Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


WRGKMC last won the day on April 16 2018

WRGKMC had the most liked content!


  • Birthday 11/01/1957


  • Location


  • Interests
    Music, Recording, Electronics, Guitar Building


  • Occupation
    Electronic Tech, Musician, Luthier, Audio Engineer, Video Producer

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

WRGKMC's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)

  • Very Popular Rare

Recent Badges



  1. I did business with them for several decades and never had a problem. This was Pre pandemic however. The covid situation has devastated the tech business just like all others, maybe eve more so. I'm in that business and lost my job all due to the fact so many business are shut down. Even before I was laid off all my vendors contacted me to let me know normal service would be slowed dur to reduced manpower. Tube Depot - Tubes and More - Antique Radio Supply and Parts Express are all reliable companies and have had excellent customer support in the past. Best Tube choices have nothing to do with these warehouse vendors so long as the tubes are new and they are shipped without incident. Different manufacturers have different tube quality of course and finding sets that match your gear can take allot of trial and error. Some of the comments made in this nearly 10 year old thread are quite amateurish. The one post that asks about how tubes are tested and questions why tubes are sold with different breakup levels was the funniest. Most tubes test good or bad. The quality is based on mechanical construction. The construction is engineered into the design its not tweaked to give you hot vs soft tubes. There are companies like Groove tubes which sort tubes and separate them into categories of Hot Medium and Clean but that's simply a matter of taking advantage of having a wide quality tolerance. Its not like they purposely make different tubes which are clean or hot. Most pros will simply chose tube types based on experience. You get to know how tubes sound in different amps and Gravitate towards one depending on what a customer wants. Last time I bought tubes I tested around 5 different sets of power tubes and a dozen sets of preamp tubes to find tubes that sounded best in my vintage Bassman amp. Amp circuits can vary quite a bit so the the quality of sound you get from any particular set of tubes can vary allot as well. Trusting other peoples opinions beyond a certain point is therefore quite useless unless they have the same amp as you do and all the other variables like the speakers paired with the amp and even the instruments used and musical preferences all come into play with what someone might consider best. Example, someone who uses pedals may need a solid clean amp tone compared to someone who gets their drive by saturating a preamp tube in a drive channel. "Best" tubes are therefore completely subjective but you can still learn much from others. I use preamp tubes in allot of different pieces of gear so I have collected and tried many different types of preamp tubes over my lifetime. Out of the new tube types commonly sold, JJ's are solid but unimpressive. They produce allot of midrange amp may be good in an amp that needs a midrange boost on a drive channel but they lack sparkle and jangle for clean tones. Sovtek has 4 or 5 different types. All produce lack luster results. I used Groove tubes for years in my Bassman and they are actually quite good. Quite similar to the Vintage RCA tubes U used to use. same with the power tubes. I got 20 years out of a set and they were still fine when I decided it was time to upgrade. There are a couple of different Chinese factories that make tubes but since they will brand tubes with any company logo for a price, knowing which company actually manufacturers them is difficult. Marshall, Mesa Peavey and many other amp manufacturers have their stock tubes made in China or Russia and branded with their names. On top of that you have companies like Ruby tubes which buy budget tubes from China. They test the tubes to get bias matches then brand and box them with their own labels. I tried a set based on a friends recommendations and was bitterly disappointed. Not only was the sound quality noisy but the tube elements started arching out shortly after power up. Given the fact the tubes originated in China, were shipped to another factory which handled them for testing and packaging, then they were sent to another on line vendor for sale to customers, then that product was shipped to a customer in a small box thrown around in plane and delivery truck, I wasn't surprised the elements were mechanically weak by the tine I was able to try them. Dealing with a vendor who handles tubes are the time is far better as is dealing with non branded tubes. Anyway, I could have gone with the same Groove tubes on my Fender. Its what Fender uses on all their amps since before they bought that company. I did try the JJ power tubes and again was unimpressed. I got good results using their EL34's in my Music Man amp. They were one of the only brands that could handle the higher plate voltages those amps use, but now that companies are making the 6CA7 tubes again I use the correct tube type in that amp now. I went with the ElectroHarmonix tube in that amp and was so impressed by its sound I tried the same brand in the Fender as well and got superb results. The tone is clean and unmuted, and they give you at least a 20% perceived boost in volume and tone compared to others like the Sovtek and JJ's. Even in starved voltage circuits they do extremely well. Like I said, results will depends on the type of amp you use. If I had a bright amp with fingernail on blackboard tones like My buddies Peavey amp, I'd want to try different tubes to reduce that edge before messing with the circuitry. Trying different speakers is another good option because its impact on tone and gain can be much more acute. Plus its allot easier and less risky compared to messing with things like tone stacks and tube biases.
