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Epiphone EJ-160E Pickup Suggestions

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
I have one of these, and am very happy with it accoustically, but the electronic aspects of it leave much to be desired.

It has a P-90 pickup that is highly susceptible to AC hum, and its response is very uneven -- the G is obtrusively loud, the B and E are weaker, and the tone is dark overall. No amount of pole piece adjustment seems to help.

I was considering either (a) a hum-cancelling upgrade, something like what Lindy Fralin offers, or (b) an undersaddle pickup. If I went with (b), would it work with the existing volume and tone wiring?

Suggestions?
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
Afterthought -- is it possible that the strings have anything to do with it? I currently have on an Ernie Ball .011 set, thinking that the strings would need to be nickel-steel for them to work with the pickup correctly; is this incorrect, and possibly causing the problem?
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
Regular acoustic strings should work with that pickup. I would try that first and see if it solves the problem.
I'm going to try this first.

The other thing I just noticed is that the literature says it's a mini-humbucker, not a P-90. If that's true, I'm wondering if I have a bad one, because it picks up house wiring like a Strat pickup.
 

Robert1950

Member
Messages
3,379
If the string change doesn't work out, you may want to get the electronics tested. If it is a humbucker, you shouldn't be getting the hum.
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
If the string change doesn't work out, you may want to get the electronics tested. If it is a humbucker, you shouldn't be getting the hum.
I'd be doing that myself actually -- I'm just working up the courage to put everything back in after I do the much easier job of removing it. :)

From what I can see in the sound hole, it looks like a single bobbin, so this is baffling me. I did find one review online that strongly suggested going the undersaddle route. That will be last resort.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,541
nothing to do about the hum (it's a single coil) but i found a trick that makes it sound much better with normal bronze acoustic strings:

unscrew the B polepiece and remove it entirely!

then you can tweak the others to make the strings actually sound balanced. don't worry, that B will still be plenty loud.
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
I tried a set of accoustic strings (Martin SP Custom Light, .011-.052), and -- I get a much more balanced sound across the strings, but at considerably weaker volume, which means turning up the amp (I used a Vox AC15HW), which means the hum problem got even worse. :) And, what I should have probably expected, but didn't, is that the guitar now sounds like I'm playing through the neck pickup on a Les Paul. Starting to consider an undersaddle option, or perhaps sticking to accoustic only with it.

I will try that polepiece trick, though -- thanks very much for the suggestion. Am also going to have to pull the guts out to figure out why I'm getting so much hum.
 

stahlhart

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,643
It's a mini humbucker. Resistance measures about 7.5K ohms at the output jack and 3.76K across one of the two coils, so nothing is open at least, though the coil wiring doesn't look correct, which is not the first time this has happened to me.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,541
It's a mini humbucker. Resistance measures about 7.5K ohms at the output jack and 3.76K across one of the two coils...
i'll be damned, i always thought it was a single coil like the old ones.

it occurs to me that the hum problem might be because the strings aren't grounded. maybe a metal "plate mate" type thing under the bridgeplate, wired to ground would do the trick.

to test, try the touching the strings and the plugged-in cable at the same time, see if the noise diminishes.
 

Robert1950

Member
Messages
3,379
One Epiphones site the pickup is described as a stacked P-100, so the hum has to be a result of some sort of grounding problem somewhere.
 




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