So, I have this 1965ish Supro Dual Tone guitar. There is a lot I like about it, like the neck (24 3/4ish scale, medium heavy, round shap and niced, rounded sides which gives it an excellent feel and playability), the resoglass body. And a cool shape and manly black and white color scheme does not make me like it less.
However, I've never been happy with the pickups/ electronics. Those pickups are famous for being fat and loud. Mine are extremely quiet and sounds muffeled with bad separation of notes. So obviously something needs to be done. I've been through the simple steps, like adjusting pickup height and cleaning the pots, so no it's time to get a little more serious.
Problem: Comments like the the one above makes it look like I actually know what I'm doing. That couldn't be farther away from the truth. My knowledge of guitar electronics is that the pickups have a magnet in them, and the vibrating strings over a pu makes a current that somehow is turned into sound in an amp (or something similar to an amp). End of story.
Solution: I have power tools and a soldering iron, and are not afraid of using them!
But seriously, since I don't have a clue about electronics, I figure the good old trail and fail route will have to do. And as long as I don't do anything that permanently damage the guitar, I'm fine. So first thing I did was to remove the neck pickup and add a resonantor pickup (Barcus Berry Hi-Tech). And improve in sound showed me that the problem could at least partially be in the pickups. So I dug up some 60's Supro pickup from the good ol' internet.
The pickups in the Dual-Tone is just in a lot for guitars from Valco, Supro and National. Only difference is the silk screen print on the covers. To be, it wasn't important to get the "correct" look on the covers. In any case, I could easily swap the covers on the old/ new pu's to get the correct look. On the photo below, the original one is on the right.
So these guitars have a resoglass body is made up of two halfs, which are held together with 5 screws. Really easy yo take apart, the neck is only attached to the upper half, so neck alignment isn't affected at all. The photo below shows the inside of the guitar (pickups are facing down to the table).
Here is a snap midway through the process. Neck pu has been replaced, bridge pu is still the original. Notice the I've removed the bridge there. It's not attached to anything, it just slides away once the string pressure is released.
So, in with the bridge pickup, eyeballing the height of the pickups and tested. The small sound clip in the comments section on this post (#8 or something) after reassembling the guitar, clean amp setting on my Tascam DP-01FX. Below, a snap of the finished result. Looking cool, but somewhat naked without the silkscreen print on the pickup covers.
Pots and caps
Each pickup has seperate volume and tone knobs + one master volume. None of them function very well, they are either on or off. Worst off are the ones on the neck pickup. All the pots are dated week 45 in 1965, so I guess there is a really slim chance of finding original ones. However, pots are cheap and I can experiment with new ones (as soon as I figure out which ones to order).
Don't know what optimum height is, but I discovered that this affects at least the distorted tones A LOT. Good thing is that you just need a screw driver to adjust the height, no need to take the guitar apart. Don't even have to slacken the strings.
But that will be a different post...