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Anyone mod a Epiphone Wildkat?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by Ricochet, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Amazingly I asked this on the official Epiphone productforum and received zero replies...
    I'm looking to mod my Orange Sunrise and need some ideas.
    So far I'm contemplating:
    Replace the B70 with a B3.
    Fit a Alu Compton.
    Replace the "chrome P90 squeel enabling covers" with some black ones.
    Possibly replace pickups alltogether. I was thinking filtertrons, alltho not so sure after watching some Dave Gonzales with his Guild yesterday...and fitting the filters in the dogears will be a pain, plus not to sure about the look.
    Replace black/chrome reflectors with some Gretsch arrows.
    Fit a short b/w/b 335style pickguard.
    Fit some Sperzels.
    Remove the silly plastic switchplate(what, I can't play solos with the neck PU?)
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  2. LH575

    LH575 Electromatic

    Mar 16, 2009
    Northern California
    I used to have one. Never changed the Bigsby, but I did swap out the pickups with some GFS P90s. A HUGE improvement in tone. Those GFS pickups were a big surprise. Pretty cheap too.
  3. Pickfish

    Pickfish Gretschie

    May 16, 2009
    Have Lindy Fralin redo the pickups, replace those plastic knobs, that bigsby's ok(maybe a B7). How about some pictures. I'm sure others would like to chime in and help! Good luck on the mod!
  4. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx LH. I've had good experiences with GFS. Vintage 59, Fat Pats, lil Killers, and Liverpools so far. Fine for what they are and the price is hard to beat!
  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx Pickfish. My first choice for a rewind would be Lollar... frankly I have no hands on experience with Fralins alltho I understand they have an excellent rep.

    Not sure a B7 would be much of an improvement over the B70. IMO It's the second roller bar that poses a problem. Besides looking cramped it leaves the strings at an too acute angle to the bridge, which makes the Bigsby virtually unusable.

    This is the only pic I have:
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  6. charlie chitlins

    charlie chitlins Synchromatic

    Aug 4, 2008
    near philly
    Nice flamey top.
    Cream pickup covers might give a vintage-y look.
    Bound f-holes, or just painted?
    Is the body small-ish, or is it just the photo?
    I wish my ZBD had that smaller headstock instead of the hydrocephalic one.
    I LIKE IT!
    Did you get a reading on the pickups?
    The ones on my ZBD were around 13 ohms (!!) and they sounded GREAT when I unwound them to around 9.
    Also...the Epi pickups I had were short. The replacements I got made the covers sit proud of the body.
  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx CC, not sure what to make the colour of the PG if opting for the cream PU covers. Brass maybe?
    Bound ƒ-holes.
    It's small-ish...could be the pic tho, they're not mutually exclusive with my photography-skills...a LP is 33cm wide, the Kat 36cm to give you an idea.
    Re the ZBD's headstock...heh, at least you have a ZBD. :)
    Pickups are a whopping 11.17KΩ and 11.40KΩ for the neck and bridge PU respectively. A bit too hot for my liking, at least for the neck PU. Unwinding might be a sensible mod for that one.
    Short in height? Hmm, well mine seem adjusted to a good height. What did you get?
  8. Big Burly

    Big Burly Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2009
    Definitely change out the P90 covers before you have them rewound or swap them for something else. Plastic covers make a huge difference with P90s, a huge improvement over metal covers for sure.

    Plastic covers are cheap too.

    The Compton bridge will add an entire new and good dimension to the guitar's sound as well.
  9. MacPhisto

    MacPhisto Gretschie

    Apr 11, 2009
    i had a Wildkat for a couple of was a really nice instrument, but it just didn't sound like me. in retrospect i wish i'd tried plastic covers on the pickups, which i think would have mellowed the sound a lot.

    bridge and Bigsby changes can be a little problematic. the neck angle is shallow enough that you can't get enough string tension with a free-floating (B3/B6) Bigsby to keep the strings from popping out of the stock bridge slots. a Gretsch-style bar bridge, with its deeper slots, might help; fitting one to my Pro Jet with B3C solved a similar problem there. the bar bridge might also work better with the B70 because of the bridge's rounded contour.

    at the very least, you'll want to change the stock ABR-1 style Tunomatic with the long "spring" holding the saddles in place...for some incomprehensible reason Epiphone puts this bridge on all their vibrato guitars despite the fact that using the vibrato makes the saddles woggle back and forth with the string. the easy-on/easy-off replacement would be a Nashville-style Tuna. i tried the Wilkinson roller bridge they sell at Stew-Mac, which worked just fine but is rather fiddly to adjust.

