Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

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Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:17 pm

'Lo folks.
It's been awhile since I've posted something meaningful here in ye olde Westone forum!
I was lucky enough to pick up three (count 'em) Vantage guitars in the past several weeks, so I was over there, you know, playing in that "other" Uncle Mats forum for awhile. Wink
(Eee gads this is starting to sound like a confessional: "Bless me Father for I have sinned...") Twisted Evil

In the process of cleaning those up and doing a bit of light restoration it dawned on me that I had been neglecting my two Spectrums and that they too were long overdue for some TLC. You can see pix of them (and the Thunder) in my original post HERE.

The White Spectrum S
The first thing I did was to finally strip the S that I bought earlier this year. (Some may recall my angst over the jammed volume KNOB!) Besides a general wipe down I had really done nothing to it since I bought it. It was in pretty good shape and the strings were good too. I just played it and pretty much left it alone.

This time I pulled it to bits, cleaned everything properly, and restrung her with 9's. It came with what felt like 11's which is wa-a-a-y heavier than I normally use. Even so it was still a good player. But with the 9's and a clean fret board it was magic! What a pleasure to play! Couldn't get enough of it, and I fell in love with Spectrum all over again. There are a few dings here and there that I might tackle over the winter but on the whole she's a looker, and really, really shiny!
PUP Question: When I checked the pups there were no markings on them other than "A" for the neck and "B" for the bridge. The bottoms were black plastic, quite different from the ST's which you'll see in the pic below is metal. (Sorry no pix. Didn't have the camera handy). So the question is, "How cum?" Both guitars are 1985's.

The Black Spectrum ST
It's ironic.
This was my first Mats guitar and I bought it new, gigged with it, recorded with it, and generally paid little attention to it for years. Then I got religion (read GAS) and started "collecting". I've spent lots of time lately restoring my other Mats guitars and completely forgetting about this one, so it was about time!

If you read my original post I mentioned that I had screwed down the trem since I couldn't be bothered with it. Some 20-odd years later I figured it was time to restore it! I removed the springs, backed off the screws and wonder of wonders, the springs haven't lost any tension at all! Amazing after all this time. Another testament to Uncle Mats' quality methinks.



Trem Question: Now that it's all cleaned up and limber, is there any sort of standard setting I should be aware of? I've never seriously used one before so I have no idea. Is it a measurement thing or just whatever "feels" right?



I replaced the bridge pup years ago for reasons mentioned in my original post, and I should take this time to correct my erroneous statement there that I thought it was a Seymour Duncan. As you can see, it isn't! I put in a German made Schaller; no wonder it roars! I still have no bloody idea what I did with the original pup. It was a long time ago, but it is very unusual for me to discard anything electronic (just ask my current or previous wife!). I keep hoping it'll turn up in a box or bag somewhere, but I'm losing faith.

So, what do you make of this pup versus the ones on the S? I've been looking at MMK45's so much lately that these look some how alien.



As always, thanks for any assistance!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by corsair on Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:55 pm

G'day Barry - I do like your S; mind you if it's a Spectrum, I'll like it!! Dunno what to make of the p'ups in that S and even David isn't sure! I reckon if you take a pic or two of them and contact him at Westone.info, he'd be grateful for the added info you can give re. this oddity. And when you've decided that you don't want it because it's just too odd, put it away for me!! Laughing

My ST has MMK 45's; I know this 'cause they are marked so on the bottom plates so I don't know what the neck p'up on yours is, but I do like that Schaller! Once again David will know!!



..ST on the top middle...

