Modifying McCarty Archtop?


New Member
Jun 7, 2014
I have a McCarty archtop. Beautiful guitar and a wonderful tone when set to the neck pickup. The issue I have is that you can't control the volume or tone of the two pickups independently. Thus the blending possibilities do not exist. I don't like the sound of either the combo or the bridge pick up so I'm left with mostly a "one trick pony". Have you ever modified a PRS Hollowbody (Archtop model or any hollow model) to allow for each pick up having separate volume controls and same for the tone?

Would you caution against messing with an instrument that could appreciate in value over the years? (But then again, if you could get so much more use and joy out of it by getting it to work better, what's that worth?)
That's not a mod I've seen before, but mod away if it'll make you like the instrument more. It may affect your ability to resell it though, since most buyers probably won't be after that setup, but who knows.

Have you tried adjusting pickup heights? Maybe there's a balance in there that you'll like. Raising or lowering that bridge pickup can make a pretty big difference. If you don't like the pickups, I'd sure go with a pickup swap before drilling into the top. Always start with the cheapest option and work your way down the list. :wink:

Another option is to get stacked potentiometers so you don't have to drill new holes.