Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #133238  by tatittle
 Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:54 pm
I just finished installing an SD SSL-7 (the one with giant 1/4" polepieces) in middle position Strat, and upon first test I am VERY impressed. I am playing through a SF Princeton and a Tweed Princeton (1957) with JBL's and am liking what I hear, granted I have only played about 5 mins so far. I bought the SSL-7 off ebay for a song -- okay it cost more than I get at this point for songs I write :)

It seems to have a nice beefy clean tone with plenty of bottom and good sustain. I have it in a partscaster I loaded with an ABM brass trem bridge, Allparts neck, brass nut, along with an SSL-2 (beautiful vintage p'up---sounds better than the SSL-1 to me even though they claim the flat poles are only difference), and an SDS-1 in the bridge. The #2 quacker position is outta phase or something so I will open it back up and switch around the SDS-1 leads (but I originally had it the reverse way having contemplated the likely polarity and it didnt seem to hum-cancel, didnt string up though).

The 2 and 4 positions are predictably not as ping-pongy as vintage combos, but the individual positions are all great, especially the SSL-7 in the middle. Its funny how components marketed to heavy on attitude/light on melody genres can work so well with a good clean rig. I am not terribly impressed with the SDS-1 in the middle slot (to grainy for my rigs), so I am happy to have found this is working well so far.

Hopefully I will get around to wiring up a Super 2 equipped p/g soon, I have all the parts but keep putting it off. I imagine I will be even more pleased when I do finish it. I also have a Steve's Special and some other DiMarzio humbucker that sounded like it was similar to the Super 2 that are yet to be tested. If anyone needs SDS-1's I have a fistful...both new and vintage 1970's/early 80's.
 #133243  by tatittle
 Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:44 am
Indeed very nice to my ears; gets my thumbs up. Apparently the SDS-1 is the same polarity as the RWRP SSL-7 so no humcancel, not especially noisy though; the SSL-7 sits pretty low and is mostly under my shielding cage. The SSL-2 may not be the best match; 6.6 vs. like 14.0 for whatever thats worth. Excellent articulate p'up thats not too thin IMO.
 #133416  by James-T
 Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:09 pm

I'm giving it a shot for my Aria RS-750 project guitar. I've got a separate post on it but here's the scoop.

It's got a series one style Alembic electronics package (copy - along with hardware and body shape!).

The thing sounds fantastic but there are only two pick-ups, bridge and neck, it's got a third pick-up that's only a dummy coil and not in play in that Jerry sweet spot in the middle. I haven't quite figured out when the dummy is actually activated, nor do I really understand what the heck it's doing but I think it's for hum canceling.

The only issue is that it's hard to get a real heavy sound out of this axe. The pick-ups are ultra hi-fi. I have to load on the heaviest Gilmore patch on my ultra just to get what would be a moderate od from any of my other guitars.

I'm going to lose one of the two tone knobs and put in a five way rotary switch. Pull out the dummy coil and see how this puppy works!

I was hoping that the epic Wolf post would shed some light on what electronics to put in this guitar but I don't think any consensus was made in that thread and your review here is so much more tangible, plus it's like you say, not a big investment. I was really leaning towards the SDS-1 but it may not even fit.

Thanks for the cool info! 8)


Last edited by James-T on Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #133420  by tatittle
 Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:10 pm
Hey James, thanks for sharing your project. Yes my understanding is the dummy coil is designed to reduce noise without affecting the tone of the single coil too dramatically. I have heard Alembic was an early experimenter with these. A dummy coil does not have a magnet, only the winding if I remember accurately. I just pulled the magnet off of a cheap Mexican sc and wired it into a Strat last year but it didnt seem to help that much. In order to work well I think they have to be specifically engineered for the pick-ups they are countering.

I am about to change the SSL-2, probably for an SSL-5 I have sitting around somewhere in the bridge and maybe a RW/RP SDS-1 in the neck. Please keep us posted on how things work out.

You may want to check out the halved Super 2 that a member here developed for single slot positions. They take quite a bit of work to fabricate, but I think he sells ones he was modified.
 #133692  by tatittle
 Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:00 pm
switched to a SSL-5 in bridge and a SDS1 RWRP in neck seems better balance, 2/4 positions so far, yet to try bigger amps
 #134613  by James-T
 Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:31 pm
Hey now,

Got my Aria pro back with the SSL-7 replacing the dummy coli providing a centre position PU.

Really sweet PU, lacking a touch on the high end, but the Aria low impedance PU's have lots of that so I'm calling this an awesome match. I was concerned that loosing that dummy coil would effect the existing two PU's. Not the case at all. They sound amazing and my luthier/tech thought there must have been a buffer in the guitar which is not the case,

Given the existing PU's are about 4.3K (neck) output and the SSL-7 is something like 13K we were worried the volumes would be miss-matched and swapped out the second tone pot for a dedicated volume pot. Totally not necessary but still a nice feature. The middle and neck PU's are perfectly balanced.

This turned out to be a really nice mod, and the SSL-7 takes effects, particularly dirt really well, while the other two pick-ps have a high-fi clarity to them. Each pick-up has a great Jerry tone to them, unique but unmistakably Jerry like! Reminiscent of the Wolf circa early 78. :smile: