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

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

Postby (bdawson7) » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:54 pm

Hi all,
Long time lurker; first time-ish poster....

Just saw the Bangles last week. They sounded great, and Ms. Hoffs played the white 350 for the whole show, and brought out her black signature model for the final song: "Walk like an Etruscan." It has a five way, strat-style switch. Which leads me to...

I have finally acquired my first Rick, a perfect black 350 Liverpool from 1995 with hi-gains that I hope to turn into a 350SH look-a-like someday, with all that pretty binding. But first I will install 2 toasters and 1 HB and alter the wiring.
I've been playing a Les Paul forever that I just modified to Jimmy Page wiring with 4 push/pulls: 2 p/p cut one coil of each HB, 1 switches them out of phase, and the fourth switches between series/parallel. I also have a Brian May, and I love the versatility of his switching system, with phase and on/off for each single coil pickup.

I want to fit all of this into the 350, and keep the original look and feel, by swapping all the pots for push/pulls, and using 2 toasters and 1 HB like on the 350SH. I would of course keep the original wiring harness separate, just in case.
My idea is below. It basically combines a common RIC mod of 5th knob for middle p/u volume, Neck/N+B/Bridge toggle switch, Brian May phase switching for each p/u, Jimmy Page coil tap on the HB and series/parallel switching between 2 p/ups.
I'm wondering about some of the RIC-only details I have not experienced in my previous messing around with Gibsons and strats...

1. Will a commonly-available push/pull (ie Stew-Mac) fit in the 350 cavity? The pots are usually around 1 inch deep.
2. Should I use a 500k pot for the HB and 250k pots for the toaster volumes? Use RICs 330k for tone? Or all the same?
3. I think the most versatile combo to switch series/parallel is with the neck and middle p/ups. What do you think?
4. Should the volume/phase knobs be in order of neck-middle-bridge to match the order of p/ups in real life, or stay n-b-m like the labels on the knobs?
5. I was also thinking about using the "Free-Way" 6-position Les Paul switch at Stew-Mac to allow more flexible p/u selection, but its getting bad reviews.

Thanks for looking, and I look forward to any feedback anyone has!

Rick350_PushPull_Mods.jpg
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (Chrome Aardvark) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:09 am

I guess the only reason this wouldn't work on the 350 is depth, but then again you could possibly raise the control panel plate to accomodate the pots - to do this you could make a perspex bracket to fit under the control plate, or even redesign the control plate, to give you the height you need. If you're good with a soldering iron and you know which wire goes where then I don't see any problems with what you intend to do.

I've been doing a lot of research on coil taps myself and ended up buying a Gibson ES-335 CRR (Country Rock Regular) as featured here: http://dumb.org/gibson-es-335-td-crr/

The reason I bought one these was that the pole pieces in both sides of the humbucker can be adjusted, so you can efectively match the output of the humbucker and single coil components. I figured this was the cheapest way to get what I wanted, well that, a Bigsby B3 and one these:
http://www.townerusa.com/

Good luck with this project and let us know how it turns out.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (winston) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:08 pm

bdawson7 wrote:Ms. Hoffs played the white 350 for the whole show, and brought out her black signature model for the final song: "Walk like an Etruscan."


She changed the name of the song? Really?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (electrofaro) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:55 pm

Chrome Aardvark wrote:I guess the only reason this wouldn't work on the 350 is depth,

Shouldn't there be enough space in the cavity to fit a standard 500k push/pull as used by Ric on the basses?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (Halbert) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:36 pm

I was thinking the same thing about the switches and depth of the controls, and if I'm not mistaken, the basses are thinner than the 350. Am I right?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (Chrome Aardvark) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:38 pm

From reading Brian's post, he seems to have a good understanding of how to put all this together. The only issue I could see was the depth inside the body cavity as Brian is talking about putting in pots that measure 1 inch inch in length. Therefore I was assuming that the depth of the body cavity will need to be greater than 1 inch and that the cavity may not have room to accomodate these pots, hence my suggestion of lifting the control plate. Thankfully you gentlemen have come up with an easier way of sorting that out.

