Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

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Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by ThunderStuII on Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:00 pm

Hi Guys,

Just like to say a big hello to everyone as a newby and that i am glad i have stumbled across a great little forum with such respect for some unique and what i understand to be a rare manufacturer of instruments.
I have recently obtained a very nice Westone Thuder II, I have a number of issues with in order to get it fully functional again. The problem is that the guitar had been left in a cool damp atic for sometime where the components have somewhat deteriorated. I have looked at the Westone manufacturers website which seems to be useful upto the point of purchasing new replacement parts however i am unsure that the diagrams are matching the guitar in my possesion.

I would like to attempt to restore the original sound of the guitar however i dont have a lot of electrical knowledge to do so. Would anyone recommend that i send it away to be repaired or does anyone have the correct information to help me complete the project on my own which is the way i would like to do it?

Thank you for any replies,

Stu

P.s. I did have a short burst on the guitar before realising there were faults but does anyone suggest a type of string, obviously people play down to preference but down to bringing the best from the guitar is essentially what i want to obtain from this. Thanks

Westone Thunder II
Original Case
Warranty
Manual
Tool set (possibly Purchased at later date?)
(I beleive that the guitar has been gigged and has a few small scratches but othere than that it is in extremely good condition for its age)

ThunderStuII
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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Administrator on Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:34 pm

Hi Stu, and welcome. It would be helpful if you could post a few pictures of the guitar to help identify which particular version of the Thunder you have. How bad is the damage to the electrics? If the pickups are knackered you may want to look at getting them rewound, and I'm sure there will shortly be someone along who will be able to help you with wiring side of things.

What is the rest of the hardware like - is it all in good condition or does that need replacing too?

The westone.info site is not an official site by the way, just the work of a very enthusiastic Westone fan. There are lots of them on here, so I am sure it wont be long before your Thunder is back to it's best.

Once again - welcome!
Neil

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by norfolkngood on Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:25 pm

Hi Stu & welcome.

Good start would be to post a few photos so we can see what you've got, close-ups of any "problem" bits would be good (lots of guitar-porn fans on here). Gigging your Thunder won't have hurt it, Westones were mostly built like bunkers, but being stored in an attic (especially if it wasn't in a case) won't have done it any favours.

Whether you restore it yourself or call in a guitar tech is your call and, as my twopence worth, depends on how brave you feel and/ or whether you want to throw some money at it. Looking on ebay will give you an idea of it's value, guitar techs need to make a living so I guess it would be easy to spend more on restoring it than you'd get back if you wanted to sell later. Taking it to bits and cleaning it won't be too hard, you could then get specialist help on the tough stuff like rewinding the P/ups if they need it. Whatever you do, do NOT throw away any original hardware even if you decide to replace it. Westones in original nick are worth more than "improved" ones and some of the bits (like the original knobs, monkeys nick these) are bloody hard to find.

Set-up and strings will come right at the end of the process. Matter of personal preference, if you want it "soft" keep the action low and string it with 9s (I like Ernie Ball slinkies but each to their own)

Good luck!

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:03 am

Hello Stu and welcome from me too!

Yep the guys are right, put some pics up to let us see what you've got!

I've just noticed that you are in County Durham, not far away from me, so if you want to, I could always take a look at it for you. The more advanced technical stuff I wouldn't touch but as for a general clean and restore to bodywork and hardware, I'm quite happy to undertake or advise you on how to do it. Send me a PM if you want me to have a look at it.

Meanwhile, get those photos up please, they are a right bunch of guitar perverts in here, me included!


Polly

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Thanks guys

Post by ThunderStuII on Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:27 am

Thanks to all of you who have welcomed me, i will most certainly try and get some nice shiney pics for your (pleasures, haha) i will take photos sometime next week as i am away this weekend. I have dusted it down and the bodywork looks pretty clean but i think it definately needs some work after plugging it into my amp. I am prepared to throw money at it as i would like to hold on to it.

Poly thanks for the offer your more than welcome to have a look and if you want to help i would be more than happy to let you thannks.

I will post pics next week with details etc, but thanks to everyone so far.

Beers, Stu

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Steve777 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:54 am

Hi, I have several thunders including a 2 and a 2a. With regards your model, firstly is the neck bolt on or set? Secondly, post the the serial number from the back of the headstock. We can identify the year and model from that as well. The last of thunder 2's were made in Korea with bolt on necks and a bunch of strange switches whose purpose has escaped me.

If your's is the earlier type, that is made in Japan, I can whip of my cavity plate and photograph my wiring and / or draw it up in powerpoint for you if you are having problems in this area. Then it's a simple case of using a soldering iron to make good any broken connections.

Regards

Steve

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Ah total hero...

Post by ThunderStuII on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:02 am

Thanks Steve thats great help, not sure on the neck as i will have to remove strings and probably the pickups i would think to get a clear view but that will have to unfortunately have to wait till after weekend.

As for the serial number from the neck of the guitar it is: 1100804

Thanks for everyones help,

Beers, Stu

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Steve777 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:00 pm

Hi,

Noooo, no need to take all the gubbins off ! From the number you have supplied you have version 1 Thunder 2 and made in Japan. Its actual manufacturing date would be January 1981.

I have Version 3 but I dont see a major problem with the wiring. Its all passive, no active electronics. I phase switch, 1 coiltap

Have you checked the Westone.info website and looked under "Thunder" yet? You'll see what good company your guitar keeps !

Cheers Steve

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Steve777 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:04 pm

Ooooops I meant October 1981, not January 1981.

