2020 StingRay Special colors
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Thread: Convert Silhouette Special

  1. #1

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    Convert Silhouette Special HSS to SSS

    I have a HSS Silo Special that I'm considering converting to an SSS.
    How difficult would this be?
    I'm not terribly handy with a soldering iron.

    I am thinking of picking up a second pickguard and new pups to install, and keep the current pickguard as is in case I want to switch back.

    Any advice that I should know in proceeding on this project?
    Is this something I can do myself with no experience, or should I take it to a tech?

    Any suggestions for pickups?
    I dont know if I could source another MM silent circuit unit, so maybe noiseless pickups?

    I know that's a lot of questions.
    I'm just trying to eecide if it will be a project I can do, or if it will be more trouble than it's worth.

    Thanks for all your help guys.
    Last edited by GrooveMerchant; 09-04-2020 at 07:26 PM.

  2. #2

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    I've got an original factory SSS Silo, but very little technical know how to help you.

    however I would have thought that the easiest way to convert it to a 'genuine SSS is to use one of the standard Dimarziopickups. But if wanted to be original I would installl a pick that is the opposite/alien in quality to the Dimarzio's, in the knowledge that the i could always blank it out using the silo's sophisticated switching system.

    If you are doing this renovation anyway it sounds like a good idea to change the pick guard at the same time if you really wanted to. Personally speaking I would always choose red one. ' `

  3. #3

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    You use to be able to buy a fully populated pick guard assembly from EBMM, not sure these days, but I'd shoot customer service an email and see.

    Glenn |B)
    Silhouette Special SSS in the first 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] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GWDavis28 View Post
    You use to be able to buy a fully populated pick guard assembly from EBMM, not sure these days, but I'd shoot customer service an email and see.

    Glenn |B)
    That would be ideal.
    Thanks.

  5. #5

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    I am really happy with the DiMarzio Area noiseless pickups. In my Silo Special I have an Area 58 in the neck and an Area 67 in the middle (with the stock Virtual PAF humbucker in the bridge). They sound really close to the AlNiCo pickups in my MIJ '62 reissue strat. If you were blindfold, you'd notice that one set is slightly brighter but you'd not be able to tell which is which. (The MIJ Fender pickups are the brighter ones, but those pickups are pretty much mid-50's spec so they should be very bright!) Personally, If I was to go for a traditional SSS strat layout, I'd choose Area 58 in the neck and middle and either the 58 or 61 in the bridge.

    Pickup comparison: DiMarzio Area 58, Area 61, and Area 67 – DrKevGuitar.com

    There are lots of other choices out there too. I know beej loves his BillLawrence/Wilde noiseless singles.
    Last edited by DrKev; 09-06-2020 at 01:47 AM.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
    Irish/American in Paris

    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
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  6. #6

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    Thanks..

  7. #7

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    Rewiring a pickguard (or setting up a new one) is a good project to get your feet wet with soldering and some basic electronic skills. It's not that difficult, but can be tedious if you have't done it before. Imo, get the right tools, watch a video or two and you'll be good to go.

    With regards to the Silent Circuit, if you find a used one (and I've bought quite a few - so they're out there ... put a note in the "WTB" thread), it's easy to wire up too. We can all help you along as you go.

    Assembling parts takes a bit- for a second pickguard you'll need new pots, knobs, lever, etc. Also the stock pickguard connects via a molex connector (so you can swap it out quickly), so you'll need one of those. You could probably buy most of this from MM directly.

    So then the tough part becomes pickups ... is there anything you don't like about your current setup? Or you just want a single coil in the bridge? If you want a whole different sound, then a new set makes sense. But if it's just about the one pickup, maybe you'd have better luck wiring it up to split?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    Rewiring a pickguard (or setting up a new one) is a good project to get your feet wet with soldering and some basic electronic skills. It's not that difficult, but can be tedious if you have't done it before. Imo, get the right tools, watch a video or two and you'll be good to go.

    With regards to the Silent Circuit, if you find a used one (and I've bought quite a few - so they're out there ... put a note in the "WTB" thread), it's easy to wire up too. We can all help you along as you go.

    Assembling parts takes a bit- for a second pickguard you'll need new pots, knobs, lever, etc. Also the stock pickguard connects via a molex connector (so you can swap it out quickly), so you'll need one of those. You could probably buy most of this from MM directly.

