The 2017 Shaw Revival (my 82 CAR Standard, 2 Shaws and 1 Notta Shawatol)

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by DarrellV, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    :bowdown:bowdown:h5:

    That is most generous! Thank you again, Kris! Period correct, Gibson part! :dude:

    Are you sure? Those things aren't cheap. :eek2:

    I have no objection to paying what they are worth, since I would have to any way!

    But I'm also not going to look the gift horse in the mouth! Thank you! :cheers:
     
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  2. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    :run::run::run::band::applause::applause::dude::dude::jam::thumbs:
     
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  3. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    They're newer than '82, but will work..I did the same on my old '77..the color shade was a good match..you're good on screws though, right?
     
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  4. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    I touched on this a little bit in my opening post, and at one point I was actively looking for a solvent, or a boiling method of some kind to remove the wax from the coils.

    I ran the idea past James and Dave on here as well as additional forum reading (like the SD forum) and they confirmed that once potted, there is no way to get every ounce of wax out of the coils. And any residue at all will still dampen the coil. Even if you get it all off of the metal parts, the wax is permeated into the coils all the way to the center.

    I was told short of cutting the coils out and rewinding, there is no way to remove all the wax....

    So that's what led me down this long months long road to getting them re-wound.

    You are correct. I reasoned at this point I had nothing to lose but some old wax soaked copper. I had all the other parts including the all important magnet, so why not?

    There is also the fact that I have waited 34 years to hear what this thing is supposed to sound like.... well, it didn't come from the factory with potted Shaws!!! LOL!!!

    At some point @CheopisIV (Dave) is gonna jump in here and he can explain this a lot better, maybe even with pictures!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  5. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Yes, thank you! I got some new gold screws a bit ago as part of the 'brightening it up' process... I can always get more if need be.

    I am going for a 'like new' appearance as a opposed to relicing.

    That's one of the reasons for the new parts. There is also the fact that they are 34 years old and pots do wear out....
     
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  6. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    These are new looking..one loose (like new!) , and one carded.

    I'll send 'em out tomorrow..just PM me sometime between now and noon tomorrow!
     
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  7. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    My FrankenStrat gets the first Shaw


    So while I am waiting for the parts to come in for the Lester there was the small matter of having an extra Shaw laying around doing nothing....

    That right there, ought to be a sin somewhere! :squint:

    So today (New Years Day) I decided to haul out the tools and the soldering iron and put that puppy in my Mexicaster!:dude:

    I have been very happy with the Rio Grande Texas Barbecue set that I put in it a while back, but I have always found the neck pickup (the Texas) to be a bit thick and snotty. Not muddy, but it has a nice thick growl that would be perfect for Southern Rock ala ZZ Top or something. Not always what I am looking for, but it was usable with the right tweaking.

    Original Barbecue setup

    I pondered which position I wanted to put it in for a moment and I picked the neck position for two reasons.

    First was that I was happy with the sound of the Barbecue Bridge I had in there now, and second was because I found the Shaw a bit weak in the bridge position on my Lester and I had no need to duplicate that problem on my Mexicaster!

     
  8. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    While I had them apart I took some measurements and compared the 2 pickups to see if they were at all similar. The Texas felt heavier than the Shaw for starters, so I lined them up to compare them.

    I am hoping this will help Dave by showing him what I had vs the Shaw. The Shaw coils are noticeably smaller (7mm Shaw vs 10mm on the Texas) and the magnet is shorter on the Shaw as well.

    Another reason I figures it would work better in the neck position...

    The Shaw is the zebra, the Rio Grande Texas is all black..

     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    OK, OK!!! But how does it sound!!!

    I have only played it for a short time through my little VOX amp but so far the results are very nice.

    Compared to the Texas, the Shaw is much more mellow and I think smoother would be a good description. No edge or harshness at all.

    Even response across the strings with no hotspots or booms.. Just flat and even! Very different from the other one. That one was obviously wound a little hotter with the bigger coils.

    The Shaw is not as forceful and domineering as the Texas was. Or as dark. The Texas was not muddy, but very powerful and deep, with some snotty edge in the low mids. Not a lot of treble at all.

    The Shaw is just smoother across the spectrum.. It doesn't jump out and attack my ears on pick strike, but it doesn't just fade out right away either. Setup is a little closer to the strings than the Texas, but that makes sense given the Texas' hotter wind and possibly stronger magnet.

    Not sure what they use at the moment for a magnet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  10. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Went with this setup of parts for my Lester... Price was good, and I don't mind doing it myself!

    tonemean.jpg

    I don't run into any surprises during the re construction so I'm putting this up there for peer review. :cheers:

    It's already saved me a possible mistake on the pickup rings! :eek2:
     
  11. CheopisIV

    CheopisIV Copper Slinger MLP Vendor

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    Shaws to me are comparable to warm butter. Make's no sense but that's the feeling I get from them. Smooth, mellow, delicious. Now pour it in your ears. Mmmmmmm. Okay, too far.