I'm always interested in seeing how these type of mods work and increase the tonal variants in a guitar. I rather lug one guitar around that can accurately replicate the tonal qualities of two or three other guitars than gig with two or three guitars.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (ken_j) » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:23 pm

Welcome to the RRF Brian. If I recall correctly the push pull pots that RIC sells are not as tall as standards off the shelf. Keep in mind they are 500 k ohms.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (electrofaro) » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:53 am

Chrome Aardvark wrote:Thankfully you gentlemen have come up with an easier way of sorting that out

I've been looking into doing a mod of my 360, and it seemed the easiest to me to stick to the same stuff Ric already uses, unless there's a really good reason to deviate, just because the items Ric uses will fit. The mod of the 360 is off, but once I sold my 340 and gotten a 330 it'll resume there :D

The 500k pots would suit an all HB pick-up configuration well, imo.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (ken_j) » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:44 am

Wildberry wrote: ...The 500k pots would suit an all HB pick-up configuration well, imo.

In my opinion it the HB pickups would benefit from the 500 k pots.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (whojamfan) » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:20 pm

Use 330k RIC pots for the toasters, 500k will be very...er...unpleasant(at least they were on my 330)
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (bdawson7) » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:23 pm

Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

Based on all of it I think I will use 330k pots for the 2 toaster volumes, and 500k for the HB volume and tone, and neck toaster tone. Standard push pulls pots should fit in the cavity - it measures 1 1/4 inches deep, the pots extend 1 1/8th inches, and the top and bottom 1/16th "toenails" can be removed from the pot if you want to.

I'm going to drop the neck phase switch and put in mid parallel/series switch, in addition to my first idea of N+B parallel/series switch. Two phase switches for neck and middle should cover all the phase possibilities, and the variety of sounds would be expanded with a middle pickup parallel/series switch. Then the whole guitar could be in parallel or series, or the Mid could be added to either of the others in parallel or series... hmmmm... . . the mind boggles!
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (Hotzenplotz) » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:44 pm

I wrote this in another thread already, but here it fits perfectly now:

I know nothing about this push/pull thing.

Until yet I read some enthusiastic comments from bass players about the results.

So some maybe naive sounding questions:

What happens with a toaster equipped 330/6 when it is enriched with the p/p option? Does it make sense?
If: Which two main sounding directions can I achieve? Next if: Has somebody already done it with a VP guitar?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (DoubleThink) » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:47 pm

I s this the 330k Ric push/pull pot you're referring to?

POTENTIOMETER 330K W/SPST SWITCH
http://boutique.rickenbacker.com/POTENTIOMETER-330K-WSPST-SWITCH_p_666.html

I just picked up a 500k p/p for my 340 VP. Maybe I should get a 330k instead?
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (bdawson7) » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:11 am

That one is SPST, or Single Pole, Single Throw. I need DPDT, or Double Pole, Double Throw - basically two of the SPST, but designed in a smaller package. Gives you more wiring options. I found a 330k DPDT at the music connection, and there are others out there too. took a while to find, tho. whojamfan says 330k are the way to stay for toasters. But what about for tone pots?

As far as what you can do with it, its all up to you. I'm going off of what I have experience with in the past, but you could do whatever else. Phase between several pickups, ala Brian May. (you only need to switch 2 p/ups' phase against a third that stays the same to get all the sounds) Series/Parallel, also ala BMay: standard RIC and Strat is parallel, BMay is in series, and is much thicker, and grows in volume with each p/up added. The wiring becomes "interesting"... keep all volumes independant? or allow masters and subsequent minor mixers? (If all are in series, the Mid could be master volume, with the other two just controlling their respective p/ups signal into the master) Its alot harder to be independent! Could also use a Free-way pickup switch to fully disconnect the Mid, but that might be straying too far from the RIC aesthetic for me. Its not black! and its small.
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Re: Susanna Hoffs, Brian May, & Jimmy Page: 350 Push/Pull mods

Postby (parker_knoll) » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:59 am

I recently spent some time contemplating various setup arrangements for a 3 p/u Ric.

I considered using a push/pull or 5 way selector but I ended up using the original pots and selector and just installing a second SPDT Centre On Selector and not worrying about series/parallel switching but having access to all standard pickup combinations.

Check the video below:

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