(9 replies, posted in Electric)

A wah is a big part of it. Start with a bright, clean sound - Fender single coil equipped guitar into a clean amp. Find the sweet spot in the travel of the wah pedal - the point where it makes the "wah" vowel effect. Next, play a funky chord thing using a lot of minor 9ths, muted and unmuted, precussive string rakes and so on. Sync the pedal operation with the pick attack so the pedal starts set to a very dark tone, strike the string so the pick attack sound is 'in the dark' then quickly move the pedal through the wah effect to a a thin treble-y tone. You can even mute the strings and just pick out a choppy, precussive noise while you work the pedal.


(5 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

If it is a decent guitar, it is worth getting it done by a pro.
I've built several guitars totally from scratch and many from parts, but I still take them to someone else to get the nuts cut. Wow, that sounded bad.
Anyway, it is important to playability and intonation.

I think you were right the first time.
The preamp in the Zoom will probably drive headphones without any help.
Line level and headphone level are close cousins.
In fact, the Zoom website says:
"Output (Used as both Line and Headphone) : 1/4"Stereo Phone Jack x1 "
You can also run it into the soundcard line in on your computer.


(9 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

Solid state amps are less sensitive to impedance than tube amps, because they generally do not pipe their output through a transformer.

So if the internal speaker is 8 ohms and the spare out is wired in series, and you add another 8 ohm speaker, the amp will see 16 ohms as a load.

If the amp makes, say 65 watts with an 8 ohm load, a parallel speaker would reduce the load (4 ohms) and ask the amp for more output (100+) while a series speaker would increase the impedance of the load (16) and cause the amp to make less output (~30 watts).

Though, a doubling of speaker surface area would increase the apparent loudness by about double, so you get almost the same volume (or just slightly more depending on the efficiency of the speakers) but you will get a much wider sound field and so, better coverage.



(10 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

I have not been able to play a Vintage personally, but I have heard nothing but good things about them.
This may be a no-lose decision.


(10 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

Based on history, track record and painful attention to detail, I would pick the Tokai. It is probably the equal of a Gibby that costs 3X.


(1 replies, posted in Electric)

ok - new stuff now.
still a few typos and formatting glitches, but new at least.


(2 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

Just thinking out loud here, but if you put a coil-splittable humbucker on the at the bridge and a strat-like single coil at the neck with a strat 5way switch, you could wire the 3 coils like a strat, but get these:
1 - neck single coil alone
2 - neck plus bridge single coil, like a tele position 3
3 - bridge singlel coil 1 alone
4 - bridge pickup as a humbucker
5 - bridge single coil 2 alone

Alternately you could use a tele-style 3 or 4 way switch and a push-pull volume control to split the bridge humbucker.

Man, don't get med started on 'what ifs' ; I tend to blather on.


(1 replies, posted in Electric)

I have not been able to update GoodGearGuy.com in the last couple of weeks, but I'll make a real effort this weekend. Meanwhile, the new gear keeps passing through here. I am currently abusing a new red Ibanez GSR200 bass and an Agile AD-201. I've even made some sound samples.

As is my practice, I'll do one write up on the stock functionality and then mod them both to better match my expectations and write about that. Already, I can see that both will be getting rewired at least. That said, I really like both instruments...I just like to work on stuff I guess.


(8 replies, posted in Electric)

Sometimes you just do not get that unwound G or B to really grab the post when it is installed. In that case, they will lose tune fast, but be easily tunable. It drives you nuts. up an ddown an dup and...


(12 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

Excellent. I will be anxious to hear the comparison. Isn't it true that deer (including moose and elk) drop their antlers at the end of the breeding season? If so, a walk in the woods this spring might result in finding more bridge and nut material than anyone could ever use, for free.
BTW badeye, if antler is anything like bone, set your bandsaw to a slow speed to reduce the awful burning-hair smell.


(12 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

Antler would probably work nicely. People use mastadon ivory, laminated mother or pearl and all manner of things. Left over scraps of Corian counter top material is excellent too. I bet antler would smell just as bad if you use power tools on it.


(12 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

I agree. I like bone saddles and nuts. Sometimes I just go to the pet store, buy a bleached cow bone and carve my own - cheap but stinky. Still, they sound really good.

I am not a good guitar player, but I can sound like one for a little while.

