Let the Zach Myers modding begin! (I might be over my head)

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
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4,262


Today is the day. The other half of the parts I'm changing out are arriving today, so I'm starting on what I can. This is a stock PRS SE Zach Myers. I'm replacing the bridge with a MannMade 2300 brass intonatable one. Replacing the tuners with ones modded by MannMade with Phase II gears. Replacing the electronics with USA pots (which requires enlarging the holes a bit) and knobs and adding push-pull for coil splitting. And, finally, replacing the stock pickups with Suhr Thornbuckers.

Thing is, I've never done any of this before. That makes me a little nervous, but not enough to keep myself from jumping in. I've watched some videos, taking reference photos, and going for it. There's a slight high spot on the 13th fret, but I'll leave that to the professionals. Otherwise, what's the worst that can happen?

Any tips or gotcha's to look out for?
 

skunizzi

Member
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1,099
I don't know why you are replacing the bridge? The Zack Meyers bride is fine and can be intimated with the ajustable saddles. To be able to do the coil splitting you need 4 wire pickups. When enlarging the holes, use masking tape over the finish to reduce the chance of the paint chipping. Finally make sure the brass nut is properly cut for the sting slots or you may end up with buzzing strings.

The 13th fret can be levelled out quite easily if you have the right tools.
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
I don't know why you are replacing the bridge? The Zack Meyers bride is fine and can be intimated with the ajustable saddles. To be able to do the coil splitting you need 4 wire pickups. When enlarging the holes, use masking tape over the finish to reduce the chance of the paint chipping. Finally make sure the brass nut is properly cut for the sting slots or you may end up with buzzing strings.

The 13th fret can be levelled out quite easily if you have the right tools.
I like the look of the brass studs and saddles of the MannMade, and if I get a bit more sustain, even better. The stock bridge has some burrs on the stud slots. The Thornbuckers are 4 wire. Good reminder about masking tape. No nut replacement yet, I'd have that done by someone else either way.

None of this is really required. I just an idea of what I wanted this guitar to look and sound like before I even got it. Most pieces of gear I get, I make it my own in some way.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,111
I have always used a round hand file, when enlarging holes, on the guitar body.

Are the saddles on you bridge, pre-slotted?
 

ToneChaser1

Member
Messages
177


Today is the day. The other half of the parts I'm changing out are arriving today, so I'm starting on what I can. This is a stock PRS SE Zach Myers. I'm replacing the bridge with a MannMade 2300 brass intonatable one. Replacing the tuners with ones modded by MannMade with Phase II gears. Replacing the electronics with USA pots (which requires enlarging the holes a bit) and knobs and adding push-pull for coil splitting. And, finally, replacing the stock pickups with Suhr Thornbuckers.

Thing is, I've never done any of this before. That makes me a little nervous, but not enough to keep myself from jumping in. I've watched some videos, taking reference photos, and going for it. There's a slight high spot on the 13th fret, but I'll leave that to the professionals. Otherwise, what's the worst that can happen?

Any tips or gotcha's to look out for?
Very cool! I'm very interested in how this turns out and what your final thoughts are regarding all the updates.
 

B Money

Member
Messages
5,890
mine's on the truck for delivery today. Can't wait to get my hands on it, but it's so cold outside today that I'll have to let it acclimate to room temperature before opening the box.
Anyways, good luck with your mods. Looks like a fun project that's not too difficult. Soldering is my weakness
 

ToneChaser1

Member
Messages
177
mine's on the truck for delivery today. Can't wait to get my hands on it, but it's so cold outside today that I'll have to let it acclimate to room temperature before opening the box.
Anyways, good luck with your mods. Looks like a fun project that's not too difficult. Soldering is my weakness
I think you are going to like it. BTW, mine was delivered on Weds night and I let it climatize for about 3 hours before opening the box and gig bag and everything was fine.
 

bartmcartman

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,046
These are on my short list. I had heard the bridge was the same as the usa? Not sure if that's true or not? The thornbuckers should sound great in that guitar!
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
Ok, so my progress today was hindered a bit. The brass wells with MannMade bridge were a bit too long and the stopbar face was scratched, so they're sending me a new one. There was an extra Phase II tuner on one side, but was one short on the other, they're shipping one out as well. And finally, the push-pull pots are PRS, but the shaft is too long and the spline count on the top is wrong, meaning the USA knobs won't fit.

So. What have I accomplished? 5 of the 6 tuners are installed, the bridge is there temporarily, the pickups are in, and the holes for the new pots were enlarged from metric to imperial for CTS size. And that's about it. I placed the knobs on top of the body just to show how it should look like after it's complete.

 

Marris Otter

Member
Messages
727
Looks like you've mastered one of the hardest skills in the modder's playbook. That is, acknowledging when you've hit a road block and having the self-restraint to know you simply have to hang it up until you have what you need to do it right. It took me a while to master that skill!

Looks like things are heading in the right direction. Congrats on a great start!
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
Looks like you've mastered one of the hardest skills in the modder's playbook. That is, acknowledging when you've hit a road block and having the self-restraint to know you simply have to hang it up until you have what you need to do it right. It took me a while to master that skill!

Looks like things are heading in the right direction. Congrats on a great start!
Thanks! Man, it's a bit frustrating though. Setting aside a day to work on something but not being able to get it done. Not that many years ago, I wouldn't have had the same self control. Still a good learning experience, though.
 

ToneChaser1

Member
Messages
177
Ok, so my progress today was hindered a bit. The brass wells with MannMade bridge were a bit too long and the stopbar face was scratched, so they're sending me a new one. There was an extra Phase II tuner on one side, but was one short on the other, they're shipping one out as well. And finally, the push-pull pots are PRS, but the shaft is too long and the spline count on the top is wrong, meaning the USA knobs won't fit.

So. What have I accomplished? 5 of the 6 tuners are installed, the bridge is there temporarily, the pickups are in, and the holes for the new pots were enlarged from metric to imperial for CTS size. And that's about it. I placed the knobs on top of the body just to show how it should look like after it's complete.

Happy New Year!

So did you finish it? How did it turn out and are you happy with the results?
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
Happy New Year!

So did you finish it? How did it turn out and are you happy with the results?
I need to take a "completed" photo. Don't k ow why I haven't yet.

So, the replacement stud wells were still a bit tall, which pushes the action up just a bit higher than I wanted, but that's not a deal breaker and can wait until I feel motivated enough to drill out the wells 1/16". Also, I was made very well aware of my amateur soldering skills. Took me a while to complete, it's not exactly pretty, and I had to retape off some leads so it stopped shorting the bridge pickup out.

The new PRS USA tone and volume pots spin easier than the stock Alpha pots, but there's a bit of grit in it or something. Not as smooth as the CTS pots that came in the 920D loaded pickguard I just got for my Strat. Alpha pots were stiffer but smoother. And the taper is a little more pronounced than stock. I'm undecided, frankly.

Really like the Phase II locking tuners. Worth it. So was getting rid of those clear knobs. The Thornbuckers sound good, and look great too.

All in all, doing it again, the only thing I would do differently is leave the stock wiring and pots. Wasn't necessary, as some had already found for themselves. I learned that, too. Oh, and I probably would have gotten the Thornbucker+ for the bridge. I thought I just wanted brighter from the neck to bridge, but a tad more juice into the amps front end would be even sweeter. Also not a deal breaker, and I doubt I'd replace this one.
 




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