Best Guitar Mods?

Pickups, wiring schemes, switch techniques and onboard active electronics for guitars

Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby MoonWatcher » 24 Jun 2012, 12:29

Someone mentioned a 4-way switch in a Tele. I like that one even more when the two pickups are a "good match."

Other faves:

- Tusq nut

-higher quality saddles

-Strat w/3-way switch & either blender pot for middle pickup, or toggle - I like toggle where vol control normally goes, w/switch set "horizontally"

- humbuckers wired w/DPDT toggle for coil splitting - allows one to be tapped to ground and the other to "hot" - that way you just get the two "inside" coils, which I think sound a little better

- single coil mounted in humbucker ring - neck pickup reverse angled - gives better overtones and harmonics

- 10nF tone control cap - gives decent range w/single coils, and fattens things up w/o sounding too deep with distortion

- bypassing neck pickup so it is sans tone control

...I'm still trying to figure out how to get a non-Tuneomatic bridge on my one ESP. The bolt-on neck is crap and will be replaced, and I prefer to not have to default to a 12 inch radius. I like the simple Strat hardtail bridges. Machining a hunk of metal to bolt into the stud anchors seems excessive, so I was thinking of using a hunk of ebony or mahogany instead. I don't want the body all hacked up looking (within reason).

It's essentially a crap guitar, but I got it with one of my first "real year-end bonuses," something I haven't received in many years now! It's the Horizon-style body with a cool belly cut, and is just a fun "stunt guitar" - lightweight, easy access to upper frets. If I could get the bridge sorted, it would be cool. With a big box of spare parts from other guitars, it would be fun to re-build it into something kind of different from my other main guitars (a pair of Teles with single coils, and a third with humbuckers).
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby phibes » 24 Jun 2012, 17:56

Oh yeah, I forgot about bone nuts. I forgot about that. That's always a must for me.

I also like cutting a piece out of a wool sweater and rubbing the back of the necks with it. My luthier taught me that trick.

Scott's Liquid Gold works as the best fretboard oil in my opinion and it way cheaper than that bullshit they sell at music stores which is probably just rebottled Scott's.

The best guitar mod though, GET TO KNOW A REAL LUTHIER!!!!! Not the dude at Guitar Center.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby Seiche » 24 Jun 2012, 17:59

phibes wrote:I also like cutting a piece out of a wool sweater and rubbing the back of the necks with it. My luthier taught me that trick.

does it sound better if you actually cut the piece out of the sweater first? or could you just use a whole sweater? :blackeye
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby phibes » 24 Jun 2012, 19:21

Seiche wrote:
phibes wrote:I also like cutting a piece out of a wool sweater and rubbing the back of the necks with it. My luthier taught me that trick.

does it sound better if you actually cut the piece out of the sweater first? or could you just use a whole sweater? :blackeye


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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby sinner » 25 Jun 2012, 12:06

askwho69 wrote:Active tone control is cool.. anyone has schematic on it?

my mod is simple a Klon Buffer!


Here's on I like for Strat - it's passive, but works active

http://www.glguitars.com/schematics/S-5 ... iagram.pdf

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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby bancika » 25 Jun 2012, 20:32

kinman treble bleed circuit, 130k resistor in series with 1nF cap. Works like a charm, much better than any other I've tried.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby deltafred » 25 Jun 2012, 23:32

Back in the days when I was playing guitar the best mod I did to my Strat was block the trem.

There was always the temptation to use the wammy bar and it always resulted in the damn thing being sharp or flat depending which way you last used the bar. You then had to nudge it the opposite direction to get it something like back in tune again.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby bato001 » 26 Jun 2012, 19:19

deltafred wrote:Back in the days when I was playing guitar the best mod I did to my Strat was block the trem.

There was always the temptation to use the wammy bar and it always resulted in the damn thing being sharp or flat depending which way you last used the bar. You then had to nudge it the opposite direction to get it something like back in tune again.


Same here Deltafred. I have an old JB Player with a locking tremelo on it and the smartest thing I ever did was remove the springs and replace them with aluminum braces to keep the trem from moving.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby sinner » 26 Jun 2012, 20:04

I don't know does it modification actually but:

Tremol-no is wonderful thing. I was using it in all my tremolo equipment axes since 2006. You can completely block the trem, set it to dive-bomb mode only (which I usually did), or unblock it completely which is also benefited - sustain is extended due to hard tail arm connection between the trem and the body. There is few versions - differences are in clamp type - I find out when I was trying to disarm it in my (now long gone) beloved LACS Ibanez and stick it into EBMM JP7.

