybe h-s-s).

As for "good pickups"... well, it's a complicated story, but I'll chop it down to long-winded. ;)
________________

If you glance around you'll find that there's about a thousand models of humbucker, & almost that many of single-coil pickups. While I blame fads ("it's just like Hetfield's!!") & marketing hype for a lot of this proliferation, it's inarguable that much of it is a response to attempts to balance a bunch of other factors, beginning with
  • the body materials & construction of the guitar
  • gauge (thickness) & construction of the strings most likely to be used
  • guitar's primary purpose -- lead or rhythm? full chords or one-note solos? jazz, blues, country, funk?
  • how light the player's touch is
  • pedalboard, or straight to the amp?
  • type & quality of primary amplifier
If there's something you don't like about the stock pickups, then at least you've got a starting point: correcting that lack. If not, then you may have to thrash around & swap out four or five sets before you find something that grabs your attention.

If you're fortunate, you can visit large stores, play guitars (new & used) similar in construction & config to yours, through amps similar to yours, & notice which pickups you gravitate to.

Pickups from Stewart-Macdonald? :o Nah. Great company, & I've bought from them since 1980, but IMO their prices are a little high, their regular small-order shipping charges are unreasonable (based on price rather than weight or bulk ::)), & wiring is NOT their forte. They're my first stop for tools (like Luthiers Mercantile is my first stop for quality wood), but you go elsewhere for pots & pickups & switches.

Why do you feel that the pickups -- the pots as well, for that matter -- NEED replacing? Don't get me wrong: "because I feel like it" is a perfectly valid answer. ;D But that's still a different beginning point from pots so corroded they won't turn, or abused pickups with pieces missing or torn-out wires: the first is exporation, the second is salvage.

And I have to say this once: new guts is NOT a magic fix-all for a poor guitar. If (say) the trussrod is rattling around or the fingerboard beginning to lift or the nut is shot or the neck is poorly bolted down, the priciest pickup harness in the world will do pretty much nothing to make that axe sound good.
________________

Okay, back to the action. 8) Almost all pickups are standard-sized nowadays. Almost. Everyonce in a while, I'll go to replace someone's humbucker... & sure enough, the original was non-standard, a little small, & I have to take the Dremel & carve out a little wood. (This sometimes happens with singles as well.) And I've got a guitar right now where the metal covers are jammed solid into the pickup rings -- one or the other ain't "standard"!!

Speaking of humbuckers: there's two standard widths, one for guitars originally designed for a single-coil at the bridge (usually Fender or based on Fender) & the other for just about everything else. The former are variously called F-spaced or trembuckers or 51mm (with standard being 48mm). I'll make a follow-up post with more info about this.

The same can happen for potentiometers: for the usual silver-body shape alone, there's fullsize, medium, & mini. The bigger they are, the more surface area there is to the resistive element, & resultantly the adjustment will be smoother & (if you play with the knobs a lot) the pot will last longer with less scratchiness. ...however, a body that's been routed out for minis will often have no room for larger pots. Even if you carve out wood to make 'em fit, the control cavity is more crowded, & likelihood of shorting stuff together is increased.
________________

One piece of hype to beware: a "hot" pickup is NOT necessarily a GOOD pickup. When more wire is put on a pickup bobbin at the factory, the resistance (in Ohms) goes up. WIth more resistance, the audible mid-range of the output becomes more prominent, & the higher tones & overtones fall back. An overwound pickup will go from "warm" to "dark" to "muddy" quite quickly. This is good for death metal, not so much for country twang.

In the Bad Old Days of the 1970s, with questionable solid-state amps, we needed all the "crunch" we could dig up. Nowadays, $50 gets me something better than what I paid $500 for. And if I really feel the need to push the amp's input stage, I plug in a Tube Screamer or DOD 250 or similar.

