#1
Hi all, this is my first time posting here so hopefully I'm not treading on anyone by asking a few dumb questions.

I have an ltd Eclipse EC-300 I picked up at a pawn shop on a whim, after liking how light it felt and the way the frets felt on my fingers. I got it for fairly cheap so there's some room for upgrades.

The guitar has a mahogany neck/body, rosewood fretboard, and set neck (red cherry finish). Three piece body with flat top, tun-o-matic bridge and 'ESP' tuners. 24 jumbo frets (I'm very happy with the neck, fretboard, etc.). Two EMG HZ-1 passive pickups which I think are in series since turning off volume when the selector is in middle position turns off the sound completely. Two volume knobs and one master tone; they're all un-tapered. 3-way selector. I think the bridge volume pot was replaced with a 500k pot, don't know what the values are for the others.

I've already set up the guitar as well, after I replaced the string and cleaned it up. Only thing I haven't adjusted is the truss rod since the neck seems to play fine and the action is correct.

I'd like to change out the pickups, improve the wiring scheme, replace the tuners and put some better pots on it.

I'm unhappy with the pickups obviously, no one seems to like HZ-1s. They have some harmonics but get super muddy with high gain and just don't do much for me; I can hear the guitar's tone trying to get through but it's like playing through a heavy padded coat. I have my mind set on a Dimarzio X2N for the bridge; I've heard the X2N works well with mahogany and I want a nice high distortion/gain sound for the bridge, especially with the thin body of the eclipse. I haven't decided on a neck pickup; I'd like something that will give me a lot of tone options when blending with the X2N, rather than something that just matches it. I've seen a lot of different neck pickups called out for mahogony guitars (HFH, SH6, JB, PAF) and I'm not really sure what the best option is. I'd like something that compliments the X2N for blending without just matching it, so I have some versatility in tone settings. I'm interested in more of a high gain/distortion sound (sometimes using an ebow) to make layered effects with, as opposed to a classic rock sound (which I think has put me off from the JBs). I would like a neck pickup that howls well too -- the HZ-1 gets sort of a hollow sound at high gain that I kind of like, and I would like something I can play blues on as well. Does anyone have any suggestions?

My other question is about the tone pot. I found out I could get stacked pots if I wanted to add a tone knob without having to drill another hole in the guitar. But I have been reading more about tone pots and apparently adding in tone pots can add impedance to the circuit. I can't seem to find any stacked 'zero-set=zero-impedance' pots either. I'm afraid I might change the 'heavy metal' characteristic of the guitar by adding a second tone knob, and some people seem to think you only need one tone knob so I don't know if it's even needed. Though I've also read the only reason eclipses have one tone knob is to escape patent infringement, though I'm not sure that really makes sense (reducing impedance for a heavy metal guitar makes more sense to me; maybe I should reduce to a single volume + two tones?) I also don't really see the point of two volume knobs since when bending the pickups it seems like either one or the other is dominating the sound. So what should I do? I'm not really interested in using the guitar for gigging, so the 'toggle' ability isn't important to me; I'd rather have something with great tone versatility.

Tuners shouldn't be hard to replace; I had my eye on some Ping brand grover copies on CG, won't be able to pick them up until tomorrow though. I will probably wire the pickups in parallel, thankfully I have some skills with solder and electronics thanks to my electric RC airplane hobby Should I add coil splitting as well? Maybe a good idea for the ebow?

Thanks for any help!
Last edited by ScratchOne at Jul 7, 2013,
#2
On both of my guitars I've wired in ways to completely bypass the tone and volume knobs, if you don't want them you really don't need them. They are handy at times but very rarely do I find myself using them.

If there are no problems with the guitar's tuning stability, don't worry about tuners, really the only reason to replace tuners is if it is a hardtail guitar with a properly lubricated nut that still has poor tuning stability. That said I've bought lubricated nuts for my guitars and haven't had any issues with tuning stability since then, with stock tuners even.

As for the pickup wiring, You might even want to wire up a series/parallel selector as that can make for some cool tonal options.

For pots, you seem to know about the zero impedance pots already, however you can also get some very high quality pots that aren't zero load, bourns, CTS, and Alpha come to mind, these are all pretty good quality, though some are more expensive. IF I were you what I'd do is get a good set of pots and wire everything up, then I'd add a tone/volume control bypass, Which will essentially offer the same things as zero load pots, but with an extra switch and it will allow you to use stacked pots aswell.

Guitarfetish Makes a fine, inexpensive product when it comes to pickups, I'd recommend them.
Quote by R45VT
Bastards.
#3
Update:
So I took a little more time to understand how the wiring works and traced all of the wires in the eclipse, and found out the two volumes seem to be wired in a parallel configuration already, and that the bridge EMG had been coil tapped! So after thinking it over I decided on a two tone, two volume option with push-pull in the volumes for coil tapping.

Then, I found out you can hook the tapped coils up to a pot and have a sort of coil-tap-fade, rather than a simple on-off. So my scheme now is to get three dual-concentric pots, rig them up either as Volume/Tone for each pickup or Volume/Volume and Tone/Tone, and use the the third (consisting of stacked 250k) for coil splitting fade in.

I don't understand the blender well enough to decide if I want to add that mod in. As far as I understand, it sweeps between the two circuits the same way that the volume pots work, meaning as soon as there's an inequality between the two pickup circuits one will overwhelm the signal, correct (this is how the two volume knobs seem to work now, you don't hear one until its signal becomes more powerful than the other pickup, after which you only hear the increasing signal; there's just a small space where the two knobs affect each-other's tone, aside from having the entire circuit switch off when set to zero).

If it is, does that mean it could take the place of the two volume pots, so that I could then rig in a master volume pot after the blender?