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Everything posted by KX36

  1. Hi Bill, The valve amp I built is my own design I made based on a great little textbook my Merlin Blencowe. It was all a big experiment with various circuits that aren't as common as those which Fender, Marshall and all who followed used to get some unique sounds. It's an EF86 based preamp, although done completely differently to the Vox AC15 circuit (which is just about the only circuit that everyone copies but was a bit of a gimmick at the time and has too much gain in 1 stage, making it generally excessively microphonic) and a single ended EL34 power amp for about 7W output. It's taking a lot of getting used to but I'm starting to find some settings I really like, not that I have the chops to play it to its full potential. I'll try to get some pictures here later, although it's not very handsome. Other than that, I have finished an overdrive pedal I started in about 2003 but lost the schematic for, I'm part way through designing and building my own channel switching 50W EL34 push-pull, I have various little circuits prototyped but not put to use and I'm contemplating building an AX84 amp too since I hang out there a lot these days. As far as removing turns from a pickup, it would lower its output, making it quieter; as well as lowering the capacitance and inductance, so raising its resonant frequency; and lowering the resistance, so raising the magnitude of the peak at this frequency slightly. Passive pickups are a trade off between not overwidning incase resonant frequency goes too low (it's a low pass filter so you don't get much signal above this frequency) and underwinding incase the output falls too low. Balanced coils will cancel the most common mode noise, so they'd be quieter, but they'll also cancel any more of the signal at certain frequencies. Effectively imbalance in a humbucker makes it slightly closer to a single coil in terms of tone but also in terms of noise. It depends how much noise you're willing to put up with for the tone. A small value capacitor in series with the pickup will effectively be the same as a coupling capacitor in an amplifier, it's a high-pass filter. If it's large enough, it will pass all audio frequencies, if it's too small it will block lower frequencies. With the right value capacitor followed by a standard tone and volume control topology, it will effectively turn the tone control into a bandpass filter. As the tone control is turned down, bass and trebble are both lost and the passband is that near the pickup's resonant frequency, getting narrower as the control is turned. I can't see this being too useful to be honest, it's not as if it will change the pickup's resonant frequency. Hope that helps, Matt
  2. Thanks for the encouragement guys. I am planning to experiment with making my own active pickups that don't have the drawbacks of EMGs etc (i.e. high compression, and output too high for my needs) because they aren't aiming for massive output for heavy distortion, but simply a different, hopefully better character to passive pickups. So this is going to be a bit more unusual and require more planning and experimentation than just getting a drill or sewing machine and bunging as much 42AWG on a bobbin as can fit. The two hurdles I can see from here are getting the right gauge of wire and number of turns for the right output, resistance, capacitance and inductance; and getting the pickup apart without ruining it. IIRC, these HOTCH and 57CH pickups are wax potted (please correct me if I'm wrong), and I don't know how to get rid of that yet.
  3. Hi all, It's been a while since I've been on here, hope everyone's doing great. I've been off building amplifiers and learning a lot about electronics. I rewired my guitar a couple of years ago, and as part of that I swapped my pickups out. I now want to try winding my own pickups and was thinking of saving some money by stripping down the old Epi ones and keeping everything but the wire. Anyone here done this sort of thing before? any tips our advice would be much appreciated. Cheers Matt
  4. There is more than 1 vibramate now, it used to limit you to a B5, which would fit on an carved top but the back end would stick up, now they make the V7 for a B7, which of course will not have THAT problem with carved tops per se; but any vibramate will limit you to a B5 or B7, (i.e. not B50/B70 or B500/B700) and gibson standard sized tailpiece studs to fit their bolts. You have to get a bigsby that fits first before you can worry about how to mount it, especially if you can make your own mount with CNC milling. If the V7 won't fit right out of the packaging and you have access to cheap CNC milling, then I'd just get your own one milled. The V7 is simply a Z shaped chunk of metal with 2 small holes for the bigsby screws and 2 big holes for the polepieces and a pair of standard sized big bolts to fit in original gibson tailpiece studs; and also a piece of metal with 4 little screw holes for a B7's back end and a bigger hole in the middle for a strap peg; not a lot really for the near $100 price.