Treat the trem as any strat trem; they're really simple to set up - I have mine - on a strat - sitting very slightly tail of the bridge raised to allow for slight up bends but my ST has the bridge sitting flush on the body, ie no up bends at all! You'll eventually find a position you like above all others if you piddle about with it enough but the upshot is you'll be able to be Hank Marvin to your hearts content! Very Happy Very Happy

Like you I wasn't a big trem fan, but now, with loads of them on my Westones one of my favourite things is to dial up some distortion, have the gain fairly well into ear bleeding territory and hit a harmonic, dump the bar and then slowly bring it back to pitch; really really infantile I know, but great fun!! Laughing That's a Bendmaster trick really, I'm not sure a start type trem would quite have the range?!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:33 am

Hey John, thanks fer the info.
corsair wrote:Dunno what to make of the p'ups in that S and even David isn't sure!
Well, I wondered about that myself, but I have a fuzzy memory of a post (not sure which forum!) which made mention of similar pups and markings. I'll have to do a search when I have nothing else to do with my life! They sound good, although to my ears, the output from the A pup doesn't seem up to snuff. Purely subjective of course.
My ST has MMK 45's; I know this 'cause they are marked so on the bottom plates
Hmmm, interesting. The reason I swapped out the bridge pup 'back in the day' was because there wasn't enough output. I'm starting to feel better about that decision now. MMK 45's would have really made the Spectrum fire on all cylinders and I likely would not have touched it.
I wonder if this is another one of those "specifications are subject to change without notice" deals?
...one of my favourite things is to dial up some distortion, have the gain fairly well into ear bleeding territory and hit a harmonic, dump the bar and then slowly bring it back to pitch; really really infantile I know, but great fun!!...
Whatever floats yer boat!

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Recommendations for Bridge PUP Replacement?

Post by Barry on Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:35 pm

After some thought I'm not sure I want to keep the Schaller PUP in the ST and I'm considering replacing it. I may yet go for one of the Seymour Duncan Triple Shot Switching Mounting Rings but so far I can't find them locally.

So, I turn to you, the learned, experienced, all wise, all knowing, experts (have I buttered you up enough yet?) for some recommendations. Nothing too drastic, maybe something in a Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio, and um, cheap. clown

I'd replace the original if I could find the thing but I fear it's lost for good now. Crying or Very sad
'appreciate yer thoughts!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by corsair on Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:43 pm

My thoughts; MMK's, mate! Actually, if you're interested, there's an MMK 75 floating around in the UK - Polly was gonna use it in a project but wound up selling the project. The 75's were from the Panteras and may be an option; if you want, PM her and see if she'll fire it towards you rather than back at me?

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:03 pm

Thanks John, I'll PM Polly when I get a moment. Maybe a trade?
An MMK75 would be swell.I have no idea what in the neck position currently. There's no ID on the bottom as you can see in the pic. Both the Spectrums' pups are mysteries at this point.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:11 pm

BUMP.
Just to update this thread...thanks to new information published by David on the westone.info site the Spectrum UBC pup mystery appears to have been solved: http://www.westone.info/ubc.html

Accordingly this ST would appear to have had the early (cr@ppy) version of the pups and were neither true UBC's, nor MMK45's. I can finally stop feeling guilty about removing the bridge pup all those years ago!

As a further update, I have just now won an eBay auction for a pair of 45's taken from an Electra X290. As usual, some nimrods jumped in at the last minute and pushed my price up, then buggered off! Thanks.
Anyway the plan is to pop them into my old ST. If they're anything like the ones in my DX it'll be sure to breathe life into this old gal! (The DX with her 45's fair rocks dontchaknow!) cheers

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by corsair on Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:33 pm

Barry wrote:As a further update, I have just now won an eBay auction for a pair of 45's taken from an Electra X290. As usual, some nimrods jumped in at the last minute and pushed my price up, then buggered off! Thanks.

Ahhhh... you really should let someone know when you're on the prowl, buddy!!! Yep; it should blow your socks off when you're done. eh!!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:14 pm

corsair wrote:Ahhhh... you really should let someone know when you're on the prowl, buddy!!!...
Why? Were you bidding on this one John?
I've been on the look out for quite some time now (like a year!) for some 45's. I was just doing a quick search on eBay when I saw the auction with about 50 minutes or so to go. No time to be posting on two forums and waiting for responses, etc.
Lousy timing on the exchange rate though. We were above par not long ago, now we're down about 8%.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by umpdv5000 on Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:26 pm

I can see the posting of the question asking if there is a set standard on how to set up a floating Strat like trem was a bit far back, but just to pop my two peneth in....

