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#1
Hey guys,

I got an old electric guitar from my dad. It's an Oakland XS136

Just like this one: 
http://www.gitarrenfundgrube.de/gitarren/oakland-xs136-he-d.jpg

Although I really like the feel and playability the sound is just utter crap. 
It has a 6-Position rotary switch for pickup selection. 
All positions except one sound absolutely terrible. 
So I want to replace the pickups.
I already did some research and I think I wanna get some IronGear ones. 
http://axetec.co.uk/guitar_parts_uk_058.htm
They seem to be very good bang for the buck.

Anyway I still have some questions that I can't seem to find a definitive answer on.
I wanna be able to play a variety of styles so I should put different kinds of pickups in my guitar  right?
I was thinking the Jailhouse Rail II, Smoke Stack II and Vintage 6TS.
Is that a good idea? If not what else would you recommend? 
Also what position is best for what kind of pickup? 
And last but not least : Does anybody know how to wire this up ? I can't find any diagrams for this kind of switch.
I don't even know what the 6 positions do exactly.
 
As you can probabl tell I'm a newbie so be gentle please  
#2
I would gently suggest that a newbie is in little position to claim that something sounds like crap. For all I know, you may be totally clueless as to the playing and operation of guitars and amps, meaning that a skilled experienced player might make it sound wonderful as is.

It would also be a shame for you to needlessly screw up a nice guitar, worse to screw it up and discover it still sounds like crap when you play it.

Check with some experienced guitar playing friends or tech at the shop... let them try it and see if it really is crappy sounding. I don't think you should do anything about replacing the pickups right away, until you restring it and have checked it for crappiness by someone experienced confirming that it needs something...
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#3
Also, the problem might not be the pickups themselves, but dirty/bad potentiometers, switches, loose/bad wiring, shielding, etc.

Have someone who works on guitars give it a look.

'Cause that's a looker!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
I put new strings on already.
And I already have confirmation by an advanced person that it does sound pretty bad. 

I can upload an audio file though if you want to hear for yourselves.

Also I don't want to be running to a shop for everything that's wrong with my guitar.
I want to learn how to fix things myself. 
How would I go about finding out the reason for the crappy sound?
Last edited by stefan.watt at Apr 4, 2017,
#6
Uploading that file might be a big help in diagnosing the issue. There are some people on UG with good ears and lots of experience dealing with electronics. Sometimes, both!

(Also, give the forum a bit more time before bumping- the higher-ups frown on that sort of thing.)
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
Quote by dannyalcatraz


'Cause that's a looker!


I should have added that much of my concern is just that - the guitar certainly is a looker!
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#12
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#13
if it takes 2 weeks to get an answer here i might as well buy the pickups and figure it out myself 
#17
You mentioned varying styles but not really the styles in question? For example if you wanted to play metal you'd probably want a humbucker at the bridge with a high-ish output. Are the pickups slots sized for single coils? They kind of look like it, so I guess you'd need to look for a stacked one... it looks like what you have in mind actually reading your post, sorry... I kind of like your selection. But I've never heard of that brand, sorry...
#18
yeah the jailhouse rail II is a single coil sized humbucker 
i cant fit an actual humbucker without modifiying the guitar body itself
and i really dont feel confident doing that 

I like billy talent,disturbed, system of a down etc. so not too heavy stuff 
but i also wanna learn some blues and classic rock.

how much does it matter where i put the humbucker?
cuz bridge position is sold out at the moment 
or can i just put a unit designed for another position in bridge?
Last edited by stefan.watt at Apr 6, 2017,
#19
It will have an effect on tone, yes. But what kind of pickup you choose will mattter more.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Depends on the sound and style you're going for I guess. I typically use my bridge humbucker when I go for rock/hard stuff, distorted sounds... I think the neck humbucker sounds better clean, or slightly distorted... but that's my personal preference.
#22
You can fit an "actual humbucker" into a single-coil size space; you'll just need a single coil size humbucker. 
Take a look at the DiMarzio Fast Track II, for example. Don't even consider getting near that guitar with a router. 

I think you're on the wrong track swapping out things blindly (and trust me, you're doing this blindly, since you know nothing about the guitar, the wiring, the current pickups or the pickups you're considering). Do not do not do not do not lose the pickups that are in the guitar -- that's one of the old Japanese Matzu guitars, and it's worth far more in ORIGINAL condition with the original pickups and wiring than it is with whatever lameass hashup you're intending to toss in there. Sorry, I shouldn't have said lameass hashup. It's what I was thinking, but I should have said something like "ill-considered mess" No, that's not right, either, sorry. I'll work up something less offensive in a second or two, here.  I've just been picking apart the lameass hashup that some 15-year-old wonk installed as an "upgrade" in a vintage L6S (70's era, same as your guitar, with a 6-way pickup selector that the idiot tossed in the garbage for a three-way and original Bill Lawrence pickups that he tossed in a box [thank buddha for that] with the wiring harness he ripped out in favor of something "more metal").  The owner of the guitar (not the 15-year-old) snatched the guitar and wiring back and brought it to me, near tears. The good news is that he didn't use the guitar to club the 15-year-old like a baby seal. 