    I owe this thread some pictures! Been busy 'round here (but haven't we all!) so there's been some delay. Mostly pics and a little bit about what's going down. Anyone want more info? Just ask.

    Back story: Well, read the thread for the where, what and why. I'll post the how down below. My take on the whole project though is that I love Shaws, always have and always will. I had a massive collection of them a short time back and am now down to just a few of my favorites that I've cloned. A set from 1983. They are the baseline to which I build my Shaw clones and these Shaw rebuilds.

    Picture time! Darrel's Shaw's on reception. Waxy grossness visible in the peepholes.
    [​IMG]

    Coil tape is missing and wax...is....EVERYWHERE!

    [​IMG]

    Hocus Pocus Ceramics mounted to the bridge. Ink stamped numbers are very beautifully preserved under the wax! 137 = Neck pickup in a Les Paul. 282 = February 1982 pickup build date.
    [​IMG]

    A small scraping of the wax. It was thick.
    [​IMG]

    Neck P'up.
    [​IMG]
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    Bridge P'up
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    [​IMG]

    Started on the bridge. I needed to see what was under the Ceramics!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    138 - Bridge pickup in a Les Paul, 282 = February 1982. Perfect matched set! It's not uncommon to have some gap in the age of the pickups by month so this was a nice find.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sweet Baby Jebus these things are nasty!
    [​IMG]

    I puked in my mouth a little, but persevered.
    [​IMG]

    Gobs and gobs of wax.
    [​IMG]

    I pulled all the parts off the baseplate and took a few measures along the way.
    [​IMG]

    Heat-soaking the bare baseplate removed all the wax. I used a larger flat tip on the soldering iron at 400 degrees to make sure it all cooked off then wiped it down with paper towel.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To clean the magnet, I just scraped the wax off with a fingernail. It came off pretty easy and underneath I found a perfect and vintage accurate Shaw A2. This is the heart of these pickups.
    [​IMG]

    The pebbling is very distinct on a proper Shaw magnet. A feature of the sand used when casting.
    [​IMG]

    The tape they put underneath left a permanent stain.
    [​IMG]

    Shaw A2 VS my custom sand cast PAF style A2.
    [​IMG]

    The difference is most apparent on the ends.
    [​IMG]

    Shaw magnet measurements
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Slug Coil.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Screw coil
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Wax and more wax!
    [​IMG]

    After clearing out the waxy old wire, I found a weird inclusion on the bobbin form. Never seen this before! Shaw's Nipple??
    [​IMG]

    The Slug Coil looked as it should.
    [​IMG]

    Proper early 80's poly wire from an eBay lot purchase a few years back. Same color and perfect for a Shaw clone/rebuild. I honestly doubt there's any difference in this wire compared to something new. Manufacturing standards of magnet wire were changed dramatically in the 60's so anything beyond ~1965 should be pretty consistent. To be fair, I don't have any poly wire newer than mid 90's so can't really offer more than speculation at this point. Gibson in the 70s and 80s was using two different colors of Poly wire, a more yellow/gold color and this reddish stuff. I've seen both on Shaws but the Red wire sets sounded a bit sweeter to me. You can buy the red and yellow colored wire from Remington and likely other sources today.
    [​IMG]

    We discussed tension in our back and forth and these coils were to be wound a bit looser than my standard wind. I chose to use the older Geo 38AML as it's a lot less rigid than the Geo 39AM. These old machines are simply astonishing in how well built they are. I love them! I sat down and let her wind the coils up in proper Shaw specs as measured from my 83 set. I did bump the bridge up a bit for more oomph, but only a small amount! Go too far and you move away from the real Shaw sound.
    [​IMG]

    I didn't bother getting pictures of the rebuild in step by step, but here she is put back together as it used to be....minus the wax! I used all the original parts including the leads from the original coils.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  12. CheopisIV

    CheopisIV Copper Slinger MLP Vendor

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    Part 2: Neck Pickup

    Her we go again. Wax. Wax. Why the hell!?!?!?!
    [​IMG]

    I will pot pickups for people on request but I HATE it. Some people say it makes no difference in sound but I disagree. And it's just messy. This Shaw is choking to death.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Parts removed and heat soaked as per previous post
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And again, no pics of the rest as it was pretty much a repeat of the last post...and taking pictures along the way makes a project take 3-4 times how long it should ;) I'm stoked with how they turned out and am very eager to hear the end result in the proper guitar.

