1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

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1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby tomwc » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:43 pm

Hi all,
I just bought a beautiful 65 Baldwin/Burns Baby Bison guitar. It was a good deal but has a few drawbacks, one of which is the pickup wiring. My question to anyone who might know is about the neck pickup and the double stack coils. I was very excited to test it out but discovered that the pickup three way switch and the volume control work (sounds great) but the other two control nobs do nothing. When I opened it up it was clear that someone had altered the wiring. My belief is that one of the previous owners did not realize that the middle nob was for "presence" (Mixing between the stacked coils of the neck pickup) and that the third was tone. The original control nobs have been replaced with two volume and one tone so that is further evidence. I wonder if anyone knows where I could find an original wiring diagram of the mid-sixties Baby Bison. I know that Baldwin continued using the double coil pickups for at least a few years so anything from 64-69 should be accurate.
Am so looking forward to hearing what the original pickups sound like and would love to learn about someone's experience with the guitar - or one of the other Bison's with the stacked coils!
Thanks in advance
Tom C
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby JimN » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:46 am

I don't know that the original wiring swapped between coils. I thought it simply dialled in the second coil (the other staying in circuit all the time), and that the control was labelled "Density" rather than "Presence".
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby tomwc » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:11 am

Jim,
Yes, that is how I have heard it described. So my understanding is that the middle nob would increase the "density", as you rightly describe and the third nob would act as tone for whatever pickup or set of
pickups was active. First step will be to test the two pots that are not active to be sure they are not dead.
As a side note have been playing a fender Jaguar for most of my life so love the idea of a different "Burns" tone from the Baby Bison...
Thanks for your response!
Tom Campbell
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby JimN » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:14 am

I think the wiring will require a ganged pot for the Density control, as each pickup is adjusted separately, but simultaneously, if you see what I mean.

The overall volume and tone controls are wired between the pickup selection and Density controls and the output, just as they are on a Telecaster or in the Jaguar lead circuit, or on any other two-pickup, two control, guitar.
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby cockroach » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:54 pm

There's a similar type of arrangement on the Seymour Duncan pickup site...'spin a split..may be helpful?


https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/the- ... -split-mod
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby tomwc » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:55 pm

Thanks Jim, This is a great help. The example about splitting control of the coils on a humbucker is very interesting and quite relevant. The neck pickup on my guitar has two sets of wires so that should mean it is the original dual coil. Once I test the pots (when my multimeter arrives) and study the
surgery that was done to the original wiring I'll have a better idea about how to proceed. Appreciate your advice and will post any positive news as it happens!
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby cockroach » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:56 pm

The original Peavey T60 guitars had the variable coil tap setup too...on the tone controls (i.e. no separate density type control needed)

As you turned each tone control from fully 'on', the second coil of the humbucker gradually was dialled out until the pot reached a centre detent which then gave single coil only, then when continued after the detent ,the rest of pot travel to full anti clockwise functioned as a normal tone control.

There are lots of this model wiring diagrammes on line.
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby tomwc » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:46 am

Hey Cockroach,
Thanks for both tips on the Seymour Duncan site and on the Peavy T60 guitars. Really helpful - and on further investigation of the wiring - and playing on some different settings - I hear that the tone control does work on both pickups. But
the middle control for density has been bypassed as I thought. Hope to get back to the project by the middle of the week...
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby cockroach » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:52 am

You're welcome Tom! :D

Shows how innovative Jim Burns and his people were with such designs back then!
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Re: 1965 Burns/Baldwin Baby Bison Pickups

Postby tomwc » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:39 am

Burns was absolutely about innovation and a vision of what the electric guitar could be. Am just so happy that I found this one - if it did not have imperfections it would have been out of my price range!
A red 1965 that was the last one he designed for Burns before Baldwin took over :-) Again thanks to you and to Jim for the good advice. Will post again when I have news on the rewiring. Cheers!
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