Replacement nut and wiring harness suggestions

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by JH1968, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. JH1968

    JH1968 Member

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    I picked up a SG special or maybe Jr, not sure exactly sure, last week. I was installing a new bridge when. knocked over my drill and it took a chunk out of the nut on the low E side. I was going to have it replaced anyways but there are no repair guys close to me. Does anyone make a direct drop in synthetic nut for the SG? Just like Fender makes direct drop in nuts for the MIM instruments. They’re literally glue in and go.

    I’m also trying to track down a nice wiring harness to install. Everything I’ve found so far is for humbuckers and I need one for P-90s. I tend to hate the small pots used in import models.
     
  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    A Special has two pickups, a Junior has one.

    No nut is "drop in", all will need some filing/shaping to make it play properly. If Fender is advertising one that is, they're spouting BS. You can get both Graphtech and bone nuts that have string grooves already marked out, but they'll need more work. Find a tech.

    A harness designed for two P90s will be the same as one for humbuckers, perhaps a different value on the tone caps, but maybe not. IMO, pre-made harnesses are a rip off, better off buying the components separately and just doing your own.
     
  3. JH1968

    JH1968 Member

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    I’d make a harness myself but my soldering skills are fair at best.

    The closest repair guy in my area is 200 miles away. It’s going to be awhile before I can get the SG to him.
     
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  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    You don't need great soldering skills for guitar work. Even if you buy a harness there's still some soldering you have to do anyway.

    Too bad about the distance to a guitar tech. Where do you live out of curiosity?
     
  5. JH1968

    JH1968 Member

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    I have enough soldering skills to install a pickup but not much else. I only get prewired harnesses is because I tried to make my own and it took two hours. After all that I still didn’t get it right so I took it to my repair guy. He laughed at the mess I made of the soldering. I’ve known my repair guy for 20 years so he’s comfortable giving me grief and vice versa.

    I live in the middle of the southwestern desert. How remote is it where I live? We just got a Starbucks and Dunkin’ Doughnuts last year.
     
  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I have replaced the nut on three Epiphones now.
    I highly recommend Tusq. These will drop right in, once you clean out the slot in the
    neck where it goes. There will be a small amount of sanding to make it fit right, and
    you may need to file the nut slots a little

    Here's the stock nut on my Epi ES-339 p90 pro:
    nut 3@100.jpg
    I set the guitar on a workbench, on a towel, with the neck supported well.
    I took off the strings and prepared to dislodge the issue nut, using a piece of
    wood, and a hammer to tap it.
    Tusq nut 4@100.jpg
    Then I gave it one tap. Then one more...
    Tusq nut 5@100.jpg
    you can see there was only minimal glue holding it on. So that came out easily.
    The Tusq nut needed only a little sanding to fit into the existing slot. Here it is installed
    but not quite a snug fit. Pull it out, lay the sandpaper on a flat surface, and sand the
    fretboard facing surface. Once you get that so it fits, then measure the string height
    and sand the bottom of the nut if necessary. In my experinence, it's necessary but
    only a little. Graph Tech (Tusq) makes precision parts.
    tusq nut 7@100.jpg
    not quite, as you can see. but with a little more judicious sanding and a couple of dots of glue:
    tusq nut 10@100.jpg
    I used a mill file to clean out residual glue from the bottom of the slot where the nut fits.
    On this instrument, there wasn't much. Which made my job easier. The new Tusq nut is
    self lubricating, and renders excellent tone. Highly recommended.

    Good luck with your project... I got my Tusq nut from StewMac www.stewmac.com
    and I got a fine wiring harness from Sigler Music. I looked on their site, and didn't see
    what you might need, but if you google "Wiring harness for Epiphone SG" you ought
    to fine a number of choices. If you want to solder it yourself, I recommend the
    StewMac site, because they have excellent video from Dan Erlewine, on how to wire
    a Gibson guitar which will show clearly what you have to do.
     
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  7. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Just FYI. The width of the neck changed in 2014, so check the year of your guitar before you buy the nut. The older necks are narrower.

    Before 2014 PQL-6060-00
    After 2014 PQL-6061-00
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
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  8. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I must be really remote, we don't have either of those. :D

    Good luck fixing up your guitar, and welcome to ETSG.
     