    The 53mm "Notta Shawattoll" ended up with an A5 in it and I forgot to send the long A2 in the box for experimentation (sorry!). I used parts from a donor 1984 Gibson pickup to match the metals of the era including the gold pole pieces. To my ears, it's definitely Notta Shawattoll but does sound pretty good in it's own rights. More T-Top than Shaw but maybe it'll work in that Gorgeous Cherry LP.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Blind Man's Bluff

    Thanks Dave! Great stuff! :cheers:

    I didn't know he had wound the bridge Shaw with a bit extra, and that is the one I'm using in my Mexicaster.

    I had a chance to play it on and off yesterday until about 10 pm last night when I had to write Dave about my thoughts on it.

    I have never had a rewind done, never needed one and prolly won't again. I really didn't know what to expect.

    It was just a coil swap with the same wire, so it shouldn't have been a big deal, right?

    I've read on here a lot of testimonies from people who have bought a custom winder's pickup sets and they usually always have something nice to say and that they notice a difference of some sort over their old or stock pickups.

    I have to take their word for it. I have no reason to think they would lie, I just have no way of ever hearing what they hear and like about them vs what their old ones sounded like.

    Like trying to describe an orchestra to a deaf man...

    I haven't owned enough guitars, or had enough money, or have enough dissatisfaction with my existing ones to ever search for something else.

    So clueless would be a good way to describe where I was starting off from as far as expectations of sound when I got these back.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  14. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    If Seeing is believing.... What about Hearing?


    10 pm last night I put the guitar down (the Mexicaster) and penned this to Dave.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    OK, I just have to know one thing.... Do you REALLY know what you are doing?
    [​IMG]
    I mean repeatably and systematically know before hand what exactly you have to do, and what needs doing, and with what materials to get the desired result?

    Or is there still a fair amount of poke and hope and blind luck or mystery?

    Maybe a 'best guess' outcome....

    Antigua would call it alchemy...

    So I dropped the spare Shaw into my old faithful workhorse today.

    I posted some more stuff on our thread too...

    It's 10 oclock at night here and I just put it down after a day of on and off playing and tweaking and I just don't know what to say.

    So much so i had to stop to write you my thoughts because I am so troubled and moved by what I hear..

    The sound of this Shaw in the neck position of my Strat is other worldly...

    For lack of a better word I've coined the term 'Ghost Pickup'.

    When combined with some reverb and tap delay ala Hank Marvin there is a haunting, hollow, beautiful, and un-pointed (focused?) sound that is coming out of my little VOX amp that is soo dreamy it has stirred my soul (hence the troubled part... that's what it feels like... worry or nervousness, but without the reason or stress...)

    Was it the lower tension winding that created the air? Is it the magnet? Did we just get lucky?

    It is smooth as silk and not picky or percussive at all. Balanced response across the strings and spectrum. No bumps or holes.

    Perfect..... But that is impossible in this world of compromise.... So I ask the questions above..... What was it?

    I cannot fathom that you can predict these results before you wind each set. That is inconceivable to me...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  15. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Of Unicorns and Alchemy!


    To which Dave graciously replied so eloquently.....
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Busted. I make it all up as I go!

    Seriously though, you ask a very interesting question.

    I'm a mix of Alchemy and Science.

    I think I know what I'm doing, but often times I'm still surprised at the results or turn out something completely different from the target but for the most part I can get what I want now.

    I've wound, dissected, rewound, swapped metals, swapped magnets, charged magnets up and down, added wire, dropped wire, split wire... EVERYTHING I could think of as a variable, I've done.

    TPL (turns per layer) from messy handwound to tight handwound, as low as ~20 TPL up to over 200 on the machine; offset cam, heart shaped cam, weirdo bumpy cams, teardrop cams and falloff cams. Tension all over the map from floppy coils to way too tight and even variable tension through a single wind.

    I can sit down with a piece of music and listen to the guitar and pick out what I think I hear. I can get a pickup to sound like I want for the most part and it's getting easier as the years go by.

    When I first started dialing in those epic classic tones I was failing a lot as my ideas about what I heard were uninformed.

    As I go on, I can usually hear the magnet and give a best guess at the coil composition based on my magnet choice.

    In the earlier days I wanted a Bonamassa set but I couldn't get it right. I now have some thoughts on how to get his sound after attending a concert this past fall though so they're in the works.

    Peter Green was the worst and I got them partially by accident but that trek and the PG trials I went through opened up a lot of doors and gave me a lot of answers as to functionality of variables. When I got my PG set finalized (years of trials...literally years) it was such a huge weight off my shoulders as a personal goal.

    I've come to the point that I can hear a difference at 100 turns of wire on a coil. I can't tell you the DC based on sound alone, but I can hear my own pickups to that degree of change. I can distinctly hear a magnet in a live setting, or at least get a best guess based on what I hear that's usually right.

    Recorded clips and music is a lot harder but getting easier. I can then tweak a coil to get the right sounds in tandem with the magnet I choose and often times it works, but other times it's close, but not close enough so back to the drawing board.

