Taylor GS-8 Neck Reset and Setup

Here’s a nice Taylor GS-8 acoustic that was bought at a great deal. The guitar doesn’t have any scratches or wear, but the original owner took it upon himself to file the nut and replace the saddle with bone. I’m sure he had all good intentions to make it play better, but the nut is too low causing it to buzz on open strings. Also the saddle is really low and there isn’t enough angle off the back to get any focus on the sound or adjust the action any lower than it already is. Time to reset the neck angle and replace the nut and saddle. The post ’99 Taylor neck joints make this job much easier.

First thing first, before I ever loosened the strings, I checked the neck angle at full string tension with the neck adjusted flat. Then I checked it again with no string tension and the neck adjusted flat. I can measure the difference to see how much flex there is under tension to decide how much I need to reset the angle of the neck. This guitar has some flex so I need compensate for that. That being said, I also checked for loose braces as this can increase shoulder rotation. No loose braces on this guitar which is great news.

To get started, I use a hair dryer with a short piece of heavy duty flexible hose taped around the end. This allows me to funnel the heat from the hair dryer directly to the sticker on the neck block, through the sound hole. After a minute or so the sticker is warm enough to release cleanly without tearing. I put the sticker on a piece of wax paper and clamp it between two flat blocks until I need to reattach it again. Once the sticker is removed I have access to the 2 bolts that attach the neck to the body through the neck block. There is also one bolt under the top that attaches the fingerboard extension to the body. A total of 3 bolts are used on this model.

I removed the bolt from the fingerboard extension and the 2 bolts through the neck block and put them aside. Once the bolts are removed, I carefully lift the neck straight up and out of the joint. This is good habit because so many Taylor acoustics have a pickup under the fingerboard that can easily get damaged if you aren’t careful removing the neck. It’s also good to mention some people like to use a clamp to secure the neck while removing and installing the bolts. I’m comfortable not using one because I’m used to doing this. Check out this neck joint. It uses shims to set the angle of the neck against the body. Pretty ingenious if you ask me.

There are 2 shims. One at heel of the neck and one under the fingerboard extension. Luckily the there was enough of a kick up at the fingerboard extension to where I probably won’t have to adjust that shim once the angle is adjusted properly at the heel. I remove the shim from the heel and double side tape it to a flat block. I actually reduced the tack on the tape some too so the shim comes off easier. Then I mark the entire surface with a pencil to see where I am removing material. I’ll also measure the thickness with calipers before and after I sand to make sure I’m not getting slanted.

Sanding the angle on the shim is not what Taylor recommends. I personally think sanding the shim is easier and faster, plus I can dial in the angle exactly where I want it. I am careful to only remove material from the narrow end of the shim and perfectly taper it towards the wider end without changing the thickness at the wider end. But this does require some skill, and if you aren’t confident, you will need to go through an authorized repair center that can get shims from Taylor. I am way too busy to handle warranty work, so I have to think outside of the box on these newer Taylor neck joints. Even if I have to make new shims myself.

After the neck is re-attached to the body with the bolts snug into place, I’ll scope the neck angle one last time by eye to see if there is anything out of sorts. The neck looks perfect so now I can re-attach the sticker to the neck block. I use double sided tape on the sticker since the original adhesive was compromised some from heating and removing the sticker. I did reduce the tack some on the double sided tape with my shirt so the sticker will peel off easy again if need be in the future. Then I reattached the sticker back onto the neck block and you can’t tell the neck was ever removed.

Now it’s time to replace the nut and saddle. I removed the old nut by tapping it loose at the end and then knocking it out sideways. To keep things simple, I ordered the right size Tusq nut and saddle to fit this guitar. That way I only needed to final adjust them without having to make them from scratch. I used the old nut as a reference point to mark the height on the new one. Then I sanded material off of the bottom until the low E and High E string was slightly high over the first fret. I also adjusted the ends so they were perfectly flush with the edge of the fingerboard.