Another cool stuff is Pickup Spring Tubing from Stewmac. Use it to stick inside of tremolo cavity springs to kill the spring ambient. Fits perfectly, and works like a harm
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby DrNomis » 27 Jun 2012, 06:26

deltafred wrote:Back in the days when I was playing guitar the best mod I did to my Strat was block the trem.

There was always the temptation to use the wammy bar and it always resulted in the damn thing being sharp or flat depending which way you last used the bar. You then had to nudge it the opposite direction to get it something like back in tune again.


Same thing happened with my Mexican Fender Standard Strat's vintage style trem, even when brand new, I could never get it to stay in tune, instead of blocking it, I replaced it with a Super Vee Double-Locking Trem in the hope of fixing the tuning stability issue, unfortunately I was wrong because even the Super Vee wouldn't stay in tune, I've emailed Super Vee.com and they're in the process of sorting things out for me.... :thumbsup

And how's this....yesterday I bought a set of Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups, installed them last night, and....one of the pickups turned out to be faulty (it was actually open-circuit) right out of the box...., just gets better and better, doesn't it?..... :roll:
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby GuitarlCarl » 27 Jun 2012, 23:56

I like a slick and greasy vibrato... and it don't need to be no high end Floyd either. There's alot of tricks to get a stock Fender style wangbar to work right. I like mine to float so I can pull back or dive. Get the nut so the strings will slide thru it an not get hung up (nutsauce) Tilt the claw so there's more pressure on the bass side. Get the intonation correct. Ditch them lightweight 9's and 10's. The tone's in your hands, get something you can grab, string up some 11's. A heavy steel or brass replacement trem block helps alot in the sustain dept too.

Carl Verheyen talks about his setup on a strat and it's what I do too...
http://youtu.be/1ZnQt9yiBMg

no load tone pots are a great mod too!
I want it to sound like bees buzzing around in a 55 gallon drum...
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby deltafred » 28 Jun 2012, 00:27

GuitarlCarl wrote:I like a slick and greasy vibrato... and it don't need to be no high end Floyd either. There's alot of tricks to get a stock Fender style wangbar to work right. I like mine to float so I can pull back or dive. Get the nut so the strings will slide thru it an not get hung up (nutsauce) Tilt the claw so there's more pressure on the bass side. Get the intonation correct. Ditch them lightweight 9's and 10's. The tone's in your hands, get something you can grab, string up some 11's. A heavy steel or brass replacement trem block helps alot in the sustain dept too.

The first proper guitar I had was an SG Special so I didn't miss the trem one bit on my Strat when I blocked it.

The best mod I did to the SG was swap the tunomaitic bridge (or whatever it was called) with a Schaller adjustable. I could finally set the intonation.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby oh7hhi » 29 Jun 2012, 08:37

I installed this Tone Cube to one of my strats: http://www.projectguitarparts.co.uk/Pages/burfordfx.html (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
Basically it's a little box that has treble bleed circuit and some other circuit that gives kind of a cocked wah-sound when tone-control is rolled to zero.

That treble bleed is great, it's even better than my "two resistors and a cap" treble bleed. No sudden volume jumps or thin sound.

Great mod IMO! And cheap!
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby JiM » 17 Jul 2012, 21:07

Basically, the most interesting mods i did are splitting humbuckers, and putting single coils in series.

My old Epiphone SG also has a switch for both pickups in series (Very fat !), and did benefit a lot when replacing pickups with SD (no more squealing at high volume, and useable neck pickup). I removed the schottky-diode passive overdrive.
My Tele has a custom 6-sound wiring, including series and half-out-of-phase.
Both have tweed-like tone control(s), that allows to dial the oversized treble bleed in and out with a small turn of the tone pot.
My Hagström XL5 is still mostly stock (already HSH with a split switch), but will someday gain a blend-like circuit inspired by this : http://www.geocities.jp/dgb_studio/index_e.htm
And i already rewired my new PRS SE with a stock schem for now, but it will have tweed-like tone and split (if the pickups survive the surgery). It needs also some nut filing, the 11-52 strings are caught there and the lightest use of the vibrato results in complete detuning.
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Re: Best Guitar Mods?

Postby Thaxt » 27 Jul 2012, 16:13

I built the Improved version of the Alembic Stratoblaster into one of my axes, placing it after the Vol & Tone controls - w a DPDT switch to bypass it. I did some lite wood chiseling to fit the battery into the compartment. I used a 2N5457 FET as the schematic indicates.

Works wonders; when you switch this simple circuit in, it will brighten your entire effect chain, as well as really driving a lot of high end thru & out of any effcets you are using. & turning up the volume is useful for all kinds of clean OD.

By itself, with no subsequent FX, you get a nice, sparking guitar tone. A real plus of a mod.
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