  5. Some players carve deep holes into their fretboards between the frets for various reasons and there are some indian folk instruments which are like this. If you've got a light touch, you might not even notice there's a hole under the string... But for normal people, there are luthiers. Take it to a local luthier to see what they can do about it, or do it yourself with supplies from stew mac or somewhere like that. There are videos on youtube about how to make and insert inlays indended for people building their guitar from scratch, but I'm sure it would be helpful for you to see. The main thing I'd be thinking about is getting a piece of inlay that matches the rest and making sure it's a good fit. Some of the "luthiers" I've been to seem to think any old thing will do for a repair no matter how it looks or feels as long as it gets the job done and I can imagine someone like that handing you the guitar back with a very odd looking poorly fitting inlay that had a large gap around it filled in with some vaguely wood coloured glue... That's the sort of reason I do everything I can do myself, but there is a good number of good luthiers who love guitars and I'm sure you'll probably get a good job done if you don't want to do it yourself.
  6. If all you're doing is replacing pots, you may be disappointed with the results, it depends on what effect you expect it to have. If your original pots are broken, or you don't like the feel or taper or think they're too loose or stiff, then by all means replace them, but the sound won't be affected. Replacing capacitors CAN make more difference, but that's still pretty small unless you change the value of the cap, and even then it only really comes into it significantly if the tone knob is down. As for tapers, I've said it all over the forum many times and it comes down to the 2 pots affecting eachother's apparent taper as they are adjusted, assuming you want as smooth an adjustment as possible for most of the range of the pots my advice is as follows: If you tend to use your tone controls, the best tapers are the way Epi and Gibson do it, Linear volume, Log (audio) tone. If you tend to leave your tone at 10, then you may be better off using Log (audio) volume AND tone. There is no reason anyone would ever want linear tone. There's a link to a blog entry of mine in animalfarm's DIY thread in the Epiphone Lounge if you want a detailed explanation.
  7. I replaced my nut with a tusq XL pre-slotted for epiphone and found the slots to have been cut at the wrong angle so that on the wound strings, the string was breaking off the headstock side of the nut instead of the fingerboard side of the nut. That caused me a buzz.
  8. Hehe, my Mrs thinks I did my Jimmy Page mod for £15 and most of the new pieces of kit I get I tell her I had before we were married but had stored at my parents' house...
  9. It seems to be a pretty good mod. There have been mods before to reverse the magnet the same way but many change the wiring to reverse the winding which can cause problems if there's a safety ground and a signal ground on the same wire. Of course a lot of people just buy reverse wound reverse polarity P90s. Basically boils down to open the pickup, take out the bobbin and flip it over so that the top becomes the bottom and bottom becomes the top (just clarifying incase people "flip" it by rotating it 180 degrees which wouldn't make a difference), rotate the magnet 180 degrees so N becomes S and S becomes N; now it is reverse wound reverse polarity without having to change any wires and any baseplate ground is still on the ground wire, unlike some other mods that reverse polarity by reversing wires which accidentally puts that ground onto the hot wire And it will cancel hum in the centre position but act as a normal P90 in the bridge or neck position. Is the P90 one of the pickups where the polepieces are directly touching the coil wire or not, and is it the same for all manufacturers. It's a bad idea to remove polepieces completely if they touch the wire because there's a good chance of breaking the wire when you put them back in; but if they're not directly touching, should be a good mod.
  10. It all comes down to personal preference, what you're trying to get; do you want to sound like Slash, Billy Gibbons, '59 Les Pauls, Toni Iommi, '80s Metal players. You'd have to listen to some for yourself and see what you like, but if your laptop's sound chip is so rubbish that you can't hear the difference between a P90 and a humbucker, you might have to try a different computer or just go on the treble/mid/bass numbers on the site or if your hearing's not that discriminatory that you can't hear the difference then there's probably no point in changing pickups. Perhaps it's the pickups you're comparing... I just had a listen to a Seymour Duncan Model '59 vs a Duncan Phat Cat and there's deffinately a big difference; try and have a listen to them again. Burstbucker pro is an alnico 5 wax potted attempt at a hot later PAF copy; so they're higher on the treble and bass and lower on the mids. Normal burstbuckers are Alnico 2 so they're not as hot but have more mids, but they're not wax potted. Classic 57 are copies of earlier PAFs. Seymour Duncan do a wax potted alnico 5 late PAF copy in the SH-1 Model '59 and a copy of the earlier PAFs in the SH-55 Seth Lover. Among others, they also do the Pearly Gates which is obviously supposed to sound like Billy Gibbons' les paul. Dimarzio do the PAF classic/Air Classic, another late PAF clone. None of these are "high output" pickups. All of the above make high output pickups such as the Duncan JB, Gibson Dirty Fingers. Higher output generally means more bass and treble, less mids. The Duncan JB is a very trebbly pickup. The list goes on and on; Duncan Jazz is often paired as a neck with a JB bridge for a hot modern sounding output les paul, Duncan Alnico II Pro has more mids because of the A2 magnet but I think it is wax potted unlike the burstbuckers, supposed to sound like Slash. Quite a few of these pickups are available in different configurations; e.g. the Duncan '59 can come with or without a cover and with 1 or 4 conductor wiring. It's mainly the early PAFs and seriously "vintage" pickups that aren't available with 4 conductor wiring; The Duncan SH-55, Gibson Classic 57 etc. If you want something like a burstbucker pro; the Duncan Model '59, Duncan Pearly Gates, Dimarzio PAF classic are all quite similar; If you want something hot for metal, there are like 30 different pickups from Duncan and Dimarzio all with 4 conductor wiring. Pickups are indeed only part of the sound and the amp makes much more difference. Also, generally the better the amp, the more difference you can hear in the pickups. You need to know what you want to sound like and you should be able to hear to the differences in the sound clips on the websites.
  11. It is possible that the neck joint is loose, damaged, or has been a poor fit that was shimmed before gluing. Compare to other G400s in a shop and see if this is worse than those. Epi has a warranty that may be useful if it's a manufacturing problem.
  12. It's hard for me to visualise the problem without a guitar in front of me but... If the switch is the problem on the bridge side of the switch, shouldn't it still work through the neck in the middle position? To my mind, having it muted in the middle or bridge position would indicate a short circuit in the bridge side of the circuitry between signal and ground anywhere (possibly on the bridge volume pot) behaving like a volume pot set to zero. Possibly a bad solder joint has come loose and has touched against another joint. Best thing to do is still to open it up and have a look.
  13. Probably 200€ would be the fee for getting a bog standard guitar fitted with different pickups or a bigsby or something, something that a guitar tech could do on any guitar aftermarket; but it'd probably be more for picking and choosing woods and non-standard inlays and things like that. I just watched a video on youtube of a guitar that apparently has a blue "AAAAAA-grade" quilted maple top, some rare wood fretboard, things like that, apparently from Gibson custom shop and apparently cost him $25,000 to have made.
  14. ah right; i understand. Doctors also do something similar, they tend to use "mg" for milligrams and "mcg" for micrograms even though the SI unit for micrograms is "ug". It helps to prevent accidental overdoses; but if you're going to do that, try not to use "mg" as it's already used for something else.
  15. The 2 different places to solder a cap make absolutely no difference to sound. Wiring between volume and tone pots is the traditional way to do it from when capacitors were massive components and that's where they would fit; wiring piggyback on a tone cap is easier for mass production as the whole harness can be made more flexible with only flexible wire between components and therefore less likely to be broken on installation as the whole harness is made outside and then put in, pickups soldered on and switch clipped in. It may make a difference where you solder the tone pot and cap combination to the volume pot, soldering on the volume pot lug that joins the pickup is the standard modern way to do it, soldering on the volume pot lug that joins to the switch is the "50s" way to do it. Some people say the 50s way reduces the treble loss when the volume is rolled off, and it may do, but I haven't seen any decent controlled study to verify this. Different capacitor materials have a different frequency response. It doesn't make a massive difference in guitars, it's in high frequency radio and computing that it can cause problems. Generally, though, most people would say it's best to avoid ceramic capacitors. Sprague 'orange drops' are popular, caps aren't really expensive anyway, you could probably find a couple online for £5 with free postage. Just be careful about the value; it makes more difference than material. Also, its not 0.022mF as HouseBand says, it's 0.022uF( or written another way, 22nF). Millifarads (mf) are a large unit of capacitance and a 0.022mF (= 22uF) cap would be unsuitable. If you buy caps from a guitar supplies shop, they would know what you really wanted and probably wouldn't stock 22uF caps; but radioshack will stock them (albeit probably in the electrolytic form, which is also unsuitable), so be careful.
