C18Q1 Gibson CS-336 "refurb"

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Righto, well this won't be quite as extensive as what some of you lot are planning, but nevertheless, my CS336 needs some attention, so it might as well go under this banner.

It's barely being played of late because the switch and at least one of the pots are knackered. Not wanting to do a re-wire on a compact semi ever again in my whole life, I've also decided to get new pickups, which I'm told are waiting for me at the local post office, so it'll be a comprehensive replacement of all electrics. And since Stewmac had a blowout on Tonepros Klusons I also have a set of those that will be installed while I have the strings off, once I've worked out how to make them not look brand new.

I also just remembered I also have a new switch tip for my Jazzmaster, but I think that's too basic even for me...


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Comments

  • TTonyTTony Frets: 15135
    Nice looking guitar.

    If you can make it sound good too ...
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    That's the plan...!
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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2995
    edited January 9
    I’ve always liked your 336 I don’t really like bursts but yours looks great.  
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Adam_MD said:
    I’ve always liked your 336 I don’t really like bursts but yours looks great.  
    Ya, it's a really nice bit of maple.

     I really don't like plain topped bursts or the real tight symmetrically-flamed stuff as the former is super-dull and the latter usually looks false, but the combination of the wavy grain across the wavy flame is brilliant.  It's the only flametopped guitar I've ever had.

    Incidentally, the CS certificate actually lists it as a plain top - presumably it's not enough flame to keep the stripe-obsessed collectors happy.
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  • cbellangacbellanga Frets: 390
    that's a great 336! miss mine ;(
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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2995
    Wow I definitely wouldn’t describe that as a plaintop.  Looks ace.  
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Pickups! 






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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2995
    Nice.  I do like a new set of pickups I’ve never tried OX4 which ones did you go for? 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Adam_MD said:
    Nice.  I do like a new set of pickups I’ve never tried OX4 which ones did you go for? 
    I've gone mid-wind A4s. I want a bit more spanky than the A2 57 Classics in there at the moment, without treading on the toes of the A3 57 Classics in my SG. based on Gearfests past I've always seemed to have a lot of treble in my basic setup compared to most folks, but never struggle with ice-picky-ness.

     A5 felt a bit much for a relatively polite guitar, though if these go well I fancy an LP Custom with something grunty installed :)
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Progress! 

    First the strings came off. Bridge and tailpiece kept aside for safekeeping



    At this point I also had the foresight to measure the bridge height to give me a head start when putting it all back together.



    Gave the frets a quick polish. A couple of grades of micromesh and a bit of elbow grease




    Shiny first fret. Not so shiny second fret



    Shiny all frets!




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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    edited January 12

    The old machineheads also got replaced. These things are ok, but the keys are a bit snot-looking and never had a very precise feel.




    SNOT GREEEEEN




    New ones are Tonepros Klusons, on sale at Stewmac a while back. I already have these on an SG so it was an easy choice. But they're a bit shiny for a 16-year old guitar



    A few hours in a pot with some white vinegar helps take the shine off.



    Half and half. The new tuners look and feel miles better



    All done. Still a little more shiny than the old ones but a big improvement overall. They'll get some more tarnish with playing time.


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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    More...

    Knobs off. These were the hardest knobs I hunk I’ve ever got offa guitar. There was some weird glue stuff left on the pot shafts, which seems unnecessary. 

    And even more impressive, was that one of the knobs is actually broken - it’s been on he guitar like that for at least the 12 years I’ve had it, and presumably from the factory. That’s the kind of cost cutting Gibson should be proud of on a several-thousand-dollar product...







    And so so we come to the Point of No Return...

    Tubing on the pits, everything detached, and loom extracted. This was really tough. The smaller body and edge-mounted jack socket meant I could get a finger in that way to help push, but there's also less wiggle room depth-wise due to the smaller body once again





    On the plus side, the tenon here is actually pretty well cut. Though the bridge pickup rout is quite messy - you'd think they'd empower someone on the production line to chuck a bit of sandpaper around the rough wood, at least on the bits that might get seen during the guitar's life. I didn't take a specific picture, but you can just see it in the one above. 
     

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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Quick pickup cover comparison. Stock 57 Classic on the left. New OX4 on the right



    Old loom. Interestingly I email Gibson about the pots values ages ago and they swore they were 300k. They are all 500k...



    At this point the guitar was set aside so as not to get solder on it, but remember to keep the neck pickup with the guitar and not solder it into the loom outside the guitar


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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2995
    edited January 13
    I quite enjoy soldering and fitting pickups but really don’t fancy changing the loom in a 335 style guitar and definitely not in a smaller bodies 336/339.

    Your guitar still looks great though.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Template for the new loom. The premium gluten free cereal should add a subtle, sunshiny flakiness to the tone, right?




    Fully wired loom. Just needs the neck pickup and bridge ground wires attaching before inserting everything back into the guitar. I went for push-back cloth wire rather than the braided stuff, mostly to maximise flexibility for getting it back into place later.




    No photos of the reassembly, mostly because I forgot. But basically the neck pots first, then the bridge pots then the switch. And a lot of swearing, particularly once I realised I’d wired the switch backwards. Thankfully that does fit through the f-hole so it was pretty easy to switch the hot wires around, being careful not to get any solder on the guitar’s finish!!

    The finished guitar... looking very much like it did before, just a little shinier, and playing and sounding quite a bit better. Lots more top end, and also seemingly a bit more range on the tone pots, which I’m surprised by considering they’re the same values (+/- 15k based on measured values) and cap values. I guess these orange drops are a slightly different value than the old ones despite both being 223 rated. 



