Wildkat mod question

nate_D

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Hey guys! First time poster, long time lurker. I recently bought an Epiphone Wildkat off craigslist that needs some love. It sounds decent but I want to take it up a notch. When I went and checked it out the Bigsby was really lose (easy tightening up) and had some tuning issues. So I played with it for a day and dropped some Big Bend's Nut Sauce in the nut/saddles then put some 11s on it. Huge difference.

So next on the list I definitely need to replace the bridge. Most of the saddles look pretty bad. Is it worth it to go with the roller bridge? I'd really rather not put something in that could potentially take away tone unless it's needed for the Bigsby (this is my first and its way too much fun).

Second I've read about how the Master Volume pot could be draining some of the life out of the guitar as well. I'd like to either get it out of the equation and either not use it at all or give each pickup a separate tone knob and just rewire the guitar completely.

After that I'm prob going to get rid of the poly coating (best thread ever). Not sure about that yet. Still debating. My Epi LP Studio (arctic blue) came out awesome so I'm really leaning that way. Anybody else with a Wildkat mod out there?
 

Azathoth

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I recently replaced my Wildkat's bridge with a Guitar Fetish roller bridge. It's a direct fit, but it rattles and buzzes (if you strum the guitar unplugged, the noise is horrendous), and strumming too forcefully will knock the high E off the saddle. Lot of debate on roller bridges and tone, but I'm not qualified to comment on it.

Don't recommend the GF bridge, but it solved the tuning issues with the bigsby here 100%. A Wilkinson is recommended a lot, and I've seen a Wildkat with a Compton bridge.
 

NovaSDF

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Don't have a Bigsby at the moment, but I'm willing to bet there could be a slight loss of sustain with a roller bridge (at least from the debates I've had with my friends on the subject.) Having said that, a slight minus in tone may be an acceptable trade if you use the trem a lot and a roller bridge can increase the tuning stability.

As an alternative, you might consider switching the bridge to a pre-notched Gotoh (Tonepros) bridge. The notches aren't as deep as with the stock Epi bridge, so the strings may not catch as much. I'm not saying this as fact, just theory.
 

nate_D

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I was actually about to order a Gotoh bridge for my LP. I'll prob get one for the Wildkat as well if I don't go with the Compton. I read on the Gretsch forum where people were getting huge improvements with them.

I will definitely be staying away from the GF bridge, that sounds terrible. I think I will stay away from the roller bridge in general unless the tuning issues come back. Just using the Nut Sauce made a huge difference.

Anybody change out the capacitors or redo the wiring? It's got .022 uf in it stock. I'd love to brighten this thing up a bit.
 

Azathoth

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OT, but the Wildkat Royale is being reissued. There's a white one and a black one. Not really fond of the sparkly binding though.
 

nate_D

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The white one looks pretty slick. So I went ahead and picked up a gotoh bridge (1511) and it sounds a little better. I also put some d'addario chrome flatwounds (jazz light 11's) on that I'm stoked and not stoked about. I do really love the feel & sound of flatwounds but it's not staying in tune like it was before. Maybe the Bigsby likes roundwound better? When you use the Bigsby it doesn't sound as cool either as it did with roundwounds. :mad:

I picked up 2 black plastic covers for the P90s to replace the shiny metal ones. I can see how to take the stock metal covers off (solder holding them on) but I'm not quite sure the best way to do it with plastic. The neck pickup seems to be a little bit smaller and the poles aren't lining up. The bridge is fine, just not sure how to make it stay on.
 

SessionGuy

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Hey guys! First time poster, long time lurker. I recently bought an Epiphone Wildkat off craigslist that needs some love. It sounds decent but I want to take it up a notch. When I went and checked it out the Bigsby was really lose (easy tightening up) and had some tuning issues. So I played with it for a day and dropped some Big Bend's Nut Sauce in the nut/saddles then put some 11s on it. Huge difference.

So next on the list I definitely need to replace the bridge. Most of the saddles look pretty bad. Is it worth it to go with the roller bridge? I'd really rather not put something in that could potentially take away tone unless it's needed for the Bigsby (this is my first and its way too much fun).

Second I've read about how the Master Volume pot could be draining some of the life out of the guitar as well. I'd like to either get it out of the equation and either not use it at all or give each pickup a separate tone knob and just rewire the guitar completely.

After that I'm prob going to get rid of the poly coating (best thread ever). Not sure about that yet. Still debating. My Epi LP Studio (arctic blue) came out awesome so I'm really leaning that way. Anybody else with a Wildkat mod out there?
Hi,

I've just registered to reply to this post. I have a Wildkat and I'm also a qualified electronics techie.

Most people say that all the controls on this guitar need replacing, also the PUs. But the main problem is the cheap coax cable used to connect all the controls inside the guitar. Believe me, it's hard to make cable this bad! I won't go on about it here, so I wrote a PDF doc about how I got mine to be brighter than my 1972 LP Deluxe! Read it here: http://www.award-session.com/pdfs/Epiphone_WildKat_Tone_Problem.pdf

Any questions, just mail me.