You're obviously impatient to throw something random at this guitar, but I'd take a deep breath, step away from the guitar and maybe take some photos of the control cavity and check with Seymour Duncan. They may know what the pickup selector does, or they can pick out what it does from the photos. If you DO remove the pickups and harness, label everything and de-solder the pickups from the pots and switch. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT clip them off with a wire cutters. The gods of guitardom will burn your butt with lightning bolts and demon-launched hellfire, etc., yada yada. 
#23
I wouldn't do that. You might experience an annoying volume drop when you select your bridge pickup compared to the other pickups (bridge pickup output would be lower), I recommend you wait until it's available again.

Another avenue I'd explore would be used pickups on eBay. Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio make some pretty good pickups, you might be able to score some good deals on used ones...
Quote by stefan.watt
how much does it matter where i put the humbucker?
cuz bridge position is sold out at the moment 
or can i just put a unit designed for another position in bridge?
#25
Quote by Tony Done
dspellman

Pretty much what I was thinking, but the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.



I type WAY too fast. 
#26
dspellman 
I dont really understand the problem.
I can just desolder the old pickups and set em aside.
Not like Im gonna toss em in the garbage after I installed new ones.

Also from my understanding single coil format HBs and regular HBs are hardly the same.
#27
Yeah, humbuckers are usually bigger than single coils, but some like the one you picked are single coil-size, so you're OK.
#28
I took a look on ebay .. nothing used there.
But the used market for tech is shit in germany anyway.
#31
stefan.watt 

I listened to a couple of them. It's hard to judge, because so much depends on the amp settings - which are a good deal more important than the pickups. It sounded very acoustic-like to me, the kind of sounds I like. I would rather have thin, bright pedals than warm heavy ones, because it is easier to EQ out the brightness than to put it back in if it isn't there in the first place.
#32
I just used a fairly clean preset for the fingerpicking ones.
But I hate how mushy the power chords get when I add any kind of distortion.
#33
So you're using the stock pickups?  Just upgrade them to those you mentioned in your original post.. I think it's safe to say that your guitar being kind of a random brand guitar probably doesn't have the best pickups in it, and almost any after market pickup will be an improvement. I have used some lesser brands and they turned out to be really freaking good, those humbucker sized single coils are really awesome and work really well for hard rock tones. 

Btw, personally I am not a big fan of the Fender Mustang . It's nice to have all those effects available and all the different sounds, but a lot of the distorted sounds aren't that great to me personally. I have a Fender Mustang v.2 40 watt, is that the one you have? Not to say that it's bad, but it isn't anything special, I was spoiled by the sound of my all tube Peavey. Sorry just had to mention that.
#34
I looked up that guitar, and found this. http://best-vintage-guitars.de/oakland_neck_through_xs_136.html

The Oakland brand belonged to Matsumoku. They were made by Chushin Gakki. They had a very good reputation as a well-built, neck-through design. It's far from being a "random" guitar. Guitars of that vintage have a reputation for their wiring going bad due to corrosion on solder joints, etc. If there's a problem with a guitar (or pretty much anything else, for that matter), the sensible thing to do for solving the problem seems to me to be try the easiest and cheapest remedies first. I would suggest a careful testing of all wiring, especially all solder joints. Then, if those all check out as being up to spec, then try swapping out the pots, switches, and other support parts that have a much bigger tendency to go wrong than pickups. Then, and only then, swap out the pickups. 

They were mainly sold in Europe. Before screwing it up with modifications, you might want to do some research to see what sort of value it has as a vintage guitar. It might be worth more to a collector than it would be with different pickups installed. Then again, it might not. I don't have enough motivation to research the German vintage guitar market, but maybe you should. 

And though jedigovanUG was wrong about the Oakland being a "random" guitar, he's right about the Mustang amp. Before screwing up your guitar with new pickups, try playing a different guitar through your Mustang. I suspect you'll find that power chords will get mushy on that amp regardless of what pickups are on your guitar. Have you taken your guitar to a music store and tested it through other, better amps? 

And remember, your Oakland is a Strat clone. The single coils on it are intended to give it a Strat sound. If you want a guitar for metal, you're probably better off trading your guitar that's designed for rock and blues towards a guitar that's designed for metal. 

If you owned a mini-van, and wanted a race car, which makes more sense? Modifying the mini-van into a race car, or trading the mini-van for a real race car? It's not that much different with guitars. 
#35
Quote by stefan.watt
dspellman
I dont really understand the problem.
I can just desolder the old pickups and set em aside.
Not like Im gonna toss em in the garbage after I installed new ones.

Also from my understanding single coil format HBs and regular HBs are hardly the same.