  2. Guitar adjustments are all interdependent on one another. You mess with one adjustment you will surely throw others out of whack. String height, intonation, relief are the three main ones. Others like string types, pickup height, fret height, nut height, fret wear, and players touch all need to be factored into the formula. In an ideal world, if you properly diagnose the thing that's gone out of adjustment, then adjust only that one item, you shouldn't need to mess with anything else. because that one tweak brings the instrument back to specs. Wear and tear rarely works that way. Neck relief changes with temp and humidity, and as the sap in the wood dries out. Frets wear down, nuts wear down, changing string types and gauges throws a monkey wrench into the whole situation. Once frets get worn flat on top you'll likely see the need to lengthen the strings to maintain proper intonation at the 12th fret. The problem you run into however is frets farther up the neck may see little wear and sound flat in comparison (or flat frets may sound sharp in comparison to crowned frets) The more wear the more sour a guitar may wind up sounding and you typically wind up going nuts trying to keep the guitar in tune for any one key. Biggest problem you have with fretted instruments, even on ones with perfect setups are their fixed frets. Unlike Violins have no frets and rely on finger positions to maintain pitch a guitar can play in tune in one key and be loaded with sour notes in another key. This is because string tension changes at different points along the string and the fixed frets cant compensate for it. String tuning was originally based on Pythagoras and was called Harmonic Tuning. The way this worked was by dividing the string nodes into octaves, 5ths, 7ths, 9ths etc. Problem with the actual strings is they are under tension and the mathematical vs actual don't work when you go past the first scale and start matching rudimentary and octave notes. You wind up having loads of string beating which is painful to the ears as the frequencies clash. Early orchestras using this tuning would need to retune every time they changed keys. Guitars use a tuning method called "Equal Temperament" which is far from perfect. What they do instead of having some notes in perfect pitch and others totally sour is to stretch the "out of tune pitches" across the entire fret board. Any of the notes played together will only be out by a tiny amount in order to make the instrument sound good as a whole. To someone with a highly trained ear it can still be quite crude to the ears but to most non professional listeners, they don't even notice the pitch flaws. Equal Temperament can play all kinds hell on guitar string harmonics. You can intonate the 12th fret OK using the saddles. With the right neck relief you can usually get the 5th and 7th fret harmonics to work pretty good with the open strings too, but the rest of the fret intervals can wind up sounding sour in comparison especially if you intonate to maximize the harmonics. Playing wise you learn to compensate for Equal Temperament deficiencies as a performer. When you play a chord that has a note that is a little flat, or sharp you change your finger pressure to make the string pitch change and put the chords in tune. Pulling on strings lengthwise and even pushing the neck forward or pulling back to change string tension become second nature as a player. Also as a note, learn to use your ears. An electronic tuner is only good for setting the open strings and 12th fret intonation. It has no Equal Temperament compensation built into it so setting optimal tone at all the other frets can be a real problem for someone with untrained ears. Ideally a pitch generator (found in various tuners for ear tuning) is ideal for setting up instruments. You can use it to minimize string beating of notes at any one fret while maximizing string tone. Far superior to matching one string to another too. Everything else simply takes time to acquire the experience needed to properly set up an instrument. I know people who have spent a lifetime playing and don't know jack from shinola when it comes to setting up an instrument. Some are excellent players too. They simply lack the hands on and/or ear training to do the work. I was playing violin at the age of 7 so my ear training was acute at a very early age. At the age of 12 when I got my first guitar, tweaking it to sound good was second nature. It simply came down to learning the various methods manufacturers invented to make those adjustments possible. I recommend this site to anyone interested in learning how to set up instruments. I would recommend buying a beater, (el cheapo) guitar for learning how to do tweak them. This way you avoid damaging or making main instrument sound bad when you screw things up. https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/212774786-How-do-I-set-up-my-Stratocaster-guitar-properly-
  3. My 480 had issues when I fist got it due to lack of maintenance. I replaced the frets, nut and bought new Kluson tuners and its been great ever since. I've had it for about 30 years and never needed to touch the dual truss rod either. The neck is perfect and other then a little fret work to level and polish the frets every so often its always retained its tuning.
