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Thread: Valentine pickup swap/rewiring?

  1. #1

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    Valentine pickup swap/rewiring?

    Hey guys,

    This is my first post on here, and it is regarding my very first Music Man guitar as well. I got to say, I have owned high end guitar from Suhr, Gibson Custom Shop, Ibanez J-Custom, ESP and the list goes on: The Valentine might very well be the best yet, at least for my preferences and style!

    Literally the only thing I'm not totally digging, is the bridge pickup. Don't get me wrong, it's a great sounding pickup and possibly the best "hot Tele" sound I have ever heard. It's just too jangly and spiky for the higher gain rock stuff I'm doing most of the time, so I'm thinking a bridge humbucker with split or parallel option can coax those Tele-esque tones for the few times I want them.

    Now, there are two different ways I can see it go about when putting in a bridge humbucker:

    - 5 way super switch (this would be my preference), which would bypass the tone push push switch. Where it gets extra complicated is the way I would like to have it wired which is Pete Thorn's preferred wiring in his Suhr guitars:
    - 1: Bridge series 2: Bridge parallel 3: Both split 4: Neck split 5: Neck series

    - Simply making the tone push push switch split the bridge pickup as well as the neck.

    Either way, I would also like to incorporate the bridge split and/or parallel mode with the volume compensation circuitry, that is active when the stock neck humbucker is split.

    Any advice at all would be much appreciated. And although I understand that not all of you think it's "kosher" to modify a guitar like this, we are talking about the final 5-10% that will make this guitar go from 'almost perfect' to 'perfect'.

    Cheers!

  2. #2

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    Welcome to the forum, Alfi!

    Your guitar, you make it work for you. Anyone who says different, to heck with 'em!

    Personally, I didn't like a bridge humbucker in parallel mode (too bright, too weak) I would do split coil for both bridge and neck. Other than that I'm not familiar with the Valentine circuitry but I think it should be totally possible to do what you need.

    Oh, and before I forget - forum tradition - your guitar doesn;t exist without photos!
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  3. #3

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    Hey there-

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Suhr Pete Thorn was Bridge / Inside coils / Both HBs in Parallel / Neck Series / Neck split, with a push/pull to put the bridge in parallel.

    I have my 25th (Reflex) wired up like this (along with a Silent Circuit for the neck split position), though I'm going to switch it up so the neck is split in position 4 instead. I have a toggle for putting the bridge in parallel, but I'm debating using that for a coil split for both pickups instead. Rainy day project. Anyhow, there's obviously lots you can do.

    I can't offer any advice with regards to the volume compensation, except that you'll have to study the current wiring diagram and play with it to see. If you're handy with a soldering iron it won't be too bad, though there's a lot involved in doing everything so you'll want to work out the wiring on paper in advance.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

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    There really isn't that much benefit to split coil over series/parallel imho. And you'll get a single coil hum for arguably no perceptible benefit. Just my 2c. Plus, not all humbuckers split well. Do you have one in mind? edit: For reference, I know that Reflex/Axis Dimarzios seem to pull off Tele like tones pretty well (in the ballpark), in parallel mode. OTOH I also have a PRS with split coil, but I don't like it. These 85/15 pups are also like half the output as the Dimarzios (8k vs 17k ish), so maybe that's the issue. Maybe the PRS split coil thing was a better selling point on the original (hot) HFS pups.
    Last edited by KDude; 10-06-2019 at 11:28 PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    Hey there-

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Suhr Pete Thorn was Bridge / Inside coils / Both HBs in Parallel / Neck Series / Neck split, with a push/pull to put the bridge in parallel.

    I have my 25th (Reflex) wired up like this (along with a Silent Circuit for the neck split position), though I'm going to switch it up so the neck is split in position 4 instead. I have a toggle for putting the bridge in parallel, but I'm debating using that for a coil split for both pickups instead. Rainy day project. Anyhow, there's obviously lots you can do.

    I can't offer any advice with regards to the volume compensation, except that you'll have to study the current wiring diagram and play with it to see. If you're handy with a soldering iron it won't be too bad, though there's a lot involved in doing everything so you'll want to work out the wiring on paper in advance.

    Good luck!
    You are indeed correct, and that wiring scheme is actually better than the one I had in mind! That way I can also make use of the tone push push, while getting a massive range of sounds (I'm not a big fan of the bridge split by itself anyway).