My understanding of single coil format HBs and regular HBs stems from experience -- actually owning and using them. 
I've got rail coils (SD Hot Rails) in a couple of guitars. In the guitar below, an LP-alike, I've got a DiMarzio Fast Track II tucked into a standard humbucker pickup ring along with a Fernandes Sustainer driver. The Fast Track II was originally designed for the bridge position on a strat, and it's about 18K and loud, due both to the high output and the position on the guitar. One of the advantages of a single coil size humbucker, particularly in the neck position, is that it's cleaner than a full-size HB due to the smaller magnetic flux area and reduced phase variations, and that makes it great for instances where you're using gain. 



There are several styles of single coil size humbucker including both stacked and side-by-side configurations. I'm not sure what you *think* you know about them, but there are a lot of variations; generalities really aren't very useful here. 

I should note that I'm not bashing mods in general; the guitar pictured has a sustainer, a buckethead-style kill switch, moved controls, a Floyd (it's an LP-alike), a sweepable mids boost (about 16 dB) and more. The backside of the guitar looks like a checkerboard, there are so many plates covering new routs for batteries, spring cavities, control changes, etc. 
Last edited by dspellman at Apr 7, 2017,
#36
I've listened to your samples several times -- I think you should take your guitar to a slightly more serious amp and try it out before you start swapping things around. It doesn't make sense (to me) to extensively modify a guitar to make it sound good with what amounts to a practice amp, and then have to re-modify it to make it sound good with a more professional-level amp later. 
#37
Thanks a lot for the answers. Finally some information to work with.

gerdner 
I looked up the selling prices for my guitar. Its about 400€ (425$).
I could get a reasonable Ibanez or Epiphone for that I suppose.
Not sure tho if I wanna do that at this point.
Thanks for the tip with the wiring too. I will definitely look into that.
On that note I noticed that the tone knobs have absolutely no effect when I put the 
selector on 3rd position. Wouldn't that already be an indicator for wiring having gone bad?


dspellman 
I read a bit on pickups overall and remember it saying that full sized humbuckers have a fuller tone.
Might be specific to some models though.

Considering the amp. Is it really that bad ? I was trying to go for an allround type of amp. 
I've only been playing for 4 months now and I'm not sure whether its worth to put a ton of money into 
professional equipment. The mustang had reasonable reviews and I like the features. But if it's that bad 
anything you would recommend at a similiar price point.
#39
Quote by stefan.watt

dspellman
I read a bit on pickups overall and remember it saying that full sized humbuckers have a fuller tone.
Might be specific to some models though.

Considering the amp. Is it really that bad ? I was trying to go for an allround type of amp. 
I've only been playing for 4 months now and I'm not sure whether its worth to put a ton of money into 
professional equipment. The mustang had reasonable reviews and I like the features. But if it's that bad 
anything you would recommend at a similiar price point.


Reading won't get you as far as listening. 

The amp's not a bad amp, and it's decent for its cost and what it was designed to do. But it was not designed to give you a valid platform from which to evaluate a guitar. A friend of mine was expounding on various bands and the quality of their music. But she'd never listened to a live band; she'd only ever heard music from a compressed YouTube video over a set of four buck earbuds or in a crowded noisy club with a DJ pushing a thumping bass.  I took her to her first rock concert and stuck her in a tenth row center position.  Changed her life. 

Generally speaking, amps will significantly change the way you hear a guitar. I've accumulated a number of them and a number of modelers over time, and I've been able to listen to guitars at levels right up to "I'll never hear again."  Remember, too, that you're listening to that amp through a relatively cheap speaker with limited range in a room (I'm guessing) that's small with hard walls. 

In the end, at four months into guitar, swapping out pickups is the very last thing you should be spending money on now. It's the thing a lot of newbs on forums do because it's relatively inexpensive (compared to buying a really good modeler and a hundred-buck set of headphones or a serious amp) and relatively easy to do. But here's the thing. If someone handed you an original '59 Burst right this second and you didn't know what you had, the first thing you'd think to do would be to swap out the pickups. For starters, both pickups are identical and the bridge pickup doesn't sound as loud as the neck pickup, so you'd think you needed to have a "matched set" that had a higher output bridge pickup. Next, you'd assume you needed hotter pickups because the original PAFs in those things sound "thin" to a lot of modern players who've tried them blindfolded. And so you'd be butchering a $200,000 - 400,000 vintage guitar (you'd probably swap out the wiring while you're at it and change the tuners as well, because those are easy things to do) based on the advice of forum "wisdom" and manufacturers' bullet points. But bolt that thing to a vintage Marshall, crank it up, and you'd be hearing rock and roll history as it was actually written. 

You've been gifted a pretty decent old guitar. My suggestion is that you not try to make it sound like a cheap Ibanez. 
#40
But bolt that thing to a vintage Marshall, crank it up, and you'd be hearing rock and roll history as it was actually written


Gave me chills...
Flying in a blue dream
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