Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

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Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by jakquantum on Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:38 pm

Hi there, I've been a member of this forum for a few years now but as of yet had no reason to post so here goes! Any help would be appreciated. 

I own a couple of Westone Quantum basses which I've used in different bands and about a year ago I found a 1982 Westone Concord II (early style pickguard) for dirt cheap as a learner guitar. It's a bit beaten but I've had it set-up and it now play really well, my only complaint is that I find the bridge pick-up weak and tinny sounding.

If possible I'd like to fit a Dimarzio FS-1 pick-up in the bridge position as a direct replacement. I almost always just use the bridge pick-up, (occasionally the neck but I'm happy with how that one sounds).

My question is, will a standard Dimarzio FS-1 actually fit into the Concord II body without any modifications to the pick-up cavity? I see the FS-1 is designed to fit Strats and I see the Concord II as a strat copy in terms of its pick-up arrangement so I put the two things together (of course its shape makes it unique to play for sure). 

I'm not confident working on guitars myself or else I'd take the pickguard off and have a look. 

If anyone has any information or suggestions on fitting new pick-ups to one of these please let me know. I'm considering an FS-1 as its the type Johnny Ramone had fitted in his Mosrite and he's my favorite guitarist, simple!

Thanks for any replies!

Regards,
Jak




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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by corsair on Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:34 pm

A straight pickup swap is normally pretty easy and shouldn't hold any terrors for you! 
I'm reasonably sure that your Dimarzio should fit the cavity but to check you will need to take the scratchplate off and have a look! Strings off, screws out and there you go; take a photo of the guts for later reference (just in case!!), with attention to the bridge pickup and its wiring, and have at it! de-solder the 2 pickup wires, uncsrew the 2 pickup mounting screws and install the new one.
If the Dimarzio is physically a liitle too big for the hole, then you may need to perform a little surgery with a file and sandpaper to enlarge the hole, but that would be about as bad as it gets!!
Get stuck in, mate; we'll help as much as we can!

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Barry on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:47 pm

Yup. Should be a straight forward swap, as long as you're OK with the soldering. Even that's not rocket science eh?

Get in there, just take your time. There isn't a lot you can bugger up. Laughing

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:20 am

Yep,  I tried an FS1 in mine (same blue as yours)  and it fits like any single coil.
I wasn't keen on the pickup actually,  so I went with a Squier classic vibe 50s set (tonerider surfari)  and love them in it. 

As Corsair and Barry said,  it's a simple procedure,  enjoy!

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by jakquantum on Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:10 am

Cheers for your replies, that was amazingly quick and I appreciate your input. Replies from Australia, Canada and Tyneside- it's great to hear from other Westone fans around the world. Greetings from Manchester, England!

So it sounds like my plan to fit a FS-1 is doable.

I've spoken to my friend who has started working at a local guitar technicians and he's said that we could take a proper look at it when I'm over his place next week. (If this happens I'll get some pictures of underneath the scratchplate for the forum).

My main concern was buying the wrong sized pick-up and having to do lots of body routing in the pickup cavity or similar to get it to fit. Judging by some of the other tech posts on this forum, people have used quite a variety of strat style pickups in Concord II's. 

Sgt. Vimes, I'd love to know more about what you didn't like about the FS-1? I'm looking for a more ballsy tone than the Westies current bridge pickup can offer so thought that might be a good match (but it's just a guess). I like the punch of bridge pickups in general but the stock one is quite piercing/flaky to my ears. Could you describe Tonerider Surfari bridge pickup sound in comparison to an FS-1? 

P.S. I'm fairly new to playing guitar (and very new to technical jargon) - just realised I've been describing a pickup as pick-up and a scratchplate as a pickguard... must be something to do with online searching and not actually saying the words out loud!

Another question to fire way- the FS-1 has a higher output (I believe) so would the other pickups still behave themselves with an FS-1 installed in the bridge position? I'd consider disconnecting the neck and middle pickup if it was an issue but it'd be shame to not be able to use the other pickups ever again. 

Also, would you recommend using the current wiring or would rewiring all the pickups make a big difference?

Thanks again for any advice!

Jak

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by corsair on Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:28 am

I still call 'em scratchplates so don't sweat it, eh!