Before gluing the nut into place, I used my nut files to set the height of each individual string evenly over the first fret. Some like it lower than normal but I’m setting this one just under factory specs. Once I get the slots adjusted where the player likes it, I’ll remove the nut and use 600 followed by 2000 grit sand paper to round the edges off and smooth up the ends. Now I can glue it into place. I use a dab of wood glue since the nut fits snug into the channel. Super glue isn’t the right choice here because it won’t give me enough time to center the nut in the channel before it sets.

While the glue tacks, I’ll move on to the saddle. The new saddle is too high and a hair too thick. I adjusted the thickness until the saddle fit the slot with the slightest amount of friction. You don’t want it to be so loose that it leans at all in the slot, and you don’t want it so tight where it’s difficult to remove. Just snug enough to where there is friction on all sides of the saddle. Next I sand material off of the bottom until my string height is where I want it by checking it frequently with my low and high E strings. Using a mechanical pencil helps me know how much material is being removed. Once the height is to the player’s preference, I’ll make sure the saddle bottom is perfectly flat by finessing it across my 800 grit diamond fret leveling block. You want full contact across the bottom of the saddle slot to give you optimal tone transfer and string balance.

Finally I can string it back up to tension and give it a final truss rod adjustment before sending it back to it’s owner. Wow, no question this guitar sounds and plays a million times better than before! And it looks factory fresh again which is always nice to see when you first open the case. This one is good to go for another 100,000 miles. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it!

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

 

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Authentic looking PAF humbucker cover

I’m going to show you how to make our standard nickel silver humbucker covers look like a real PAF cover from the 50′s. A lot of people don’t know this, but original PAF covers were dimpled around the polepiece holes where they got punched out. They were not flat like all covers made today. This is a small but relevant detail when it comes to looking like an authentic PAF. We had a customer ask if our covers were like this on our PAF Clones because he wanted to transform his Gibson R9 to be more vintage correct looking. He didn’t want to spend a fortune on pickups either just for a small detail. I explained we don’t make our PAF’s stock this way, but for a small upcharge it’s no problem. It’s simple to do and here’s how….

First I find a piece of hard wood that is thicker than the height of the cover. Here I found a piece of ply wood that is cut perfectly to fit the inside length of the cover. I just need to measure the width and cut a piece off.

 

 

Now I sand the sides, corners, and edges until the wood block fits snug inside the cover. Not too tight, because it needs to come out easily. Once I get the fit right, I can trace the polepiece holes with a pencil on the top of the block.

 

Using a drill press, I drill the holes on the block exactly where I traced them, trying to be as centered as possible with each hole. I use a bit that is slightly larger that the holes in the cover and drill into the block 1/2” or so by eye. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

Once that is complete, I take a larger drill bit and lightly bevel the top edge of the holes in the wood block by hand. I want to keep the bevel even and round so my dimples on the covers are the same. Again this doesn’t need to be perfect.

 

Next I install the block in the cover. Then I install a steel rod that I ground into a beveled point into my drill press. You can use a large punch or something larger than the hole that bevels perfectly to a point. Whatever you use, it needs to fit into the drill press chuck and should be hard like steel.

 

Here’s where you need to be critical. Every hole needs to look the same which means I need to press evenly on each hole of the cover with the punch. I press into the first hole where I want it and set my drill press stop. Now I can apply the same pressure on the other holes making every dimple the same.

 

Here is the final outcome. You can see the slight dimple effect around the polepiece holes of the cover. Looks like a real deal PAF cover fresh off the punch. You should know what a real PAF cover looks like before doing this and practice on a scrap cover first, to get the technique down.

 

Now time to dimple another cover, and then age them. That’s another topic for another time. Til then… thanks for viewing.

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

 

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Making a 6/6 nylon nut for a Gibson ’59 Reissue

Hi folks! I have a really nice Nashville made ’59 ES-335 reissue in the shop today for a new nut. The old nut is made of Corian material and is worn to the point of buzzing against the 1st fret on a couple of strings. The customer wants to replace it with a more vintage correct 6/6 nylon nut like what was used on original ’59 ES-335′s.

I am going to make a new nut using our Mojotone 6/6 nylon nut blank. 6/6 nylon material is extremely durable with less friction and excellent tuning stability as compared to bone or Corian. I don’t recall ever seeing an original nylon nut wear out over time. Usually I only need to replace them if the slots have been cut too low.

