Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

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Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 10, 2016 6:19 am

Hi. I have Westone Thunder 1 (version 3), and am looking to fix it up.

At the moment, I think the neck pick up isn't working, but the bridge pick up is, so I am planning to change the neck pick up.

I have never done this before, and have no experience of wiring anything (other than a basic plug).

I was thinking of getting a p90 style pick up for the bridge. But now I am not sure.

1) Because I have no experience I want to be able to take the old pick up out, and put a new one in, and just wire it as it was before. But if I am getting a p90 style rather than humbucker, will the wiring be different - particular to the toggle switch, which I understand is for coil splitting. (Everyone seems to refer to it as a coil tap switch, but as the guitar has humbuckers I assume it is for coil splitting - or am I wrong?)

2) Part of me is also thinking, if it has coil splitting, is there any point in getting a p90 rather than a humbucker?

Finally, can anyone suggest any particular pick up?

I don't like the modern metal sound that a lot of pick ups seem to boast about. I prefer blues and country and Cream and the Allman Brothers etc.

I already have two working guitars, so a little bit of a whim to fix this guitar up, so I really don't want to spend a lot on pick ups. However, don't necessarily want to get the cheapest if paying a little more will be significantly better.

In terms of looks - if I can get the pick up in red that would be a bonus.

But maybe most important of all, I want to be able to simply wire it the same way the existing pick up is wired.

Currently looking at:

(I am currently a new member so not allowed to provide links, but by name)

Vanson AlNiCo V P90 neck pick up - about £20

Wilkinson MWHBN Electric Guitar Neck Pickup - about £17


Wilkinson Electric Guitar 'Hot' Humbucker Pickup Neck Position - Chrome Finish - Ceramic - £17


Any thoughts would be appreciated


Last edited by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 10, 2016 4:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fix typo)

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Westbone on Tue May 10, 2016 7:03 am

Well firstly you say the neck pickup isn't working but the bridge is. So your planning to change the working pickup(bridge)?

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Adey on Tue May 10, 2016 9:52 am

Before pulling it all apart and swapping out bits and pieces, it's probably worth getting someone with a better knowledge of guitar electrics to have a look.

It could be something as simple as a dodgy / dirty switch, dry solder joint / broken connection etc. Cheap and easy to fix.

Sounds like you are jumping right in at the deep end when all that's needed is a bit of a paddle in the shallows....

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Tue May 10, 2016 10:28 am

Did you make a typo there Rob? Laughing

Adey has given you good advice, keep it simple.
In the majority of cases a non responsive pickup on an older guitar can usually be traced to oxidation on a contact point in the signal chain somewhere. Especially so if you're hearing a faint volume or crackling/humming.

Electrical contact cleaner is your friend here. Spray the back of the pots and switches (the actual contacts not the cover) and physically work the connection.

If you see no improvement then you'll have to investigate other causes such as a break in the wiring, etc. A multi-meter would be the tool to use here.

I'm a big fan of P90's but if you decide on a replacement pickup, it would not be a suitable candidate because your circuit already contains a coil split option. A humbucker would be the better choice and gives you more versatility.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Guitarcrap on Tue May 10, 2016 1:10 pm

f you prefer playing blues, check out the gold foil pickups from Guitar Fetish here in the US. They have an online site. They make them as direct replacements for humbuckers They look pretty and sound perfect for blues and roots music. They are also inexpensive and come in various configurations.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by corsair on Tue May 10, 2016 2:13 pm

If, as you say, you've got a dead 'un, then a pickup swap is "the go"; it's not terribly difficult to do though a little skill with a soldering iron is advantageous! Very Happy 

Look, because this is a piece of whimsy, I say go for a P90 - though be sure to get a humbucker sized one if you do so!! - don't worry about the coil tap; it just won't be in the circuit! I've just smacked a pair of cream Kent Armstrong humbucker sized P90s in a Vantage Avenger project I have here and they look superb...

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 10, 2016 3:01 pm

Sorry. Yes. That was a typo. It is the neck pick up I am thinking of changing.

The guitar is currently dismantled - apart from the electrics - for painting. But when I put it back together I will be sure to check connections etc before changing the pick up. It certainly needs a new toggle switch for one thing.

I suspect the pick up will be the problem though. It does look physically damaged. But I will check the wiring before ordering anything.

I don't really want to take it to a shop to be repaired though - partly because to some extent I just want to see what I can manage on my own and see what I can learn about how guitars work etc.

