Replacing The Bridge Pickup In The Parker Mojo Nitefly

Replacing The Bridge Pickup On The Parker Nitefly Mojo

By Paul Marossy
Last updated 9/18/09



It doesn't seem like anything special to replace the bridge pickup on an electric guitar with a new one, but on the Parker Nitefly Mojo, it's not as straightforward as it might appear. That's because I finally got a hold of a vintage 80's Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth signature pickup, which has double screws. The body of the Nitefly Mojo is only routed for one set of screws. And there were some other challenges as well, all of which is outlined below. I've wanted to get one of these pickups for a long time, and I had a feeling that it might do well paired up with the Nitefly Mojo. Now I call this guitar the "Nacht-Fly", as it is like a stealth bomber now and is really much more enjoyable to play.

The first challenge presented was that the base plate of the Allan Holdsworth pickup didn't work with the guitar - it was too high to fit. So I had to do a little bit of pickup surgery and swap the base plate with the stock Seymour Duncan JB pickup with the one on the pickup to be transplanted. I've never done anything like that before, but it wasn't that difficult. The main thing to be careful of was to not disturb the existing potting.
Here you can see the single route for the pickup screws. I thought this was a little unusual, but the guitar body is rather thin, so I can see why they did things this way and why the baseplate on the pickup has rather short mounting tabs.
After scratching an outline for the new route on the body, I commencing digging out a hole with my faithful old Dremel tool with a small grinding bit on it.
Here I am about 50% done with routing the new channel. While doing this, I noticed that mahagony has a similar odor to oak when working it.
And here I have completed the new channel and I am just about ready to install the replacement pickup.
A quick coat of paint on the new screw channel completes the modifications required on the body to use a Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth pickup with double screws.
All done! Looking from the outside, you would never know that it had major pickup surgery.

What I was hoping would be an hour job ending up taking about four hours or so. At least the wiring was pretty simple - all I had to do was document how the old one was wired and wire the "new one" the same way. The end result was worth the effort because I like how this pickup sounds much more than the stock Seymour Duncan JB model. The JB to me just sounded pretty lifeless for my style.

In terms of how it sounds, I would say that it's very similar to my other favorite bridge pickup, the DiMarzio FRED but with a little higher output. It has a comparable range of harmonics but sounds a little more "compressed" with stronger mids and smooth highs. I didn't know what the resonant peak was supposed to be for the Holdsworth AH-1B, but the DC resistance I measured per coil was about 8.2K (total of 16.2K in series), which is higher than the DiMarzio FRED at 10K total.

I had concluded that the resonant peak was lower than the FRED. My initial guess was that it was probably in the area of 3.5 to 4kHz due to its emphasis on the mids/upper mids, but I have been told by a representative from Seymour Duncan (Derek Duncan) that the resonant peak is around 5.5kHz, which was a bit of a suprise to me. He also told me that it is modeled around the JB model, the main difference being the double screws, which was another surprise to me because these two pickups sound a lot different to my ears. This is also contrary to what I have been told by other people that are "in the know", and most of them say that it's an underwound Duncan '59 with double screws. I know this to be false because I was told directly by Seymour Duncan what it is based on.

Both the DiMarzio and the Seymour Duncan pickup mentioned here use an Alnico 5 magnet.

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