 

First I score the lacquer around both sides of the nut with an exacto blade to prevent chipping the lacquer when I remove the old nut. I always angle the blade in towards the nut so the lacquer won’t lift or chip on the neck itself. I’m not worried about chipping the lacquer on the nut considering I am throwing it away.

 

Next I remove the truss rod cover and score the back edge of the nut while slightly angling the blade in towards the nut. Most shops will use a thin saw blade to cut the nut away from the veneer which also removes some material and I don’t like that. I prefer to use a razor blade and cut down between the nut and headstock veneer by carefully cutting several shallow passes until I am through the veneer. It’s more time consuming and also risky if you don’t know what you are doing, but I find it to be less intrusive and it doesn’t create a gap between the back of the nut and veneer like a saw does.

Now I can very carefully remove the nut. I do this by feel and of course lots of experience. Using a curved wooden block I made, I knock the front edge of the nut towards the headstock with my fret hammer. This nut loosened fairly easy with the first blow.

 

Then I was able to knock it out side ways the rest of the way. If I can’t knock it loose with a reasonable amount force, I would choose to heat the nut and loosen the glue joint. You never want to smack the tar out of it and risk damaging the guitar. Fortunately I didn’t have to use heat on this one. You just have to handle each guitar differently and proceed with extreme caution.

After I thickness the nylon nut blank to fit snug in the channel, I use a 1/2 pencil to mark the top of the nut by moving the pencil across the frets and marking the nut. This gives me a ballpark of where the top of the nut should be and how much material I need to remove.

 

The new nut blank is oversized and needs to be shaped to fit this guitar. I use a mechanical pencil to trace the sides of the nut so I can sand the ends down to the pencil lines.

 

 

I use my belt sander to remove the material down to the pencil lines. I have to be careful because the nylon can melt as I sand it so I take my time. Then I rough in the nut slots using the old nut as a reference to getting my E to E spacing correct. Once I am close with everything I can move to final shaping and fitting the nut by hand.

 

Now I can remove material from the top of the nut so the slots are not too deep and the strings can move freely through the slots. I also round the edges and final sand the nut until all scratches are gone. Then I buff it to a glossy and finished look.

 

Time to glue the nut into place. Since the nut fits so snug into the channel, I don’t need a strong glue to hold it into place. And I need some time to position it correctly without the glue setting too fast. I also want to make it easy for removal down the road so I use a small amount of wood glue to hold it into place.

 

The final adjustments and setup are done. I used a small amount of GraphitALL nut slot lube to make the slots as slick as possible for the strings. Now this guitar looks closer to an original ’59 than before. If only I can talk him into replacing these Gibson pickups with some of our PAF Clones. Then it would sound amazing! For now I’ll move on to the next guitar. Thanks!

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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Installing a new Gotoh battery box

Today I have a 5-string Music Man Stingray bass in for a partial refret and a new battery box. The wires have been broken off and re-soldered several times to where the plastic won’t hold the battery leads anymore. Also the plastic is broken off around the mounting screw holes. Time to swap out for a new one.

 

The Gotoh single 9V battery box is an exact replacement for this Music Man bass. Music Man uses Gotoh battery boxes so I know this one will fit perfectly.

 

 

First I remove the old battery box and the wires going to the jack. Then I feed the wires from the new box through the cavity into the control cavity.

 

 

Before I screw it down I make sure the wires and arched up towards the top of the battery box. This keeps the wires from bending back and forth at the solder joint every time you change the battery. This is why the wires kept breaking on the old box.

 

After I pull the wires through I twist them using the chuck of my drill. It spins the wires up nice and easy.

 

 

 

Now I can solder the red and black wires to the jack. I simply soldered the red and black wires to the same lugs on the input jack as the old red and black wires. Red is positive and black is negative.

 

 

Time to put everything back together and install a new 9V battery. I pop the lid on the box and install the new 9V battery.

 

 

Lastly I plug the bass into my amplifier and check the signal by gently tapping the polepieces of the pickup with a screwdriver. A quick shot of some contact cleaner in the pots, jack, and switch to clean up any scratchyness and everything is as good as new.