As you will no doubt be aware, when setting up this type of tremolo to its floating position, its all a matter of balance between the spring tension on the under side of the guitar, which opposes the string tension on the top side of the guitar. The balancing point is all about the position of the base plate that pivots with the bridge saddles on it. For it to be in the correct position, you need to hold the guitar so that you are looking at the angle of the string saddles and they should lie in line with the run of the strings. If they are too high ie:the rear end is higher than the line of the strings, then it will cock up your intonation adjustments. If they are too low ie; the rear end is only slightly higher than its screwed down position, then you will get insufficient lift on the trem. When the string saddles run in line with the strings, you should be able to get a lift of a semi-tone when you pull the trem arm up full. This is the supposedly correct position for setting up a strat type trem.

Martin.


Last edited by umpdv5000 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:15 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:49 pm

Thanks for that Martin. Good info!
For years this was the one and only guitar I had which had a trem, but I never used it until this current readjustment.
With the addition of the extra spring she seems to be working just fine now. I always had bouncy-bouncy problems with the original 2 springs and I think that was what caused the problems for me.

'Course now I'm a flippin' expert with four Mats guitars with trems...and every one of 'em different!! tongue

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by corsair on Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:53 am

Yeah, Martin - thank you! I've always just set mine so that there is a hint of daylight under the plate which gives a little bit of an up bend but not much, so gold info!!

Have you got a Westone with the FT trem yet, Barry?? One to look for....

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Baluski on Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:21 am

If you're still looking...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Matsumoku-MMK-45-Bridge-Pickup-MMK45-Aria-NR-/260613155179?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3cadc1296b#ht_2498wt_1137

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Matsumoku-MMK-45-Neck-Pickup-MMK45-Vantage-NR-/260613155783?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item3cadc12bc7#ht_2441wt_1137

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:39 pm

Cheers, but I have already purchased some pups!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:57 am

Pup Update:
I received the pups yesterday.
They were a bit dusty and a little scuffed but all in all in good shape.

I cleaned and polished 'em, trimmed the leads and slapped the meter on 'em.
Whoah Nelly!
NECK = 11.48 K
BRIDGE = 11.98 K
Not too shabby!

The 'ole ST won't know what hit it! What a Face
Dr. Barry will be performing the transplant soon. Pix to follow.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:33 pm

It rained so much last night and today that I was about to start building an Ark!
Instead, it was a perfect day for an indoor project, so, I installed the "new" MMK45 pups!

Here's a before shot showing the current installation with the 45's alongside for comparison:

To recap, the neck pup is the original, the bridge is a Schaller blade that I replaced the original with back in the '80's sometime.

Here are a couple more comparison shots of the three pups; Schaller on top, original ST on left, 45 on the right:


The 45 is definitely heavier than the old ST likely indicating either fewer windings or possibly smaller mags may have been used in the ST's. And since it was out, I put the meter on it: 6.5 K full coil and 3.4 K on the coil cut. quite difference from the 45's!

After a lot of stripping, the wires, not me...although it was very humid, and I do look adorable in boxers, clown I dry wired everything and tested.
Um, problem...
...the circuit requires Red and White plus Ground...my pups have White and Ground. Ooops! Rolling Eyes
In my excitement at getting some 45's I completely forgot about the coil cut. If the Red is connected with the White the coil cut becomes a Kill circuit instead. Pull the knob and nuthin'!
Dayum.
Oh well, I seldom use the "single coil" mode any way.

After the screw driver coil test to make sure all was well, I ignored the Red wire and soldered her up as full-on HB's with no cut. Now, when I pull up the knob switch there's no change, it just stays in HB mode.

And I got smart this time and used heat shrink tubing to keep it all tidy and snug, instead of tape! Much nicer, and it won't unwrap:


New pups installed:


Restrung, set up and back to bed (not her rotation turn!):


OK I did wail a little bit, and may I just say...HOLY CANADA GOOSE CR@P!! These things rock baby!
She's like a brand new guitar!

EEEEE HAAAAWWW! Daddy gots a new noise maker!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Steve777 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:48 pm

Barry,

I've seen those schaller PU's go for reasonable money on ebay, that is if you want to get some of your MMK45 investment back.

