Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:56 am

Figured out a diagram for everything I need want .... finally.

I designed it to get the most out of only the existing 5 pots and one switch on a RIC pick guard.

I've got what I've been after:

    All pickups on/off separately (and with individual volumes)
    Bridge+Neck parallel/series
    N+Middle parallel/series (Hum-bucking)
    Relative Phase between all pickups (B & M phase switches)
    B Humbucker/Single Coil Cut


And like a late birthday card, some nice extras:

    Freeway switch adds Middle easily into any other combos
    Entire guitar in parallel with standard positions, and switchable into full series (loud!)
    Adjustable volumes in all series modes
    No dead switch pots when using series modes
    B Phase switch will change selected coil when in BSingleCoil mode
    Humbucker when N+M in series
    (*Humbucker when BSingleCoil + M (not positive on this yet, don't know HB polarity vs. SC; can move HB wires to get it, though, ala "inside-out" wiring, see http://www.1728.org/guitar11.htm))

Downsides:
No B+M series (but B+N is a more obvious difference in tone, and closer to the blues-ey tone I'm after)
No N phase for quick switching (but the other 2 switches accomplish the same thing)


Need to start with little bit of surgery to get phase & series to work on these toasters:
    Neck: Step 1 only
    Middle: Step 1 & 2
1. Cut the shield away from the ground lug under the single coil, and put a new ground wire in place of it, soldered to the lug. Be sure the leftover shield doesn't touch anything (tape it up).
2. To make the Middle SC into RWRP for hum-canceling, remove and flip each of the 6 magnets. Directions here: http://palka.com/rickpick.html No need to completely remove wires as he shows (unless replacing them with 4-core/shielded).... Existing wires can be used as noted where my diagram says "+Red/core" vs. "+Red/shield". But still separate them for a new ground wire as in step 1.

I'll probably use shielded wiring from pickups, replacing existing Shield/Core wire w/4 conductor Shielded (unless there's a 2-conductor + shield out there, but I haven't seen it. Have seen USB cable suggested for this).
Common push/pull switches *will* fit in the cavity, which measures 1 3/16". The switch is 1 1/16".

Also, I moved the positioning of the controls to mimic the Jimmy Page les paul layout of volume & tone & push/pull functions, which I'm used to from my own JPLP I've used for years.
The two Series/parallel switches under the pots might eventually switch places from what is shown on this diagram - see how I feel by the time I build it.

I wish the Freeway switch was black on top, perhaps I can dip it into plastic/rubber to coat it.

Oh and the capacitors and resistors are for treble bleed, so the tone doesn't change as the volume goes down. Values are Cap: 1nF and Resistor: 150k.

Much credit to the guitarnuts2.proboards.com site for the immense college of musical knowledge! :)

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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (jps) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:17 pm

With all that switching capability when will you have time to actually play the guitar? :mrgreen:
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (electrofaro) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:21 pm

Intersting stuff! Keep us posted and please post a video once it's done for us to hear all those options - how many switching options are there actually? :?:
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (cjj) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:12 pm

You'll need to keep that diagram handy so as to remember how to run you guitar...
:lol:

Interesting ideas though...
8)
I have NO idea what to do with those skinny stringed things... I'm just a bass player...
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (Dom) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:54 pm

Brian, you are totally speaking my language. I'm doing a ground up resto of a 350 right now (stripping paint at this very moment) and working on a 3 HB 370 rewire and these are some tones/combos I'm looking to get myself. How do you like the freeway switch? I've been curious about those for ages. I' d love to hear a demo of the results! Thanks for posting the schematic! I'm doing about the same with my 370 but it has a piezo too...nothing wrong with excess when it comes to tone!

Oh and I thought I saw that you can switch the red & blue wires on the hb1 for the phase canceling issues when used with the singles. Anyone confirm this?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:52 pm

Awesome, Dom. I'm just in the conceptual stages, and I will post sounds when I get to the final result, probably many months from now. Yes, I do think if your HB sounds out of phase, switch the red and blue wires. If it sounds worse, switch it back. The best way to tell relative polarity would be to use a small magnetic compass (pre-electric tech) and hold it near either end of the HB, and the top (vs. bottom) of the SC, and note polarity.

I just updated the diagram with an important ground on the N+M push/pull, (which I missed at 2am when I was proofing the last one). This should be the final diagram. I think I will be switching the push/pull parts of the Neck Vol & Tone pots for better positioning when I build it.

Looks like there's 76 different positions. There might well be some non-useful tones, but still, thats alot anyway! Its hard to represent six switches on a chart for reference, so here's a go that might seem impenetrable at first, but it shows everything pretty compactly. With the Series modes engaged, the same signal goes to each position of the selector switch, so there's no dead spots.
Series signal flow is Ground>Bridge>Neck>Middle>Output.