    Bakelite-style radio knobs or flat-topped amp knobs would make a nice visual mod that recalls the look of the old Epis. i had chrome White Falcon knobs on mine for awhile, but they were just too blingy, the equivalent of a Cadillac with gold-plated trim. i actually got to like the stock knobs after awhile...they have a kind of early/mid-60s look that i think works.

    the standard Grovers are fine IMO. a nice touch is adding Imperial buttons, which you can get from Allparts and (i think) StewMac. the idea of a pickguard is appealing, but it's going to be a little tricky routing it around the master volume out there on the cutaway. i think i'd stick with black for the pickguard and/or PU covers, because that echoes the black on the headstock and Bigsby.

    anyway, i'd definitely swap the PU covers first; that's going to make more difference to the sound than anything else and require the minimum of investment and work. after that i'd try a bar bridge; the Gretsch-style bar might be best here, because the chromed brass would better stand up to the friction from the string angle off the tension roller. if you're going to try a Compton or Tru-Arc, i recommend choosing a harder material than aluminum unless you're certain that you want to replace the B70. these simple mods might (emphasis "MIGHT") get you 80% of where you want to go with a minimum of work.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Tnx Mac, some good advice there!

    I'm not particularly worried about the strings popping out. I have an B70 fitted Gibby SG, with the strings skipping the 2nd roller bar and it poses no problems. I reckon I have a very delicate picking technique. ;)


    The bridge will be replaced by a CCC. I've tried the Wilkinson rollerbridge on one of my LPs(since I generally like the Wilkinson stuff). Biggest POS I've ever seen. Too many buzzprone parts to adjust. I replaced it with a Schaller T-O-M and sustain and tone-quality easily doubled coupled with a much lower adjustment of the action.

    I love the suggestion of the bakelite knobs and Imperials.

    Pickguard will be a custom jobby. Short 335 style but the shape nearing the MV knob will sorta follow a LP PG outline. Not sure if it will work visually. I still have to make a mock up of a piece of cardboard first.
  11. Big Burly

    Big Burly Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2009
    You will be happy and surprised at what happens when you install the CCC.

    I also don't like overly complicated solutions to simple problems, ie., roller bridges or roller nuts. Roller bridges often sap tone and sustain and add rattles.

    CCCs are killer with Bigsbys, just put a little lube on it like you do with the nut.
  12. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Still waiting on the Bigsby to arrive(7 weeks allready arrggh).
    Did some small mods. Replaced the plastic reflectors with chrome domes, the Grover kidneys with some Imperial heads. Installed a short 335 PG.
    And fitted an Alu Compton. Again, I'm floored with the effect. It sounds like a fresh pack of strings or a new set of pickups. What an amazing product!
  13. guitarmaker

    guitarmaker Synchromatic

    Mar 1, 2010
    Oley, PA
    I like the idea of trying Filtertrons in it. Could be an interesting project but it would be similar to an anniversary junior. Of course, the p-90s have a great sound that is all their own. You could do cream for the pg and the pup covers. And I dig the b3 idea too. I'd definitely put locking tuners on it though. They make a huge difference.

    Neat guitar, by the way. I've been eyeing one up for a while now.
  14. GentleBen

    GentleBen Country Gent

    Jul 29, 2008
    Huntsville, Al
    Had you thought about DeArmonds?

    Attached Files:

  15. Big Burly

    Big Burly Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2009
    Those DeArmonds would be killer. Their 2000s are really nice pickups that are close to Dynasonics in tone. The 2Ks are closer to P90s.

    Can't go wrong with either!
  16. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Jun 2, 2008
    Little Falls,MN
    Now that guitar rocks!!
  17. GentleBen

    GentleBen Country Gent

    Jul 29, 2008
    Huntsville, Al
    Thanks Jukebox. I installed a 5 way rotary switch and arranged the pickups bridge/neck/bridge to get reverse winding on the center pickup. It gives me the Strat 2 and 4 position sounds. It's a fantastic guitar for solo gigs but I drag out the Pro Jet when I am with the band (still haven't got my hands on a 'vette).
  18. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Synchromatic

    Jan 27, 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL
    I have one and wouldn't mod it. For the price of that guitar it's great, but I wouldn't sink additional money into it. Save all that money you're thinking about spending and just get another guitar. You're already pretty heavy in for the B3, just buy a used 5120 or something for not much more.
    TeleRooo likes this.
  19. gigatron

    gigatron Country Gent

    Oct 9, 2008
    Good advice, Frankie!
    TeleRooo likes this.
  20. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Ideally I want a Filtertron at the bridge and a P90 in the neck(humb, sc). But it's kinda hard to balance the volume, without going the Powertron route.
    I may fit a set of Sperzels, the Imperials look a bit misplaced on this guitar.

    I'm not very familiar with DeArmonds/Dynas. They look awesome on your guitar tho.

    Tnx, sensible advice. However I'm mostly modding with used or bin parts. Even the Wildkat came cheap. :)