That's why I recommend fairly "cool" pickups: you can always shave off some tone (EQ or effects box), but it's not easy to fake what you don't pick up. Some players gripe about how "harsh" or "glassy" an underwound pickup is, & I have to figure they wouldn't recognize a parametric EQ if I hit 'em in the face with it. :o Anyone who's actually played a cool-wound pickup through an old-fashion tube amp knows there'snothing wrong with this.
________________

One more thing for this post:

There's a lot of hype & misinformation about super-strong magnets, so don't worry about whether you've got the "right kind" of Alnico or anything. Some of us even like playing ceramic-magnet pickups, & that's another story entirely.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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Offline Tony Raven

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 12:02:30 PM »
Okay, on to shopping!! :)

For just starting out, go to any big online retailer. Me, I start out at Musician's Friend, if only to get a feel for common prices. Half-decent selection, shipping free for $25+.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/electric-guitar-pickups#pageName=subcategory-page&N=512135&Nao=0&recsPerPage=20&v=g&Ns=pLH&profileCountryCode=US&profileCurrencyCode=USD

But don't be hypnotized by the hype. For the vast majority of players, there's no good reason to spend $100+ on a pickup, especially when we can't tell its sound from that of a $15 pickup. :o Sure, we LIKE to PRETEND were artists, but really, most are happy as amateur mechanics, & would be happier if they admitted it.

I know professionals -- musicians & builders alike -- who swear by GFS &/or Artec for quality & value.
http://www.guitarfetish.com/GFS-Guitar-Pickups_c_7.html
http://artecsound.com/pickups/main.htm
And check out that link to Artec's "Basic Wiring Book"-- you'll find it VERY informative.
________________

And here's what MF has for pots & related stuff:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/search?N=&Ntt=potentiometer
It may look like a big selection... but it ain't. Back to that in a moment.

Potentiometers is a bit messy. You need to determine what size body you want... whether you need linear or audio taper... length of shaft... split or solid, splined or smooth, round or D. recommended: speaking for myself, if I were to replace all the pots, I would also get new knobs, so I'd get knobs with set-screws, & that means flatted (D) shafts on the pots. They're MUCH easier to remove to do further work, & they don't get all loose with age & start falling off mid-song. ???

For a standard guitar, you'll usually find that the controls on a Gibson are 500,000 ohms (500K), & on a standard Strat or Tele are 250,000 ohms (250K). On an hss, it's fine to have a 500K for the Vol knobs; my experience is that VERY few players ever touch the Tone knob anyway, & I prefer 250K or even less, but there's nothing wrong with 500K.

Pots have been standard electronics components for a century, & are thus all over the place, yet many players think they're somehow magical. ::) That's why they happily spend $12 or more on a pot they could get for less than $1 on eBay, & I'm talking THE SAME HARDWARE, just without a fancy label on a bag.

One big problem with standard pots is that everyone uses the cans as a busbar. As a result, it's not unusual to find that a beginner has fried the resistive element or the shaft bearing by overheating the can. No major thing to put in a new one, but the damaged piece is not at all fixable.

If I had my way, I would replace all standard tin-body pots with sealed pots, preferably mil-spec (built to"military specification"). No exposure to dirt or moisture, & likely to last for decades even under heavy use.
________________

Where do you buy pots? Well, just about anywhere they're cheap!!

No, I'm totally serious. Use in a standard electric guitar (without active pickups) is about as non-critical as you can get. I like mil-spec pots NOT for their precision, but for sheer reliability.

There's always eBay, of course. If I was setting up a shop or building a run of a couple dozen guitars, I'd start with Digi-Key. Here's their selection of sealed CTS:
http://www.digikey.com/en/ptm/c/cts-electrocomponents/sealed-precision-potentiometer
(It helps that they're only 40 miles away, & a mile down the street from a nice little guitar shop. ;) I can place an order online, & it'll be waiting at the desk when I get there.) For most small items, they're not really set up for one-piece orders, & charge accordingly.

Here's Sherburn's selection of metal-body PEC pots:
http://www.sherburn.com/pec-precision-electronics-corp.html?gclid=CIy_kpWWn9ICFZGKswodY7kBcg

Bournshas been around for years. Here's their sealed industrial pots:
http://www.bourns.com/products/potentiometers/precision-pots-single-turn
But unlike most manufacturers, they are VERY aware of being used in music gear, & have a separate division for it:
http://www.bourns.com/products/proaudio/products
This is the printable brochure --
http://www.bourns.com/docs/ProAudioDocs/bourns_pro_audio.pdf?sfvrsn=13

Other dealers? Lots & lots!! Skip right past middlemen like Allparts or Mojotone, who double their cost in order to stick the component in their packaging, & then charge you high shipping besides. Look up Mouser.com or AlliedElec.com or potentiometers.com.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

resident troublemaker: http://forum.frugalguitarist.com/

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 12:31:42 PM »
The last bit for the day: figuring out your humbucker pickup.

The following used to be on the Dimarzio Pickups site, but for some reason is gone. Worth reading, though, & worth preserving.
Quote
What is F-spacing?