  4. I do something similar for the past 30 years on guitars and pedals where the knobs can be hit accidentally. I use soft rubber pads which I cut to the size of the knob then melted a hole in the middle with a soldering iron. I put that on under the knob and can tweak how much friction the knob has by how far down I press the knob to the pad. Works perfectly. Your idea with rubber bands is OK for short term, I'd be worried what will happen if they are left there longer. Rubber bands are made of actual rubber and within a year or so will liquify into a sticky mess. Once that happens there's nothing stopping it from getting into the pot shaft. Alcohol based Contact cleaners wont remove that goop either. Find some thin silicone based rubber and make friction pads to put under the knobs. They will last at least 30 years before needing replacement.
  5. My buddy has a band is famous enough to have Peavey as a gear sponsor. (Mark May of the Dickie Betts Band). The amps they use are from Peavey's Pro line or gear which is way better then the junk sold to most consumers. As a Technician I've done repair work on their pro line and its like day and night compared to the budget stuff. I highly doubt changing the tubes would make much of a difference. Speakers? Possibly. Changing Speakers would create the biggest single change in amp tone. Tubes create a much smaller change in tone/drive. Many guitar pedals can easily emulate/mask that tube difference by simply changing how much gain is fed to the various stages. From what I read the amps had an analog voicing control which rewired the amp to give the amp some crude amp modeling capabilities. Nothing ground breaking there even for an amp thats 14 years old. My Ampeg V2/V4 amps had basic midrange modeling back in the 70's and was capable of sounding close to a Fender or Marshall depending on its settings. One thing about added circuitry you should always remember. Small amounts of extra components can shape tone while producing negligible levels of tone/gain suck. Adding too many components will "always" cause diminishing returns. If the basic amp design has quality to spare, tone that wont be missed if the signal is routed through additional circuitry then the benefits may outweigh the results. If on the other hand the amp block is budget quality built with mediocre or even cheap components you probably haven't got much quality overhead to begin with. By the time you run the signals through a bunch of masking circuitry the signal degradation can wind up being quite severe. There is no shortage of these kinds of amps out there. What seems like a great idea on paper may or my not translate to making it a workhorse. This goes for Tube and Solid State amps. The latest amp I bought was a Peavey Valvetronic modeling amp. Its probably made about the same time that Peavey was. The Vox uses a preamp tube as a power amp then rewires the tube to emulate several popular Class A, A/B tube amps. It then sends the signal to a SS power amp module to drive the speaker at loud volumes. Does a fairly good job mimicking some of the tones but I've used the actual amps this one tries to mimic and my ears cant be tricked into believing they are substitutes for those amps. I can get some decent results recording but live its just not there. Its not just the tone either. Much of it has to do with the amps dynamic response to the guitar strings. You can take a dozen different pedals and mimic how a saturated Marshall amp sounds but its not going to come close to giving you the full range of gray tones which exist between 100% clean and full drive. Of course if you are dynamically monotone as a performer or don't play music that exploits the ranges between black and white then these kinds of budget quality modeling amps might be your ticket. I'd advise staying away from the real deal however because an A/B comparison with the real deal will reveal the lackluster response all that extra circuitry produces. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Peavey. I own or have owned many of their amps have never been a fan. Not only because I know how they are built but because I've owned so many quality amps over the years. Lastly, Modding amps is better left to the professionals. If you have a classic amp which can be hot rodded, that's one thing. many of those amp designs have been around since the 40's and making changes are pretty straight forward. Modern amps are rarely good candidates for any kind of modding and you can usually forget the idea if it has PCB board. This particular model doesn't seen to have any schematics available. You'd be working blind making changes. You can do this with simple amps where everything is familiar. a complex amp that has a half dozen of more modeling circuits wired in, I wouldn't waste my brain power trying to mod that. It likely uses some rotary switches which already wires in most mods you might do and improving on that would require some analytical testing to be done, preferably on a computer screen using an electronics Cad program, the way this amp was originally designed. And If you're planning to do all that you can save all that hassle and expense by simply buying a more suitable amp to begin with.
