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Monday, 3 September 2012

Improving 2 Vintage V100s 'Iced T's final part

On with part four.
Here we see the new Blitz Spirit neck humbucker nestling in the rout as I tried the ‘legs’ out for depth.  I usually find a couple of snags in any job … and I found one here. The long legs on the nickel silver base plates fitted in fine, but the clumsy metric height adjustment screws fitted to most ‘import’ guitars, including the Vintage  won’t fit US/Gibson spec baseplates.  The only US spec adjustment screws I had in stock were  1” rather than the vintage Gibbo 1.25”. This means that I won’t be able lower the pickup enough to clear the strings properly when playing up at the last two frets. Never mind … I ordered a bunch of the correct screws and resigned myself to living with a guitar with 20 usable frets till they arrive!
 Back to the rear of the guitar

I use small loops of tape to hold back the wiring while I solder other areas. As I have said the compartment is very tight and it’s easy to melt the insulation on other wires if you don’t clip everything back and work tidy. The Blitz’s spirit humbucker four conductor output wires are the black ones.
And here’s the completed job.

I’ve insulated the output jack cable with 9mm rayon loom tape for neatness … and the job’s a good-en!
Time to plug in and test out: the original Wilkinsons sounded thick and quite powerful, but with a really ‘clouded’ top end on the neck pickup sounding ‘soupy’ and poorly defined. The original bridge pickup sounded a touch thin, with a gritty top end, and overall a bit screechy. The Blitz Spirits are a cooler wind 7k and 7.9k as opposed to 8.5 and 14k for the Wilkinsons and have the softer more rounded sounding alnico 2 magnets. Plugged into the clean channel of my Laney LC30 mk2 the difference was pretty spectacular: even with a cooler wind and magnets the ‘Spirits’ are subjectively much louder than the Wilkinsons. Plenty of woody tones are available, and nice sparkling highs available from both pickups. Hummm now for the acid test … cranked tones … what everyone judges a Les Paul by.  In a word ‘smooth’!  Keeping sweet, singing tones that break up as you dig in is easy … and as the gain gets towards the hard rock/ metal end, the pickups natural compression flatters your playing nicely.
The combination of ‘Iced T’s’ weight and vintage style neck and the Blitz Spirit’s soft, smooth and expressive character makes for a really nice ‘blues/blues rock LP clone. Quite versatile enough for hard/heavy rock, but perhaps lacking that scream for the metal end of things. Though I have to say there is more than a hint of a famous leather top hat wearer when the pressure is applied!
I’m very happy … though waiting for the screws to lower the neck pickup a tad.  I will post some sound files as soon as I can.
The Oil City ‘Blitz Spirit’ set will be available from next month for around £90 in black or zebra.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Hi, I'm thinking do a upgrade in my V100 too, and a liked a lot your post.

What kind of pot did you use, a Long or Short Shaft?

Thanks !