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Thread: Do Cutlass pickups still sound great without the silent circuit? Answer: YES!

  1. #1

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    Do Cutlass pickups still sound great without the silent circuit? Answer: YES!

    When I recently purchased a used Cutlass SSS, I noticed there was just a bit of hiss from the number 1 and number 2 pickup positions (bridge and bridge/middle). I assumed it was a bad ground on the bridge pickup. I checked the wiring and there was a loose connection where the bridge shield wire connects to the circuit board. To make a long story short, I couldn't fix it, and the circuit board needs to be replaced. When I order a new board, I need to send the old one in (as EBMM customer service explained, it is a proprietary part, so they'd like me to send it in), so I thought to myself as I went about desoldering the connections: "Well, as long as everything is being disconnected, let me just wire up some CTS pots and a .22uf capacitor to it, and see how it sounds." Pretty much exactly the same, albeit with the usual amount of 60 cycle hum on positions 1, 3, and 5... so if you were wondering how much the silent circuit affects the tone... I don't think it does. And the pickups are pretty quiet even without the silent circuit. It's a great guitar, and my favorite Music Man that I've owned... It's a shame about the circuit board (bought used/buyer beware, blah, blah), but it will be back to normal soon.

  2. #2

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    Hi there. I'm going to buy a Cutlass RS HSS and I'm not quiet sure about all the things I read about the silent circuit..... One thing is that the buffered bypass will probably interact badly with fuzzes and so on, but another thing is to read somewhere that without the battery (or low battery power) of the silent circuit you don't get any sound out of the guitar. Ithink this is not true right? I mean, the silent circuit will give more "silence" to the pick ups, but if there's no battery power or for some other reason it's not working properly you do get sound out of the guitar. I hope it's like this, otherwise I have to think about it. Thank you very much!

  3. #3

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    The Cutlass has a Silent Circuit, but it also has an on-board buffer (small unity gain amplifier on board, to negate the effects of cable capacitance). So it won't work without a battery. Unless you re-wire it.

    As for how it interacts with fuzz, some fuzz pedals don't react well to a low impedance input. Some work fine. So you'd have to experiment to see.

  4. #4

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    Hello - I have a cutlass sss RS - I would love to get rid of the buffer because of my fuzz pedals - Did you take any pictures or have a diagram or have any help to make the same mod you did?
    All the Best
    Niels

  5. #5

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    I have used 5 or 6 different fuzz pedals with my Cutlass and have had zero issues. Certainly play around with your pedals before changing anything. You might be surprised.



    Axis Hardtail Transparent Purple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Axis Hardtail Transparent Amber #G03900 (10/21/98)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)
    Stingray BFR
    Natural#G59581



  6. #6

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    Can I ask which fuzz pedals you have? I see one in my future and I would like to know some good compatible options. I have a Valentine but same buffer.

  7. #7

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    I’ve used my Cutlass with the following: Dr. Scientist frazz dazzler v1, Darkglass Duality, Fairfield Circuitry Unpleasant Surprise, Montreal Assembly Your and You’re (my favorite), Idiotbox Laser Fuzz, Electro Faustus Guitar Disruptor, Tomkat Violet Muffer, maybe another or two that I don’t have anymore.



    Axis Hardtail Transparent Purple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Axis Hardtail Transparent Amber #G03900 (10/21/98)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)
    Stingray BFR
    Natural#G59581



  8. #8

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    Thanks!

  9. #9

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    I also have a Cutlass RS HSS and just removed the original pickgaurd assembly. I bought another pickgaurd and one of their 5 way switches along with some Bournes pots and a set of Fender noiseless pickups. They're stacked humbuckers and yes they are very quiet. Some day I'll probably put it all back the way it was but for now I'm going with a passive setup.

  10. #10

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    Pardon my ignorance, but my understanding is that the Cutlass (and other non-EMG guitars with the Silent Circuit) still incorporates a passive pickup system.

    I know they don’t work without the battery, but I thought it was because of the way the dummy coil wiring worked, not because they were now active pickups.

    I could be totally wrong. These don’t feel active to me at all, way too much dynamic response to be active.



    Axis Hardtail Transparent Purple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Axis Hardtail Transparent Amber #G03900 (10/21/98)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)
    Stingray BFR
    Natural#G59581



  11. #11

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    Yeah you’re right. It’s the buffer part rather than the silent part that means no sound with no batteries as far as I know
    Albert Lee HH - White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Ivory White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Vintage Turquoise
    St Vincent - BFR Trans Gold
    Valentine (Trem) - Toluca Lake Blue
    American Vintage 59 Strat - Sherwood Green

  12. #12

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    That's right, the buffer needs to be powered or there's no sound.

    If you like the pickups, you could wire them up in a traditional manner, and remove the board.

    Personally I wouldn't do this just for a fuzz pedal- there are lots on the market that play nice with buffers. There are also approaches to work around this issue. For example, see Jack Orman's post in this thread:

    Unbuffer to allow certain fuzzes after buffers | The Gear Page

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