  16. I know people who apparently have ordered individually customised guitars before from Gibson, but I heard a while ago that the Custom Shop no longer does this and only makes their catalogue of guitars. Is this true? What sort of price range would an individual custom order be if they still do it?
  17. I agree with this. The first thing you should do is get it playable and assess how well it is set up, check out how level the frets are, perhaps have it re-set up. I have a squier with the bridge in the wrong position, there's no point in me investing in it because there's not much i can realistically do about that in a cheap guitar. Next comes buying a decent amp that is good enough to actually hear the difference guitar mods can make. I'm not talking valve amps here, but something like a 30W modelling amp like a Vox VT30 or Roland Cube are decent enough; just not something like a Marshall MG100. Next thing is to play the guitar until you have your ears and fingers trained and can reliably say where the guitar is lacking and decide what to mod or what guitar to replace it with.
  18. Thanks for the compliments. :) To me, this was great procrastination for a couple of evenings when I had more boring work to be doing. I hadn't posted it directly before because I didn't think I explained it very clearly. Animalfarm's thread's been very useful to me! I expect that scratch removal information will be usefull too after my guitar got a big gash from the Stagg hardcase it's been in for 4 years with no previous problem. The edge of the lining overlapped in the lid and where the overlap was had been glued, had gone hard and was therefore sharp. Typical, I took good care of it while modding and fret leveling only to have it damaged within its protective case.
  19. I've just written a long lnog explanation of pot tapers on another thread "No tone on my Epi G400!" page 3. I can't link to it right now because I'm on a stupid windows CE terminal without a clipboard to copy and paste the URL, but the gist is this: Tone control should always be logarithmic; a linear one will put most of the action of the knob at 2-3 unless volume is too low to hear anyway. Volume control should usually be linear; the exception being people who leave their tone control at 10. A log one will put most of the action of the control at around 7-10 unless tone is at 10, in which case it will just about be a smooth transition, but if tone is any less than 10, volume control will be squashed up into the very top of the knob. I've blogged a rediculously longwinded explanation here, feel free to skim through it or just look at the graphs if you feel like it: http://matthelyar.blogspot.com/2010/07/introduction-if-you-spend-any-time.html
  20. I'm not here for an argument, I just don't like to see people misinformed by people regurgitating common misconceptions based either on poorly controlled anecdote or 2nd, 3rd, ... nth hand data. While I agree that there is an aspect of personal preference in wiring guitars, there's not much room for personal preference in physics. The physics has been the same since way before 1965, what's true now was true then. I'll just point out what my problems are with your original post. Also, I know this has no relevance at all to the original post. Well this is the usual pseudoscientific explanation of volume that comes from real science but doesn't account for the whole picture. The basic science in it is that in an ideal speaker, volume increrases by 3dB for every doubling of the amount of energy put into the speaker. Perceived volume is called loudness and it's not an exact relationship to volume, it varies depending on frequency, a lot of the variance is to do with the complex shape of the pinna of the ear, which of course varies widely between individuals. The point is this: this explanation is trying to explain a phenomenon which is not there in a guitar's controls. If you do your own practical experimentation, as I have, you will find that an isolated potential divider between a pickup and an amplifier (volume control on its own) will produce an even change in loudness if it is linear, but will be skewed to the high end of the control if it is logarithmic. There is no need for any justification here, the results are observed and whoever's wiring their guitar can replicate it. The problem comes when you introduce a second resistor in parallel with the first (i.e. a tone pot), each pot distorts the other. A volume pot will be at its natural curve when tone is at half resistance (R=50%), but if the tone is R<50%, the volume pot will effectively be more logarithmic; if the tone R>50%, volume will be effectively made more exponential. A tone pot at 10 making a log volume pot more exponential will make it near linear, so it will sound right, but if the tone pot is anything less than this, volume will be too logarithmic and when tone is very