Between understanding what is going on inside the equipment and being lucky enough to have watched numerous pro players at very close range, I can summon nice tones out of unfamiliar gear in mere seconds. That, said, don't ask me to play a whole song; testing gear has reduced my playing to a series of short snippets that check one technical feature or another.

Point is, while it can take a while to learn about the under-the-hood electronics part, you can sound better in under 3 minutes by improving your touch.

When a pro player comes to the bench to try out a new guitar, amp or pedal, I see a touch that is 1 confident, yet capable of subtlty and nuance, 2, strong enough to get full dynamic range from the pickups, in-tune bends and crisp hammer-ons and 3, precise enough to make more notes than noise, to mute unwanted sounds, fret cleanly and stay in tune.

When a non-pro comes to the bench, some are pretty good. The ones that are not often lack touch. Their address to the instrument is either too brutish - wrenching notes out of tune, playing everything Forte with strings and frets buzzing from abuse, or they barely brush the strings making a quiet, weak little noise.

One common thing the too-loud and too-quiet players share is practicing way beyond their skill. While we have to push ourselves to get better, it builds tone to practice below your skills once in a while. Give Stairway and Crazy Train a break tonight and pick something dead easy to practice. Then make every note and every chord clean, precise and confident. Slip in that little flourish, since you are not struggling to just keep up.

So, I call on everyone to practice touch and tone in the same way one might practice chords or scales. Pick an easy number and put a little extra into it, rather than playing almost good enough on a complex tune. Make every sound clean and confident while muting everything else. Hit the strings hard enough to get rich tones, but not so hard that they slap frets and buzz. Vary your touch from gentle to muscular. Change you pick position to change your timbre. Try this for 3 minutes per day and you will hear the difference in no time.

Ok, end of the soapbox speech. I see a lot of people spend big bucks on gear that really just need to improve their touch. Don't be that guy, Chordians.


(3 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

You can do that - open the panel, remove the pot, find the opening near the connections and spray in pot or tuner cleaner. Then give it a good wiggle to dislodge the grunge. It is a temporary measure, because pot rot has started.

In a vintage guitar, with original solder joints and correct date codes on the pots, I'll take extreme measures to keep that original pot in there.

On a daily player, swapping in a new pot might take 1 minute more than a cleaning and costs about $3. You can do it in the same time as it takes to describe it and a new pot is a definitive solution. Like a new tire instead of a retread.

If you decide to use a cleaner, remember to spray it in the hole in the pot's case, then rotate the shaft. I've seen people spray it on the shaft, back of the case or other unlikely spots and of course, get no results. Also watch out for overspray and give it about 30 minutes to dry. What at first seems like only a minor improvement gets better as the solvent evaporates and leaves lubricant behind.


(31 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

See, people with the dexterity and desire to play guitar can learn to set up a guitar. A handy thing, if you intend to play for years to come.


(3 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

It is not a difficult or expensive job. A local shop should be able to do it very easily or you could tackle it yourself, if you are inclined.

If you do it yourself, getting the right pot is important to good results. If your guitar has humbuckers, it almost certainlyhas a 500k ohm, audio taper pot as the volume control. If it uses only single coil pickups, rather than a mix, it likely has a 250k ohm, audio taper pot. If the top of the guitar is carved / arched like a Les Paul, you'll need along shaft pot, otherwise the standard type is the best choice.

A pot has 3 connections - top, wiper and bottom. Normally, when used as a volume, a signal is connected at the top, the bottom is connected to ground and the variable wiper int he middle is the output. As the pot is turned, the wiper moves, changing the resistances between signal and ground. Turned up, the wiper is near the signal connection, so there is low resistance to the signal going out on the wiper, but a high resistance to it getting drained off to ground. Turn down and the opposite is true.

Anyway, the steps are: open the access panel on the back of the guitar by removing some screws; do a quick visual inspection to see that there are no broken/loose wires and the pot value is correct (look for a printed 500kA on the back or side); Desolder the connections making a note, if needed about their position and orientation; pull off the volume knob (check for a set screw first, but many just push on); loosen the nut holding the pot in place being careful not to scratch the face of the guitar; extract the old pot; before installing the new pot heat a spot on it's case and flow a little pool of solder onto it, for grounding, as this is a high heat operation compared to the rest of the job and so, easier done on the outside. Finally, install the new pot, orient it, tighten it down resolder all connection. The last step is to replace the access panel and knob.