To a large extent my approach is not to do what is sensible our practical. Just messing around with an old guitar.

Any more specific recommendations of pickups would be appreciated.

Thanks for all your comments.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 10, 2016 4:58 pm

Guitarcrap wrote:f you prefer playing blues, check out the gold foil pickups from Guitar Fetish here in the US. 

Thanks for the suggestion. I've just been reading a bit about these, and they do sound like they could be a good choice. Not sure if there is anywhere to get them in the Uk though - but I guess I could consider importing them if necessary.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 10, 2016 5:07 pm

One more question, if comparing a p90 with a humbucker of a similar price (and perhaps same brand etc) would a humbucker with the coil split be just as good as the dedicated p90, or is there any advantage in having a a dedicated single coil pick up?

For example, given that a humbucker, with the ability to split, does more (and requires more to make - I assume) is it fair to assume that a £20 single coil pick might be comparable to a £30 humbucker (if comparing the single coil sound only)?

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Tue May 10, 2016 9:06 pm

Rob-Thunder wrote:... would a humbucker with the coil split be just as good as the dedicated p90...
Nope. Two different animals.
A coil split gives an approximation of a single coil sound and is handy if you need a particular sound for the odd song that you're playing without having to switch guitars.

Nothing sounds like a good P90, but some folks seem to have trouble getting along wif 'em, they do tend to feed back and even howl, especially if you only have one.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Westbone on Tue May 10, 2016 9:59 pm

Rob-Thunder wrote:
To a large extent my approach is not to do what is sensible our practical. Just messing around with an old guitar.

Happy messing around(especially if you don't know what your doing). Good luck.

Suggest you pop around to a guitar shop and try out some pickups on various guitars. Might be a good starting point. At least some idea to begin with.

There's 100's of pickups out there, all a matter of personal taste and the amp your using.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by David_A on Wed May 11, 2016 3:18 am

Hi Rob. I've had a Wilkinson neck pickup in the past and it sounded very good, so I'd say it was a good option if you don't want to spend a lot of money. If it also has a coil tap then you'll have lots of sounds to play around with. I'd also suggest you don't go for the 'hot' version as it may not balance the other pickup, although other members may have more experience than me on this?

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by corsair on Wed May 11, 2016 4:04 am

Rob-Thunder wrote:One more question, if comparing a p90 with a humbucker of a similar price (and perhaps same brand etc) would a humbucker with the coil split be just as good as the dedicated p90, or is there any advantage in having a a dedicated single coil pick up?

For example, given that a humbucker, with the ability to split, does more (and requires more to make - I assume) is it fair to assume that a £20 single coil pick might be comparable to a £30 humbucker (if comparing the single coil sound only)?
As Barry said, no; quite a different beast. From memory, P90s were Gibsons effort at a single coil and have a sound all of their own and I'm not convinced that the inexpensive pickups are markedly different from more expensive ones, boutique pickups aside.

The coil tapped sound of a split humbucker cannot really be mistaken for a proper single coil; it's an approximation and sometimes just seems like a weak h/b.... YMMV

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Wed May 11, 2016 8:05 am

Thanks everyone. A lot of really useful comments.

So at the moment its between a gold foil, a p90 of some sort or a - non hot - Wilkinson humbucker.

But first I'll check the current one is broken and maybe have a play in a guitar shop.

Thanks everyone.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 1:46 pm

Good news - the pick up does seem to be working after all (having put in a new coil splitting switch).


Last edited by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 4:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Adey on Tue May 17, 2016 2:42 pm

That's saved a bunch of cash!

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Tue May 17, 2016 2:44 pm

Great to hear Rob. Hey you can do what ever strikes your fancy but the Thunder did not get its name from mild mannered sounding pickups eh?

Generally speaking the stock MMK45's are a good match for this guitar and usually require the addition of rubber bands around yer ankles to prevent yer socks from blowing off.Hairy & Wooly

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 4:22 pm

Barry, yes, I was thinking of getting a p90, but that was primarily because I thought the pick up was faulty, so will probably stick with these now. (Although I do currently have a different problem - which I started a different thread for: the neck pick up works with the coil switch in one position, but doesn't work in the other.)

A part of me is tempted to get a p90, thinking that (being a single coil) I would just bypass the coil splitting switch, and maybe that would solve the problem.

But I assume there will be a better solution.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Tue May 17, 2016 5:01 pm

Yeah I believe Westbone already gave you the answer. Fear not. It ain't rocket science...but it can be frustrating at times.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 5:10 pm

Barry wrote:Yeah I believe Westbone already gave you the answer. Fear not. It ain't rocket science...but it can be frustrating at times.