 

Thanks for looking. Stay tuned for more useful knowledge and tips!

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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Epiphone DOT Tune-o-matic upgrade

Here is an Epiphone Dot in for a tune-o-matic upgrade. It’s the same guitar that was in my shop some months back for a wiring kit upgrade. I discussed this on an earlier blog post. The customer is gradually upgrading 1 thing at a time. The stock tune-o-matic rattles and the saddles have a lot of play which affects intonation settings quite a bit.

 

I have recommended our nickel Gotoh Nashville style tune-o-matic bridge GE103B-T. It is by far the best quality bridge for this Asian made guitar without having to spend a small fortune. It’s a direct drop in with the larger diameter bridge post holes so I don’t have to modify the guitar in any way.

 

 

Before I remove the old bridge, I document the action over the 12th fret using my 6” ruler. The guitar has already been setup so I don’t want to change the action from where it is now. I measure both the treble side and bass side from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string and write it down.

 

 

Now I have removed the old strings and cheap old tune-o-matic bridge. I will use the old threaded bushings that are already in the body since the new Gotoh bridge post threads will match the metric threads of the insert. I could use the old posts too but I am checking to see which posts thread tighter. It is clearly a tighter fit with the Gotoh posts.

 

After installing the posts I can place the new bridge over the new posts. With these Gotoh bridges, you want to face the intonation screws towards the neck so that the saddles angle in the same direction. I eyeballed the intonation offset of the saddles based off the old bridge to speed up the intonation process at the end.

 

I am so glad Gotoh doesn’t completely notch the saddles because too many guitars are not centered correctly and need to be offset to one side or the other. This guitar happened to be on center. After I groove the saddles using my nut files I follow up with 800 grit sandpaper folded in half to smooth the edges out. I set the action and intonation and I’m done!

 

Thanks for viewing! Check back often for more great posts!

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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Art Deco 50′s Kay Archtop

Here is a 50′s Kay N-2 archtop I just bought cheap for my wife and I to have as a cool art deco piece for the living room. It looks like it was never played or strung. I plan to make it into a real player with a little work. These guitars can be cool if you put the effort into them.

 

There are a few issues at first glance. The bridge has been glued on with wood glue. I use my pallet knife to pry it off carefully. I am making sure that it doesn’t resist too much or I’ll have to resort to using some steam to work it loose. Luckily not much glue was used so it popped off easily and clean.

 

Next I am removing the pickguard and headstock logo. The logo is visibly crooked so I plan to re-align it and attach it more securely. I use some flush cut nippers to pry the little nails out and put the decal aside. What a cool looking Kelvinator logo. That was a big reason I bought it.

 

Amazingly the neck joint and angle are good. The neck is slightly off side to side, but not enough to justify the trouble of resetting the neck. I’ll just re-align the tailpiece instead to compensate for that later. The frets and fingerboard are rough. You can see crushed wood around the frets and popped frets everywhere. I’ll refret this one and fix those issues.

With the old brass frets removed, I can fix the crushed areas around the frets that were installed with too much force. I wet a shop towel and use my soldering iron to steam out the crushed wood fibers. I am able to get them almost completely steamed out and level with the board.

 

I level the fingerboard until it is perfectly flat with no high or low spots anywhere. This neck is dead straight! It’s going to play like a dream when it gets done. After leveling the fingerboard I sprayed 2 coats of sealer followed by 3 coats of semi gloss lacquer. After drying, it’s ready for frets.

 

For the frets I chose a medium sized Mojo fretwire with a crown width of .094” and crown height of .047”. It gives me plenty of meat with lots of life. After all the fretwork, these frets are like mirrors and perfectly level. Can’t wait to play this thing now.

 

Time to put everything back together. For the headstock logo, I filled the old nail holes and used carpet tape to stick the logo where I want it. The carpet tape keeps the edges down so it won’t get caught on anything and bend it. These old Kay decals are really thin. Once in place, I can drill holes for the nails and tap them in.