  6. Looks like that amp used an unpopular flashlight bulb to illuminate the panel. Chances are that exact bulb became obsolete many decades ago as LED's took their place in most applications. There is hope however. There are still several 3, 6, 12V screw in type bulbs available. Unfortunately I couldn't find jack on that bulb type so its number cant be cross referenced. What you'll need to do is measure the voltage at the socket when the amp is turned on. My guess is, it uses the 6V AC filament voltage to light that lamp. The tube numbers should help identify the filament voltage. You can also try and find the schematic. The piolet lamp voltage should be easy to find from it. Finding an exact match will be the toughest issue. It might simply be easier to add a Fender style lamp. They are as common as dirt to find but you would need to replace the socket because the sockets are spring loaded and the bulbs gave pins that are push and turn type like tail lights on a car. If you post a picture it might be easier to determine if the replacement is easily possible.
  7. Haven't been around in awhile to respond. Better late then never. I bought a Vox VT 50 Valvetronic amp about 6 months ago which uses a single tube in its power amp. Unlike other hybrids that use tubes in the preamp circuit (or amps that have a SS preamp and tube power amp), Vox tried something different. They wired the two gain stages of a 12AX7 tube to emulate 11 different power amp stages then ran that tube into a solid state power amp to boost the gain of that tube stage. Instad of the tube being a preamp gain stage its a power amp driver that can be changed from a class A to A/B at various gain/saturation levels which emulate several popular tube amps. How well does it work? Having owned or currently owning several of the amps it emulates I can say it was a nice try technically but the actual results are not as good as some other modeling amps I've used. Like many pieces of gear it can do some things well and others not so well. I notice the choice of guitar pickups does make a difference on the front end and therefore influences the end results. An AC30 for example can have a muddy rumble using full sized humbuckers yet sound fairly decent with a Tele or Strat. I like the gain and tone of the 80's Marshall setting. The Plexi and 90's+ versions not so much. The Blonde Bassman is excellent for slightly driven clean tones, but the blackface isn't even in the ball park. The AC 15/30 aren't bad. The Boogie settings aren't my cup of tea. It has a Dumble setting which is pretty good. None of them sing out like a tube amp does however. Putting a power amp before a SS amp only does half the trick. Real tube amps on the other hand work in conjunction with a transformer and speaker to do things a SS amp cannot. It may take an experienced player with good ears or experienced string touch to feel the compression tubes produce when driving a speaker. There are many words used to describe it, but its actually something a player has to experience in order to understand properly. I've always seen it as being much better balanced magnetically in the way its power drives the transducer vs the much lower voltage SS amps. SS are fairly similar when run clean but SS lacks the ability to magnetically compress and smooth a sine wave using pure inductance the way tubes and transformers do when driven. The tube circuit alone only gets you half way there. I found that obvious using that Valvetronics amp. Driven hard it lacks the smooth recovery of an all tube amp driven to the same gain levels. Still half does well getting half way there so I do use the amp quite a bit. I do need to add or rewire the line out. It cuts the power amp off when I plug in a cable and I want the speaker to continue operating when I connect a cable for recording or for driving an additional amp. Adding a simple SPST switch to bridge the line out jacks switch which cuts the power amp off should do the trick. While I'm in there I can check and see if the tube is driven by a high or low voltage source. if its low I can stick an Electro Harmonix tube in there as a replacement. They are by far the best sounding 12AX7 tubes for starved voltage operation providing a higher db level and expanded frequency response.
  8. I wore the fulcrum blade that rests on the stud down to the point where the bridge rubbed on the wood. As a temporary fix I made the fulcrum longer by bending a piece of steel over then end then gluing it in place. The spring/string pressure did the rest. About a year or two back I found generic versions of the bridge available on EBay. Bought one for $10 then used its fulcrum plate and swapped out some of the cheaper parts with the original. Worked out very well and haven't had an issue since. As far as the stiffness goes, The bridges do have stiffer springs then most but this does preserve the tuning when the lock is released. One thing you should realize. Those guitars were designed to be used with Labella double ball strings, either 9/42 or 9/46. Anything heavier will force you to crank the set screw don too much making the tremolo unusable. I don't think you can even use 10/46 strings because it puts too many pounds pull on the strings. They made an adaptor for using regular strings on those guitars. I suggest you use 9/42 gauge, then you can back off the counter balance screw and the whammy becomes more flexible because you're using lighter spring tension on lighter strings. They are fun guitars once you get used to them. The stock EMG Select pickups don't sound bad either.
