Teh Bias

Other Discussion => Technology => Topic started by: adamsappel on May 22, 2008, 02:17:57 AM

Title: My Guitars
Post by: adamsappel on May 22, 2008, 02:17:57 AM
I own a Fender MIM (Made in Mexico) Telecaster guitar, which I believe I bought in 1992-3. I'd always loved the "twangy" country sound of a Tele, as well as knowing that Bruce Springsteen favored it. The fact that everybody and their brother was buying Stratocasters only made it more unique to me. Of course, I'm a pretty crappy player, but that's beside the point.

One thing that always bothered me about the Tele was it had a "hum/crackle" that went away if you touched the volume or tone controls. This is somewhat endemic to the Telecaster, but can be corrected with proper grounding and shielding. I recently decided to get back into playing, but the noise and my previous complete maladjustment of the action (how high the strings are) turned me off to the Tele.

So I borrowed my dad's Gibson Les Paul Studio. Now, this is a damn fine guitar. Probably about ten years old, an actual Gibson instead of the cheaper Epiphone model. A real class axe. Man, do I dislike playing it. It feels like I'm always fighting the guitar. The strings were a mile high, even when I lowered the bridge all the way. My hand sticks to the neck instead of sliding, and my fingers buzz on the strings. It's hard to play sitting down, it's really heavy and an odd shape. I do love the tone and sustain it has, but it was really discouraging to play. So I decided to fix the Tele.

I also wanted to branch out my sound a little. Like I said, I'm a fan of country guitar-pickin', but I wanted something that approached the LP tone, so I researched replacing the pickups. Turns out there were a lot of options out there, but they were also kind of expensive. Further research, however, turned up Bill Lawrence (http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/BillLawrence/Biography.htm) and his signature Keystone pickups (http://). I found nothing but praise (Dimebag Darrell was a very satisfied customer) and it was only $62 to replace both! They arrived about ten days after ordering and I started the project.

My original guitar, strung Keith Richards Open-G, 5-string style
Yeah, I'm a Deadhead. Also, when you see it, you will shit bricks.

The original pickups and hardware removed

The new pickups roughly in their cavities

Such sloppy work, lazy Mexican laborers, I'll have to sand down the interior

I line the cavities with copper tape

I glue aluminum foil to the back of the pickguard

The pickups and hardware correctly wired, finally (I had real trouble understanding the schematic, especially with the modifications I was making)

The finished guitar, with Wrangler leather strap I found for $1 at Wal-Mart

No cover on the neck pickup

I swapped the volume and tone controls, replaced the tone with a no-load pot, and put a 4-way pickup selector switch to the rear

The Les Paul, which is de facto mine now, I guess.

The new pickups sound fantastic, and the 4-way switch has an interesting out-of-phase setting. I'm much happier with the switch out of the way. I'm very glad I made the repair and I'm proud I managed to do it myself.
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: Geese on May 22, 2008, 07:29:27 AM
That's very cool, Allen! However, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed...when I first saw the pictures, I thought (and hoped) you were modding your Telecaster to be Rock Band compatible!   :D

But seriously, that's some good work there.
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: FURIOU5 D on May 22, 2008, 07:32:55 AM
Very cool man!  I have a Fender (Mexican) Fat Strat and I've had an itch for years to swap out the bottom humbucker for one of the Les Paul variety.  The hum can get to be a bit much.  For now I started turning the volume pot down and adding and extra (though subtle) gainstage before my amp.  That way string/fret noise and finger movement are attenuated.  I've also considered messing with a noisegate - especially to get a more industrial sound - the type that goes from distorted power chord to silence and back again if I want it to.

I must say I haven't yet had the cajones (or, to a lesser degree, the cash) to swap out my pickups.  Therefore I believe this to be well earned:

Nice job on the shielding too.  It looks really good.
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: adamsappel on April 06, 2009, 09:28:09 PM
Got a new toy today.


It's a Bill Lawrence SwampKaster, Strat-style with blade pickups. I've never been a fan of Stratocasters, mostly due to their ubiquity, but I borrowed my sister's old Squier a while back and was impressed with its various tones. I mentioned to my guitar-god stepfather that I was going to buy one of the new 60's Squier Strat series. We started talking about pickups and I mentioned the Bill Lawrence Keystone pickups I installed in my Telecaster. He said he'd recently bought a Bill Lawrence Telecaster and it was a great guitar, I should get the Strat-style. This was a very strange conversation, since it turns out we were talking about two different Bill Lawrences, one who makes pickups, the other a former partner who stole the company & name and makes guitars and pickups from the original design. I had some misgivings about supporting venal businessmen, but in the end decided I wasn't buying a John Wayne Gacy painting, it was just a damn guitar.