Stewart :))
 

nate_D

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Hi,

I've just registered to reply to this post. I have a Wildkat and I'm also a qualified electronics techie.

Most people say that all the controls on this guitar need replacing, also the PUs. But the main problem is the cheap coax cable used to connect all the controls inside the guitar. Believe me, it's hard to make cable this bad! I won't go on about it here, so I wrote a PDF doc about how I got mine to be brighter than my 1972 LP Deluxe! Read it here: http://www.award-session.com/pdfs/Epiphone_WildKat_Tone_Problem.pdf

Any questions, just mail me.

Stewart :))
Thanks man! I haven't done any mods to the Wildkat just yet. Totally slacking and I haven't found any of the coax wire you're referring to. There's some stuff we use at work called beldin cable (shielded with 5 sets of 24awg wire). The guy at the local parts shop said it was way too much, too big and clunky. But I did go ahead and get new pots/cap/bridge. I'm considering re-wiring to a new configuration to have 2 volumes and 2 tone knobs and make a machine to re-wind the pickups. A guy told me not to buy pickups and rewind them with 42g wire or it's 50$ per pickup to pay somebody else to do it. Meh..
 

SessionGuy

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Thanks man! I haven't done any mods to the Wildkat just yet. Totally slacking and I haven't found any of the coax wire you're referring to. There's some stuff we use at work called beldin cable (shielded with 5 sets of 24awg wire). The guy at the local parts shop said it was way too much, too big and clunky. But I did go ahead and get new pots/cap/bridge. I'm considering re-wiring to a new configuration to have 2 volumes and 2 tone knobs and make a machine to re-wind the pickups. A guy told me not to buy pickups and rewind them with 42g wire or it's 50$ per pickup to pay somebody else to do it. Meh..

Hi,

Just buy GFS pickups... $33/each last I looked! I tried SD P90s and no tonal improvement. The stock PUs are good but quite microphonic and squeal! They just need wax dipping and you're good to go.

You really must do the wiring, or you're wasting your time. You can buy the cable here: http://www.award-session.com/cleartone_specials.html

Have fun!
 

Azathoth

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Thanks SessionGuy. I don't know how the heck you removed all the wiring through the f holes and pickup holes. I just got ANOTHER Wildkat. I bought a Wilkinson roller bridge too, but I'm disenchanted with roller bridges in general. The WK has a short in the tone pot and needs a new jack plug, but man, it's hard to get in there and work on things.

 

nate_D

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Hi,

Just buy GFS pickups... $33/each last I looked! I tried SD P90s and no tonal improvement. The stock PUs are good but quite microphonic and squeal! They just need wax dipping and you're good to go.

You really must do the wiring, or you're wasting your time. You can buy the cable here: Award Session Website. Welcome to award-session.com [AwardSession Website], cleartone custom cables

Have fun!
I was told that they are a weird size and the holes won't line up. Is this true? The other option I heard was to get them re-wound.
 

SessionGuy

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Bruce Wayne

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just got my Wildkat yesterday. the bridge is fine for me,it's the neck that is very dark sounding. what about shimming the neck pup to bring it closer to the strings? never heard of using coax cable in a guitar before.
 

nate_D

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I picked up a dearmond goldfoil pickup for another guitar but was thinking about putting it on this one. It needs to be wider though. The tuning problem has been cured. Got some Big Bends Nutsauce and now it stays in tune better than my other guitars.
 

Pennyman

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Member Jonesy here does custom wiring harnesses, and I had him make one up for my Wildkat. It really helped with the overall sound.


The Epi P90's ARE "dark / muddy", and the new harness helps clear it up, but it's not a complete miracle cure. It definitely sounds BETTER, and for my purposes it's good enough, but I could certainly see myself investing in some new pups at some point. (*IF* I can keep the chrome covers. The Wildkat is all about the chrome, baby!)


 

SessionGuy

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Member Jonesy here does custom wiring harnesses, and I had him make one up for my Wildkat. It really helped with the overall sound.


The Epi P90's ARE "dark / muddy", and the new harness helps clear it up, but it's not a complete miracle cure. It definitely sounds BETTER, and for my purposes it's good enough, but I could certainly see myself investing in some new pups at some point. (*IF* I can keep the chrome covers. The Wildkat is all about the chrome, baby!)
The factory wiring produces around 900pf of capacitance on each of the bridge & neck PU circuits... this is dreadful & WILL kill most treble! It's about the same as a 10 metre (32ft) top quality guitar cable before the signal even leaves your guitar!!! You must upgrade the coax wire to some with about only 55pf/metre capacitance.

Some WKs are fitted with severely overwound pickups. As we techies know, overwinding PUs increases the bass output... NOT volume! It is probable that you have a WK with these bassy overwound PUs... it's not uncommon. Depends on the factory & who wound them. There is NO consistencey - it's a budget guitar. But once sorted and if you do my P80 mod too, it can sound very close to a Gretsch DuoJet... mine does!

A guy who did my upgrades to his WK bought these, he said they are excellent: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Artec-Alnico-5-P90-Soap-Bar-Arched-Pickup-set-Chrome-/150511741870?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item230b32ebae
 


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