 

The bridge posts are loose and need to be reset. I use Mojotone Tru Glu 5-minute epoxy to set the posts in the wooden base. It fills all the gaps and bonds the metal posts into the wood. They are rock solid now and the bridge is ready for strings.

 

Winding the strings on to get the final setup. Although these machine heads aren’t real smooth, they stay in tune just fine with a couple of wraps and locking the string around itself like this. Can’t slip at all this way.

 

 

The strings are off center on the fingerboard because the neck was set slightly crooked. Rather than reset the neck, I just need to remove the tailpiece and move it over about 1/16” of an inch. Now the strings are dead center on the fingerboard.

 

Now I can set the action at the nut using nut slotting files to achieve the correct string height over the first fret. I am setting it lower than I normally would for my own personal preference. I’m extremely light handed so I can stand a fairly low action without any buzzing issues.

 

This guitar has a very flat string radius on the bridge as compared to the fingerboard so I need to improve it drastically so the action is even across the fingerboard. I use my slotted radius gauge to measure the fingerboard radius and adjust the string radius at the bridge using my nut slotting files.

 

After intonation and tuning up the strings, this guitar is ready for it’s hanger on the living room wall. Definitely a cool art piece and killer playing guitar too. Next I’ll install a pickup and turn it into a real jazz monster. That’s another post. Til then….

 

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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1955 Fender Telecaster

Today we we have a nice 1955 Fender Telecaster guitar that came in my shop for some minor wiring issues and a loose jack cup. It’s all original except for a rewound bridge pickup and a spliced wire to the jack. The customer wants the wire fixed but he doesn’t want it to look “new”. I’ll have to replace the wire and age it.

 

First I’ll remove the loose jack cup and reset the clip into some fresh wood. Removal of the clip needs to be careful so I don’t weaken it or chip the guitar. Obviously they make better jack cups to combat this issue, but being a valuable vintage guitar you never want to do anything to change originality if at all possible. So fixing the original jack cup is a must.

I use my custom made tool that is designed specifically for this job. It cleanly removes the clip and perfectly resets the clip in the exact location you need. I rotated the clip 45 degrees so it would bite into new wood and securely hold into place.

 

Now that the clip is secure, I always like to glue the corners for extra stability. The clip can still break free and be reset again in the future if needed. I use a pipette filled with medium viscosity super glue to give me precise application of the glue right where I need it. I cut the extended part of the pipette off to allow for a bigger hole to siphon the thicker glue.

We’ll let that set aside and dry while I work on the wire from the input jack. You can see it has been cut and spliced together. I need to run new cloth leads from the jack. The new white and black cloth covered wire looks really new compared to the original. I need to make it look 60 + years old.

 

I mixed up some dye in a small medicine cup with alcohol until I got a color match. Before dipping the wire in the dye, I bunched up the cloth to break the wax up and loosen the cloth. Then I ran the white and black wire through the dye and let it dry.

 

Once the cloth wire is dry I take it and roll it in the dirt. Yes seriously I roll it in the dirt. It makes the cloth wire look exactly like the original. Dirty, dusty, and stained.

 

 

You can see the wire is nearly a perfect match to the original. Not too shabby. Now I just need to fray the ends  to match the rest of the wire and solder it to the jack.

 

 

Now the “new” old wire is soldered to the jack and wiring harness. After that I secure the jack and cup tightly to the clip. Everything looks perfect and now I can screw the control plate down and send the guitar home. Thanks for viewing. Please check back again soon!

 

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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1959 Fender Stratocaster

Today I just got in a 1959 Fender Stratocaster for a setup and overall assessment of it’s originality. This beauty was made during a transition period where Fender went from a 1-piece maple neck to a slab rosewood fingerboard and a 3-ply pickguard. This particular one is a little more rare with it’s 10 hole 1-ply pickguard.

 

At first glance it appears to be 100% original but I need to take things apart and get a closer look. Removing the neck shows matching lacquer chips on the heel of the neck and the bottom of the neck pocket which tells me the neck is original to the body.

 

The vintage tremolo is complete with original saddles and screws. Some of the saddle height screws and springs have been replaced which is common because they can corrode beyond repair over time. These are minor things and have very little affect on the value and originality.