You mean the DPDT?

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by corsair on Tue May 17, 2016 6:41 pm

Yeah, mate; put a DPDT on/on in there and job's a good 'un!! Not sure if the  on/off/on will be affecting the circuitry, but Damians switch is the way forward!

I assume that the coil tap here is just an earthing of one of the pickups coils, yes? From memory, the MMK45 p'ups have white/red/shield, with the white being hot and the red the coil tap??

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 6:55 pm

To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing, in terms of wiring - so all I was trying to do is copy how it was before (and check the wiring diagram).

But simply describing what I see, the switch has 6 pins (3x2). There is a blue wire, which is then soldered across both of the two top pins (so attached to both). And then there are two red wires each going to one of the middle pins. (And yes, these are from the pickups, as you suggest.) There's a white wire from each pick up - going to each of the tone dials. And yes, then the shield. (Not that I know what that is.)

http://www.westone.info/wiring/thunder1/index.html

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 6:57 pm

I will try a new DPDT and see if that solves the problem. Fingers crossed.

Thanks


Last edited by Rob-Thunder on Tue May 17, 2016 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Sat May 21, 2016 12:10 pm

Okay - so I have switched out the DPDT, and put the correct one in.

Unfortunately, I am still having the same problem. (Only one position is working on the neck pick up.)

I have attached a wiring diagram, and also a photo of the actual wiring. (The grey wire is the one that goes to the bridge pick up. The brown one goes to the neck pick up.)

As far as I can see, all of the wires go where they should - but presumably something is wrong because it isn't working.

Is there any value in going through each connection one by one and re-soldering in case any of the donnections are not good?

Any other ideas?

Thanks

Rob

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Sat May 21, 2016 12:36 pm

Rob, have you checked the schematic on our web site? CLICK HERE

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Adey on Sat May 21, 2016 12:42 pm

Have you checked that each coil in the pick up is working. If it only works with dpdt in one position, it could be the other coil has a break in the wire.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Sat May 21, 2016 2:55 pm

Barry wrote:Rob, have you checked the schematic on our web site? CLICK HERE

Yes, that is the one I have been using - thanks

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Sat May 21, 2016 3:00 pm

Can anyone tell me which coil should be active when the coil splitting switch is set to single coil? (For the neck pick up - the one with screws or the other coil?)

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Sat May 21, 2016 3:08 pm

Similarly, as I have it set up at the moment, the bridge pick up is single coil with the switch down, and both coils when the switch is up.

For the neck pick up, will it be the same or would it be the opposite way round?

Thanks

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Barry on Sat May 21, 2016 3:39 pm

The switch will be the same regardless of which PUP you're on.

It's possible as Adey says that you're only firing on one coil to begin with. Your ears should be the first indication whenyou compare bridge to neck, but the only way to  know for sure is to check the resistance with a multi meter.

These pups are great but they're getting  old now and I have had a few go bad on me, i.e. the connection on one coil "rots"

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Rob-Thunder on Sat May 21, 2016 3:59 pm

Adey wrote:Have you checked that each coil in the pick up is working. If it only works with dpdt in one position, it could be the other coil has a break in the wire.

Sorry - I missed your comment earlier.

I suspect this might be the case - but I don't know how to check it.

One thing I did do is try to bypass the coil splitting switch, but just disconnecting all the wires.

I was assuming that that would then lead to both coils being used (though don't know if that assumption was right).

Set up like this, the bridge pick up works (both coils) but nothing from the neck pick up.

Does that tell me anything useful?

Thanks

Rob

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Adey on Sat May 21, 2016 5:29 pm

If you have multi-meter it's no too hard. I can't recall the colours of all the wires from the pick-up, but measure across all of them in turn. You should find two pairs have the same resistance and across one of each of these pairs the value is double.
If you only get a resistance reading across two cables and no others, you have a broken winding.

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by corsair on Sat May 21, 2016 5:52 pm

You can visually check for problems with the pickup out, too, by looking to see if the wires that are soldered onto the coils are in fact connected.... a gentle wiggle will suffice!! If the problem isn't there, then there's a break in tbe winding somewhere....

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Re: Westone Thunder 1 electrics - coil split/tap

Post by Westbone on Sun May 22, 2016 2:02 am

If you need a replacement pickup(original) give me a shout. Complete with mounting surround.
Will need your old one(unmolested) in exchange.

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