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 Post subject: Mystery: Older 330/12 sounds much better than newer 360/12
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:17 pm
Posts: 3
I have a newer 360/12 and an older 330/12.
For some reason the older 330/12 sounds much better.
It sounds louder and brighter/janglier than the 360.
Why, and what can be done about it?

Pickups are responsible for most of the tone in any guitar, so it is very likely that there is a major difference between older and newer pickups.
But all Hi-gain pickups are supposed to be similar.
Has Rickenbacker tamed down the Jangle in recent years to sound more mainstream (like they mainstreamed new string sets), or the answer is more complex?

Please help solve this mystery.
The goal is to make the pretty young cousin sound as good as the old ugly uncle :)
Here are the details:

------ Guitars:
-- 360/12:
Made in early '00s. Rarely played.
Just cleaned up the jacks (bridge pup was intermittent).

-- 330/12:
Made in late '80s. Played often. No issues.

------ Pickups:
-- 360/12:
Hi-gain pickups. DCR = 12.3k (Bridge), 12.5k (Neck).
Raised strips along sides of polepieces.
One has "GB-20" in white letters on the bottom.

-- 330/12:
Hi-gain pickups. DCR = 7.2k (Bridge), 15.0k (Neck).
Flat, non-glossy surface below the poles.

Pickup height is about same on both guitars:
Close to strings, 1 to 2mm from pole tops (T-B/E1-E6).

------ Pots:
-- 360/12:
All 5 pots, including Blend, are #07341.
These are 500k pots, listed in schematics for basses,
NOT #07343 (330k) pots listed for 360/12.

-- 330/12:
3 x #31056 (500k) for Tone and Blend, and
2 x #3279 (~100k) for Volume controls.

------ Caps:
-- 360/12:
2 small caps: Sprague, .047mfd, 10%, 600DC.
No Treble Volume cap.

-- 330/12:
2 large caps: Sprague 715P, .047mfd, 5%, 600DC.
No Treble Volume cap.

------ Strings:
-- 360/12:
Fresh set 10-42 from Ernie Ball sets.
Original RIC set sounded worse (old strings).

-- 330/12:
Older D'Addario 12-string set (10-46?).

String action is about same on both guitars:
Low action, 1 to 2mm at fret 12 (E1-E6).
------

Thanks for your opinion and mod tips.


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 Post subject: Re: Mystery: Older 330/12 sounds much better than newer 360/
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:14 pm
Posts: 427
Location: Ohio
Actually, there have been several changes to the Hi-Gains over the years. Your late '80s 330/12 probably has Hi-Gains that are often called fiber tops. As I'm sure you've noticed, there is quite a difference in output between the neck and bridge pickups. They are pretty hard to find. Check the Rickresource Forum, maybe someone there has a set for sale.

I'm not sure what else I can tell you about them, other than the fiber tops have always been my favorite Rickenbacker pickups.

_________________
Jangle, Chime & Twang.


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 Post subject: Re: Mystery: Older 330/12 sounds much better than newer 360/
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:17 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks Clint,

Looks like we are onto something.
I also found a post by "BlueAngel" that these '80s Hi-Gain pickups sound much better.

Wonder whether changing pots and caps on 360/12 would make any audible difference.
-- The pots don't match current specs for 360/12, these pots are for 400x basses.
-- The caps are smaller in size and have worse tolerance than caps on 330/12.

Thanks.


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