650F circuit mods: Jimmy Page push/pulls

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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650F circuit mods: Jimmy Page push/pulls

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:42 pm

I completed this mod a few months ago. The most improvement was brought about by the 500k volume pots on the RIC HB. You gotta get that value if you've got a HB, it just opens it up - brings it alive - un-muffles the tone - etc. . .

I went for the CTS Push-pulls 500k from Stew Mac to get the Jimmy Page Les Paul mod.
Its the shortest P/P I could find, plus the front-mounted wiring points were new and different, and seemed like it would be easier to assemble and take up less volume overall. The little "teeth" on the mounting surface of the pot were bent down to get more clearance, and there is no washer or nut there either.
However, one mounting hole can barely handle two pieces of (self-)tinned 14-gauge hookup wire, and if you have to re-heat a circular mount to pull them out because you made a mistake, it is possible to cook/melt/break the circular ring off of the inner part of the pot, effectively ruining that connection, and then you have to re-order the part with shipping costs! (how do I know this so specifically?!?!? :lol: )

Detailed notes as if starting from zero:

The control cavity depth is 24 mm. Push pull height is: 26 mm. A expert luthier had the idea to cut a RIC pickup grommet in half, like you would a bagel, and place it between the metal pickguard and the wood. Gives the 2 mm I need, its reversible, and pretty invisible!

I used the back of a small Post Office cardboard box to mount the pots on while I worked: I put a piece of paper over the cavity, moved the edge of a sharpened a pencil around the edges to get the outline of the cavity onto the paper, poked holes in the paper where the mounting screws went into the body, placed the paper on the pickguard, lined up with the screw holes, traced the guard edges and switch / pot holes.
THEN: placed the paper on the cardboard box, pinned it using the screw holes, cut out the cavity opening in the paper with an exacto knife but leaving a 1/2 inch un-cut so it wouldn't get lost, ran the pencil around the edges of the hole to get the outline of the cavity onto the top of the cardboard box, removed paper, put the guard in place with screw holes, traced the holes in the guard, removed the guard and cut out the holes with an exacto knife.

Pots fit upside down on top of box, labeled BV, NT, etc, now start the point-to-point process. Cut to length each wire, self-tin, bend to fit space, Time sink! 2 hours at a time, carefully, took about 12 hours in total.

The volume of space in the cavity is extremely tight. You can see in the photos below the sheer closeness of the connections. About 1 mm between some pot lugs. Using these pots, I could really snake the tiny wire pieces up-and-down on the face of the pot which saved alot of space, instead of going out-and-over if I was using an Alpha pot. Figuring out the angle and length of each wire was vitally important in the tiny volume of the cavity. That took up alot more time than it has on other builds.

The capacitors are Mojotone .010 and .022 PIO. These were a pain, because of their necessary location near the wall of the cavity. I stacked them one over the other, they barely fit in the vertical space. Horizontally, the big one was too big! I filed down the edge of the pot mounting-face so the cap could rest against the wall of the cavity and the pot wasn't stressed. When you do that filing, be sure to put cellophane tape over all the openings in the pot so you don't get nasty dust up in there.
Re: the caps, when it was all assembled, one tone pot wasn't working - no taper: either on or off. Drove me nuts! All connections tested fine. Turned out the metal-housing on the cap was touching the underside of the metal pickguard, grounding it. Had to take it all off and disassemble pots from the guard, put clear plastic tape around the cap, and back together again. I checked the other cap, it came with a plastic sheath.

When finally putting it all together, the pots had no clearance on the floor of the cavity, so I had to route the output jack wire through a specific location, and create a "harness" with cellophane tape to keep it in place. And it comes off every time I take off the pickguard because of the angle of tension on the wire!

I'm very happy with this mod - the guitar has come alive, due mainly to the pot values, and its fun to try all the different combinations! And the wide fat neck is great for big hands.

Included here is the wiring diagram I made (with much deliberation!), and the original version I based it on, from the guitarnutz2 message board.

(last photo shows the fading in the vermillion wood, as it was when I got it. must have been left in a shop window too long!)

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Last edited by bdawson7 on Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 650F circuit mods: Jimmy Page

Postby (bdawson7) » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:46 pm

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Re: 650F circuit mods: Jimmy Page push/pulls

Postby (paologregorio) » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:32 am

Wow, that is quiet a project; you're good! Nice -looking wiring job. Will you record sound samples when finished?
There is no reason to ever be bored.

...why yes, I suppose I do have a double bound guitar fetish...

"Uh, I like the double bounds. . . ."
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Re: 650F circuit mods: Jimmy Page push/pulls

Postby (aceonbass) » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:43 am

I've done this same wiring job on a Rick 360. Save yourself the trouble of working in the tight confines of that cavity, and route it out to the proper 1" depth, and enlarge it to 1/4" of the shape of the pickguard. The CTS pots are overpriced for what they are. I use Bourns push-pull pots instead. Since they're also smaller, in diameter, things won't be as cramped in the control cavity. I'd post some pics, but as usual, the file size is too large for this forum.
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