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Username: rusty

Post Number: 22
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 1:55 pm:   Edit Post

I recently had my Orion guitar set up. The technician told me the input jack was about to go, and that it was cutting in and out while he had the guitar on the table. (It always seems that my guitar is in worse shape after I have someone work on than before! Last time I took it somewhere with a scratchy tone knob, they fixed the sratchtness by replacing it with an ear-splitting squeal.Mica walked me through the fix in an email and it was good as new in two minutes.) Anyway, I didn't leave the guitar with him because I had 2 gigs that weekend, my Strat back up was in worse shape and it really didn't make sense beacuse it had never cut out on me. A month or so has passed, I got my Strat working so I have a back up, but I haven't had the the input cut out ever.

My long-winded questions are:
1. Does a faulty input jack act like this or is it more likely to just fail?
2. Are replacement jacks available anywhere for Orions or do they have to come from Alembic.
3. Any idea of cost?

If any old input jack is OK, then my inclination is to do nothing and see what happens. If you need to get the part from Alembic, then I'd like to start that process now. I'm trying to ensure that I am without my Orion for the shortest possilbe amount of time should the jack fail.

Thanks for any insight.

Intermediate Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 159
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 3:31 pm:   Edit Post

Input jacks can be pretty ornery. If you haven't been experiencing problems, then I probably wouldn't sweat it for now, but keep that backup guitar tuned up! The problems that the tech was seeing may well be due to poor connections between his cord and your jack. Since you're gigging with your cord and your jack, if they get along, then it's not a problem.

I don't know what part they use for the jack on the Orion. It's pretty likely that it's a normal Switchcraft part (these are usually a stereo jack where one connector is dedicated to switching the battery on and off). If they used an unusual part, then it might be worth having a spare around. Although you can probably substitute a different specific jack, it may be easier to have the exact replacement around so you don't need to spend time figuring out how the new one will be wired in, or having to reroute wires.

The cost for this sort of part should be pretty nominal. If you got a normal Switchcraft jack at your local guitar store it would be $5 or less. This will be more expensive coming from Alembic as there will be shipping, etc.

David Fung
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 1885
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 5:44 am:   Edit Post

That depends on when it was made and the orientation of the jack itself. My '04 Orion has an ultra high-quality jack specially commissioned by Ron from Switchcraft with Palladium contacts. It's purportedly from an old spec specifically made for old-style telephone switchboards. It first appeared on the original Aug. '03 COM (the infamous "East Meets West" bass):

You MAY or MAY NOT be able to use this jack...I could because I have the same set-up as the EMW (i.e., side-mount jack). It is my understanding that this jack is extra long and may be unsuitable for top-mount jacks as a result. If you can use it, it's arguably the finest available.
Username: mica

Post Number: 3302
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 10:56 am:   Edit Post

The top-mounted jack is a Switchcraft L113, and spares are not expensive, though you might have to get one from us since even though these "Littel" jacks are a standard production, it's not one that is commonly used in guitars.

If it's a side-mounted jack, you can get a spare Switchcraft barrel jack pre-wired from us, and keep it in your case until you need it. Then it's just unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one.

Sadly, the jack that kmh364 refers to is not a direct retrofit for the barrel jack, but it is what we use on all new instruments with side-mounted jacks.

I've also found that many so-called premium cables have connectors that are weird. Some are really long and overshoot the contacts. Some are gold-plated on a standard part, making the diameter larger than 1/4" and nasty to use in the barrel jacks especially. Give me the old Switchcraft 470 connectors for my guitar cable.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 783
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 5:03 pm:   Edit Post

Plated over the standard part . . . so THAT's why MONSTERs feel a little fat plugging into certain jacks, and how at the same time MONSTER assured me the plugs they use WERE standard diameter. Thanks, Mica.

J o e y
Username: rusty

Post Number: 23
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post

Thanks everyone for your help. I still haven't experienced any problems but will order a replacement just in case.


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