Here are the detailed instructions-
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Speci … ns#details

You sand using a block, to keep it really flat. That way only the high spot (new material) gets sanded. As you get close to level, you will be wet sanding with fine grit (maybe 1000-1500), so it will dull the surrounding area when you hit it, but only slightly. When you buff the whole area (usually with auto clear coat compound) it will make the new and old match. It is a lot like the mini version of auto body work.

The typical method, if it really is lacquer, is something called a burn-in stick. These rods of solid lacquer come in many colors, to match any finish. To use them, you heat up a flexible, metal palette knife. Use the knife to partly melt and 'smudge off' a bit of the lacquer. While it is warm and pliable, work it into the scratch. Then, level it, sand and buff it as per normal. This kind of repair is often totally invisible.

They stock them at Stewmac:
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_s … ticks.html
but lots of high-end woodworking shops carry them too - Woodcrafters, Rockler, Paxton.


(31 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

A surprising number of touring guitarists, even the ones with full-time guitar techs, are pretty good at setting up their own instruments. I've seen them pull truss rod wrenches, nut or fret files out of their kit bags and go to work. Point is, if you have multiple instruments and are handy with tools, try to gradually learn these skills, for the same reason that my father-in-law made my wife change the oil in her first car, back in high school.


(20 replies, posted in Electric)

"I think everyone's 1st guitar should be a strat (or at least a copy of)."

If only you could get one with a hard tail bridge.


(5 replies, posted in Electric)


The site is just getting started, but enough gear goes through my hands every week that I should have a near constant supply of new material. People come by all the time with ads or links to gear they are thinking about buying, to ask questions. One day, an associate (Richie) said, "Man, you need a web site - just post the stuff you talk about everyday". So, I am trying it.

I've been a lurker at Chordie for some time. As you can imagine, if you are testing guitars and amps everyday, a handy bunch of song tabs is a great resource. smile


(5 replies, posted in Electric)

Thanks for the bump!
Indeed it is true.
I recently bought a cheaper Agile 2000 ($200)and one of the other guys in the shop bought the nicest one ($450). Both play great, after a little set up. Mine had stock ceramics which were too bright, harsh and raty for me.

I like Alnico 2 humbuckers (think Slash, ZZ Top, Dickey Betts, early T Rex, Government Mule and like that). So, I tried the Rockfields (from GC @ $50) and a similar model from Guitar Fetish (for $40). Both were a huge improvement and pretty similar to each other, with the Rockfields being a little hotter and the GFS ones being a little more hi-fi. Both also killed his Agile factory Alnico 5 pickups.

Now this thing plays and sounds like rock in a box. It was a good deal and better pickups made a huge difference.

BTW, don't believe the hype - the pots, jack and switches are good quality. I bought replacements before I looked inside but the factory had used the same Alpha pots, Switchcraft jack and quality switch as the very ones I bought. D'ohh.


(45 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

nakalkn wrote:


After reading all your letters and experiences, with lousy guitars. I do not feel as bad as I did before. I bought an Ibanez AS 73, from some seller off of E-bay.
I bought this guitar for about $320.00 plus shipping, which I bided. I thought I got it for cheap, which it was not. I found out later that the jack was broken inside of this f-hole guitar and I can see no way in fixing it, berceuse it has no cover in the back, to open for repairs. I do not know if it could be fixed. I am just going forward and learn from my one of many mistakes I’ve made in my life. The old saying is; “YOU DON’T GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING�� .

Man, I just fixed one of those (well a Gretsch) about a week ago. If you are handy with tools, you can fix it, but it requires patience.
It goes like this:
Get a new set of strings.
Take the old ones off and set aside.
Pull off all the knobs and loosen the nuts on the pots (locking washers will fall inside the guitar).
Unscrew the trim ring on the bridge humbucker.
Lift the pickup out go the guitar.
Connected to it will be all of the pots - volume and tone control, plus the broken jack.
turn it over and shake out any loose washers, etc.
Connect up (solder) a new jack in place with everything on the outside of the guitar.
Use the old guitar strings to pull the pots and jack back through the body cavity (tricky)
Tighten them all back up.
Put the bridge pickup back in place.
Single malt scotch (optional, but recommended)