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All Strung Out

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

Rewiring an Archtop guitar is a bit like keyhole surgery - something I was supposed to have for a routine Op, but things changed a bit, which is why I'm able to spend so much time in the Shed convalescing at the moment and doing all of those jobs that you keep meaning to get round to but never have the time.

Now Convalescence can be an opportunity for fun if you can manage to ignore the aches and pains. The Op was three weeks ago, but there was some paperwork I needed to go into the office for (Vat Returns and stuff). So Jon picks me up from home to drive me in, ostensibly to get the all this stuff done, and it was a bit like "aw mum do I have do I have to go to school today?".

So we arrived and I pootled about downstairs in the workshop, gathering parts and bits of wood and stuff, and then took everyone including a visiting supplier salesman out to Lunch where I drank too much wine, then buggered off to the Guitar shop over the road for the rest of the afternoon to try out the new Gibson 275 archtops as they comes in LH versions (which is a rubbish guitar by the way mine are much better) leaving Lien our faithful bookeeper to do all of the paperwork. Then I got taken home

Highly productive day I thought.

They haven’t asked me back ………..

Mission accomplished :)

So back into the Shed - yay. I have this Chinese made Guitar - small bodied Les Paul sized - v cheap but a nice player. So a while back I picked up some Genuine Gibson 57 Classic pickups and dropped them in, and got a very pleasing result - lovely deep and rich tone just like a proper Archtop.

Next step, which is now underway, is to change out the wiring - proper CTS left handed pots, Sprague Orange Drop caps and a nice clunky Switchcraft toggle switch - real old fashioned Gibson spec stuff to go along with the pickups.

It was easy enough to strip out the old wiring harness, but rebuilding is quite a tough job - you have to build the entire wiring assembly outside of the guitar with all of the spacings right so it will fit exactly and then laying bits of string through the potholes so you can draw the entire assembly in in one lump.

I cheated and dropped the pickups out to allow poking fingers inside a bit to make the job bit easier but once the screws were removed, as the guitar is of a fairly cheap and very thin plywood construction, all of the screw holes needed to be doweled up to get the screws to grip again to prevent any rattles - where would I be without superglue and matchsticks!

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