Thunder 1A info needed.

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Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:33 pm

Hello one and all.

I've was mooching around on Fleabay recently, and like many of you I have a 'Westone' search filter. I was checking out the many shiny things I cannot afford in my current financial situation (a jobless layabout). Well to cut a long story short, I accidentally bought an '82 Thunder 1A (hand slap to forehead!)

It's the same old story for me.
Five days bidding to go and the voice in my head is saying "I'm not interested, I couldn't buy another guitar, no chance, never" No
One day left "I cannot afford another one, get a grip Dan, stay strong, leave it alone" Mad
One minute left "Well...I could get it....it is different from the others....and you would be doing it a favour, look at the poor thing, it needs your help.........go on Twisted Evil .............BUY, BUY, BUY...........YES, I won it.......oh no,what have I just done............ why did I do that........ No Nooooooooo........YOU IDIOT...WHY!

I have got some info on this model from the Westone.info site and this has raised some questions you maybe able to help with.

1, The guitar (or at least the neck) has an '82 serial number and it has a gold and black script headstock logo, making it a version 2 model. The wiring matches the version 1, from the earliest 1A's ?. Has anyone else out there got one like this. I know when these revisions were made, it probably wasn't a clean changeover from one to the next, it just seems a bit odd to me.

2, The controls for this type are 1 vol pot, 1 'active' tone pot and 1 gain pot. A coil cut on/off, phase reverse on/off and active on/off switches, as well as the normal pickup selector. The tone pot seems to be passive and still works even when the active circuit is off. It also has a centre indent making it a -5/+5 balance pot. This appears to be correct according to the original circuit diagram but doesn't make any sense having it to me. Does the centre indent equal '0', turning it up adding treble and turning it down adding bass, like the later active models? How is it work when the active circuit is off?

3, I know this has probably been asked before but it concerns pickups!!! According to the catalogue's, the early models were fitted with the "2 magnet F450" h/b's, then the next version was fitted with "HF450" h/b's and then the later one's were fitted with "Hammer 1" pickups! What (if any) is the difference between these type's. My new guitar currently has single coils in it!?!(yes, really Shocked ) but I have some MMK 45's lined up for it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I was going to put up some photos but all my rechargeable batteries decided to drain themselves stone dead this morning, for no apparent reason! Pictures to follow, see you soon.

P.S. As I write this, it has just been announced that Les Paul has passed away aged 94. Sad loss of an absolute legend, miss ya Les.

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by corsair on Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:43 pm

Yes; God rest Les Paul; I'm listening to 'How high the moon' right now!

The pickups, AFAIK, were MMK45s so you're on the right track there although here may have been differences in output between the active and passive ones.

A good place to start is here;

Is the 'active' tone, ie the tone control with the boost on, more of a mid range shape? My VA900 has the same set up but I can't remember now what everything does (it's been 10 months since I've played it and it's now 1000 miles away in storage!)
I'm sure one of the lads or lasses in here will be able to help though, although we can't help with the voices in your head that make you buy guitars... simply 'cause we all pretty much have the same affliction!! Laughing

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:50 pm

I've only given it a quick work out so far, and with the single coils currently fitted it's hard to say what it's doing.

Obviously the coil tap doesn't work properly, it just turns off everything! And the phase switch cancels so much of the signal it's virtually silent. I'll give it a proper go when I get them MMK 45's in, I've waited ages to hear these babies in one of my Thunders. I've only just found out these are the same as the Protomatic IV's fitted in my Aria Pro II CS250, and that kicks ass!

The wiring looks mostly original apart from the pickup swap, and who ever did it cut the leads a couple of inches away from the pots and spliced the single coils in, leaving all the joints on the pots untouched. I think the active switch has been replaced. The coil cut and phase switches have the original flattened toggle tips but the active switch has a normal round tip, although this could be standard, something else that I need confirmed.

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Steve777 on Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:04 pm

Hi Dan,

I also looked hard at that one on Flea Bay. Mmmmm, I "mmm'd" and "arddd'd"and decided that unless I had MMk Pups it wasnt worth the hassle. MMKs are becoming hard to find and I am almost tempted to whip one out of my collection of thunders and send it to a Pup specialist for forensic examination !

What makes these Pups so special? Afterall, there is a magnet and some wire and some mojo, n'est pas! What about the tone woods Uncle Matt employed? Or the hardware installed ? I'd love to send an MMK to Dimarzio et al to see if they could replicate one.

Sadly, even if they could, I'm sure that originals would fetch more than replica's>

C'est la vie

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:15 pm

Hi Dan. Congrats on the new acquisition.
Sometimes the little voices in yer head make you do good things!

As I write this it's getting near bed time for this ole feller and I'll have to re-read your post more carefully later on to see how your Thunder matches up with my version 1. At first glance it looks pretty much the same but what's the deal with single coil pup's?? I'm no expert but it seems like that would mess up the original circuit design, not to mention the output. All I can tell you is mine roars like, well, thunder!
Cheers!

RIP Lester, and thanks.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:22 pm

O.K. boys and girls, I have returned with some fully charged batteries and a few pictures.





As you can see it's been fitted some funky hi-fi knobs so I'm on the lookout for some of the brass ones, anyone got some.............. Rolling Eyes don't laugh!
For now, I have some gold Gretsch style knobs I'm going to use. The body has been refinished with clear brush on varnish. It's not a bad job but it's very pale compared to the neck so I might redo it myself if I can give it a slightly yellowy/orangy tint, nothing crazy mind you. The first job is to put right those pickups, well it's just not right is it! Suspect

As for which version it is, well it's definitely a V2 (I think!) so it seems as if I have side stepped those early model bridge problems again. The wiring is the V1 type with the gain control So I don't know if it's an oddball factory overlap when versions changed, or is it just a bitsa!