    I opened up the back cover yesterday, and found that all 6 poles on the DPDT switch are in use. Which I find very strange for something as simple as coil splitting one single pickup... It might be possible to reroute those wires to a 5 way super switch though, I have swapped probably 30 pickups and done a lot of work inside my two vintage Marshall amps, but never properly learned the theory behind a super switch

    PS: I'll get a photo or two uploaded, wasn't that easy to do on the phone...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfi27 View Post
    You are indeed correct, and that wiring scheme is actually better than the one I had in mind! That way I can also make use of the tone push push, while getting a massive range of sounds (I'm not a big fan of the bridge split by itself anyway).

    I opened up the back cover yesterday, and found that all 6 poles on the DPDT switch are in use. Which I find very strange for something as simple as coil splitting one single pickup... It might be possible to reroute those wires to a 5 way super switch though, I have swapped probably 30 pickups and done a lot of work inside my two vintage Marshall amps, but never properly learned the theory behind a super switch

    PS: I'll get a photo or two uploaded, wasn't that easy to do on the phone...
    Wait, you want to keep the same single coil in the bridge somehow? My bad. I thought you wanted to swap in a humbucker, but one that split well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfi27 View Post
    I opened up the back cover yesterday, and found that all 6 poles on the DPDT switch are in use. Which I find very strange for something as simple as coil splitting one single pickup...
    I don't have the wiring diagram (you can email MM and they'll send one to you btw), but I'd guess some of that is for the connection to the buffer circuit to increase the volume when split. You have to change the gain of the preamp (via resistor or trimpot) to account for the volume drop.

    On that subject btw, I know people like this feature, but I've always appreciated the volume drop when going from humbuckers to singles - makes it easier to get a cleaner tone from your amp w/o having to switch channels or jump on pedals.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    There really isn't that much benefit to split coil over series/parallel imho.
    There's definitely a different sound going on in parallel. Whether you like it is another question.

    A split humbucker doesn't really sound like a single coil (though splitting a hot humbucker can give you a decent sounding one). Split you have 1/2 of the resistance and 1/2 of the inductance.

    In parallel that's 1/4 of the resistance and 1/4 of the inductance. So less output, and brighter. Often that can be too weak or thin, though it totally depends on the application.

    I've gone back and forth between split and parallel over the years. In generally I prefer split. You get a noiseless combination of coils with parallel wiring, but if you have a Silent Circuit handy you can use that in the split to eliminate most of the noise.

  9. #9

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    The PCB in the Valentine is designed such that you can't connect two coils from the bridge pickup separately. (The pickup leads are soldered directly to the PCB, not the blade switch.) The neck pickup obviously is connected that way, but there are no extra/unused pads where the bridge single is soldered on. Getting a coil split in the bridge position would definitely require some work if you're wanting to keep the boost and such.
    ---------------
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    There's definitely a different sound going on in parallel. Whether you like it is another question.

    A split humbucker doesn't really sound like a single coil (though splitting a hot humbucker can give you a decent sounding one). Split you have 1/2 of the resistance and 1/2 of the inductance.

    In parallel that's 1/4 of the resistance and 1/4 of the inductance. So less output, and brighter. Often that can be too weak or thin, though it totally depends on the application.

    I've gone back and forth between split and parallel over the years. In generally I prefer split. You get a noiseless combination of coils with parallel wiring, but if you have a Silent Circuit handy you can use that in the split to eliminate most of the noise.
    I just find out about the Silent Circuit after writing that (new ebmm owner btw). I guess my point is moot. I'd love to try one out to compare.

  11. #11

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    They're handy to have. Occasionally people here will swap pickups and won't need them anymore. I have them in most of my guitars, for coil splits, single coils, etc.

    There's actually one for sale in the "For Sale" thread right now

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    They're handy to have. Occasionally people here will swap pickups and won't need them anymore. I have them in most of my guitars, for coil splits, single coils, etc.

    There's actually one for sale in the "For Sale" thread right now
    Yep, and if that doesn't go then I have a few new Silent Circuits in stock
    Have you got G.A.S. for another EBMM???
    Visit the all new
    https://DUBALDOMUSIC.com! <--- My Store --->DuBaldo Music on Facebook & on twitter
    Do you want to TRADE your used EBMM in for a NEW one? -- Email me for details!
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  13. #13

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    Oh get out- I didn't realize you could buy them new. Are they the old-style ones, or the newer PCB style?

  14. #14

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    The ones I have are the original black pot style, no pcb.
    Have you got G.A.S. for another EBMM???
    Visit the all new
    https://DUBALDOMUSIC.com! <--- My Store --->DuBaldo Music on Facebook & on twitter
    Do you want to TRADE your used EBMM in for a NEW one? -- Email me for details!
    pete@dubaldomusic.com <--- My email
    www.YELLOW9.com <--- My band

  15. #15

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    Gotcha- thanks Pete. (And sorry for the big hijack.)

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