  9. Re-plating them is expensive and involves caustic chemicals and nasty poisons. Pickup covers are very inexpensive to buy however. I've bought cover sets for as low as a few dollars. Replacing them isn't that difficult either. You either need an iron with the correct wattage and a good solder sucker or you can even use a Dremel tool and a small cutting disk to cut the solder tabs loose, then re-solder the new one in place. If they are Humbuckers you do need to get the correct hole spacing when purchasing new ones. Many times the generics will work so long as you measure the hole spacing. I like the look of gold plated instruments and own several that use it but they are high maintenance if you want to preserve the instruments looks, first protecting them then replacing the worn parts. Gold plating gets eaten away by wear and chemical action. The salts in sweat is the most common cause. I'm on the set of hardware for my LP I bought in the early 90's. Changed the first set around 2000, and the second set has lasted double that so far and looks to be good for at least another 10 years before I change it again. I'm rough on instruments too. Play them all the time so its not like they are sitting in a case for months at a time. Best thing I found to preserve the plating is to apply a good layer of Carnauba wax during string changes. Turtle wax is what I use. I've gotten double the life so far on gold hardware. Avoid using anything that contains lemon oil or silicones. I used to use furniture was with lemon oil and I'm convinced it was the acidic lemon oil that accelerated the loss of gold plating. Physical wear constantly rubbing against it will do it too. Chemicals like WD40 will strip the gold off immediately strip the gold plating off.
  10. Playing skill and instrument quality are two different things which continually get misidentified. I believe its because a player bonds with the instrument when playing and masters the instrument by making it an extension of his own body, much like a person may forget a limb replacement is artificial. There are several factors which constitute a high quality instrument. Unfortunately the experience and educational levels involving basic science don't always lead players to the same conclusions when it comes to construction quality. A lack of quality in one area can lead to an abundance of quality or a lack of in another area and it takes a skilled and experienced builder or player to even recognize shortcomings if any. High quality construction materials and construction quality are going to give an instrument its best chance to produce superior tone and playability. Likewise low quality materials and construction typically produce the least likely chance. This isn't exclusive. Both can be a gamble if you buy instrument unseen and un-played. There are other things which intercede too. The amplification system from transducer to amplifier, speaker and listening environment are typically half of what you hear when it comes to electrics. Judging the quality of instrument tone through a low quality amplifier can bottleneck the sound quality and lead an inexperienced player to conclude an high and low quality instrument aren't much different. As an elder guitar builder and player I try not to confuse young players with cliché which can misinterpreted when broken down to a purely scientific level. The one many bandy about saying "Tone is in the fingers" is one of those half truths which need to be ignored by those looking for a more complete understanding into the art of music. It does set a dividing line between the performance of a player and the actual instrument that's being played but it does nothing to educate a young artists skill in finding the best instrument for his money. Some times you need to learn the lessons the hard way before the truly important factors will lead you to making the best choices too. Back in 1968 I got my first guitar after playing violin for 6 years. When it was new I had no concept of price vs quality but I knew allot about carpentry from my father from a very early age. It was no more then a year and I could detect the acoustic body beginning to warp and the playing action go south. I had a Friend who was much less skilled as a player but owned a Kawi guitar which had excellent construction. We made a trade. He though my guitar would make him a better player and I thought the construction quality made his a better instrument. I quickly found out that guitar solidly built and looked good but its tone sucked really bad. It taught me the lesson that quality construction and quality materials don't mean much if they aren't part of the formula in producing good tone. The other part I had to learn came from experience. Its really easy to fake out a low skilled player into thinking a low quality instrument is better then it actually is by simply playing it well. The physical sound doesn't get better by playing the instrument better. The raw materials of the instrument do not magically change when the skill level of the player is changes. Even though the volume levels of a stringed instrument are highly dynamic, the quality of an instrument and therefore its tone quality is fixed not dynamic. A better way of discovering a good instrument is by its fit to your performance skills. The best instrument for an individual is the one that bottlenecks the players skill the least while maintaining the widest range of high quality tone possible. That formula can vary from player to player depending on kind of physical and musical image they want to project. I'd also add, given an instruments/amps inherent limitations. Its unlikely one instrument can meet all expectations. You may want to recognize certain instruments do some things better than others and in order to achieve the widest range of sound and playability you may need more then one instrument to cover all bases. Nothing does the Fender tone better then a Fender, Gibson does the best Gibson, Rickenbacker does the best Rick tone etc. As a beginner you may not recognize the differences but given the passion to learn you'll figure out why some retain a clearly unique tone and others remain obscure.