All of our full-size humbuckers except the X2N® are available in two polepiece spacings. F-spacing refers to the wider of the two spacings. For proper string alignment and balanced output, F-spaced humbuckers should be used in the bridge position on all guitars with string spacing at the bridge of 2.1" (53 mm) or greater. On these guitars, if the nut width is 1-11/16" (43 mm) or greater, F-spaced pickups can be used in the neck position as well.


Why are there two different spacings?

A long time ago (in the 20th century, actually) the electric guitar world was divided between Gibson and Fender designs. One of the differences between the two was string spacing. In general, Gibson chose a narrower string spacing at the bridge than Fender, and therefore the polepieces on Gibson humbuckers were closer together than the magnets on Fender pickups. When guitar shops started installing humbuckers in the bridge position of Strats, it was obvious that the strings didn't line up with the polepieces, and if the E strings were too far outside, the sound could suffer. Our first humbuckers followed the original Gibson spacing, and we call them standard-spaced. When we released our first humbuckers with wider spacing, Floyd Rose bridges were very popular. Floyd string-spacing is the same as Fender spacing, so we naturally called the new pickups F-spaced.


How do I know which spacing to use?

F-spaced pickups measure 2.01" (51 mm) center-to-center from the first polepiece to the sixth. Standard-spaced pickups measure 1.90" (48 mm). Although some players believe that F-spaced pickups are only for the bridge position of tremolo bridge guitars, many guitars with fixed bridges (including late 1990s Gibson Les Pauls and Epiphone LPs) should have F-spaced pickups in the bridge position. Most tremolo equipped guitars that have a nut width of 1-11/16" (43mm) or more should also use an F-spaced pickup in the neck position. If you're replacing a bridge-position pickup and you're not sure what your string-spacing is, it's usually better to get an F-spaced model. It is not necessary for the strings to pass exactly over the center of the polepieces for best performance, but it is wise to avoid a situation where the E strings are sitting completely outside of the outer polepieces.
What they presently say does wrap it up neatly:
Quote
F-spaced pickups measure 2.01" (51 mm) center-to-center from the first polepiece to the sixth. Standard-spaced pickups measure 1.90" (48 mm). Although some players believe that F-spaced pickups are only for the bridge position of tremolo bridge guitars, many guitars with fixed bridges (including post-1998 Gibson® and Epiphone® Les Paul®, SG® and semi-hollow guitars) should have F-spaced pickups in the bridge position. Most tremolo equipped guitars that have a nut width of 1-11/16” (43mm) or more should also use an F-spaced pickup in the neck position. If you’re replacing a bridge-position pickup and you're not sure what your string-spacing is, it's usually better to get an F-spaced model. It is not necessary for the strings to pass exactly over the center of the polepieces for best performance, but it is wise to avoid a situation where the E strings are sitting completely outside of the outer polepieces.
Here's a related story. The moral is, go ahead & measure it yourself. ;)

Remember when I said there's a lot of hype & misinformation about this stuff? I've actually found myself getting angrily slagged online for not taking that "not necessary for the strings to pass exactly over the center of the polepieces" part as Absolute God-Given Truth. :o

I have two midrange Cort electrics on the wall, a Sterling (h-h, hardtail) & a Viva (h-s-s, tremolo). In both instances, the high E string misses the bridge pickup's polepieces entirely. As a result, that string has distinctly lower outputon that pickup.

I mentioned this in passing on one site, noting it's the only flaw I found in these guitars, & said I'd maybe replace the pickups.

And If I had compared someone's beloved baby to a chimpanzee -- unfavorably -- it's unlikely I'd have drawn more vitriol. :o

Long story short: I got that "not necessary" passage quoted at me a few times, generally in ALL CAPS & lots of exclamation marks. Those same people refused to accept that I wasn't talking about "exactly over the center" but rather missing it entirely.

When I said my ears told me otherwise, I was told that my ears were WRONG -- generally people who often counseled "trust your ears" in all matters of tone.

 ::)
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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Offline gfields

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Re: Washburn repair
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2017, 07:48:22 PM »
wow - thanks for all this information man. There's more to this than I thought. I'm gonna need a little while to think about all this stuff. Or maybe I'll just buy some pots and pickups from the sites you provided and hope for the best. I think the only thing is making sure they'll fit in the current holes. I guess I'd need to take it apart in order to get a good measurement, and then I'll know that I'm buying the correct sized materials.