Epi LP Ultra 3 - Can you split coils on it or not?

thefees

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Just bought an Epiphone Ultra 3 new. It comes with two Pro Bucker pickups, Probucker 2 and Probucker 3 with 4 conductor wires each pickup. IT DOES NOT COIL SPLIT or have that option right out of the box. So I was wondering can I add push-pull pots on each of the two volume knobs and get coil splitting?

Background; This guitar the Ultra 3 has a nanomag pickup on the end of the neck which is an acoustic pickup. The second tone knob was sacrificed by making it a push, push, push knob for selecting Humbuckers only, Humbuckers plus Nano mag, or Nano Mag only.

So the 64 million dollar question is can I upgrade this to a split coil option on each of the humbuckers? By the way the Epi LP Custom Pro has the same pickups, with the same spec's printed on the clear plastic covering the pickups as the Ultra 3 has. So they have to be the same pickups. Both have 4 conductor wires.

So what I am shooting for is the best of both worlds. Nano mag option, and split coil option. Can I add split coil? Did Gibson leave that out on purpose?
Your help is appreciated.
 

SJM

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If your Probuckers came with 4 conductor lead wires and the white and green aren't already being used for something else then why not? All you're doing is shutting one coil off when you coil split. Have you physically verified that you have 4 conductor leads? Unless there is something about the Ultra III I don't know, then off hand I would say yes. I'd be interested in some feedback from other Ultra III owners though.
 

straybeat

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The only question would be how the USB recording jack is wired into everything? If you can figure that part out, or have a tech who can, I wouldn't see any reason why you couldn't split the coils? Unless, the USB circuitry won't allow it at all, or, if you want to get rid of the USB circuit and wire the pickups normally.
 

Barcham

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The Ultra III, like the Ultra II, has the pots directly attached to a PCB. That being the case, I think it would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to install push/pull pots. It may be possible to do it by installing a micro switch into the circuit instead and either drilling into the body to mount it or mounting it under the pick guard.
 

thefees

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Thank you for your replies.

Yes it has the 4 conductor wires. It says so right on the plastic overlay that are stuck on the top of the pickups. The factory description says it has ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups on it. I just took a Epi Custom Pro back to the store that had the same pickups, same sticker etc. and that one came with the coil tapping feature already installed.

The USB feature is something that I do not want to lose because you can use for example Guitar Rig in it to record directly into the PC and then choose amp models, tones etc. I"m putting together a studio and that would be a nice feature to have for recording.

I love the fact that the custom pro had coil splitting. It gave me a lot of different options for tones and yes they were uniquely different. Blending a split pickup with a full on, and being able to adjust the volume knob on each created some unique sounds. Then being able to include the nano mag would make it even moreso.

So yes you brought up a good point. Will it mess with the USB circuit?
 

paruwi

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The Ultra III, like the Ultra II, has the pots directly attached to a PCB. That being the case, I think it would be rather difficult, if not impossible, to install push/pull pots. It may be possible to do it by installing a micro switch into the circuit instead and either drilling into the body to mount it or mounting it under the pick guard.

This ^^ :thumb:

and happy modding...

DSCI0938.jpg
 

thefees

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Barcham thank you for your reply also. I was typing this when you posted. Hmmm so it would take micro switches. It would need two so each pickup could be split. Is the wiring saying, "Ok we are just taking one leg of the pickup out when in split mode". Then which wire? which coil? Is there room in between the volume and tone knobs to be able to fit a micro switch on each? So that way only a small hole would be drilled through to the front to mount the switch, or does the PCB board get in the way?
 

thefees

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Paruwi. Thank you for your reply, and for posting the picture. Time to take the plate off of the back and have a look see. "Can I sneak a mini toggle off to one side where the PCB board slopes in? Functionally even though the pots are integrated into the board, the pickup leads themselves can be intersected on the way to the board.
 

thefees

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Ok so I took the cover off and yes it would not be possible to use the factory cavity to install anything else, much less two toggle switches. BUT what I did come up with is that since the body is hollowed out, and yes the area right behind the bridge is hollow, you could create a very neatly done rout in the back that you could place a factory access plate on, and be able to sneak two switches in there.

By removing the output jack temporarily you could do a clean drill from the factory cavity into the new one and have access for the wires. What might look really cool is to have a matching set of knobs with split coil pots on them. So you would have 6 knobs instead of 4. They could even be lined up with the existing ones into a single row each. You would in effect have two volume knobs for each pickup but it would look semi-factory original. Just thinking.

The challenge would be getting a rout clean enough so that you can flush mount the rear access hole cover and not have the raw wood edge show. Forget rounding the edge. It would require a delicate matching touch up around the inner lip.