 

The neck is all original with the original frets, nut, and Kluson machine heads. Someone drilled a small hole through the headstock and filled it at some point. Luckily it’s very non-intrusive and doesn’t look very bad. Maybe a string tree? Who knows, this guitar has been around for longer than me so there is no telling what exactly happened there.

 

When I first removed the pickguard, I noticed a filed edge on the control cavity route. Then it hit me, they did this in the factory so that the shield plate would sit down into the cavity. This body was routed for the 3-ply 11 hole (which they transitioned to during this year) but they installed a 1-ply 10 hole pickguard instead and had to modify the body to fit. There was no exact science back then.

All of the solder joints were original as were the pickups, pots, switch, capacitor, and jack. The Stackpole pots all had the same numbers 304920 which dates them in the 20th week of 1959. So far everything checks out to be completely original.

 

Now I am carefully removing the pickups to check for rewinds and to replace the pickup height tubing. The original tubing is compressed and hardened so badly I can’t adjust the pickup height. Each pickup checks out to be the original 1959 handwound pickup with neck(5.63k), middle(6.17k), and bridge(5.73k).

 

Time to put everything back together and setup the guitar. This 1959 strat is in overall good condition and sounds incredible. The frets and pretty worn, but they still play great. Overall I’m really glad to see such a great piece of history that has made it to this point in time without being destroyed or modified. Oh well, I guess its time to move on to the next guitar and send this one back home where it belongs.

Thanks for viewing and check back again soon for more cool stuff!

David Shepherd (Mojotone Pickups and Guitar Parts Manager)

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1961 Gibson ES-335 Dot

Today I have in my shop a 1961 Gibson ES-335 Dot in excellent condition. The customer wants a setup/restoration and inspection of the originality.

 

 

Looking at the machine heads and the headstock everything checks out to be original. The frets are original too and still in good shape!

 

 

Here’s that period correct orange label. Pretty rare serial number 16989. The pots, caps, switch, jack,and wiring all checkout to be original too. No tampered solder joints.

 

 

The wired ABR-1 tune-o-matic bridge and aluminum stop bar tail piece are original.

 

 

 

The bridge posts are loose and need to be fixed. I used a pipette filled with thin CA glue to repair the damaged holes and build up the threads again so the posts will go in tight and secure.

 

 

After the glue has cured, I can tap the holes and re-install the posts. I double up the thumbwheels tightened against each other and use a 6-32 hex nut on top. This way I can use a standard socket screw driver to drive the post straight into the guitar with about 1/2” of the post sticking out.

 

Now I can install the tune-o-matic bridge and it is as good as new. No more rocking back and forth which will certainly improve tuning stability.

 

 

Now I am going to check out the PAF pickups. I remove the pickup mounting ring screws and turn each pickup over to see what is under the hood. At first glance, it is clear that the humbucker covers were removed and the solder joints looked really bad. The good news is that the brass mounting screws look untouched and the Patent Applied For sticker was still partially intact.

Next I will carefully remove the pickups from the pickup mounting rings so I can take the covers off. Once I removed them, I noticed the covers were loose and the solder joints were not intact. I was able to remove the covers without any trouble. Now I can look for a rewind or repair. The coil tape is right and hasn’t been tampered with. The bridge pickup was missing the outer half wrap of tape which covers the leads which could mean that the lead solder joints were possibly repaired. Considering it was played without covers makes me believe that the tape was just removed or fell off because the pickup leads look perfect and the tape around the coils is completely untouched. The polarity and phase are right too. They are both without a doubt legit PAF’s. That said someone probably just removed the covers to reduce feedback and half way put them back on to make the guitar original again. Very common.

Now I am re-installing the covers so that they are seating tight against the bobbins and the screws are lined up properly with the holes. I use small quick clamps with wood stand-offs on opposite corners of the pickup to hold the cover snug while I flow the old solder joints with some new solder.

After the solder joints are done, I need to clean all of the rosin mess left behind from the previous work. I use a q-tip with acetone to clean off the residue.