  11. Its shouldn't make any difference at all. The Amplifier components run on DC, not AC. The power transformer steps the voltage Up/Down to fixed levels before its converted to DC. The only voltages that might stay AC is something like a piolet light or filament voltages to heat the tubes. Beyond that everything is converted to DC voltage. Most solid state amps will have voltage regulators to maintain strict DC voltage levels. Solid state components are fragile and current levels need to be maintained to prevent overheating. Even if the AC does fluctuate it wont make a dam but of difference at component levels. Tubes use less regulation and rely more on their own tolerance levels. A tube can typically take higher or lower voltage levels easily. The source would need to be off by a good 20% before you hear a tonal difference in most amps. There is one other item I should mention. A 220V supply uses half the current or a 110V. If the 110V system uses 3 amps, the 220V uses 1.5Amps. A Transformer doesn't just change the voltage to components it "inversely" changes the current Current is what does the actual work, not the voltage. Voltage is the pressure behind the current. Current is the juice that actually flows through the hose. It doesn't matter if the transformer primary is wound for 110 or 220V. It will have enough winds to handle the current safely without blowing. The output on the secondary will be identical which is all that matters. The DC components in the amp will see the same voltages no matter what. Going beyond this is you get into the theory real deep there can conceivably be some subtle differences between a 60 and 50Hz systems. Some 220V countries have 50Hz instead of 60Hz and the transformer efficiency and DC smoothing may change if all other components remain the same. How much this may affect the tone is still well within the range or voodoo electronics. I can tell you right off, in solid state it wont make a dam bit of difference because DC uses Voltage regulators. The Raw DC will always be higher then what the regulator feeds to the components. In a Tube amp? Again 50Hz doesn't matter much so long as the DC levels wind up being the same. Maybe in a crude amp, with weak components the difference could be noticed. AC gets converted from 50 sine waves per second to 100 dc half waves that get smoothed by capacitors. If the caps didn't smooth the DC or the values were low there may be more DC sag, but actually hearing it? It wouldn't be something at the top of my list to worry about. The sensitivity of peoples ears changes far more on any given day due to a number of human factors making the subtle changes in amp design look ridiculous in comparison. Besides what would you do if there was any difference. There isn't anything you can do to change the amp and local competition you may have deals with the same issue so its a stupid thing to worry about it.
  12. I have an 87 made in Japan Fender Strat. Paid around $250 for it in the early 90's and it probably isn't worth much more then that now. That's even with the top of the line pickups I installed in it. The market is so over saturated with fender guitars these days. Even if the instrument is in top condition, getting anything near list cost is very challenging. Best suggestion I have is google up the model and see what they are currently selling for. You should realize with a depressed economy like we have now, this is a buyers, not a sellers market. with so many people out of work you can buy anything you want for chump change. If you can hold on 6 months till the Holidays you might actually get a buyer and a better price.