That's just one option. The other is to get a factory metal plate for the input jacks, and put it below the existing one, but that would require removing the PCB board and hollowing out switch pocket from the inside. It would look weird having toggle switches hanging out the bottom of the guitar so slide switches would be the only way to go but they wouldn't fit into the factory plate with a round hole.

The real bottom line is that Shadow Nano Mag needed to incorporate a split coil pot option into their board. That would be the obvious solution. So if they developed that feature in the future you could swap out boards. I looked up the price of the shadow Nano mag and it was $295. Ouch.

Enclosed is a photo of the hollowed out chambers in the Ultra.
 

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Barcham

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I would do an intersect into the wiring from the pups and route it out through the bridge pup ring and attach two micro switches, one for each pup, to the underside of the pick guard, Jimmy Page style. This would avoid any drilling into the body and move everything away from the control cavity altogether. You could either use regular toggle style switches or push button. Either would be easy to activate with a fingertip.

The most you would have to do would be to file down the bottom of the pup ring to make space to pass the wiring, or use flat cable and pass it under the ring and screw it back down. No drilling into the body required.
 

thefees

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I would do an intersect into the wiring from the pups and route it out through the bridge pup ring and attach two micro switches, one for each pup, to the underside of the pick guard, Jimmy Page style. This would avoid any drilling into the body and move everything away from the control cavity altogether. You could either use regular toggle style switches or push button. Either would be easy to activate with a fingertip.

The most you would have to do would be to file down the bottom of the pup ring to make space to pass the wiring, or use flat cable and pass it under the ring and screw it back down. No drilling into the body required.

Barcham you are the man. Wow perfect answer. I looked it up and Gibson had the photo on the Custom Jimmy page model. See below. I love not having to alter anything on the guitar other than the pickup ring, or even using a flat cable in order to not have to alter that either. Great job. I'm excited. Do you know where I can get mini switches like that. Maybe Gibson because it looks like they mounted them just using the factory pick guard screw, or did they glue a plate underneath to the pick guard???
 

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EvLectric

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Doesn't Seymour Duncan make pickup rings with switches built in for switching coils on the
p rail pickup? Maybe that would be a help here.
 

dspelman

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I think miniswitches are the way to go, and NOT under a pickguard, either. I'd put in three-ways, so that you'd have the option of serial/parallel/single coil ala the Tri-Sound switches on an AR-300 Ibanez.

Six knobs makes no sense, period.

You might look at the Seymour Duncan switching system mounted on pickup rings (the Triple Shot). As with any of the previous suggestions (aside from the miniswitches), they're going to be more difficult to work with if you're in a live or hurry situation, but they eliminate all subterranean routing, plumbing and routing:

TS1.jpg
triple_shot_ring_blk_crm.jpg
 

paruwi

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Doesn't Seymour Duncan make pickup rings with switches built in for switching coils on the
p rail pickup? Maybe that would be a help here.

Yes, they do - but the Ultra III already has the tuner in the pup-rings....

Epi-UltraIII-ME6.jpg
 

paruwi

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I think miniswitches are the way to go, and NOT under a pickguard, either. I'd put in three-ways, so that you'd have the option of serial/parallel/single coil ala the Tri-Sound switches on an AR-300 Ibanez.

Six knobs makes no sense, period.

You might look at the Seymour Duncan switching system mounted on pickup rings (the Triple Shot). As with any of the previous suggestions (aside from the miniswitches), they're going to be more difficult to work with if you're in a live or hurry situation, but they eliminate all subterranean routing, plumbing and routing:

Sorry, NO.....
 

Barcham

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Barcham you are the man. Wow perfect answer. I looked it up and Gibson had the photo on the Custom Jimmy page model. See below. I love not having to alter anything on the guitar other than the pickup ring, or even using a flat cable in order to not have to alter that either. Great job. I'm excited. Do you know where I can get mini switches like that. Maybe Gibson because it looks like they mounted them just using the factory pick guard screw, or did they glue a plate underneath to the pick guard???

You could probably find a variety of suitable switches at any electronics supply store. Even Radio Shack would probably have something you could use. It would be easy to attach them to the bottom of the pick guard using epoxy or other adhesive.

I've been thinking of installing a switch like that on my Ultra II for the nanomag to be able to turn it on or off faster than having to dial down the nanomag volume. When I saw your post, I figured it would be a good way to install a coil split without drilling or otherwise modifying the guitar in a permanent way.
 

56GT

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Too bad there's not enough clearance to replace those pots with push-pulls. Those pickup ring switches look too fidgety.
 

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