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Author Topic: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?  (Read 1673 times)

Offline Javaman

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 I understand that if you want to swap pickups in an older fly they have to be specially made Pickups from Dimarzio or Seymour Duncan. Ive been playing and gigging my fly for years aand as i have the ribbon cable failed and i hand wired bypasses to where it was torn until i had to rewired the entire circuit . I replaced the saddles and preamp with the Ghost system etc. and now a few years after my Fly sounds dead and lifeless like a blanket over the sound. I'm at the point where i just want to convert the guitar into a normal guitar with normal pickups. Has anyone converted an older fly to using standard pickups by routing etc? WHat needs to be done to accomplish this? Is it better to gut everything and just use fly Pickups from Dimarzio or Duncan?
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline marcwormjim

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You already know some of this, but I'm lumping it all together:

You can modify most standard pickups to fit the Fly route (F-spaced or not) by trimming the baseplate. From there, you have several options for mounting the pickup that include trimming the screws or drilling room for them in the Fly body. Note that many ceramic-magnet pickups are too tall to fit in the shallow Fly pickup cavities (your strings would need to be raised a mile off the fretboard to get over them). This same problem is encountered if you route room for normal pickup mount-tabs in the Fly body - As the whole reason for having this proprietary mount-system with the modified baseplate is because the body is simply too thin for "normal" pickups. The Nitefly and other models have much thicker bodies, and accommodate conventional pickups.

Pickups made-to-order for the Parker Fly, purchased from Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan, or another builder, should feature a flat, trimmed baseplate, single or double-screw design with longer mounting screws appropriate for your model Fly, and height not exceeding Fly specs.

It's the convenience of someone doing it for you, versus modifying the pickups and/or body yourself, that you are paying for.

So, while I've seen threads around here of people mounting regular pickups in their Fly, there has always been modification to at least the pickup, with mods to the body made only to require fewer pickup mods - But one or both seem to be necessary.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 08:43:24 PM by marcwormjim »
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline Javaman

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Thankyou!
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline sybersitizen

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I replaced the saddles and preamp with the Ghost system etc. and now a few years after my Fly sounds dead and lifeless like a blanket over the sound.

So you're using a Ghost system with the mags running through the preamp and the sound is dead?

Quote
I'm at the point where i just want to convert the guitar into a normal guitar with normal pickups.

The stock Fly pickups are actually pretty normal sounding apart from their thickness. What pickups would you consider more normal sounding?
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline Javaman

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yes the pickups sound lifeless and no bite . By normal i mean just magnetic pickups no acoustic preamp etc.. I love the feel of the guitar just not the sound i am getting.
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline sybersitizen

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Well, then something is wrong ... and I don't think it's the pickups.

The majority of people who don't like the sound of stock Fly pickups run through a preamp say they are too bright! They often solve that problem by bypassing the preamp and running them in normal passive mode - just like any other pickups.

If yours sound dead and dull while in active mode, you should probably have a look at that Ghost preamp.
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline Javaman

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Thanks I think I will try as you suggested and just wire them passive and see if that corrects the problem . I don't really have much use for the piezo acoustic
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline marcwormjim

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One of my Flys has Graphtech saddles and is passive in the mag-1/4" circuit. I'd describe the sound as bright and bitey. However, another Fly of mine, with the refined PTP-Powerchip circuit, is a bit mellower, as well as 8 oz heavier. They're using the same Gen 1 Dimarzios, and I chalk the difference up to them just being two individual guitars.

If and when you wire your Fly to be 100% passive, let us know how it sounds and what value pots you're using.
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline Noodler

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Here's another thought for you: just swap the pickup magnets.  You would surprised at how much of a change this can produce.  You can buy replacement magnets at StewMac.  I put an AlNiCo 8 in a SD Pearly Gates and it completely transformed the tone.  The AlNiCo 8 has more power and bite. 

Of course swapping magnets means you have to pull the pickups, possibly de-solder a pickup cover, and you may need to re-pot the pickup in wax.  But it is another option for you...