  13. Many good suggestions but knowing which is going to fix the problem is being left as trial and error. I prefer to give advice that has someone properly diagnose the cause first before applying the medicine that targets the exact issue. Since the problem occurred after breaking a strings, the cause seems obvious to me. Each string adds from 12~15 lbs. pull on the neck. Breaking a string on a thin neck can have dire consequences when it comes to reducing relief and causing buzz. I've owned many guitars that will change pitch by 1/4 to 1/2 semitone when a string breaks, flattening a neck badly. You should never attempt to make adjustments while the instrument is missing a string. You only wind up having to adjust it back when the string is replaced. Next. Making adjustments blindly without first taking measurements so you have a point or reference to work from is unwise. There is a point where a professional will use his ears to get the best tones but that should always come after getting all the basics in good order. This site lists the tools you need and lists the basic adjustments in good order. https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/212774786-How-do-I-set-up-my-Stratocaster-guitar-properly- If your instrument is free of worn frets/nut or any other inherent defects then the three main adjustments are string height, string length and neck relief. These three adjustments are what you call interdependent on one another so they typically need to be done in a rotating order until doing one no longer affects another. First thing I do when picking up a guitar is check for fret wear and uneven frets. Pull the strings sideways to reveal the wear on the first three frets. If you see grooves in the frets you likely found one of the causes of string buzz and fret leveling will likely be needed to fix this problem using the right tools to file, crown and measure them. Even if this is a new guitar the quality of fret work can be horrific. Last Fender I bought I had to re-fret the neck to eliminate the issues with frets lifting up. Rough fret edges can be a sign of problems there as can using a fret rocker to straddle 3 frets at a time and then seek out any frets that are high. If the fret work is in good order you can jump to a rough test of the relief. You must be sitting up in the playing position for this. I know this is difficult when playing a V but you cant tilt the guitar back and adjust a guitar. Gravity will flatten the neck and cause all your adjustments to be inaccurate. I prefer to first check it using the guitar strings as a straight edge (another reason the strings must be new) Hold the first and last frets of a string down then pick the string in between. The string should just clear all the frets in between. (If you pull back on the neck you should be able to get the string to lay down on the frets). Next hold down the last fret only and pick the string at the 7th fret. Again all the strings should clear the frets all the way down the neck. If they don't, either the neck is back bowed or the nut is too low. If you determine the neck needs more relief, check the string height first. If the strings are set too low they may not pull enough to create relief. Ball park the height using ruler at the 12th fret and set the High E, 3~4/64ths above the 12th fret - Set the low E 5~6/64ths above the 12th. 3&5 6/4ths is about as low as you can get strings with perfect frets and relief set without string buzz or having strings fret out when bending. 4&6 give you a safety margin and a little meat when bending strings or digging in. Relief can be don as I mentioned above or you can do it using a straight edge. I prefer to use a notched straight edge and get the fret board level first. I typically leave a gap of .09 (width of a high E string) between the 5~6rg frets. Next I'll use a flat straight edge on the frets. Ideally, the relief at the frets should be the same but depending on the quality of the fret job and normal fret wear you may wind up having to level frets to make things ideal. Last Fret job I did I had to level the fret board before attempting to install frets. The fretboard had areas that were off by as much as 2~3mm from the factory. Once the fretboard was level, getting the new frets installed level was a piece of cake. After getting the height an relief set you can go ahead and set the intonation. Intonation can be a tricky thing on a thin necked guitar because moving the saddles can change string tension which in turn affects the relief and possibly the height as well. The guide I posted teaches you how to rough out the intonation starting with the high E string and setting it to scale length. The rest of the strings will always be longer then scale length, and the low E longer by as much as a couple of millimeters. You can use an electronic tuner here too just be sure to bring all strings to concert pitch before you tweak. You can find many articles and videos on these adjustments and I did suggest you buy yourself one of those guitar rulers. It takes all the guesswork out and that saves huge amounts of time and restores an instruments tone and playability quickly. Chances are you'll use them the rest of your life as long as you play guitar. You can buy the ruler itself for $5 or buy a kit including under string radius gauges and fret guards for doing touch up work. I paid $60 for a set of Radius gauges when the first came out so these generics are a very good buy. https://www.ebay.com/itm/For-Guitar-Bass-Setup-Premium-Luthier-Tools-Kit-11-Part-Understring-Radius-Gauge-/362852345581?_trksid=p2349526.m4383.l4275.c10#viTabs_0