    So then the tough part becomes pickups ... is there anything you don't like about your current setup? Or you just want a single coil in the bridge? If you want a whole different sound, then a new set makes sense. But if it's just about the one pickup, maybe you'd have better luck wiring it up to split?
    Thanks for the reply beej.
    It qas suggested that MM used to sell pre-wired pickguards ready to install, so I've sent them an email.

    I love the way the Silo plays, but have never been blown away with its tones to be honest.
    But when I got it, I really wanted a Morse, and then a few months later a Morse just happened to pop up, so I snagged that. I'm afraid I didn't really give the Silo a chance.
    So I've been playing it more recently, and I love the feel, but I'm thinking of something "stratish" for funk/blues.
    The single coils are pretty good on the Silo, but I'm fighting with the HB.
    So, the original thought was to swap out the HB for a SC, but then I thought why not create a while new pickguard, and keep this one stock?
    So, for sounds of the SC, I'm thinking nice clean and articulate for funk/blues.
    Hope that makes sense.

  9. #9

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    Id just get a sss pickguard and throw some emg sa or s series singles which are solderless.
    2012 Fender American Special Tele sunburst w/EMG SAs
    2007 EBMM JP6 Mystic Dream w/piezo, matching headstock, dot inlays
    2005 Parker P44 cherry red
    2002 EBMM Axis Sport Trans Gold hum/hum, matching headstock, trem
    1984 custom Parts-O-Caster Strat black w/EMG SAs
    1976 Gibson 335 sunburst

  10. #10

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    Silhouette Special SSS in the first 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] [NOS Just pure awesomeness]
    Albert Lee HH in Black Sugar (Hartail) [1/06/2011] [BFR with the 12th fret logo]


    Like BP said in the Chapman video "You've got a room full of guitars, and no money!! @ 6:00"

  11. #11

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    I received a reply from MM customer service.

    Here is what they had to say in case anybody is interested.

    "Hi Michael,


    Thanks for playing Ernie Ball Music Man!*


    Unfortunately, we only have the HSS loaded pickguard assemblies available through the factory nowadays. We only have what we are currently using in production.


    Our pickguard supplier still has the SSS template if you need to get a pickguard made for it,*Music Man Silhouette - 22 Fret Models | Pickguard Planet


    Thanks!"

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrooveMerchant View Post
    I received a reply from MM customer service.

    Here is what they had to say in case anybody is interested.

    "Hi Michael,


    Thanks for playing Ernie Ball Music Man!*


    Unfortunately, we only have the HSS loaded pickguard assemblies available through the factory nowadays. We only have what we are currently using in production.


    Our pickguard supplier still has the SSS template if you need to get a pickguard made for it,*Music Man Silhouette - 22 Fret Models | Pickguard Planet


    Thanks!"
    interesting, that they get their Pickguards from Pickguard Planet.

    Good luck with your project. As beej said, wiring a new pickguard is not rocket science.
    blueburst Steve Morse Standard, Jan 03, 2005
    pinkburst Albert Lee, Jul 13, 1994
    cinnamon SUB1, Mar 08, 2004
    vintage gold reflex, June 22, 2011

    My Band: Groove Bang

  13. #13

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    Oddly, I did this exact thing some years ago... I had a 2010 HSS Silo Special and I ordered a fully loaded SSS guard in black direct from EBMM... basically I was trying to emulate a Gilmour Black Strat look, I swapped the plastic knobs and covers to aged white and it looked and sounded great! This was prob back in 2013ish back when SSS was an option I guess. I didn't have much experience installing anything myself but I don't recall it being a crazy thing to swap out... in this case, since you're stuck kind of putting one together yourself I would suggest taking it to a local guitar shop and have them pull everything together for you!

    No idea why these images are showing up on their side, but hey... is what it is

    PS Also, I have ordered custom guards from Pickguard Planet, one in 1 ply black with rounded bezel edges (again similar to the Gilmour look) for my charcoal frost Cutlass SSS. They have all the templates and the guard looks great!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Convert Silhouette Special-img_2361-jpg   Convert Silhouette Special-img_0156-jpg   Convert Silhouette Special-img_1707-jpg  
    Last edited by Cenobyte; 09-18-2020 at 11:57 AM.

    Albert Lee HH
    Silhouette BFR July '20
    Stingray BFR Dec '19
    Cutlass SSS
    Reflex Game Changer HSHP

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