low, volume is extremely logarithmic with most of the change in sound up between around 8-10. However, anyone doing thier own tests with a tone at 10 will incorrectly find log volume to produce linear loudness; which someone must have done and tried to explain later with the relationship between energy and volume in an ideal speaker. I had simplified this to saying most people would be better off using linear volume controls, the exception being people who leave their tone control at 10 and rarely touch it. This isn't really true either. As I say, Gibson and Epiphone both use linear taper pots as standard and they're not the only ones. Various companies have used log volume pots in the past and present, but it certainly is not "almost always" the case. Also, the marking for linear and log has changed over time and has varied by location, but at the moment, through most of the world, A is log and B is linear as you say, it's still worth testing each individual pot on a meter. If you do your own tests with a pickup, a tone control and an amplifier, you will find that a linear tone control is skewed to the low end of the knob, whereas a log tone control is far closer to even throughout the movement of the knob. The reason for this is apparent if you look at an attenuation curve for any RC filter, you will see that if the declining curve is a straight line, the frequency on the x-axis is logarithmic. The way guitars are wired up, the volume affects the tone and the tone affects the volume as they're resistors in parallel. In order to get a linear tone control to get near to a smooth transition, you would have to turn the volume down too low to hear the guitar. While personal preference can come into wiring guitars, can you think of a realistic reason why someone would want this effect in their guitar? I had simplified this by saying "tone should always be logarithmic." It was the same in 1965 as it is now. Having decades of experience undoubtedly will make you a far superior musician to me, but physics is physics, it hasn't changed and being a professional scientist, I am most likely better at it than you. But that's the great thing about science, it's not subjective; someone can come in with no experience and point something out and if it's right, it's right for everyone to see.
  21. If that fret is a little lower than its neighbours on the treble side, you can either replace the fret and then level it down to meet the rest and then crown it and any others that need it while you're at it, or you can sand down frets 17 and up to meet the low 16th fret. I had a similar problem on my 14th fret, particularly on the G string, it's pretty common on les paul style guitars where the neck meets the body. If I was a luthier or was willing to pay the £110 my local one charges, I would have replaced the fret, but since my whole fretboard was pretty uneven in the first place, I just levelled all the frets and worked especially on the area over the body to sort it out and then recrowned the whole lot.
  22. Stranded core coaxial wire in my '06 LP standard, except for a single black stranded core earth wire; using the outer conductor to carry ground between pots shields the inner core from EM interference and also carries the ground wire which had to go there anyway. Genius. The soldering was a bit messy and the whole harness was inserted all twisted up before the switch was clipped on and pickups soldered to it and all tied into a big mess with a cable tie, but the quality of the actual wire was fine.
  23. KX36


    Everyone I know who has one, loves it.
  24. +1 on both of these. Avoid solid core wire in anything that is likely to need to move at all between soldering and using. Solid core is good for working on circuit boards where the two points on the board are not going to move from each other, but any floating components like those in a guitar should be connected by stranded core, solid core just breaks after a couple of bends. When I made my stompbox, I had loads of problems because I used too much solid core wire because it's what I had to hand. I tried to be sneaky and connect the 1/4" jacks, pots and switches to the board with solid core, they wouldn't move much once the lid was on, right? Well the core kept on breaking at one point or other while I was trying to get the lid on. Should have taken the effort to drive down to Maplin, but laziness was my undoing. Also definately keep your soldering iron tips well tinned especially from the outset, I've ruined a few tips by not tinning enough when they were new. All this 60/40 stuff seems so archaeic to us Europeans, we don't use lead in most of our solder, it's a health hazard. If you're buying "Guitar solder" that says it's 60/40, you're probably just getting ripped off for standard 60/40 you could buy at the shop down the road for less.
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