Unwinding pickups

A few weeks ago the bridge pickup in my Tele failed at a gig. I’ve heard this can happen, but I’ve never seen or experienced it first hand. After exploring several options for replacement/repair, I decided to snag another Dimarzio Twang King on ebay. It’s a great pickup and I got this one new for $50. I never did any shielding on this guitar so I took this opportunity to fix that. I opted to go the conductive paint route, instead of using copper foil. The paint is actually really expensive, about $15 for 1oz. Luckily, that amount was enough for two guitars. Anyway, I decided to salvage the magnets in the original pickup and I was amazed at how much wire is used. Here’s a picture in case anyone is curious about what the inside looks like.

Strat Project

Lately I’ve really had an itch for another strat. Since my last two Warmoth projects have turned out so well, I decided to go this route again. This time around I don’t have the time or the patience for the finishing process so I’m going to have Warmoth take care of that for me. I saw this Mary-Kay white, chambered swamp ash body and pulled the trigger. I’m going to go with the six screw Gotoh 510 solid steel bridge (pictured below). Right now the body is being routed for the bridge and H-S-S pickup configuration. I can’t wait for it to ship.

Re-finishing the Tele

I got an itch around Easter to refinish my Tele. It’s going well, but taking a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I have approx. 3 more coats to go; after it cures in couple weeks I can start to rub out the finish. It going to look good, but now I’m wishing I painted it a trans-white. Oh well, maybe next time.

The BS line-up

I’ve completed six pedals now. Here’s a shot:

2x Tube Screamers, a chorus, 2x blues breakers, & a micro amp booster.

I may need to re-think my crappy P-Touch labels. Some of them are starting to peel.

Video Game Music

My brother-in-law is a very talented C++ programmer who is writing a 2D side-scroller video game. Over the holidays he asked me if I could write some music for the game. I slapped together some scratch tracks, and I think it came out OK. I wasn’t sure how well it would translate to background music for a game so I added some of my favourite classic game sounds on top to see if it would hold water. I think it’s pretty funny. Enjoy!

Blues Breaker becomes Bread Breaker

I built this pedal because I needed something I can leave up at the church. After consulting a friend who went to seminary, we concluded that it would not be sacrilegious to give this a “church” theme. I was originally going to build another Tube Screamer and call it the Jesus Screamer, but I think 3x Tube Screamers is enough. I debated calling the MBB kit Jesus Screamer, Hey Zeus Screamer, or G-susĀ  Screamer, but it’s not a Tube Screamer it’s a Blues Breaker. Anyway, Bread Breaker 5000 was the most appropriate name I could come up w/. The pedal features a white case, white knobs, a blinding white LED, and cheap white P-Touch labels. The color of course represents the “holiest of tones” that this pedal produces.

Blues Breaker Clone

I finished putting together a General Guitar Gadgets MBB kit over the holidays. I had ordered a case from Pedal Parts Plus but sense it hasn’t shown up in weeks, I used the original case for one of my GGG tube screamers. The wiring is really sloppy on this one. I’ll definitely clean that up when I move it to the permenant case. Anyway, the pedal sounds great and I couldn’t be any happier with it.

Super BS Chorus!

As always the BS stands for Ben Screamer ;)

I started building a BYOC Chorus back in November, and when I was finished, it didn’t work. I spent a lot of time going over the all the solder joints and checking the components w/ my multi-meter. I couldn’t track down the problem. A good buddy of mine, who actually knows what he’s doing, spent some time w/ me a couple weeks ago combing over the circuit. It turns out that one run to the depth pot had come loose and the trim pot was turned all the way down. Now that it functions, this pedal sounds pretty good. It’s a worthy replacement to my old T.C. Electronics pedal that I lugged around for 11 years and never used. I did such a bad job painting this kit the first go-around that I felt compelled to re-do it. The LED is white and pulses to match the rate knob. I also added a switch to change from chorus to vibrato mode; which sounds terrible – but it was available so I has to install it.