Again, HUGE HUGE credit to JohnH on the guitarnutz2 board for his previous work (among many others), which I used to base alot of my info on, and this chart.


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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (Dom) » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:46 am

On my 350 with 2 HiGains & an HB1 I'm going to use a shared volume for N & M which will be on the 3 way & just a volume for the bridge. The knobs on top will be the volumes (closest to the 3 way N&M next over B) as I can roll N&M off while rolling the B on (or vice versa) with the fat part of my palm in one motion. This way I can keep the blend knob for N&M & avoid the freeway...the reviews scared me too. On my stock 330 I work the blend knob like a wha effect with the neck tone rolled down....great for slide.

N&M will have a shared tone knob with .047 cap for growly blues tones & bridge HB will have a tone with a .010 cap for woman tone. Push pulls will have OOP neck, OOP mid, all series/all parallel, bridge tap and space for one extra push pull which I haven't decided what to do with. It is a bit simpler & gets close to what you are going for but you'll have more tones on tap. My 370wb will have a similar setup, 2 OOPs but with 3 taps & no series mod or blend but it has a piezo volume where the blend goes already.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (electrofaro) » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:56 am

Brian, 76 options? Wowsers! How will you will memorize all of these settings? :shock:
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:47 pm

I guess I'll just remember what each switch does, and then see what happens when I switch it ! :wink:


really tho, the jimmy page LP i've had for years is very similar setup, this just adds a middle pickup to it, with a volume & phase. So to me its a small addition.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:34 pm

I finally finished this mod. It works, and sounds fantastic. Long story definitely *not* short, and I hope this helps anyone that might be thinking of doing it, with info as if starting from zero, which I would have found useful. Thanks to many people on the GuitarNutz 2 board, I have cross-posted there.

My Rickenbacker 350 Liverpool from 1995 had 3 of the mid period Hi Gains - the pole pieces without any hex holes. I have no major tooling nor a vice, so I used hand tools and a Dremel to remove the button tops of the pole pieces in order to put toaster tops onto the Middle and Neck. The reason I did all this work to my existing pickups instead of some current models with more easily removed hex-pieces is because the black plastic toaster "holes" on these do not have that extra little circle of plastic on each end. I think its a cleaner look. Looking back, I should have sent them out to have countersunk flat-top screws put in.... but then I couldn't have had all this fun!


Disassembly
After moving the R-tailpiece away (with all the loosened strings attached) and removing the pickguard, I cut the pickup wires at the control assembly. I took out the pickups and removed the top & bottom pickup covers to free the bobbin, and cut the thick shielded extension wires as far from the bobbin as possible, so I could easily reattach my wire later. I then cut through the glue around the magnet edges with an exacto knife. The magnet itself is really soft, and I could have easily cut chunks of it off. There was a good amount of glue actually under the magnet, and I slid the knife right under to free it up. Some of the magnet material was still held by the glue, I scraped it off the bobbin. Had to be really careful to avoid cutting through the wires in the center and the corner, they're really small. The first time, I actually did cut the corner wire, flush with the bobbin. Yipe! I carefully took the shielding tape off to see the end of the connection wire itself, and saw there was actually some slack on the ultrafine-guage winding wire based on the wrap direction, so I could pull the thicker connection wire out about 1/8" to get some length to work with. That was a huge pain, dealing with that small wire with tweezers - do whatever you can to keep some of the preexisting extension wire. Here's a diagram of the wrap direction. The yellow extension wire runs in the opposite direction of winding, and the winding wire is spiraled around it like a corkscrew and soldered to it.
Image

Once the magnet was off, I placed the bobbin on the inside edge of a roll of duct tape (!), and pounded out the pole pieces from the underside using a finish nail press I had, one that has a spring-loaded sheath and is made to set a finish nail into a wooden molding without slipping. This has no taper, as an awl does, so I thought it would be better for getting straight through the bobbin. Turns out that bobbin material is super strong and really held the pole pieces in there. I was hammering really hard to get those pole pieces to budge, with a force that I was worried would damage the bobbin. Seems like its made of a very hard but porous plastic that was formed around the pole pieces already in place. Pole pieces have a really coarse threading (deep cuts in the threads - looks like a star when viewed from below), and thread pitch - what seems like one revolution to almost 1/2 inch of travel (very coarse). Later it seemed like I might have deformed some of the threads inside the bobbin while pounding out the pieces, because it was more difficult to screw the pole pieces back in. If I had a vice to hole them securely and therefore could tap more precisely, I think I would have avoided that thread deformation, since the pieces would have rotated slower on the way out.