As to balance with a higher output p'up, well, isn't that what you're after? And you'd get used to making quick volume adjustments on the fly with your little finger right there beside the loud knob! Or using a volume pedal... 

Perhaps a stacked h/b might be an option; I used a Fat Strat in a Tele some 30 years ago - in the neck, admittedly - and loved it, but then realised my favourite Aussie guitarist was probably using stacked h/bs in a Strat to get his HUGE live sound and veered that way! Long since sold that Tele but an investigating putting stacked h/bs in my Strat as we speak...

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:33 am

I  used the fs1 in the middle position with stock neck and an overwound artec bridge, the fs1 was a little underpowered in relation to the bridge pickup,  so the whole set was replaced. 

I didn't do an A/B test with the fs1 and the Squier cv set,  they were about a year apart so I couldn't honestly answer that.

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by jakquantum on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:47 pm

Hi guys, I just wanted to share a quick update of of my Concord II project. 

I had a blue covered Dimarzio FS-1 fitted in the bridge position, a neck shim added to allow the action to be lowered and had the volume pot switched with the neck tone pot- I kept accidently rolling the volume down mid-song when playing downstrokes! I much prefer the sound of the FS-1, just that bit more meaty than the stock pickup.

Anyway, thanks for your responses and advice- here's a couple of pictures to boot.

Cheers!
Jak

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by corsair on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:57 pm

Nice one, Jak!! Great to see it being gigged, too! Most of us in here don't play out anymore.... shame on us!! Laughing

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:04 pm

Nice work Jak!

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Barry on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:03 pm

Nice to see her rocking the way you want! The stock pups in these are not too bad sounding but don't really have a lot to recommend them in a live situation. Most of us have replaced all three of 'em. tongue

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Meadows on Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:15 am

Nice one Jak and as the guys say, great to see you taking it out live, I've seen a few thunders out there but never a concord.

I used to get really frustrated from the classic rolling the volume pot down too (on that style) now I just remove the knob, It works great and you can still adjust the volume very easily but only when you want.

Is that an old Roland cube your using or is that for the keys?, lovely cleans on those and they take pedals really well.

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Barry on Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:22 am

Meadows wrote:...Is that an old Roland cube your using or is that for the keys?, lovely cleans on those and they take pedals really well.
Good eye Si.
"Back in the day" I used, and still have, a Roland Cube 100 (the lesser seen guitar amp, not the bass amp).
Gutsy as hell and as you say, clean when you want it, and with a good overdrive too.

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by jakquantum on Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:46 am

Thanks for the positive comments guys, I'm still very new to guitar playing but looking to get out there as much as possible this year. It's my new years resolution to either write a song or play live once a week so we'll see how that goes! I'll post my next proper gig appearance in the gigs thread.

As for the amps on stage, the Roland Cube belongs to my close friend and is the guitar version, he plays electro acoustic through it and swears by its clean sound. Three different guitarists used it throughout the night and all sounded great mic'd-up through the house PA, although that could be more their playing! 
I've not tried it myself just yet but I'm looking to give it a spin soon. I'm currently using a lightweight Fender Champion 40 watt solid state and a couple of pedals which do the job for me.

P.S. A bit off topic but can anyone suggest any models of Westone that have thinner necks than a Concord? I'm on the search for a guitar with a thinner/skinner neck and would love to stay in the Westone family. Perhaps I ought to start a new topic about this?

Cheers,
Jak

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by corsair on Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:59 pm

The later Korean built models have a shredders neck; flat and very fast... 

My Genesis II also has a fast neck, and is light on the shoulder..

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by Sgt. Vimes on Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:06 pm

The Thunder 1 and 1a necks are thinner than my concords,  easily the most common westone in the UK, so readily available.

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by jakquantum on Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:38 am

Thanks for the info guys. 

Corsair, those Genesis II's are lovely pieces of kit- I love the pointy headstock. I think floating tremolo systems are beyond me though!

I had my eye on a cool looking Red Thunder I some months ago but didn't go through with it because of funds at the time. I quite like the look of the all black Thunder Jet - can I assume they are the same dimensions as a Thunder 1? I see them fairly often up on eBay. Again, maybe thats a question for another topic! 

Cheers,
Jak

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

Post by The Chad on Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:12 pm

Good to see another Westone gigger.  Smile  What music are you playing?

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Re: Replacement pickup for an '82 Concord II ?

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