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Thread: Cutlass: Prewired HSS pick guard for SSS?

  1. #1

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    Cutlass: Prewired HSS pick guard for SSS?

    I have an SSS Cutlass and realized the wood under the pick guard is actually routed to accommodate an HSS configuration. Could I buy a prewired HSS pick guard to drop into my SSS Cutlass? I do like the SSS sound but sometimes the HSS would be more appropriate. I guess I could buy an empty pick guard and assemble something myself. But I trust Ernie Ball to do it better than I could.

  2. #2

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    That would be ideal if you could, but I think they might not do it as the pickups aren’t to my knowledge available for sale separately
    Albert Lee HH - White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Ivory White
    Cutlass RS HSS - Firemist Silver
    Cutlass Hunter Hayes - Lake Tahoe Blue
    St Vincent - BFR Trans Gold
    American Vintage 59 Strat - Sherwood Green

  3. #3

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    Wow that's really great, is your SSS a newer one?

    They use to do this for the early Silhouettes and Silhouettes Specials, try contacting customer service.

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in Fuschia Sparkle (Hardtail) [1/01/2002] [1 of a kind from CLB]
    Silhouette Special HSS in Gold Sparkle (Hardtail) [7/12/2002] [Made for Matchbox 20]
    Albert Lee 3 MM90's in White Sparkle (Hardtail) [8/14/2001] [Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!!"

  4. #4

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    I just got my SSS Cutlass and was wondering the same thing .

  5. #5

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    I think you'll have to assemble your own. The DiMarzio 36th PAF is in my Silhouette Special HSS and I love it. I think you could make a nice loaded pickguard that would sound good.

  6. #6
    Daniel's Avatar
    Daniel is offline Ernie Ball, Inc. Ernie Ball Customer Service

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Troska View Post
    I have an SSS Cutlass and realized the wood under the pick guard is actually routed to accommodate an HSS configuration. Could I buy a prewired HSS pick guard to drop into my SSS Cutlass? I do like the SSS sound but sometimes the HSS would be more appropriate. I guess I could buy an empty pick guard and assemble something myself. But I trust Ernie Ball to do it better than I could.
    Hi James,
    Shoot me an email at customerexperience@ernieball.com, and we can help you out.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by GWDavis28 View Post
    Wow that's really great, is your SSS a newer one?

    They use to do this for the early Silhouettes and Silhouettes Specials, try contacting customer service.

    Glenn |B)
    I think it was one of the last ones made before they did the roasted necks. I got it when they dropped the price on old necks before replacing them with the newer roasted models.

  8. #8

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    So I just sent an email to the customer service link Daniel provided. I’m guessing I won’t hear back until after the holiday weekend. Should be interesting. I actually love the SSS for myself. But sometimes the band requires more of a humbucking sound. And at this point I love the guitar so much, I want to use it for everything. ��

  9. #9

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    This is cool - might explore this option myself for my white one
    Albert Lee HH - White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Ivory White
    Cutlass RS HSS - Firemist Silver
    Cutlass Hunter Hayes - Lake Tahoe Blue
    St Vincent - BFR Trans Gold
    American Vintage 59 Strat - Sherwood Green

  10. #10

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    I heard back from Music Man and they will, in fact, sell a prewired HSS pick guard to drop into my SSS Cutlass. They’ll also sell an empty pick guard for installing other electronics.

    I’ll probably try this because I’m a guitarist and I just naturally feel compelled to throw money at more gear and have more tonal options than I’ll ever need. But I’m still on the fence.

    I already have other humbucking guitars that do the humbucking thing ideally. And the SSS Cutlass is pretty much the ideal St**t-style guitar. So may be better to just use 2 guitars than try to make 1 Jack Of All Trades guitar. Also my amp requires totally different settings for single coil and humbucking pickups. So not sure if putting different pickup types in one guitar is really real world practical.

    But... Me likes new toys!

  11. #11

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    This is great news. I’m gonna have to get a prewired HSS for my white one now! Sweet
    Albert Lee HH - White
    Cutlass RS SSS - Ivory White
    Cutlass RS HSS - Firemist Silver
    Cutlass Hunter Hayes - Lake Tahoe Blue
    St Vincent - BFR Trans Gold
    American Vintage 59 Strat - Sherwood Green

  12. #12

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    So I finally put a new HSS set into my SSS Cutlass. Figured I'd check in and share my thoughts in case anybody else is following this.

    The mod is fairly straight forward if you can operate a soldering iron. You'll need to desolder 3 wires to get the old pick guard out. And solder 3 wires in to get the new pick guard working.

    There are two wires (green and white) going from the old pick guard to the output jack. Remember where they are attached and desolder them from the jack. There is no need to mess with the black wire from the battery. Next, there is a red wire going from the battery to the pick guard. Remember where it attaches and desolder it from the pick guard. Now the old pick guard should be free to remove.

    Do the same in reverse to get the new pick guard in. Solder the red battery wire to the proper pick guard terminal. Poke the new green and wire wires through the output cavity. And solder the green and white wires to the proper lugs on the output jack.

    So which pickup configuration do I prefer? I like them both for different reasons. The SSS has such a crisp attack and beautifully balanced pure tone. Alone in my room, I just want to keep playing it to hear the sound. But it was sometimes too crisp/clear to blend well with my particular band, which does pop-rock covers from 90's-present.

    The Humbucker in the HSS is less pretty sounding. It's a little more cloudy with that typical midrange buildup that humbuckers have. But while it's a little uglier clean, it pokes the amp with the right frequencies for a tight overdrive sound. Compared to my PAF-style humbuckers, the midrange bump in the Cutlass humbucker seems to be more narrow and at a higher frequency. This produces a good tight controlled overdrive tone. Almost like a cocked wah sound but not that extreme.

    But while the humbucker sounds vastly different from the middle and neck single-coils, the 3 pickups play together perfectly. I can set the amp to a moderate overdrive and "channel switch" from lighter to heavier with the pickup selector switch (neck light / bridge heavy).

    Overall, I think the SSS is prettier sounding if you want clean to crisp mild overdrives. The HSS humbucker does big and tight overdrives exceedingly well but at the expense of an uglier clean sound from the bridge and a less authentic 'quack' from the bridge and middle.

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