Pole Pieces
I used a pair of locking pliers to hold the bottom end of the pole piece while I cut off the button top, and then cut a groove for a flathead screwdriver on that top end. I put the pliers on the edge of a bench to hold with one hand and the Dremel in the other hand. The pliers ended up being a bad idea, because they deformed the ends of the threads on some of the pole pieces, making it very difficult to use a screwdriver to get them back into the bobbin. Several of the ends were too sharp and grabbed the bobbin material too much to get back into a smooth groove. The screwdriver then ended up mangling the screw end, and I had to pound them back in from the top, the same way I pounded them out. The Dremel cutting wheel was too thick (about 1/8"), I think, because it took away alot of the metal when removing the button tops, and didn't leave enough when making screwdriver slots, so that the remaining sliver of metal deformed under pressure from the screwdriver.

I pounded or screwed in all the pole pieces until they were flush with the bottom of the bobbin, putting the slightly taller ones at the center, to account for the neck radius, but it was a difference of only 1/16" or so, not very much. All of the tops of the new cut pieces ended up below the top edge of the bobbin.

When this pickup is built in the factory, it looks like the bottom (magnet) side of the bobbin is ground down to make the ends of the pole pieces flush with the bottom of the bobbin - I saw residual sanding/grinding marks. However the magnet does not end up exactly flush and touching the pole pieces. The center wire comes out of the bobbin slightly below the actual center of the bobbin, and the hole that is centered in the magnet doesn't line up with this, so there's a tiny distance between facing surfaces of the magnet and bobbin. There was also glue in this area. When I re-assembled them, I pushed the magnet tightly down onto the bobbin in the same place it was before, wrapped it tight with an elastic band and glued around the edges, but there was still air between the magnet and bobbin.


RWRP
Before I started, I marked the visible outside of the magnets "same polarity." For the Neck pickup, I just put it back the way I found it, "same polarity" mark facing out, and put a small bead of epoxy around the outside edges of the magnet. For the Middle pickup, I put that "sp" marked side facing the bobbin, to make it Reverse Polarity. Then I connected about 12 inches of the same 2-conductor & shield wire to both pickups. For the Neck, I connected using the original wiring method: red + is the outside bobbin wire (corner hole), blue — is center bobbin wire (center hole, out from center of the magnet), shield is ground, soldered to the washer screwed onto the corner of the cover. (Originally, — and shield were soldered together; 2-conductor & shield wire makes it possible to separate these to use series and phase switches) For the Middle pickup, I swapped the + and – from the standard locations, which now finally made it RWRP. In other words, the red + wire on the RWRP pickup comes out of the bobbin where the — comes out of the normal pickup (center hole), and then treat it as a normal red + when hooking up to the rest of the guitar.


Final Assembly
The Freeway switch 2.0 works great. I don't have experience with the V.1, but this one came from Stewmac (designed in UK) with 3 color tips, (cream, amber, & **black**), flat solder-attracting pads on the back, and small footprint. It switches smoothly, doesn't stick, and you should know where you're switching, since its not just up-n-down. It seems pretty strong, but I'm not about to hit it to see if it will break. I followed the wiring instructions, and hookup was a breeze.

The DiMarzio 500k audio push/pulls just fit the cavity depth (there is no lower tab that adds 1/16" like on Alphas), and replicate the firm turning action of standard RIC knobs. They are a narrower diameter in the mounting shaft, however, and need strong tightening on the mounting nuts to hold them well enough to the plastic pickguard. The knurled ends fit the RIC knobs and allen screws fine without added sleeves. After a while I've gotten used to the resistor-altered tapers on the volumes, seems like they're doing everything between 0-3, whereas the original RIC pots were a perfect taper. I may take off the resistors to see the difference.

The tone controls are more interactive than I expected. The tone control of any active pickup will affect the entire sound when in Parallel mode. So whenever N is active on the Freeway, its tone control will effect the whole output, and ditto for B. I see two good things about it: 1. I have two different cap values to play with, & B. Huge sound changes are possible with one switch change. When in all-series mode, the signal path is M->N->B. The tone controls affect only the pickups before them in the series. But if B is parallel to M+N in series, then N tone will still affect B because B is in parallel. Slightly confusing, but neat effects are possible because I can use both caps at once for an ultra-cut, or different cap on either pickup (The N pickup is pretty dark, so I'm going to switch the existing .047 cap for a brighter .010 to keep some mids).


Humbucker Diagram Mistake?
The face of my remaining unaltered factory Hi-Gain is attracted to what is labeled by RIC in the diagram as the South pole face of the HB; the RWRP face is attracted to the North. Opposites attract! Therefore I thought the factory standard polarity of my 1996 Hi-Gains is North facing up, toward the bobbin, based on the new RIC Humbucker I have, its diagram, and the attraction/repulsion of the Hi-Gains to the two HB poles.