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by corsair on Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:42 pm

Gee, that looks nice I mean apart from the funky knobs and the single coils!! Good nick, mate; it'll come together sweet as!! I thnk Davids' got the brass knobs so that's that one sorted!! get 'em now; he only has 3 left!!

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Barry on Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:56 pm

Hey Dan the Man!
She's a beauty...um, aside from those PUP's and HiFi knobs (you should be able to pull in some local FM stations though!)

All in all it's in great shape. I think she'll look better, as you say, if you re-do her finish at some point.
But right now, get some decent pup's into her and rock yer arse off!
Good on ya!

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"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:15 pm

Hello and thanks for the heads up on the brass control knobs, I've put my order in for them straight away! Them old ones will be put to good use on one of my DIY effects pedals I have lying around here (somewhere?). The last brass knobs I got came from a guy on Fleabay, he made a batch of 40 but it took so long to make them he wasn't going to make them again!

I'm going to take the guitar apart soon and get rid of them pickups, I must hear these MMK 45's wired up. I'm going to leave the finish for now, it's not that important at the moment, I just want to get it up and running and see if there is any problems with it.

If any of my Westones needed real attention it has to be this sorry specimen,





A nightmare job to put right I think you will agree. As played by Edward Scissorhands if this one is anything to go by!

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:50 pm

A quick update,

I've got the '82 Thunder 1A rebuilt and the MMK 45's wired up. When I first got the guitar, I couldn't understand why the active tone control had a centre indent pot . Now it's wired with the humbuckers, my controls are working like this, tell me if this is right.

With the active circuit switched off.
Turning the tone pot from 1 to 5 acts as a standard tone control, turning from 5 to 10 has no effect, to my ears. The active gain pot has no effect on the output.

With the active circuit switched on.
Turning the tone pot from 1 to 5 now has no effect. Turning from 5 to 10 add's treble. The gain pot shuts off the guitar signal when turned down and upsets the neighbours when up full!
Yes, I got a bit of a shock when I first switched the active circuit on. I had the amp set clean with the volume level to suit the guitar without the active circuit on. When I kicked it in, I had the gain control up full! IT'S BLOODY LOUD. clown

So does this sound right for the early, VERSION 1 CIRCUIT Thunder 1A guitar.

I've posted pictures of the finished guitar HERE, on the Members Westones section.

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:00 pm

DuoFuzz wrote:... Now it's wired with the humbuckers, my controls are working like this, tell me if this is right.
Hey Dan. You're a very brave man to attempt this wiring! I'd run away like a little girl at the thought! clown
I finally pulled out my '81 version 1 Thunder I-A and here's how it compares to yours:
With the active circuit switched off.
Turning the tone pot from 1 to 5 acts as a standard tone control, turning from 5 to 10 has no effect, to my ears.
CHECK
The active gain pot has no effect on the output.
CHECK
With the active circuit switched on. Turning the tone pot from 1 to 5 now has no effect.
Turning from 5 to 10 add's treble.
NO With the boost on I get full tonal range, 1 to 5=bass, 5 to 10=trebel.
The gain pot shuts off the guitar signal when turned down and upsets the neighbours when up full!...IT'S BLOODY LOUD.

CHECK! CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!
So does this sound right for the early, VERSION 1 CIRCUIT Thunder 1A guitar.
With the exception noted above, CHECK

I took a few quick pix which I hope helps.
If you need higher resolution PM me and I'll set it up fer ya!




Cheers.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Hello Barry, thanks for the info,


With the active circuit switched on. Turning the tone pot from 1 to 5 now has no effect.
Turning from 5 to 10 add's treble.

NO With the boost on I get full tonal range, 1 to 5=bass, 5 to 10=trebel.

I've checked again and I think I can just hear the bass side of the pot working, very subtle though. Then again I could need my ears testing! The treble side of the tone pot might sort out any hearing problems, it's so bright it nearly blew my head clean off!

It seems I still have some unfinished business with that wiring. The active toggle switch has been replaced in the past and the current one has been encased in a weird home made brass earthing jacket thing!?! Suspect. I want rid of this when I can find a replacement with the correct flat switch tip to match the other two.....O.K., yes I'm vain and I want it to look right!.
Also the gain pot cuts out when you tap the top of it. The pot shaft can be pulled out about 3mm, so I think that's buggered as well. No

"I love the smell of soldering fumes at 2 o'clock in the morning" (cue music) doo-do-de-dooo-dumm, doo-do-de-dooo-dumm.....

DAN.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:15 pm

DuoFuzz wrote:"I love the smell of soldering fumes at 2 o'clock in the morning" (cue music)
Ah, see, that's where those voices in yer head are coming from that urge you to "Buy that Mats! Buy that Mats! Buy that Mats!"

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:13 pm

Laughing Yeah, that sounds about right. It also tells me "buy that Ibanez, buy that Hondo, buy that Aria, buy that Fenix.........."

It makes sense now, "it's not my fault sir, it's the voices". I'm sure the bank manager will understand when I explain it like that!

(Although I think the resulting straight jacket could prove restrictive when striking some of my best rock guitar hero poses) What a Face

DAN

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by Frenchy on Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:33 am

Yeah, that sounds about right. It also tells me "buy that Ibanez, buy that Hondo, buy that Aria, buy that Fenix.........."

It makes sense now, "it's not my fault sir, it's the voices".

wow.... I'm not alone.... Laughing

P.

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Re: Thunder 1A info needed.

Post by DuoFuzz on Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:07 am

Frenchy wrote,
wow.... I'm not alone....

I feel alone! Laughing

DAN.

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