    Im not 100% happy with the switch angle but the neck volume pot is in the way of rotating it further. I think that’ll annoy me into having to take it out again to get the Switch right, but I think I can probably do it without removing the hole loom. I hope...

    The knobs went on ok though, which is great. No glue or picture needed, though I did have Tom splay the split post out just the tiniest fraction on one of the tone pots. 






    And finally, here’s Max helping to play test. He’s quite an odd cat but also my best buddy :)






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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Adam_MD said:
    I quite enjoy soldering and fitting pickups but really don’t fancy changing the loom in a 335 style guitar and definitely not in a smaller bodies 336/339.

    Your guitar still looks great though.

    It is... not fun. At last count I've done 2 Casinos, one Epi Dot, one big-box Gretsch and now this one. All have different things that make them relatively easier or harder. The Gretsch was easier in terms of wiggle room inside the body but harder because of the switch on the bass side and master volume by the treble cutaway. The full-hollow nature of Casinos makes the relatively easier since the bridge pickup hole is huge, but one of the Casinos had a push/push pot, which was really tricky to get into place. 

    This is by far the tightest cavity to work inside and f-holes that are too small to get fingers into, but has a big hole on the edge for the jack socket, which means you can get another angle to poke at everything from. That said I have been putting this off for about 18 months, and with good reason..!

    This took about 5 hours from strings off to fully complete, which isn’t too bad considering I did it while watching The Grand Tour and with a beer in the middle. The tubing is essential. I don’t know how guys do it with string or thread. 

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  • mendelmendel Frets: 21
    Nice work and very helpful for anyone thinking about tinkering with theirs.
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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2995
    Looking good @stickyfiddle how are the ox4s? 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Adam_MD said:
    Looking good @stickyfiddle how are the ox4s? 
    Honestly, I've spent too much time working away from home so haven't plugged in as much as I'd have liked, but early impressions are really good. Just a nice sparkly PAF type thing, exactly what I'm after.
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5919
    Rewiring a semi is awkward but as long as you are methodical its ok. I always make the loom slightly too big rather than an exact fit template - the wiggle room makes it easier to fit.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Chalky said:
    Rewiring a semi is awkward but as long as you are methodical its ok. I always make the loom slightly too big rather than an exact fit template - the wiggle room makes it easier to fit.
    Yeah, absolutely this. For me the loom is more a guide to make the pots don't end up too close together than anything else. 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Adam_MD said:
    Looking good @stickyfiddle how are the ox4s? 
    Honestly, I've spent too much time working away from home so haven't plugged in as much as I'd have liked, but early impressions are really good. Just a nice sparkly PAF type thing, exactly what I'm after.
    To expand on this, I sat down for a quick 10 minute strum last night and got up an hour later having not even considered switching guitars throughout. 

    Good pickups :) 
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  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 137
    Nice work @stickyfiddle! I've bookmarked this thread against the day when I have no choice but to attack the innards of my own CS336.

    Mine is black, and a previous owner (quite possibly someone on here) has replaced the stock pickups with Bareknuckle Mississippi Queens. It plays and sounds phenomenal, but I agree about the tuner pegs - they would look better in cream/ivory. I replaced the plastic nut with bone last year (relatively easy job - I have nut files!), but I haven't yet had to go 'internal'. The day is bound to come though, as the bridge volume pot loses contact at the very top of its travel.

    Where can I get the fret polishing pads and mask?
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    edited March 11
    Keefy said:
    Nice work @stickyfiddle! I've bookmarked this thread against the day when I have no choice but to attack the innards of my own CS336.

    Mine is black, and a previous owner (quite possibly someone on here) has replaced the stock pickups with Bareknuckle Mississippi Queens. It plays and sounds phenomenal, but I agree about the tuner pegs - they would look better in cream/ivory. I replaced the plastic nut with bone last year (relatively easy job - I have nut files!), but I haven't yet had to go 'internal'. The day is bound to come though, as the bridge volume pot loses contact at the very top of its travel.

    Where can I get the fret polishing pads and mask?
    Those bits came from Stewmac. I’ve had the fretboard mask things for years but everything else was in a recent order.

    They do a little packets of the micromesh pads - one of each grade about 2” Square, which is perfect for fretwork. I’d seen it recommended for years but never tried it - I’m glad I did
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9703
    Minor update because I'd done it a bit wrong. Turns out the reason the switch wouldn't orient the right way is because I'd wired it wrong. Not electrically wrong, but the orientation of the cable runs was backwards. 

    Gibson do their looms for 335-types in a U shape, which it partly to stop the wiring being visible through the f-hole, and partly to aid feeding the loom into the guitar. 

    It should look roughly like this 335 image borrowed from t'internet:



    What I did was to do the "U" the wrong way around, so the bridge vol & tone were closely linked to the switch, meaning I could rotate the switch as far as I needed. The net result was a switch angled perpendicular to where is should have been. 

    So yesterday it all came out again (because apparently I love rewiring semi-hollows...). The good news is, it only needed about 6 solder joints changing, then went back in very easily, suggesting that the "proper" way actually gives practical benefits. Who knew!? 
     
    The whole thing took me maybe an hour, which I'm quite proud of. No pictures as I forgot, but imagine a little bit of swearing and then having a beer after a job done remarkably quicker than expected.

    And hopefully I won't have to do it again for another 10 years this time...

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