ES-339 goes Firebird!

DHart

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I found the guitar on Reverb, it's seven years old, but looks like it's new-old-stock. Beautiful condition! I offered $339 for it and seller accepted. I prefer the slightly older Epi models for the rosewood fretboards they used, before the switch to Pau Ferro.

While I enjoyed this guitar with the Classic Pros it came with (played most of the time in single-coil mode), I knew I could bring it to a level of clarity, detail, and sparkle that I would like even more.

So... a little project I've been working on this week. Creating a new premium wiring harness (converting from metric to USA-size electronics, CTS pots, Switchcraft toggle & output jack, etc.) in preparation for converting my Epi ES-339 over to Cavalier "Phoenix" Firebird pickups. I also wired the guitar with quick connect pickup jacks, to make it quick and easy to remove and reinstall pickups - should I ever decide to do that. The wiring harness won't need to be removed again.

I've come to much prefer Firebirds to humbuckers, for their clean, bright, crisp tone, and I really love how well this ES-339 guitar plays and looks. (I actually like it even better than my Gibson ES-339 :eek: ).


Last to arrive were the custom pickup rings that I had made for the 'birds and it all came together tonight.
50035500148_d8bfa8f676_k.jpg


The Firebird pickups really take the ES-339 to new heights in clarity, detail and tonal performance. It amazes me that they aren't used more commonly. They're like a blend of Fender single coil clarity and sparkle with Gibson/humbucker richness and lack of hum. The classic Firebird pickup design of two full-width AlNiCo bar magnets, each wrapped by a coil, directly under the pickup cover, is such a cool design - offering such great tone.

50036047191_431da79fc8_o.jpg


I'm so thrilled with how well Epiphone can make the ES-339 model. It truly rivals my Gibson ES-339 in build quality and playability. This is definitely among the best guitars they make in the Chinese plant.

Only one remaining mod I might do is install a set of premium tuners. At that point, this will certainly be one very fine ES-339.
 
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Norton

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That’s a really good look.

mini hb’s do absolutely nothing for me in a lp, but man, oh man they are They fantastic sounding in semi and full hollow bodies.

Which pickups did you install?
 

DHart

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That’s a really good look.

mini hb’s do absolutely nothing for me in a lp, but man, oh man they are They fantastic sounding in semi and full hollow bodies.

Which pickups did you install?

Cavalier "Phoenix" Firebirds. Not mini-humbuckers. Built as a classic firebird pickup, two fat AlNiCo 5 bar magnets, each inside a coil wrapped bobbin. No slugs, no screws, no steel bars.
 

Norton

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oh I know that firebird pickups are a different subset of mini hb's.

and I do like them better than the "paf" mini's as a general rule, but really kick in that semi/hollow form.

got to look hip cavalier pickups. thanks!
 

soulman969

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Very well thought out and done.

I just bought what is my second ES339 deciding this time to go with the P90 version with a similar thought in mind that Firebird pickups might always be an alternative for it somewhere down the road.

It's a great looking guitar.
 

NV1

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I found the guitar on Reverb, it's seven years old, but looks like it's new-old-stock. Beautiful condition! I offered $339 for it and seller accepted. I prefer the slightly older Epi models for the rosewood fretboards they used, before the switch to Pau Ferro.

While I enjoyed this guitar with the Classic Pros it came with (played most of the time in single-coil mode), I knew I could bring it to a level of clarity, detail, and sparkle that I would like even more.

So... a little project I've been working on this week. Creating a new premium wiring harness (converting from metric to USA-size electronics, CTS pots, Switchcraft toggle & output jack, etc.) in preparation for converting my Epi ES-339 over to Cavalier "Phoenix" Firebird pickups. I also wired the guitar with quick connect pickup jacks, to make it quick and easy to remove and reinstall pickups - should I ever decide to do that. The wiring harness won't need to be removed again.

I've come to much prefer Firebirds to humbuckers, for their clean, bright, crisp tone, and I really love how well this ES-339 guitar plays and looks. (I actually like it even better than my Gibson ES-339 :eek: ).