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  9. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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  10. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't take too much notice of that first video. She's sloppy and does stuff in the wrong order. You don't make a perfect right angle on the base of the nut, then decide it is too high and start sanding it again. You sand to height, checking for square as you go. Personally I have a little sanding jig that keeps the nut square all the time. Finally those clearances. They are a good guarantee that the nut won't be too low, but they will also force the first frets to play sharp. There should be no visible clearance when pressing in the third fret. You have to creep up on that slowly, and you do every string individually with a nut slotting file. And you do it when the nut is glued in and has settled under string tension for a day. If you have fitted the nut properly it will need almost no glue. A couple of dots will do it. Not underneath, but on the exposed end grain of the fingerboard.
     
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  11. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    Simple question here from a simple mind. I understand the need for a nut, but why the electronics change?
     
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  12. JH1968

    JH1968 Member

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  13. Darryl Fisher

    Darryl Fisher Member

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    Whayell, my skills ain't purdy, either...I get that, my friend...(just don't let anybody look under the hood!)
    The important thing is that it works.
     
  14. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    First, do no damage. Get a piece of card and cut a hole in it the same size as the control cavity. Tape this onto the guitar so slipped soldering irons and screwdrivers won't touch the finish. And for the front of the guitar, don't try to twist pot nuts with pliers and crescent wrenches. It is only a matter of time before you slip and gouge your pride and joy. Get a nut runner and it is guaranteed that you will never mark your guitar.

    nut_runner.gif
     
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  15. Brian Kenny

    Brian Kenny Member

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    On wireing harnes . I got a prewired/solderd kit from Stew Mac and some of there Golden age Parson st pickups. i had to make some room /clearance in the cavity to get the pots to fit. The only soldering was the pickups.
     
  16. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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  17. ShaolinCat

    ShaolinCat New Member

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    There seem to be several different kinds of Tusq nut (Standard, XL, Black) - do you recommend one type over the others?

    I've searched the internet on this. Graphtech say that the PTFE-infused XL version has more emphasis in the mid-range compared to the standard one, which they say emphasises the trebles. I saw a forum comment from one person claiming that the XL version wears quickly, but it would be interesting to see the experience of people in this forum. I guess one of their white, 'aged' versions would look best with the cream binding on my fretboard

    Epiphone seem to be fitting the Graphtec 'NuBone' nuts to their latest guitars

    I was never fond of Tusq on acoustic guitars as it sounded a bit shrill to me and so I aways replaced with bone, but I guess it's a different game with electrics. To my shame I fitted a saddle made of genuine, antique ebony to one of my acoustics some years ago... sadly the sound afterwards was quite spectacular :facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Don't take any notice about the tone stuff, that's just cork sniffing. the moment you fret a note the nut is totally out of the picture. The only thing to worry about is friction and even that is only about 5% as important as how the nut is cut, filed and smoothed.
     
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  19. ShaolinCat

    ShaolinCat New Member

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    Thank you, that makes sense. It sounds like the lower-friction, lubricated 'XL' series of Tusq nuts is more useful for that last 5%, and they already cut which I guess makes up the other 95% :D

    You seem to know your stuff, do you have any opinions on bridges? On accoustics the saddle is much more important than the nut for the same reason that nuts are only relevant to open strings (though in an open tuning that can be quite a few of them!) and on Fender-type guitars the trems on Strats and and to a lesser extent the bridges on Teles are total can of worms. I was reading the older threads on this forum about bridge replacement/upgrade and I was seeing people saying some of the newer Gotoh tune-o-matic bridges wobble on the posts, which sounds worse than sticking with the original bridge! I guess that means you need to get Tonepros that lock to the posts if you want to be sure to transmit string vibrations to the wood? Though the cost of those things is a good fraction of the guitar's worth and seems a bit OTT. What is your feeling on that?
     
  20. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Wobble is always a problem. The job of the bridge is to be a totally rigid support for the end of the string. If it doesn't do that, energy is lost and you lose sustain. Mostly I find that the factory bridge is pretty good, although Gibson are quite a sloppy manufacturer and I've known guitars that can't be intonated because the saddles run out of travel in one direction or the other. They should bring back the old system with bridge and stopbar in one piece. That never happened with those. As for saddle material, I've sometimes managed to convince myself I can hear a difference, but if I'm being honest, I can't.

    But back to the replacement. The cuts on the new nut only let you know where the strings should sit. You still have to do the work getting them set to depth and dressed for your gauge of string.
     
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