  14. When you use singles with humbuckers its best to use a balanced set so you don't have volume changes switching pickups. If you're picking individual pickups form different makers it can be pure guesswork in what might match because Inductance involves several factors including magnet strengths, wire size, number or wraps, wrap density, and other things like the density/amount of ferromagnetic materials. I've done many match jobs on builds and mod jobs trying to get the best balance and you can waste a lot of time and money trying to get it right. Knowing the DC resistance is often the only thing you have to work with. Very few pickup makers list the actual number of Henry's a coil has or even the magnet type. I've gotten pretty good at getting a balance by using HB's with vintage winds and singles that have slightly hotter winds. Even there I'm lucky enough to have several dozen different sets of pickups in my parts cabs to work with. Mixing and matching can even be done prior to going through the hassle of actually installing them if you have a few simple tools available. What you need is a stereo volume meter. An old cassette recorder is ideal for this. If you have a number of HB's you want to match with existing singles, you can connect the guitar cored to one channel of the recorder, then adjust the record volume to get the meter to read about 50%. Take an old guitar cord and connect it to the leads of whatever pickup you may be considering. If the cord as a bare wire at one end soldering alligator clips to that end is ideal for testing multiple pickups. Lay the guitar on a table face up. Find a corrugated carboard box and cut it up in small pieces maybe 1X2" which can be stacked along side the two E strings and then you can bridge the strings with the pickup. Add or remove the number of cardboard pieces till the pickup matches the distance of a pickup mounted in the guitar. Now you can compare the outputs of the two pickups on the cassette recorder meters and judge whether the two are any kind of a match. You can figure with most pickups mounted in a guitar your distance between pickup and strings is typically set at a minimum of 3mm and maximum of maybe 5mm. Anything farther they usually become a bit thing and less focused. you can use the pieces of cardboard to distance the pickup to try and get a signal strength match. If you wind up having a huge distance then that pickup is likely too hot. I should also mention, the low strings will have a higher output compared to the high strings on those meters as much as double the strength with the string distances even across the strings. That's normal. Guitar amps were built to match pickups and roll off lows and highs to produce mostly midrange tones and make the pickups sound even. Pickups are not built to produce high fidelity tones and when plugged into a high fidelity amp or recorder have boosted highs/lows and scooped mids. When testing you can try each string and see how close each string matches in gain too. I would focus on the first 4 strings for matching strength. HB's typically have more bass output and shouldn't be a big issue so long as the higher strings match in gain. This testing method is better then going through the hassle of installing the pickup and often times routing the body and pickguard to fit it inside, only to discover it was a bad match before you went through that hassle or mounting and wiring it. It also makes you appreciate when manufacturers sell matched sets they've gone through all this testing and you can simply jump to installing the pickup and know its going to work well.
  15. most of the music I listen to is the stuff I write and record. I was a huge audiophile growing up and still have several thousand LP, s Cassettes and CD's I bought over the years. They were my library for learning how to be a musician. I even have the scratches in those old LP's memorized from having lifted and dropping the needle so many times to learn parts. Along with that I used to drive for a living so I'd listen to music 8~10 hors a day in the car driving from one job to the next. When I jam with other people they are mystified how I can memorize and play most of a song after only hearing it one time. They think its some kind of gift. They don't see the lifetime of ear training It took to be able to do that. I guess all those years of listening eventually turned around and started working in the opposite direction. For the past 30 years I write more then I listen to other peoples music and have gotten far away from mimicking other peoples music. If all that listening did have an influence on my writing its well masked at this point. I can mimic other artists at will but I rarely will to do so any more. Its too much like playing cover tunes which I also got bored silly playing in cover bands. I lost count of how many cover tunes I learned to play and become quite bored listening to many of them too. Playing those songs live does that to you. Simply listing has less emotional appeal compared to playing them live and getting a response back. I still enjoy finding offbeat stuff though. Friends used to tell me I had the best B side movie collection out there. In reality, the hits were so over played on the radio it was like fingernails on a chalk board hearing them so I'd find other songs by the same bands people didn't hear as often but were still very good and popular. I used to like listening to stations like PBS that had New Age and various odd forms of music. Some of the other Rock stations would also play great stuff late night early morning when they had few listeners and weren't glued to playing music on the charts. Every so often I'd hear a song I really liked but these days they don't even tell you who the artist or song name was. They aren't interested in selling music or promoting artists. When the internet made stealing songs easy, the stores that sold music collapsed. This dried up all the cash for studios to make money and any artists relying on album sales either switched to live shows as income or tried the on line music sales for a penny a purchase. Good luck with that. This Corona virus is going be the coffin nails for most working bands. No clubs open, no work for bands.
  • Create New...