Best way to change out the electonics in a 335?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sierra trekker, Dec 16, 2009.


  1. sierra trekker

    sierra trekker Member

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    I have a relatively new ES335 Block with Burstbuckers and I'm thinking about changing out the electronics to a vintage RS pre-wired set up. I've heard that people tie fishing line to the old pots and then retie them to the new ones. Is that the case? Sounds like it is really tricky..............something that I might take it to a luthier to do. What's your take? Thanks.
     
  2. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    "...something that I might take it to a luthier to do?"

    Yup. unless you've built model ships in a bottle.
     
  3. ProToneThinline

    ProToneThinline Member

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    Working on a 335 is a royal PITA, but not impossible. Here are a few tips to reduce the frustration level.

    Fishing line is your friend. First, loosen the nut on the pot, but DON"T REMOVE THE NUT JUST YET. Just loosen it enough to tie the line around the shaft (under the nut). Next, cut the line to about 12 or 15". Get a good sized washer (4 if you're doing all the pots) and tie the washer securely around the other end of the line. That will keep the line from falling into the hole. You can now remove the nut and take the pot out of the guitar.

    Also, remember that it's much easier to get the pot out if you remove the bridge pickup first. You can get pots out through the F hole, but it's easier from the pup hole.

    You can remove the output jack in the same manner, but it's easier if you insert a 1/4" plug in the jack before you start. That will give you something to grip on to.

    Remember, this is a job that will take some time, so don't do it if you're in a hurry. I've also found that keeping a Captain and Coke nearby makes the job go a little smoother.
     
  4. newholland

    newholland Member

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    my recommendations to you are 1) quit drinking coffee. at least 4 months in advance before attempting. 2) devote your life to transcendental meditation at least 2 years previous to attempting, and 3) take said 335 to a house at least 1 mile from other neighbors so that when 1 and 2 don't keep you from explosive bouts of profanity, at least you can keep your dignity.

    that, or take it to a luthier. hateful hateful chore rewiring a 335.
     
  5. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    That's one of the best answers I've ever seen.

    Josh
     
  6. JimiStiff

    JimiStiff Member

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    man...i wish you good luck! the hair i still have left are grey now!
     
  7. Rhomco

    Rhomco Silver Supporting Member

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    works even better than string! Slip it right over the shaft and it self guides right to the hole it belongs in. I use silicone fuel tubing and you can get all you need from a R/C Hobby Shop. The other tool you need is a straight 1/4 Phone plug shaft mounted on a bendable wire rod (think coat hanger)to retrieve the input jack and pull it all the way to the hell hole way dooooowwwwn at the back of the guitar. Most important thing to remember? Reconnect the ground wire to the bridge or tail piece. In 1969 I was 21 years old when I discovered the pain & agony of not having a ground after bringing my newly customized 335 to the gig and burned off both lips the first time I leaned into my mic and said ..... test-ing!
    Those were the days!
    Lipless Rob
     
  8. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Member

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    If you have a 335 with the large cavity routed under the rear pickup hole, it's fairly easy. If not, PM me and I'll send my own treatise on rewiring a thin arch-top (in my case, an Epiphone Sheraton II, which is worse than a 335 due to the binding on the f-holes). I now have a real 335, and I intend to keep the standard pickups.

    It's doable, just takes patience. If you buy the pre-made wiring harness it's much easier. When I did mine, I used a piece of cardboard for a pattern and soldered everything together on that (other than the pickup leads.

    The real nightmares are the early 345 stereos. The local guitar tech got hold of one of those and now will not accept thin bodies for electronic work!
     
  9. FUSER

    FUSER Member

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    Not the same guitar but good tips.


     
  10. amc

    amc Member

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    the best way to change out the electronics in a 335 is to bite the bullet and pay
    a pro to do it right the first time
     
  11. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

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    I just did a rewire on my Highland Royal (335 copy). Rather than fishing line, I used dental floss. On this guitar, the pickup wiring was stuck to the inside of the body to keep the wires from showing through the f-hole so I wired the new pups (GFS mean 90's) to the existing pickup leads (I know not best solution). I fished the controls through the f-hole to change out some pots and add a Torres Deluxe Varitone, not that hard really. It's putting them back in which requires a bit of patience...
     
  12. skookumz

    skookumz Member

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    Primarily- be prepared, take your time and obviously patience, come back the next day if needed or stressed.
    For a first time if you figure this can be done in less than three+ hours total get someone else to do it, you have unrealistic expectations and will not succeed, preplanning will add more time onto this.
    I assembled my RS kit onto a piece of laminate predrilled to match my es335, allow some slack of wiring between pots but not too much and clean up the mess that Gibson did make it look professional like the RS example, a good soldering iron is a must. Test the harness with a multimeter prior to installation and after but before finishing.
    I used string, it worked okay but got the jack string tangled a bit and then resolved in a minute, I couldnÂ’t find tubing to work this time.
    Ensure and specify the jack has the longer threaded collar, before you start check that it fits through the top and allows enough thread to put the washer and nut on.
    Protect the F-hole and top with painters masking tape.
    Having done one now I could probably do it in 2 hours total.
     
  13. johnmfer

    johnmfer Supporting Member

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    When I gutted and re-did my Epi Sheraton, I took my kid to day care and took the day off work. That way I had a full 8 hours to devote to it, and I could go as slowly and patiently as possible. It took about 6 hours, including replacing the bridge, pickups, electronics and tuners.

    I relied heavily on this video for instruction.



    One thing that REALLY helped was using solid core wire that had some stiffness to it when doing the main wiring on the pots and stuff.

    Here's the step-by-step of my conversion.
    I was very careful and patient and it turned out great on the 1st try.
     
  14. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Member

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    I read that four-conductor telephone wire was great for rewiring -- maybe it is, for solid body guitars, but the solid-core wire is brittle and snaps off easily once it's been soldered. Due to the twisting necessary to work the components in and out of the treble f-hole, that didn't work for me.

    335s and some Sheratons have larger f-holes than the ones on mine, which were 1"x3/4" at the largest. I also had to use mini-pots: full-size pots wouldn't go through the available space.
     
  15. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

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    Mr Thinline has it right. Not all F-hole guitars have a slot from the pup rout but if you do, use that. I use wirewrap wire instead of fishing line, I also use a dental mirror and everything on my bench to manipulate and organize the job. Time spent visualizing how to fold up the harness and unfold it into place is well invested.

    Keep your Zen on and be patient and methodical. It is possible.

    Or, just pay a good and experienced tech.
     
  16. JLee

    JLee Member

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    Take it to a good tech. I destroyed 3 RS PIO caps trying to install a pre-wired RS kit into my Burny. Had to go through the f-holes and the leads on the bridge PIO caps snapped off from a variety of **** ups and mistakes. Also managed to snap the lead off the neck cap, but thankfully was able to resolder the lead on that cap. Once everything was installed, I managed to break off one of the pot posts trying to get a tight fitting knob on. :bonk:bonk:bonkI have a pretty good handle on how to install these now...:D
     
  17. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    What I want to know is, whay don't all semi-hollow guitars have a control cavity cover? Some do, even some Gibsons if I recall. What was it, ES333?
     

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