Secondly, do the strings line up over the bridge PU? I cant get to my Dim IV at present to check, but from memory, the bridge PU should be 52mm from pole to pole, and the neck 50mm. I'll check my Westones when I get a chance.

With regards to wiring, the Dim IV has both CT and Phase reverse on pull / push switches and the wiring diagram is on the Westone site.

Good job though. Enjoy

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Warrn on Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:44 am

Barry was it you who said none of your Spectrums had dyed black fingerboards? Because I see plenty of black dye on that fingerboard, under where the strings normally are and especially on those highest frets.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by umpdv5000 on Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:14 am

Barry wrote:Um, problem...
...the circuit requires Red and White plus Ground...my pups have White and Ground. Ooops!

Hi Barry,

Maybe a little late to say this, but your pickup that only has White and Ground comeing out can be modified to suit your needs. What you have to do is remove the cloth wrappng (carefully) to expose the windings and seperate the wire where the two coils are joined together. Then replace the picup fly lead with some twin core and screened cable, connecting the two seperate core ends to the end of each of the wires that you have sererated between the pickup coils. Wrap the cloth tape back around the pickup bobbins and there you have the necessary wires. Simple (sklick)

Martin.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Steve777 on Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:48 am

Barry,

I have just taken a look at my Dim IV, and the bridge PU is 50mm centre of pole to pole and the neck, 48mm. Does this correspond with your pu's? Hope this helps

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:52 am

Steve777 wrote:I've seen those schaller PU's go for reasonable money on ebay, that is if you want to get some of your MMK45 investment back.
Not sure what I'm doing with it at the moment.
With regards to wiring, the Dim IV has both CT and Phase reverse on pull / push switches and the wiring diagram is on the Westone site.
Thanks, but the pup lacks the third wire to do anything else without performing surgery on it as Martin suggests.
...do the strings line up over the bridge PU?...I have just taken a look at my Dim IV, and the bridge PU is 50mm centre of pole to pole and the neck, 48mm. Does this correspond with your pu's?
Same measurements exactly Steve. And the E strings do ride on the outside edges of the poles, the rest are fine.
umpdv5000 wrote:Maybe a little late to say this, but your pickup that only has White and Ground comeing out can be modified to suit your needs...
Yeah, thanks Martin, but that ain't gonna happen in my lifetime. Razz
Warrn wrote:...I see plenty of black dye on that fingerboard, under where the strings normally are and especially on those highest frets.
I have to say that, at that angle and in that light, I do see what you're talking about. Couldn't have been much of a dye in the first instance if it has washed out so easily.

Even if not completely perfect, all in all, she's a "born again" Mats and sounds amazing! I wish I had had this sound back in the day...maybe you could have heard the Westie over all those Fenders! On second thought, maybe that was a good thing. lol!

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Some New Pix

Post by Barry on Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:26 pm

I was shooting some pix of my new Vintage Lemon Drop outside today and I realized I didn't have any of the "new, improved" ST taken outside.
So...here are two (count 'em, two!) new pictures filmed in brilliant August sunshine on my soon to be shredded wheat lawn. (almost no rain here this month!).
Enjoy!




Last edited by Barry on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Westbone on Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:40 am

I'll bet that sounds 'king ace. Just wondered if you mounted the bridge pup out of phase with the neck on purpose, ala peter green .

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:25 am

Um, no. Embarassed
Sounds great 'tho!

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Westbone on Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:50 am

That's the same mistake peter green made, apparently, it became his "sound". I should imagine yours sounds ballsy with those pups. In a way they seem to suit your guitar better than the allen key screw type pole pieces.

I've a set of super twin pups from a thunder II (mmk 53) that I'll install in a thunder I. Interesting to hear what they sound like.


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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:57 am

Yup!
I must have had the Lemon Drop on my mind when I put them in...or I just wasn't paying attention (more likely).
Ironically, I just bought a Vintage Lemon Drop yesterday so I now have as close to the real thing as I'm likely to get!
http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=6525

I don't have any Mats with 53's; they're all 45's or UBC. I'm interested in knowing what they sound like compared with the 45's. One day, perhaps.

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Re: Tidying Up the Trem & Peekin' at the Pups

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