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Thanks Steve

Post by ThunderStuII on Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:39 pm

Thanks steve thats great help i owe you big time. I will post some filth online next week for you all with pics of the guitar and its hidden secrets lol.

Also a question worth asking if i dare? Has anyone tried using different pickups, im not trying to change the guitar in any shape or form nor do i intend on selling or disposing of the current originals however i am trying to obtain the best sound from the guitar that i can.

Any input would be helpful guys as i have work from a budget once i discover what parts i need.

Beers, stu. afro

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by DuoFuzz on Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:07 pm

Hi Stu.

Don't worry if your thinking about changing the pickups, there won't be an angry mob with pitch forks on your doorstep!

If you do have the original pickups I would definitely give them a good workout before swapping them. Unlike other companies 'made in house' pickups which tend to sound poor, Matsumoku pickups are well designed and sound pretty awesome, and as you would expect they are well regarded in these parts. I have a rebuilt Thunder 1-A and an Aria CS250 both of which use Matsumoku MMK45's and these really give Seymour Duncan's and others a run for their money.

I also bought an incomplete Thunder 1 rebuild project which when I got it, didn't have any pickups with it. At the time there wasn't any MMK's to be found on eBay so I decided to go my own way and fit it with a set Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups along with some over complicated switching just to confuse me! As you can see I've on both sides of the fence.

The good thing with the electrics is that they can always be changed and returned back to original without permanently affecting the look or construction of the guitar. Do keep the original pickups though, so if down the road you want to sell the guitar on, you can replace them. These guitars are always more appealing if they have the proper pickups in them, they are such a big part of that Westone and Matsumoku reputation.

DAN.

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Pickups?

Post by ThunderStuII on Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:30 pm

Thanks dan, very helpful. I have every intention of keeping the originals and would like eventually to have them rewound. At this point in time im basically looking to see if anyone has experimented enough to recommend anything or has come across anything that is worth trying my ears and eyes are open to suggestions.

When i first played the guitar i found a warm, very jazzy style sound which was beautiful, essentially if anyone has read my profile im a big thin lizzy fan and im wanting to play their music with a thicker sound if you can unddrstand? Im trying go avoid using effects etc cause i think that this guitar can offer that sound with the correcr setup. Maybe im trying to achieve something of a fantasy but, if anyone can shine any light onthis then please speak up.

Thanks to dan for last post.

Beers, Stu afro

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by DuoFuzz on Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:01 pm

Me and my brother have both got into swapping pickups in our guitars over the years. I've become a big fan of Seymour's but as yet
I haven't tried any DiMarzio's so I don't have any experience of them at the moment.

I'm a fan of 60's/70's rock as well as blues, and I have tried to get them sounds I hear on records. The biggest mistake me and my bro made was to get into the higher output pickups to get that high gain sound. The problem is when you use them with a clean setup they seem to go a bit flat sounding and lose character, a bit cold and lifeless IMHO.

All them classic sounds from back in the day nearly always came standard pickups, and apart from the odd fuzz pedal, a wah, or treble booster it was straight into several overdriven amps (Vox, Orange, Marshall stacks etc). I now try and stick to the lower output pickups (standard humbuckers are around 8k ohm output). The Duncan models I'm hooked on at the mo are 59's, Jazz, and Alnico 2 Pro's, they seem to keep more warmth and tone when clean and still kick ass with the gain whacked up on the amp.

The biggest problem with pickup swapping is choosing the right one. It's worth checking out the different pickup company websites and see if they have any sound files to help you choose. EBay is obviously a good source for secondhand pickups and plenty go for peanuts but if you need to coil split, series/parallel switch or phase reverse the pickups, you need to be looking for four conductor wire pickups.

DAN.

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Westbone on Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:14 pm

If you want a wiring diagram, show us what you got to deal with. Is it active or passive??
Had a problem getting a diagram for a Thunder II, They sound @@king great, with PEQ wiring. One of the better 'tones.
Give us a pic.

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by ThunderStuII on Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:26 am

Thanks DuoFuzz i will take all that info into account if and when i do decide on changing. I quite like the sound of Dean pickups but at the minute im not sure what is compatible, i need to extend my limited knowledge in electronics.

Reply to Westbone now we have discovered that i have the 1981 Japanses version of the Thunder II, Im not sure if it is selective or passive how could i tell? Also im not sure if there is a circuit diagram out there however i will be more than happy to attempt drawing the circuit.

I do have some knowledge of components and circuits so if anyone finds any problems with my diagram please comment im open to suggestions and critisisms. I will have a go at the diagram next week when i upload the photos.

Also if anyone has any info or knows of any websites that will help me producing the diagram or helping me reconstruct the circuits i would be most greatful. I was going to use something along the lines of powerpoint so that everone can view the (masterpeice) lol.

Thanks again to everyones contributions,

Beers, Stu

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Re: Thunder II potential restore, rewire, new switches, humbuckers etc??

Post by Westbone on Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:21 pm

Use the Rainbow diagram on Westone site, but include a phase switch on bridge pickup. If passive. Does it have a battery compartment?

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Guitar Pleasures

Post by ThunderStuII on Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:51 pm

Hi Guys,

Sorry this is late but "man flu" was upon me last week and couldnt be bothered with much so here is the zip file with the pics.

http://www.adrive.com/public/271af459e2adf7e47aedb499cdaaee7b874810df00515c97356ea6e3d1b98eb5.html

Beers, Stu

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