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Favourite guitar mods

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Nebulous, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Nebulous

    Nebulous Daniel

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    Where in the past I didn't want to believe in the snake oil aspects of guitar mods/ parts replacement and just accepted my production guitars as-is, some recent reading on other forums of big block and trem stoppers for Floyds has piqued my interest in their validity.
    Of course, those other forums aren't recording based so no one is able to supply any comparison clips.

    That's where you lads come in- what are your favourite mods and do you have clips to show the difference?

    Can be anything from changing pots from 250k to 500k, big blocks, bone nuts, trem stoppers, nickel vs stainless frets, etc.

    I'd suggest perhaps staying away from pick up changes here as there are already plenty of threads on that, unless your mod is specific to a certain brand or type of pick up.
     
  2. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    1mohm pot for aggressiveness if extra needed. Block off my trems with 9 volt batteries, desolder tone knobs, upgrade jacks and all the usual suspects for tour spec.
     
  3. Nebulous

    Nebulous Daniel

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    Nice. Thanks amarshism.
    Creating this thread I did a bit of googling and for the first time heard that there are 1M pots that are apparently used with active pickups. You use these on passives too?
    What sort of difference have you noticed in desoldering tone knobs?

    I've been really interested in blocking off trems with various products, but haven't heard of the battery trick. Had you compared this with other products or materials?
    I've got a second hand Jackson DK2M that had been blocked by the previous owner with a peice of wood, unfortunately glued in so I haven't been able to do a before/ after on it.

    Yep, I'm full of questions in this topic, especially when it comes to cheap tricks that work!
     
  4. Harry Hughes

    Harry Hughes   ‬‬

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    ^Active pickups use 25K pots (EMGs) or 100K (various Seymour Duncan offerings).
    Not sure where you're getting the 1M figure from. That would render the volume knob virtually a switch at that point with very little usable range

    Regarding removing tone knobs, you'll get a tiny bit more brightness.
    A side by side A/B clip with guitars by themselves, you'd notice the difference, but in other situations (jamming with a full band), you wouldn't really notice it.
     
  5. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    All of my guitars get Schaller straplocks, a stereo Switchcraft jack (required if active, with passives it's just extra robust), tone knobs clipped, and a hairband behind the nut for string ring. TOM bridges get electric or gaff tape behind the bridge for ring there, as well. All trems get springs dampened with foam and either blocked (floating) or tightened as much as possible (vintage).
     
  6. Nebulous

    Nebulous Daniel

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    I mis-quoted the Wiki article slightly, but they apparently doo exist:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_wiring
    Value - the resistance between the two outer lugs. The most common values are 250 kΩ (for single-coil pickups) and 300-500 kΩ (for humbuckers), although values as high as 1 MΩ have been used. 25 kΩ pots are used with active electronics.
     
  7. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    Ah yeah, as stated by Marshy, 1meg pots = more highs and output through = more aggressive. Not to be used with active pickups; you won't notice any detriment in sound but the knob will act like more of an on/off than a smooth taper from 0 to 10.
     
  8. StoneLord

    StoneLord LurkMachine Pete

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    I upgraded my Ibanez edge trems with brass blocks. Huge difference in bottom end and overall volume.
     
  9. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Stainless steel frets were the best mod I've had done to one of my guitars. It's not so much a tonal thing, but more about the feel. Less friction = more buttery bend and vibrato.

    Have a feeling in the near future it'll be the Evertune bridge, for recording purposes.
     
  10. JeffTD

    JeffTD Senhor Testiculo

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    Ooooh god yeah, the SS frets thing is huge. My Tele has them and if I get to the point where I have enough disposable income, my Stinnett and Strat will, too.
     
  11. Trevoire520

    Trevoire520 Member

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    I've done the 1 meg pots on my guitar, didn't notice a massive difference to be honest. Also ripped out my tone pot and replaced it with a tight switch, thats pretty cool for low tuned stuff but I'm still trying to think of anything more useful I could put in it's place instead.
     
  12. nezvers

    nezvers Beast

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  13. exoslime

    exoslime Member

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    - unsolder the tone pots, (i have done it on most of my guitars)
    - replacing the volume pots with highquality rough-running parts like CTS Pots, there is nothing more worse than self-regulating pots on a guitar because they are too loose
    - checkin the nut, if a string wont stay in tune its most likely because of the nut, either replace it to a graphtec tremnut or
    if replaceing the nut is not an option, you can use graphit or some lubrication film to lessen the issue
    - installling schaller security locks

    the next thing is changing pickups, this can be quite an adventure as replacing a pickup can make the result better or worser.
    If you feel very comfortable playing the guitar, but you have some worries about the electric sound, a pickup change might cure it. i have bought many guitars and havned changed the pickups on all of them, on some of them i did, and when i did, then most of the cases like 3 or 4 times until i found the pickup that really delivered what i was expecting.
    if you buy them 2nd hand you wont loose much money as you can sell them for the price you have bought them, so you just loose your own time and a pack of new strings.

    another thing whats very important on a guitar is its setup, if you are not very confident with setting up a guitar, either learn it, or bring it once in a while to a pro guitar tech.
    they can really do magic to your guitar, and make an overall mediocre guitar more awesome than an super expensive customshop guitar guitar with bad setup.
     
