Help understanding this modification on a 1979 The Paul

Zorak_Tequilator

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Hey everyone - I bought this lady many years ago, and never stopped to noticed that someone messed with the wiring and added four switches. I always assumed they were standard. They also added what I think is a mini amp (battery powered), which I want to take out (leave the distortion to my regular amp!)
Anyone have a clue what the switches are meant for? I attach a picture of the front and one of the back.
Also, I've not taken out the pickups, but I'm fearing these are probably not the hyped originals - anyone can recognize them?
cheers


20200723_004937.jpg
20200723_004911.jpg
 

akuster777

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Perhaps Zappa got at it!

Are the small switches all 2-position or are some 3?

The bridge switch looks like a coil cut.

Looks like the bridge tone knob controls the boost. The neck tone looks like a master tone.

Do the switches work?
 

ARandall

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Well, there's certainly a nomination for the 'overuse of solder on the pots' award. Thats another reason for re-doing with new components.

Another for coil splits and a phase reversal.......plus the boost of course.
 

strayedstrater

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TL;DR That preamp might be a quality unit worth some money. If you pull it out, please post some pics and maybe we can identify it.
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The preamp appears to be connected to a Bournes series 82 blue box pot. Those pots look weird and cheap, but they're actually super high quality and cost $20 each. Which hints at the possibility that the preamp may be a high quality unit with some monetary resale value.

Series 82 was introduced in the late '70s but the price was very high for that era. Only early boutique companies used them so sales were poor and they were discontinued in the '80s. Now that there's a market for expensive rebranded custom pots, Bournes reintroduced it in 2010. (I've got a guitar with first gen 82's -- they have the best tapers and best feel of any pots I've ever used.)

The approach to the mods and the patina on the mini-toggles makes me think it was modded back in the '80s. If the preamp was installed at the same time, it may even be "vintage boutique".

Bournes: the story of old blue
 
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Cozmik Cowboy

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Along about 1980, I briefly worked with a band where the guitarists played a The Paul & a The SG, and the next year for a guy with another The SG; all 6 p/ups were double-black - so yeah, I'm thinking yours are not, in fact, original (which, depending on what they actually are, may well be a good thing).

But you say there are 4 added switches; I'm only seeing 3. Is the 4th internal? Or is one of the pots push/pull?

Without further info, and based on the time period & what were considered hip mods then, I'd guess the ones I see are 2 X coil-tap & 1 phase switch.

As to the preamp, everything Strayedstarter says makes sense.
 

Zorak_Tequilator

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Along about 1980, I briefly worked with a band where the guitarists played a The Paul & a The SG, and the next year for a guy with another The SG; all 6 p/ups were double-black - so yeah, I'm thinking yours are not, in fact, original (which, depending on what they actually are, may well be a good thing).

But you say there are 4 added switches; I'm only seeing 3. Is the 4th internal? Or is one of the pots push/pull?

Without further info, and based on the time period & what were considered hip mods then, I'd guess the ones I see are 2 X coil-tap & 1 phase switch.

As to the preamp, everything Strayedstarter says makes sense.
Sorry, yes, only three switches - my bad.
 

Zorak_Tequilator

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TL;DR That preamp might be a quality unit worth some money. If you pull it out, please post some pics and maybe we can identify it.
--------------------
The preamp appears to be connected to a Bournes series 82 blue box pot. Those pots look weird and cheap, but they're actually super high quality and cost $20 each. Which hints at the possibility that the preamp may be a high quality unit with some monetary resale value.

Series 82 was introduced in the late '70s but the price was very high for that era. Only early boutique companies used them so sales were poor and they were discontinued in the '80s. Now that there's a market for expensive rebranded custom pots, Bournes reintroduced it in 2010. (I've got a guitar with first gen 82's -- they have the best tapers and best feel of any pots I've ever used.)

The approach to the mods and the patina on the mini-toggles makes me think it was modded back in the '80s. If the preamp was installed at the same time, it may even be "vintage boutique".

Bournes: the story of old blue
I
 

Zorak_Tequilator

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Sorry, went without a reply. I'm amazed at your knowledge. It is indeed a bournes unit, and I won't be surprised if your estimate is right! I assumed it had to be some low quality electronics, just from looking at the soldering job and the battery cable. The switches are two way, and they work just fine. The potentiometers have always given me a headache, as they drop volume to fast and it tends to have a lot of noise through them. Maybe a faulty bale connection or a result of the poor soldering job?

I'll take a closer look at the pickups and post a picture. I've never had an issue with them - the neck one definitely has punch in it.
 

cooljuk

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The pickups are certainly not original, as you suspected.

The electronics look like 90's stuff to me. Perhaps the pickups are, as well?

A word of caution - if you like the sound of this guitar as it is now, you might not want to pull out the electronics. The pickups, and the way the guitar interacts with your rig, will absolutely be quite different.

Might want to try hooking the pickups straight to the amp, first, and make sure you even like them that way. ...or just leave it if you already get along with it now.
 

CB91710

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Neck pickup has allen screw poles, bridge is screw and slug.
Double creme, most likely both are DiMarzio, would be surprised if the neck is a Super Distortion and the bridge something more mellow, but you never know what the owner was going for. He could have been primarily a neck pickup player and just bought a cheaper model for the bridge.
 

BKS

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I am going for a dimarzio dual sound dp 101 in neck position if it is an older one. Basicly the same as a super distortion but 4 wire. The older super distortion did not have that. I have a double cream dual sound in my old Fernandes js100. That one too came to me with 3 extra toggle switches for phase, coil split, parallel....
 

Zorak_Tequilator

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15957302547028070134232967178863.jpg

This is the bourns pot, series 81a1dz28ba0384 (I think that's a four at the end) 50k and the 7948m (upside down). Proudly made in Mexico, apparently.
 

strayedstrater

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Series 81, 82, 86 are the same but with different terminals. 81 has straight pins sticking out the side for soldering directly to a pcb.

Google says the white things are 0.1uF capacitors.

Checking google and my own set, new series 80 has the info etched into the blue plastic on the side of the pot, and first gen have the info printed on the back cover.

Since the pot is embedded into the epoxy, the preamp is almost certainly late '70s early '80s.

I don't recognise it. But I've got crates of Guitar Player magazines from the early '70s through early '90s and I'm currently going through one of my occasional re-readings. Cycling stacks in and out of my library with the porcelain throne.

If I see it in an ad I'll let you know.
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But googling "onboard guitar preamp" didn't seem to turn up anything that's particularly sought after or collectable.

Still, engaging the coil taps and the phase drops the output, so having a preamp to compensate could be useful. And that looks like a decent one, not a hunk o' junk.
 

Cjsinla

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That guitar probably came stock with black T-tops.
 

Zorak_Tequilator

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Sorry, went without a reply. I'm amazed at your knowledge. It is indeed a bournes unit, and I won't be surprised if your estimate is right! I assumed it had to be some low quality electronics, just from looking at the soldering job and the battery cable. The switches are two way, and they work just fine. The potentiometers have always given me a headache, as they drop volume to fast and it tends to have a lot of noise through them. Maybe a faulty bale connection or a result of the poor soldering job?

I'll take a closer look at the pickups and post a picture. I've never had an issue with them - the neck one definitely has punch in it.
Here's a shot of the pickups. I finally got time to change strings and clean things up a bit. Turns out it's a dimarzio for the neck and a Seymour Duncan for the bridge. The little JB-J sticker on the SD apparently identifies it as a pretty nice piece of pickup art - worked on by Marisela Juarez. I refixed the circuit cables and put on a new battery, and they do sound great directly to the Amp - the bourns unit definitely does its magic!
 


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