Cleaned up and checked over, our already modded 80s ibanez as-50 is playing well – so it’s time to delve deeper and consider the electrics. Dave Burrluck has some words of caution…
Last issue, we appraised a ‘player’s grade’ slightly downsized Thinline semi from 1981. It’s far from original, having had a headstock repair and a change of hardware. Plus, its original pickups are long gone, replaced with a set of Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers. Whether someone has already done any work on the electrics remains to be seen – they might be the only original parts left on the guitar – but what was immediately obvious from our thorough appraisal is that the bridge pickup’s tone control isn’t working.
Now, if you’ve ever worked on a Thinline semi you’ll know any electrics maintenance is doubly tricky because you can’t access the pots and selector switch by simply removing a backplate. To replace, repair or rewire, then, you have to pull the specific pot, or the whole wiring loom, out through the f-hole. And then you have to get it back in again.
Many ES-335-style guitars, not least contemporary Gibsons, have a larger cavity in the center block under the bridge pickup so that the wiring loom can be pulled out and reinstalled more easily. Our Ibanez, by design, doesn’t have that, so that the center block remains as solid as possible. Tonally, I don’t have a problem with that, but now that I’m faced with a bit of repair work… what were they thinking?
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