I thought I needed the Humbucker's North coil to be active, when I pulled the coil-cut switch to make use of the noise canceling of the Middle RWRP pickup (Neck:N - Mid:S - Bridge:N). I wired it so the North coil, based on the pin numbers on the RIC diagram, would be active. All the HB wire colors IRL corresponded to the RIC diagram. When I finally plugged in to check the system, the whole HB was out of phase with the rest of the guitar. I swapped the Black and Clear wires at the coil-cut switch and then it sounded as expected when switches were in all the different positions. Now the active coil in coil-cut mode sounded like it was the one closest to the bridge, with a too-harsh tone in single-coil solo mode, compared to the other coil. I spun the HB around 180º with the wiring pad away from the pick guard, on the left side of the HB when looking down from the top, so now the active coil is farther from the bridge, and is a good approximation of a HiGain. When I pull the phase/coil select switch to activate the coil next to the bridge, its a little harsh in solo, but that plays well when combined, opposite phase, with the other pickups.

Was I reading the diagram wrong? I was looking at the pickup from the top, string side up, wire pad to the right, all colors were the same as IRL. Is the N/S +/– labeling on the diagram wrong? Are all RIC HBs wired out of phase?



Here's my final as-built diagram. The HB-1 diagram is straight from RIC, uncorrected.
Image


Image


Image
*** Signal flow as built is: Ground > Middle > Neck > Bridge > Output ***
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:46 pm

P1360580-01.jpg

P1360589-01.jpg
Freeway Switch

P1360592-01.jpg

P1360596-01.jpg

P1360626-01.jpg
Knobs up for takeoff!

P1360622-01.jpg
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (Dom) » Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:20 am

Way to go! This mod is huge dude. Doesn't a Ric with out of phase pickups add such a cool Jimmy Page/Albert King vibe? I love that for doing snarkey solos with mine. I had to crank an Orange with a booster to get the May tone...loved that too but it was just too loud to be practical. I've been really wanting to go series/parallel on my 350 as well so this is good news & that freeway switch still sounds like a great idea. I'm glad you got it all working! How much hum went away when you switched to the RWRP middle pickup?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:57 pm

Thanks Dom.
I took off the volume taper resistors and switched the Neck Tone cap to a PIO .010. Its much better than the .047, keeps some mids in there so we don't get deep into the mud. Pot tapers are much smoother, and more predictable/controllable throughout travel, but still not quite as perfect as the RIC pot tapers.

It does a good Peter Green tone too with the phase switch on the bridge HB, which btw, is a really psychotic sounding pickup, in the best way. All the way up its an aggressive, gnarly, crazy sounding pickup, kind of like the overwound but mismatched-coil Gibson Burstbucker 3 I have in my Les Paul. Roll the tone down a bit, it really tames the harshness, and gets a more stable personality. Roll down the volume a bit, now who's a good doggy....

RWRP makes it absolutely silent! I can't say much more than all the noise went away. It was the noisiest guitar I owned, compared to a Les Paul and a Brian May I shielded with copper. Now its the quietest: no copper, but with coax wire. And feeds back in an awesome way with high SPL due to the hollow body resonance, similar to but easier than the May.

I get all this, and the classic RIC sounds too, using half-round strings. My goto sound is the standard: all pickups on, in single coil & parallel. Just ballsy RIC rock.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (Dom) » Thu May 01, 2014 3:52 am

Very cool! We're probably getting a some of the same juicy tones with our modded 3 pickup Rics. I use all 3 in single coil mode very often too on on my 370WB. That one has HB1's neck & mid with a HiGain at the bridge with phase switching for either HB against the bridge. It resulted in a hidden tone i did not expect...with the neck & mid on and in phase together (either single or hb mode) that there is a difference in tone depending on if they are both in phase with the bridge or out of phase with the bridge. Even though the bridge pup is off there is a slight bit more snark & clarity when they are in phase with the bridge and a bit more warmth when they are OOP with the bridge. For the life of me I don't know how, but I'm glad it is there. One of my tones has the .010 cap too which I like for the "woman tone" & the other tone has a .022 which I may change out for something darker. Since I switched back to a HiGain at the bridge I have an extra push pull doing nothing which might just need a cap.

Oh hey! Have you tried having your mid pickup OOP with the neck, HItting a chord & rolling the mid pickup's volume back & forth? I get a cool Hendrix univibe sort of sound doing that. Cool with hammer ons!

That guitar doesn't have much of a hum problem, but the 350 I want to do next will have HiGains & I'd been worried it about how to tackle that. Your install looks super clean by the way! I'm pretty much going down the same route, all 7 pickup options, phase & series/parallel. Well I was until I checked out the freeway site...now all those switching possibilities have my mind running in circles.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mo

Postby (admin) » Thu May 01, 2014 8:38 am

Brian this is outstanding. Thanks for posting this option.
Life, as with music, often requires one to let go of the melody and listen to the rhythm

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