Category Archives: Gear & Music

New Strat Wiring

tl;dr

The following combination of strat mods is simple to install and greatly increases the tonal palette of the instrument IMO. This requires giving up the traditional 3rd position (middle pickup), but that’s a small price to pay.

  1. Tone knob assignment – Connect the first tone knob to the neck & middle pickups and dedicate the second one to the bridge pickup.
  2. Super switch – Replace the standard 5-way with a super switch or 2-pole 5-way w/ the following wiring: N, N+M, N+B, M+B, B   This preserves all the “good” strat sounds and adds the “tele” middle sound.
  3. Strangle Switch (aka high-pass filter) – Basically just a .003 capacitor on a push pull potentiometer. This will cut out low-end frequencies and make the guitar sound so funky.
  4. Treble Bleed circut – Add a 560pf cap & 300k resistor to the volume pot to preserve tone while using the volume knob.

Continue reading New Strat Wiring

Klein Copy: Part X

Since I opened this kit, I’ve know that some fret work was going to be required. Historically this is an area I’ve avoided and sought professional help, but after spending some time on youtube, I decided I am capable of doing this. …….I just needed to acquire some tools first. The main videos I tried to model/emulate were this, this, and this. Most of the supplies came from  Stewart MacDonald. I found a lesser expensive notched straight edge and fret rocker on Amazon, and the Meguiar’s polish and buffer wheel were from an auto parts store where I had a gift card.

Continue reading Klein Copy: Part X

Klein Copy: Part VIII


My replacement JCustom headpeice arrived on Thursday from the good folks at HeadlessUSA. They were incredibly helpful with the few questions I had, and for a couple of reasons I’d recommend buying from them via phone rather than ebay like I did. While I’m not crazy about the extra length this will add to the guitar, the quality easily makes up for it. So far it’s easily been worth the money.

Continue reading Klein Copy: Part VIII

Klein Copy: Part VII

The whole time I’ve been working on this guitar the question in the back of my mind has been: is this cheap thing going to actually sound, play, and function like a “real” guitar? I’m at a point where I can’t make any real progress for a week or two but I this afternoon I thought maybe I should mount the bridge and neck, string it up, and see what she’s like. So I did.

Continue reading Klein Copy: Part VII

Klein Copy: Part I

The kit with the hardware laid in place

 

A few months ago I discovered that Alibaba distributes guitar kits for many, many, many different types popular guitars. Of course these are all Chinese knock-offs of the real thing, but they only cost a fraction of the real thing. I was leaning towards getting a Less Paul kit, but a good friend talked me into getting a Klein instead (he got one as well). For example an authentic Klein (when the company was still in business) would sell for between $2-3K (in early 2000 dollars). Currently on ebay they sell for between $5-10k. I had the pleasure of playing two different Kleins while I was in college and they are simply amazing instruments; worth every penny. However, I’m not in a position to justify that kind of money for a guitar.

….but for $89
Continue reading Klein Copy: Part I

New ROC-POT4 in My RMC 3

She’s a beauty

I’ve had my RMC3 for almost 15 years now and I still love it. This really is one of the best Wahs on the planet. I love how it comes w/ a bunch of “famous” wah settings e.g. Hendrix, Shaft, Cry Baby, etc. It sounds silly but several years ago I really had to cover Shaft on a gig. All I did was plug-in Geoffrey’s settings and low and behold it was perfect. Pretty cool. Continue reading New ROC-POT4 in My RMC 3

My Top 10 Most Influential Guitarists

I should preface this post by stating that this is simply a list of the most influential guitarist in my journey as a guitarist. I’m not claiming this is the be-all-end-all or the best “of all time” top 10.

tim-miller

Tim Miller

Favorite Album: Trio Volume 2
I first saw Tim play when I was a sophomore in high school and I’ll never forget that night. About a year later I bought his first CD, With the Distance, and it made such an impact on me that I traded ~80% of my CDs to start a jazz collection. Tim has an incredibly unique approach to the guitar. His bell-like tone mixed with long, complex phrases create an amazing sound that is a joy to listen to. He’s currently on staff at the Berklee College of Music and recently launched an on-line guitar lessons site. If you’ve never heard Tim play definitely look him up on youtube or grab one of his CDs.

Continue reading My Top 10 Most Influential Guitarists

Time to upgradde my desk

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I bought my last desk as a college student for $99 at Walmart. While it has served me extremely well, I’ve outgrown it in a lot of ways. I found it really frustrating looking for desks both on line and at retailers. There are so many out there and almost none of them do what I want. Especially not for what I’m willing to pay. Luckily a guy named Michael was nice enough to build exactly what I wanted from Ikea parts and post *all* the info on line. Not only did he build a micro-site located here about his project but he also answered several questions via email. He’s a very nice guy.

Continue reading Time to upgradde my desk

I ♥ Dimarzio Pickups

old-front
The stock setup has a multitude of settings. Each pickup is hum-cancelling and there’s a mini toggle to split the bridge and another one for the neck/middle. There’s also a push/pull tone knob that will add the bridge pickup in positions 1 & 2.

I’ve had my Tom Anderson Hollow Drop Top Classic for about eleven years now. It’s by far the best guitar I’ve ever owned. Over the past three years, I’ve found myself playing this guitar less and less as my tastes continue to evolve. In fact, my strat has been my main guitar for the past year and a half. Back when I purchased the Anderson I really gravitated to higher output pickups. Not so much any more. When I started playing teles back in 2004ish I realized that lower output pickups had a much sweeter & brighter sound. Conversely, hotter ones can sound harsh and darker. I’m not saying that all high output pickups are dark & harsh, but they certainly *can* be as is the case w/ the pickups in my Anderson. Continue reading I ♥ Dimarzio Pickups

Naylor Duel 60

After a four month wait I finally got my Naylor Duel 60 amp and 1×12 cab. ….It was worth the wait. The amp sounds incredible and is surprisingly versatile. It’s difficult to describe the sound, but overall it’s very smooth, thick, punchy, and responsive (how’s that for a generic tone description?). The drive channel is what put Naylor on the map as one of the first boutique amp companies in the early nineties. It’s a very Marshall’esq overdrive, but a lot fuller sounding. It’s hard to describe, so let’s just say it’s what I always wanted Marshalls to sound like. Continue reading Naylor Duel 60

Gotoh Tuners > Schaller Tuners


Over the years I’ve had several sets of both Gotoh & Schaller tuners. When I built my last strat I opted for a set of Schaller mini locking tuners. I went this route because this was the only locking set that Warmoth sold. In hind sight that was a dumb decision. This marks the last time I settle for hardware over convenience. The Schallers did work OK, but after a re-string they take FOREVER to settle in and hold tune. Not only that but they felt cheap and the gears didn’t feel very smooth. Even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with them I was planning to just tolerate them. That changed a few weeks ago when the high E string tuner on the developed a rough spot on the post. It basically sliced the string as it’s tuned to pitch. 100% useless; total garbage. I’ve never experienced anything like this before with a tuner. Continue reading Gotoh Tuners > Schaller Tuners