Adding Seymour Duncan’s to an Epiphone flying V

I think most people who land here are looking for a wiring diagram, so to save you searchng for the link here is one – http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=2h_1v_1t_3w – or alternatively Seymour Duncan have lots here – http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/ And if you want to know how I got on with my own epiphone flying V upgrade here is my blog!

Flying V’s should rock yes?  Well, mine didn’t, a second hand nineties epiphone (not an expensive one!) I’d had for a few years had lived mostly in it’s case, the neck wasn’t quite right, and when you plugged it in it didn’t have the scream worthy of a flying V, sure add sustain, distortion and reverb it would rock but I figured there was room for improvement.

First up the neck, and a bottle of Dunlop 65 ultimate lemon oil.  I’d never heard of this stuff till I googled round to find out how to return a neck to new condition.  Other than the the faff of removing the strings it couldn’t have been easier to apply.  First up, the strings came off, time for new strings as well so they got snipped.  Next up very fine metal wire wool was used on the neck to get the grime out from around the frets, and finally the lemon oil.  Within minutes the neck was looking and feeling like the neck of a brand new guitar, proper rosewood brown.  The below shows before and after -

Before and after the dunlop lemon oil treatment

The other issue with the guitar – the sound – wasn’t as cheap to fix.  It needed new humbuckers, but how do you go about choosing a set that would work together?  The last set of humbuckers I’d replaced where for a hohner les paul – and look was the key, but this time I was after sound.  And metal sound.  Getting the right bridge and neck pickup combination could be a costly mistake.

But – after research I came across the Seymour Duncan humbucker sets – and one listed artists including Dave Mustaine and Paul Stanley, so the would be cool yes?  Choosing the Hot Rodded Humbucker set and ordering from www.StringsDirect.co.uk they came the next day.  Comprising of a SH-2n Jazz pickup for the neck and a SH-4 JB for the bridge this is apparently one of seymour duncans most popular sets for rock and metal.

Next up, the fitting.  What could be easier?  Well, almost failing at the first hurdle the provided wiring diagram was for a les paul style guitar with two tones and volumes, but I have a single tone and volume, luckily Seymour Duncan provide many diagrams on their site for use and this came in mighty helpful – http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/wiring-diagrams/schematics.php?schematic=2h_1v_1t_3w

Removing the old humbuckers suspicions started to develop that maybe the poor sound was due to the number of loose and unconnected wires that were hiding under the scratch plate, maybe the stock pickups (i presume they were the originals) wouldn’t be that bad after all had the wires have of joined up but it was too late for such thinking, these seymour duncans were going in.  And despite the wires being a bit fiddly to trim (setting 0.5 on our wire clipper, whatever that means!) they went in and soldered into position nicely.  Easy.  Or so I thought.

I didn’t expect the hardest challenge to be to fit the humbuckers to the scratch plate with the springs.  First attempt and the spring shot straight off and into my face.  Many attempts later, pushing down hard and screwing for luck the screws found their way into the scratch plate to hold the new humbuckers in place, I’m sure a pro would have done in minutes what I made a complete meal of.

So, E string attached, the moment of truth awaits.  Had I just melted the internals of my flying V or had I turned it into a rock monster, I wasn’t going to wait for the other six strings so I plugged it in and wow could the difference be heard.  A to high E were fitted quickly and tuned up and plugged in – with awesome crunch, especially for palm muting, my flying V is now a very metal guitar.  Growl.  Must remember though – when I first plugged in- yeooouuccch an eruption of feedback, remember not to have high gain and volume when sitting in front of an amp in your house (sorry neighbors!)

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