Seems to be a pretty nice axe. I didn't order the blade pickups, but I don't see any problems. It didn't come with a tremelo arm, but I'm sure they'll send that when I point it out. The pickguard is either already scratched to holy hell or has a plastic sheeting on it which I just can't peel away. I'm not a big fan of tortoise-shell, so that will get replaced eventually. It's not heavy, the neck feels great and it fits into the neck-pocket tightly. Tuners are decent, although I don't think I have a clue how to restring that design. And it does have that signature Strat tone. I finally heard that Buddy Holly sound that I couldn't bring before.

But, I'm still a Tele man through and through. This will be my #2.
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: Beer Monkey on April 07, 2009, 12:43:02 AM
Nice axe!
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: Bryan on April 07, 2009, 09:30:13 AM
Brutal.  Somehow I missed the previous posts you made in this thread.  Didn't know you had it in you.  Nice work!
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: adamsappel on May 29, 2009, 08:01:29 PM
What the hell is wrong with me? I didn't even know this guitar existed two weeks ago, but once I read about it, I had to have it. So, one Buy-It-Now eBay auction later...


It's a Fender Squier 51. It's essentially a Strat body with a Tele neck. It has a Strat neck pickup and a humbucker bridge pickup. No tone control, just a volume and pickup selector, but the volume is a push-pull which can split the humbucker to a single-coil. It has a very unique sound. This was a $149 budget guitar which failed to catch on. Overstock.com and Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, etc. dumped them at $69. Then, the mod community started using them as a base for swapping out pickups, bridges, pickguards, etc., and now they're somewhat collector's items (not too extravagant, though). I'm sure I could sell it for what I paid.

It's pretty nice. The fret ends are a little sharp and need dressing. It's very light. I'm planning on just leaving it stock for now.

Hmm, I don't have an acoustic guitar yet...
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: fetterdave on May 29, 2009, 08:48:44 PM
Wow!  Imagine how much you'd enjoy these if you could play worth a damn!
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: adamsappel on May 29, 2009, 09:25:49 PM
A guitar is like a woman. My innefectual fumbling at her neck doesn't do either of us any good.
Title: Re: Guitar Modding
Post by: adamsappel on July 24, 2013, 01:39:29 AM
So, I picked up a little something this weekend.


1963 Gibson Les Paul. This was a year or so before Les Paul noticed one in a store window and made Gibson take his name off. This is the "double cutaway," afterwards known as the SG (Solid Guitar) model. This was my step-father's guitar. Growing up, I was barely allowed to even glance at it, so owning it is very humbling. It's in pretty great shape, minus some pitting of the chrome. Thirty years of smoky bars and sweat, he explained. This thing has been played.

He said he replaced the tuners and one of the saddles; he still has them somewhere and will look for them. Though, even the replacements are so old as to be vintage, I guess. I'm not looking to ever sell it; I'll let my daughter do that. She can pay for college with it. I joked with him that I always expected to get it when he died, and now I don't have to worry about smiling at his funeral.

It's in the original case, too.

Oh, and one other thing, a late 70's/early 80's Japanese Gold Star archtop banjo. Damn, this thing sings!

Title: Re: My Guitars
Post by: Geese on July 24, 2013, 07:22:44 AM
Very nice!
Title: Re: My Guitars
Post by: adamsappel on October 16, 2015, 03:30:45 PM
Here's a pic of my Fenders:


1995 Fender MIM Stratocaster Squier Series
1985 Fender MIJ Squier Bullet 1
1994 Fender MIC Squier Bullet Series
1989 Fender MIJ Strat neck
2011 Fender MII Squier Modified Jaguar short-scale bass
2005 Fender MII Squier 51
1992 Fender MIM Telecaster
1989 Fender MIK Squier HM3
1989 Fender MIK Squier II neck on partscaster tele
Title: Re: My Guitars
Post by: Xx Jester 76 xX on October 20, 2015, 12:34:49 PM
 :o Damn dude... nice collection!  Which is your favorite?
Title: Re: My Guitars
Post by: adamsappel on October 20, 2015, 06:03:23 PM
The 1992 Telecaster was my first and still my favorite. Except for that, the Squier 51 and the bass, all the other guitars have been purchased roughly within the last month. Craigslist has been good (or bad, if you're my wife) for me. Of the new ones, I like the '85 Made in Japan Strat the most.
Title: Re: My Guitars
Post by: Xx Jester 76 xX on October 21, 2015, 01:41:17 PM
Nice.  I'm so jealous.  If I had one super power, it would be the ability to play guitar.  I tried on multiple occasions.  Got an electric for my high school graduation and bought an electric bass and a cheap acoustic guitar, but I just don't have the fingers for it.  (I'm sure there's a twss in there somewhere).