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline billy

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You already know some of this, but I'm lumping it all together:

You can modify most standard pickups to fit the Fly route (F-spaced or not) by trimming the baseplate. From there, you have several options for mounting the pickup that include trimming the screws or drilling room for them in the Fly body. Note that many ceramic-magnet pickups are too tall to fit in the shallow Fly pickup cavities (your strings would need to be raised a mile off the fretboard to get over them). This same problem is encountered if you route room for normal pickup mount-tabs in the Fly body - As the whole reason for having this proprietary mount-system with the modified baseplate is because the body is simply too thin for "normal" pickups. The Nitefly and other models have much thicker bodies, and accommodate conventional pickups.

Pickups made-to-order for the Parker Fly, purchased from Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan, or another builder, should feature a flat, trimmed baseplate, single or double-screw design with longer mounting screws appropriate for your model Fly, and height not exceeding Fly specs.

It's the convenience of someone doing it for you, versus modifying the pickups and/or body yourself, that you are paying for.

So, while I've seen threads around here of people mounting regular pickups in their Fly, there has always been modification to at least the pickup, with mods to the body made only to require fewer pickup mods - But one or both seem to be necessary.

Agree with this mostly but hopefully adding a little more info. Dimarzios had a baseplate for parkers. But I'm pretty sure USM parker was modding the duncans in house.  (You can bend the ears off, and sometimes have to trim the corners with tin snips or a file.)  You'll need to add inserts for duncans and drill some blind holes to allow clearance for pole piece screws.

The body is thick enough to accommodate thicker overwound pups, but you'll need to make the pup cavities deeper.  This is not easy mostly because the body doesn't have any flat surfaces to register a router template.  (You could shim one side of the body underneath until your cavity is level, and then use a forstner bit on a drill press to go deeper but not the cleanest way to do it.)

Using the mounting ears is pretty tricky thickness-wise. Its the ears that generally cause issues for thickness on the neck pup, the body is thinner there.  (Plenty of wood under the bridge pup).  Plenty of room for a thicker pup in the neck area if you remove the ears, but as mentioned the cavity needs to be deeper. 

A "normal" thickness set of pups are fine with ears thickness-wise, but I'd avoid going deeper to allow for adjusting the pup height.  You will be best if you hard mount.  And you'd probably want to use a very shallow mounting screw, or drill through the back and fasten from that direction (which I'd avoid).

I have a thread on here about modding a factory reject shell to use dimarzio evo's (thicker overwound ceramic mag pups) with a CNC router if you're interested to see some of the challenges.

A few other options:

You can also swap fly baseplates to another dimarzio pup.  (The duncans have slightly different polepiece spacing so you'd have to mod those pups yourself.)  You need to pull the pup and take both sets apart but there's a thread on here about that with decent instructions.

Magnet swap was mentioned, also a good possibility, again there's a thread on here about that.

You can get pups rewound by dimarzio to your spec.

Going passive might solve your issues anyway and you might like what's already in there more, so that would be my first step- easy to do, doesn't cost much, easy to reverse.

Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline Javaman

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Thank you for the very helpful and well thought out response !
 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline billy

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we try!

keep us posted.
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline MegaMusic50

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My 1994 Parker Fly Deluxe had the guts replaced with the ghost system.    The mag pickups are also "active", but only when the red button engages the battery.   When the button is out, the mags act normally.    I think you have a wiring issue.   A guitar amp electronic expert finished my ghost installation, and he knew how to use those fancy electronic measurement tools.  All that said....I think a good guitar/amp guy might know better than a normal guitar tech about the ghost system, which can drive the piezo and mags. 

Re: Anyone convert and older fly into a normal guitar with standard Pickups?

Offline alber.t

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MegaMusic50.  Hello I'm Albert from Spain and I need I little help with my parker fly. How did you  convert the pickups to passive using the red button? This will be my dream. Do you hear a very different sound? Thank you.
Best regards.