    Fluff and stuff aside, I started this whole thing on the same train of thought as Antigua. I thought all the 'alchemy' was marketing bullshit and wanted to see how much was real and how much was BS... I'm a Science/Math/Physics and Stats Nerd so dug in with all intent to explain everything with numbers and measurements. What I found was disappointing and enlightening. (italics added)

    None of it was pure BS, but I have to admit some of the 'facts' were focused embellishment hooks for marketing purposes..but based on reality.

    Coil geometry and TPL makes a difference. Coil offset makes a huge difference. Tension makes a difference. Magnets make a world of difference. Metals make a subtle difference. Wire (ie: PE vs Poly) makes a difference.

    I wanted to blow the lid off the industry and call out the guys who were lying to everybody and twisting facts into fantasy. But I can't because those fantasy are so embroiled in facts that even the stuff I think is embellished may be more true than I believe, or at least may be complete truth to those who make the claims.

    I see people claiming there's no difference between Poly and PE, but I hear it; maybe they don't.

    I have magnets from my supplier and I've had magnets from AddictionFX and Mojotone as well as some from major Chinese and US manufacturers. I even have some of Jon's (Throbak) premium magnets. ALL of them sound different but not necessarily better or worse.

    And then you change the charge and they sound even more different.

    I used to buy parts from the resellers but they were never consistent and I was banging my head against the wall trying to change things to make my pickups sound the same from batch to batch. I had to settle on one metal supplier, one magnet manufacturer and one wire manufacturer to get that consistency I need. So that's half the battle conquered.

    In the beginning, it was hard. But now that I've gotten to this point it's getting easier.

    Cloning something like a Shaw; well, that was the easiest thing I've ever done. Same with a T-Top. They are the statistical-on-paper pickup that the PAF was supposed to be.

    Change the wire, metals and magnets and you can go from one to the other. TPL and wire plays a big part but the coils are pretty bang on identical so no real offset.

    The Magnet is huge. Shaw magnets are not available anywhere so I've said I can get close, but not exact with my A2. My metals are not the same so again, close but not exact.

    You sent me all the right parts and I have the right wire so rebuilding those Shaws was almost mindless. I already have all the coil geometry and data written down, but I also have the tone in my head as a huge fan of the original that I can hear it instantly... well, my version of the Shaw sound anyway.

    So how much is science and how much is Antigua's psychoacoustic fantasy? It's a whole lot of both. There's no way around it.

    Pure mindless clones are Science.

    Cloning Sounds is Alchemy based on science.

    I prescribe to both schools!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  16. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    @Tone Man Guitar stuff arrived today!

    Nice and quick and VERY well packaged.... I am impressed so far.

    Quality parts... they have a nice heft to them. Not cheap and cheesy lightweight stuff...

    This is gonna be fun!

    20180102_111835.jpg
     
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  17. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Started the re-assembly with the new Tone Man Parts

    The original Pots are removed and set aside for reference..

    The old and the new.

    It was at this point I noticed one major difference in the Bournes Pots that I got. They have no locating tab on the face like the Gibby pots did.... I would really rather that they did as I am old school like that and I know why they were there in the first place. To prevent the shaft from turning and loosening the jam nuts if the knob is turned too hard or too far.

    I am re-using the metal plate so I can crank these shaft nuts down tight to lessen the chance they will come loose. I also like the whole ground and shield idea Gibson designed it for. I intend to reuse the switch can and cavity shielding metal too.


    At this point I ran into one of those quirky little reminders of why Les Pauls are harder to work on and more labor intensive to make than my Strat, for example.

    The pots on my Strat all mount to a thin plastic face plate.

    My Lester they have to stick out through the wood top, and not just that, a CARVED wood top! :eek2:

    All the shafts were sticking out at different lengths! :wow:


    After a bit of testing and adjusting I got them down to about equal to the shortest one, the neck volume. That one comes through the thickest part of the carved top and barely makes it through!

    The result...

    I marked them to keep the orientation straight in my head and went to work soldering up the ground lugs and tone caps. I went with .33 for the bridge and .15 for the neck.


    I still have more stuff to get like a new selector switch and output jack, so I've got to stop here for a bit.....
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  18. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    One more reason @Kris Ford is the BOMB! :bowdown
    These came today!! :dude:
    20180109_103058.jpg

    The generosity I have seen on MLP is awesome, but to be the recipient of it is humbling... Thank you Kris!:cheers:

    Perfect! Period correct... no more farting around and guessing and hoping it will fit and match!

    Yeah, Buddy! :jam:

    This is better than American Express!:cheers:
    MLP! Membership has its privileges! :laugh2:
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  19. JohnnyN

    JohnnyN Old School Premium Member

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    Awesome! :applause::thumbs:
     
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  20. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
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