From guitars

The New BS-808


I was so pleased w/ my BS-9 that it really wanted another one with more of a vintage vibe. When the kit went on sale, I couldn’t resist. I first built this to the original 808 specs, but it didn’t sound very good. I then added the AMZ mods and the OPA3134 opp amp and now I like it quite a lot. I also doubled up on the symmetric clipping; There are 4x 1N914 diodes like my Barber LTD. It definitely gets that “Wayne Krantz” sound. I don’t think I’m 100% finished. The bass boost is either not enough bass or too much bass – so I still need to play w/ the CAPs I’m switching between. This pedal also has a little bit too much in the mids for my taste, but it still sounds great and I really enjoy using it. Since I don’t care much for the LED clippers I’m going to be experimenting w/ MOSFETs in the near future. More to come.

About done…..

From bass

It’s pretty much finished. I had some problems w/ the pickup wiring, and had to take it to a local tech to fix. It turns out that one of my grounds was bad. For some reason the potentiometers from Warmoth are very difficult to get solder to adhere to.

I got these great string guides from Hip Shot. They cost way too much money for what they are, but…….. they’re functional and let’s face it, they look cool too.

From bass

Under the pickguard

From web

I’ve had my Anderson Hollow Drop Top since 2002 and I’ve never removed the pickguard. I was overwhelmed with curiosity the other day while changing my strings so I carefully unscrewed it. You can see in the picture that the screws were laid out so they could be replaced in their original holes. How’s that for OCD?!

I did not expect an H-S-H route, but it makes since that it’s cut that way.

Bass Progress

From bass

Progress has been a little slow, but I’ve been taking my time and enjoying the process. I think the oil based finish looks pretty good; it’s more impressive under certain lights and less under others. I’ll be posting more pictures here

Warmoth Bass Project

Lately, I’ve been getting the itch to do some more home recordings, and I always feel a little guilty borrowing friends’ basses. I’ve been so happy w/ my Warmoth Tele that I decided to build another one. Like all the gear I own this will end up being somewhat unconventional. It’s a P bass body that will have J bass electronics. It’s also going to have a maple fingerboard (because I’m obsessed with that sound). I’m pretty excited about the new project. ….more posts to come.

My homebrewed Tube Screamer

What’s in the box

I received my ITS8 kit promptly in the mail and spent a a good part of Saturday putting it together. This video was a great refresher for soldering. I spent the most time trying to get the wiring nice and neat. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for my first build. I used the pedal at church on Sunday and it’s sounds awesome.

DIY Pedals?

I’m huge fan of DIY (do it yourself) projects. I don’t necessarily have the best track record for completing and sticking with them (like the radiant barrier in my attic), but I still enjoy getting my hands dirty on all types of DIY projects. One successful endeavour was my Warmoth Tele which I put together and love playing it. Anyway, a couple weeks ago i stumbled across a web site www.buildyourownclone.com and was fascinated by what they sell. They have all kinds of DIY pedal kits that are clones of famous vintage pedals. They use top notch parts, have great, detailed instructions, and offer a lot of the popular “mods” for these pedals. To be honest I was really sold by the mods and the price. They also have an excellent forum w/ tons of great info.

After digging around it didn’t take long for me to find their competitor, www.generalguitargadgets.com. Their site is a total mess, but the price is right! I ended up purchasing a tube screamer kit form these guys for the following reasons:

  • The case has the input jacks on the top instead of the sides. (all pedals should IMO)
  • For $8 you get the parts to do the Landgraff mods ($400 for a real Landgraff!)
  • The kit was $30 bucks cheaper ($74 shipped).

…more to come.

The Tubescreamer, An American Classic

I’m not sure what it is about the Ibanez Tube Screamer that has fascinated guitarist from it’s conception in the late 70s. Guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Trey Anastasio, Scott Henderon, (and thousands more) have all sworn by some variation of these pedals. These iconic seasick-green pedals, or one of the many clones, can be found in just about every guitarists’ rig. If you play the guitar this is a must have! Continue reading “The Tubescreamer, An American Classic”