Looks much better now. Good clean solder joints and well seated covers that won’t create a ground hum, which by the way those solder joints looked before, I’m sure they hummed when you touched the covers. Time to re-assemble everything and setup the guitar.

 

Man this guitar sounds as good as it looks. I gave it a quick run on my Mojotone 5E3 tweed Deluxe amplifier kit that I built recently. It’s a match made in heaven. Time to send this beauty back home where it can be enjoyed for many more years to come.  Thanks for visiting and check back again soon for more cool posts!

 

David Shepherd (Guitars parts manager and Mojotone pickups division manager)

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Installing a Mojotone ES-335 Wiring kit into an Epiphone Dot

Thanks for visiting Mojo Shout! Today I am upgrading a newer 2012 Epiphone Dot Pro with a prewired Mojotone ES-335 wiring kit. The guitar is stripped of it’s old electronics and ready to go. This customer wanted to do away with the push-pull potentiometers and go with something more traditional using the highest quality components. The Mojo wiring kit definitely fits the bill. There are just few things I need to do before I get started so lets take a look and see.

 

First I need to enlarge the holes to fit the beefier CTS potentiometers and Switchcraft switch. I like to use a stepped drill bit for this job. It cleanly drills the holes to the exact size in just a matter of seconds without any chipping or tearing. 3/8” for the CTS pots and 1/2” for the Switchcraft toggle switch.

 

 

 

Next I am installing some new humbucker pickups into the guitar. I make sure to feed the lead wires out of the F-hole of the guitar. It’s very important to remove the pickguard from the guitar so you have complete access through the F-hole. Tip: Label the neck and bridge pickup lead wires with a piece of masking tape so you won’t wire them backwards to the assembly. 

 

 

Now I have my ground wire, pickup leads, and my homemade input jack puller through the f-hole and ready to connect to the assembly. My input jack puller is a modified guitar cable with only the 1/4” plug attached to the cable. This will allow me to plug into the jack, pull it through, and slide a nut and washer over to secure it in place.

I tied some cotton string around the split shaft of both tone pots so I can pull them through without too much trouble. I don’t tie strings on the switch or volume pots since they are close enough to the f-hole for me to use my fingers to guide them into place.

 

 

Now the fun begins… First I need to solder the bridge ground wire to the outside of the neck pickup volume pot. Then I solder the neck pickup and bridge pickup leads to the assembly. I use a micro fiber polishing cloth to protect the finish while I work outside of the f-holes on the face of the guitar.

 

 

 

After making all of the necessary solder connections, I need to install the assembly through the f-hole. I plug the jack puller into the jack, and pull it through the f-hole first. Then I follow with the switch, volumes, and tones. You have to work the pots in at an angle through the widest part of the f-hole. Be careful not to damage the finish around the f-hole. Tip: Plug the assembly in and make sure everything works before installing it!

 

 

Once I have everything through the f-hole and into the guitar, I can start lining everything up to the correct hole. I use a wooden dowel to poke and prod the assembly to the right spot. I pull the jack through first and secure it with a nut and washer. Then I use my fingers to push the switch and volume pots through the holes and secure them with a nut and washer.

 

 

 

Finally I need to pull the tone pots through using the attached strings. To get the strings through the holes, I use a paper clip bent open with a hook on one end to fish the strings out. Once the strings are through, I pull the pots to the holes, and grab them with needle nose pliers to pull them through. Tip: Cut the excess string at the knot flush so it won’t get pinched in the hole while pulling the string through.

 

 

 

Now that all of the electronics are installed and working, I can install some new Mojo US spec guitar knobs and our switch tip. Mojo knobs fit 24 knurl CTS pots perfectly. I line up the numbers to the pointer washers so 0 and 10 land on the point. I push them on carefully and make sure they are seated straight. Tip: Always support the pot with your finger from the inside of the f-hole on the bridge pickup volume control when pushing the knob on. This part of the f-hole is very weak because it has very little support. 

 

 

 

And we’re done! It sounds amazing and what huge improvement from the stock electronics. Another really happy customer. Please visit www.mojotone.com and check back again soon for more great tech tips and information!

 

 

David Shepherd (Guitar Parts Manager)

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