  14. Megin

    Megin Member

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    Graph tech nut and bridge on the Schecter. Jimmy Clip for string ring behind the nut and the bridge.
     
  15. Notuern

    Notuern Bloody vaginal belch

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    Treble bleed the volume pot(Allows you to decrease the volume and still have a clean and crisp sound.)
    Remove the tone pot(Even though i play different styles, i rarely touch the damn thing anyways.)
    Using many soft springs makes for smooth tremolo action, using fewer and harder springs gives you more pick attack and sustain
    Adding a brass nut to a les paul(Which gives it the attack of a strat, but the sound of a les paul.)
    I always adjust my pickups so that they are higher on the treble side, like this: http://www.kitrae.net/music/DG NOS pickup height.jpg (Reduces the noise when soloing and makes open chords sound more balanced.)
    Putting some soft material between the bottom of the pickup and the body may increase the clarity in your sound(But may also reduce sustain.)
    Using serrated nuts for your volume/tone controls and input jack to prevent them from becoming loose
    Wrapping the springs and strings above the nut in soft materials to remove unwanted rattling/noise
    Putting electrical tape on your strap locks to keep them from rattling against each other(Usually only a problem on cheap ones though.).
     
  16. guitarfishbay

    guitarfishbay Member

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    It is handy to have some big bends nut sauce around if you track a guitar with a crap, sticking nut and don't have the time or skill to fix it. A cheap alternative can be vaseline mixed with pencil shavings, applied with a thin wooden tooth pick.

    I use masking tape for string muting where needed, if you have to stick it down to the wood it won't leave as much gunk behind as heavier duty tape. Yes you can just tuck regular tape in around the string itself but I find it quicker and easier to just wrap around behind the nut with masking tape.

    Another alternative for stopping trem spring ring you might have around the house already is cotton wool.

    I've got a callaham block and saddles on my strat, they definitely changed the tone. The previous set of saddles were graphtec ones though and I thought they robbed the guitar of some high end, so any change back to metal would've probably yielded a positive result for my tastes.

    I have a push push switch on the tone control of my Fender Strat to activate the neck pickup, meaning you can get pseudo tele middle position tones from bridge and neck. Won't nail the real thing but much cheaper than buying a Tele too if you're on a budget.

    As for trem stoppers I assume you mean a Tremol-no type device? I have had them and they do work but are a bit fiddly to use live and the thumbscrew can fall out if left loose. For studio work they're great IMO, especially if you have a limited number of guitars. The low end feels a bit more solid with the unit fully locked down compared to the trem free floating, I never took an A/B comparison recording before selling the guitar though.

    As for my general feelings on modifications -

    I've had probably 20+ electrics now and almost all of them have been modded in some way until the last 3. My own conclusion is that most of the time you're better off getting an instrument that ticks the boxes or very close to all of the boxes first time round rather than going on a wild goose chase upgrading something it until it sounds right, often spending plenty of cash along the way. The whole 'buy once, cry once, be happy' mindset.

    The only exceptions are when you have a very clear goal and know with at least some certainty you will like the modification - e.g. swapping pickups to EMG actives or replacing the frets with SS. Obviously things like better jack sockets and strap pins are functional upgrades that are worth considering, I'm more talking about things that change the tone or performance of the guitar.
     
  17. Rex Rocker

    Rex Rocker Call me Hugo!

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    Grover or Gotoh 510's tuners. Grovers if the guitar is not fancy or has a locking nut, Gotoh if the guitar is fancy and doesn't have a locking nut.

    Either dual volume or single volume configurations. No tone knobs.
     
  18. Nebulous

    Nebulous Daniel

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    With the brass block did you find that the low end clarity was compromised because of it being more prominent, or was it still tight?

    I've considered stainless frets, but they can be hella expensive to get done right. Still not sure which way I'll go on these.
    I managed to wear down the Schecter really quickly with it's stock frets.
     
  19. StoneLord

    StoneLord LurkMachine Pete

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    No boomy low end, more defined if anything. The trem flutter was lessened a bit though.

    This dudes video shows the difference fairly well:

     
    #19 StoneLord, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  20. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    2.5k is always pulled out of my wedge on the graphic to stop trem spring ring.
     

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