Last to arrive were the custom pickup rings that I had made for the 'birds and it all came together tonight.
50035500148_d8bfa8f676_k.jpg


The Firebird pickups really take the ES-339 to new heights in clarity, detail and tonal performance. It amazes me that they aren't used more commonly. They're like a blend of Fender single coil clarity and sparkle with Gibson/humbucker richness and lack of hum. The classic Firebird pickup design of two full-width AlNiCo bar magnets, each wrapped by a coil, directly under the pickup cover, is such a cool design - offering such great tone.

50036047191_431da79fc8_o.jpg


I'm so thrilled with how well Epiphone can make the ES-339 model. It truly rivals my Gibson ES-339 in build quality and playability. This is definitely among the best guitars they make in the Chinese plant.

Only one remaining mod I might do is install a set of premium tuners. At that point, this will certainly be one very fine ES-339.
 

SomahBlack

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It looks great, and I'd love to hear what it sounds like!
I've never seen those kinds of mods on a 339 before, great job.
 

ucsteve

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been thinkin about switchin my p/u's eventully. How them firebirds sound with some dirt on em?
 

Maguchi

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That’s a really good look.

mini hb’s do absolutely nothing for me in a lp, but man, oh man they are They fantastic sounding in semi and full hollow bodies.

Which pickups did you install?
Aah, good tip, never thought a that. Installing mini HBs or Firebirds in a semi-hollow. Seems like that would be an awesome sound.
 

39MartinD18

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Dang! You've discovered my secret! I put a pair of Epi Firebird pups in my D'Angelico Excel SS. Like you, I found tonal n(ear)vana with the clarity of single coils ant the girth and warmth of HBs. Those, and minihums both deliver the goods in hollow and semihollow bodies. Can't upload pix, dang it!
 

DHart

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Dang! You've discovered my secret! I put a pair of Epi Firebird pups in my D'Angelico Excel SS. Like you, I found tonal n(ear)vana with the clarity of single coils ant the girth and warmth of HBs. Those, and minihums both deliver the goods in hollow and semihollow bodies. Can't upload pix, dang it!

We have similar tastes! I put a pair of TV Jones T-Armond single coils in my D’Angelico Excel EX-SS. Amazing tones, now!
48882732656_51691c428f_h.jpg


And I did the same with one of my ES-Les Pauls
50234555443_7f549e70e7_h.jpg


I’d have to say, Firebird and T-Armond pickups are right at the top, for my money. Fantastic clarity and very fine tone quality.

And my Gibson ES-339 received a pair of TV Jones TV-HT Hilo’trons:
48724185121_e48405bb5f_h.jpg
 
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Rick Davey

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DHart, you did a beautiful job on those pickup conversions. Outstanding!

Couldn't believe you put a set of Hilotrons in the Gibson. I thought I was about the only person who liked those. I gigged a Tennessean with Hilotrons in 1967-1968. Great sound.
 

ucsteve

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those chinese 339s are no joke. some decent wood there. I wanted to try out a semi hollow, and this one came into my buddies shop. It took me 2 weeks to get the funds together and when i went back I missed it by a day. Like 2 months later it comes baack. the story being the guy decided to get an eastman and sold it back. its a 2018, and it was never played "allegedly" by the 1st owner, and the 2nd guy had it and told me he played it a couple times. it really was brand newish when i got it. I liked it, but didnt fall in love. then i felt like maybe i shouldnt have spent the money and stuff so it sat for a couple months untouched.
then I had one of them days I just needed to do something different, and i was like what the hell. i prob wont get what i paid for it. So I f*cked this thing all up by trying some things that didnt work the way I planned. So i was gonna strip it down and start all over. But I kept lookin at it like, idk i kinda like it. The stain I used was my own roasted coffee and tung oil, a lil spliff ash here and there. Now I friggin love this thing. its a late night sitting in bed fave. after im done with the projects im onto now, ill prob get better p/u's, pots and harness and stuff. Not that she sounds bad, but she could sound a lil better I figure. Great neck on it
 

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