Epiphone Casino Pickup Swap: Average To Awesome? Mick’s Vlog

Published 11 Feb 2021

The Cost-Effective Epi Is In For A Major Tonal Upgrade – Hopefully…

Life too short for long videos? See the ‘Interesting bits and go-to sections’ information below.

Welcome to the show! It’s just me this week as we’re still Covid-separated while the UK remains in lockdown. Dan is making vids too!
I’ve taken the opportunity to do something that I’ve been putting off for ages: fitting new pickups to this here Epiphone Casino.

The guitar was originally bought unseen on eBay when Dan and I were doing the Budget Guitar Rig Challenge video:

I wanted a guitar that would remain useful to the show, that we didn’t already have. As I soon discovered, the pickups were: a) a little bit lacklustre perhaps, and b) slightly more microphonic than I would expect. So I decided to change them.
It’s all explained in the video, so enjoy!

The signal chain for the board:
Guitar, Tweedy, Maiden D, Page DS, split with GigRig Humdinger
One side goes Humdinger, Flight Time, Harmonious Monk, CXM1978 right
Other side is Humdinger, CXM1978 left
Left and right out of the CXM1978 to the stereo power amp

Questions arising…
Q: Why no dB meter?
A: It’s a PITA to move. I’m playing at normal TPS volumes – somewhere around 95-103dB ish, using our regular meter.

Q: Why are you using this weird rig and not normal amps?
A: A bit of fun and experimentation. It’s been bubbling to the surface for a while.

Q: Why aren’t you using the Free The Tone Future Factory stereo delay in the stereo rig?
A: I just wanted delay on one side.

Q: Are the amps and pedals definitely set the same for the before and after comparisons?
A: EXACTLY the same. I was super careful not to move a single thing between the two sessions.

Q: How did you record and process the guitar sounds?
A: Sontronics Delta 2 ribbon mics on the cabs, plus a pair of stereo AKGC414XL in the room. All the mics have Neve 1084 or 1081 UAD plugins in a UAD Apollo 8p. I roll on a little bit of 10kHz and 3.2kHz to compensate for the dull room and give a bit of crunch back to the drives. Low cuts around 50Hz for the cab mics, 80Hz for the room mics. I also used a Teletronix LA-2A very subtly on the guitar master mix. I like it – I think it helps the dynamics get a tiny bit closer to what I’m hearing/feeling in the room.

Q: Why get a hollow body for gain sounds? Surely this is dumb?
A: Not really – all explained in the video.

Gear In This episode
• Lollar P90 Dogear Pickup Set
UK & Europe:

• Six String Supplies ES-335 Wiring Kit with premium PIO caps and short-frame switch

• Epiphone Casino
UK & Europe:

• Dan Drive Tweedy
Find Dan on Facebook & Instagram

• Kingsley Maiden D Preamp

• Kingsley Paso Doble (not available, link to Page DS – it’s two in one box)

• Free The Tone Flight Time Digital Delay
UK & Europe:

• JAM Pedals Harmonious Monk
UK & Europe:

• Chase Bliss Audio CXM1978 Reverb
UK & Europe:

• Mesa 50:50 Stereo Power Amp
No longer available new (I bought this used via

• Two-Rock 1x12 with WGS12L speaker
• Zilla Custom 1x12 with WGS12L speaker

Interesting bits and go-to sections
- Intro playing: 00:00
- The background to this caper: 00:54
- Why not stuff the guitar?: 06:05
- Today’s pedals and amps: 07:00
- Old pickups demo’d: 07:36
- …and Dan Drive Tweedy: 09:55
- Microphonic pickups?: 11:02
- More gain, Paso Doble: 11:33
- What about a Gretsch Hollowbody?: 12:24
- And the Gibson ES-335?: 14:17
- Why so much gain with a Casino?: 16:12
- Bit more old pickup playing: 16:57
- The pickup fit begins: 19:30
- Pickguard?: 21:15
- Old and new DC resistance?: 22:13
- Pulling old wiring out: 23:58
- Removing old pickups: 26:55
- Pickup depths and shims: 27:58
- Why a pre-wired harness?: 31:46
- Oh no! Holes not big enough!: 33:57
- …he’s actually going to drill it!: 34:43
- Putting it all back in: 39:50
- It works!: 41:20
- Fitting the pickguard: 41:50
- First plug in!: 43:10
- Explanation of before and after comparisons: 43:50
- Before & after cleaner tones: 44:55
- Before & after mid overdrive: 48:24
- Before & after heavy overdrive: 50:43
- What do I think so far?: 54:34
- A bit of free playing: 55:17
- Conclusions: 59:10

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