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WRGKMC

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WRGKMC last won the day on April 16 2018

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About WRGKMC

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  • Birthday 11/01/1957

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

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I have two of the newer 15W valve state amps. Ones the older version and one is newer with built in effects. They are actually loud enough to rehearse with a drummer if you use the pair. I mainly use one for practicing in the living room. I can dial it up to a low volume with saturated tones and practice my riffs. I've used both with stereo effects pedals doing acoustic jams. Actually sounds pretty good. Light and portable too. I bought both for under $50 and the amps still sell for incredibly high prices used. Most of the ones you see are either new or close to $100 used.
  10. That's actually not a bad price. Someone could use what they need and sell the rest for a profit. You can get the stuff that's already tinned here for $6 a foot and it goes down in price the more you buy. https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-8-I-D-Braided-Stainless-Steel-Tubular-Sleeve-Wire-Cover-For-Harley-Hot-Rod-/263580011167?_trksid=p2385738.m4383.l4275.c10&var=562631699666 You know I have an old Teisco that uses a flat metal spring as a grounded conduit for the wiring. Its even soldered to the pots for a solid ground. The body didn't have any pickups when I got it but the original pots from the 60's were still good. I simply ran the new wires through the conduits and its still working fine 20 years later. I was thinking, Having three separate braiding conduits under that pickguard does add allot of unnecessary wiring. Its about as overkill as shielding an entire cavity to simply shield one hot wire. All you really need in a Strat is one tube, that extends from the bridge pickup to the controls. The middle and bridge pickup wires can share that same shield. It passes under those pickups and you can simply poke a new hole in the braiding at those points using a pencil to create a hole and feed the additional pickup wires through to the controls. It would surely be a lot neater too. I had to use hot glue to get the 3 sets of braiding to lay flat and manageable in order to get the pickguard back in place. It sure would have been easier and cause less chances of shorting using only one.
  11. Sure, I'll see what I can do for you this week end. I don't do much during the week besides play. I have to pull the pickguard off that Strat this weekend to rewire the pots. I have to remove the neck to get at it because the neck overhangs the pickguard. You'll be able to see how I added braded shielding over the pickup wires to eliminate hum. That braiding is super hard to find. They had some left over at work they were going to throw away so I claimed it. It costs about 40 cents a foot if you can find it. Once I get the pick guard folded back I simply need to add the caps which should only take a few minutes but its worth a before and after photo for someone wanting to make those changes. I never found the stock wiring for a Strat all that useful. Granted, if the bridge pickup is super shrill it might warrant its own tone pot but with the kinds of balanced pickup sets being sold now that's become more of the exception these days instead of the rule. I rarely if ever use a tone pot except maybe when the strings are new and a bit bright. I can use a global tone control for that and use the extra pot for something else. I might want to make one a treble pot and one a bass pot. Using both evenly can give you that Clapton woman tone. Getting the second pot to roll off bass comes down to using caps as a high pass filter series with the signal. Caps pass AC Voltage. Instead of passing the high frequencies to ground you use the cap to only pass highs to the output jack. With the right values selected the bass wont pass but the treble and mids will. This makes it a bass pot. Full up, it passes all frequencies, full down it removes all lows and enhances the quack tones Strat pickups produce. Using those .033uf caps will remove treble leaving the midrange. Using both pots will leave nothing but midrange, thus the woman's tone plus all kinds of variations based on how much you dial up and the pickups selected. I have one other Strat with this plus I removed the 5 way switch and installed 3 toggles which are also forward reverse phase switches. The tonal combinations I can get are excellent.
  12. I did get that new bridge in but I haven't taken any photos since I put it on. To be honest, it didn't make that big of a difference because I essentially have the bridge set the same way as I had the classic style set. I did discover something interesting in the process however. Angling the barrels didn't have the same effect as adjusting separate saddles. Example, you would think if you turned the E/B saddle counter clockwise, the E string would increase in pitch at the 12th and the B string decrease. That theory is less predictable because the string angle is very steep coming off the saddles with a string through body design. Lengthening or shorting the strings changes string tension therefore countering the string length by changing the amount of relief the neck has. Turning the saddle clockwise increased the second strings tension and the intonation went up instead of down. Pretty crazy actually because its actually the opposite of everything you're told. The other thing is the angled barrel isn't good for tone or tuning. I got allot more string buzz too. I suspect its because the breakaway point on the string gets longer. With the barrel at a right angle to the string the breakaway is sharp and affects the strings vibrating in either direction and the string tone is pure. When you angle the barrel the vibrating string hits the barrel sooner on one side then the other and there is more string buzz at the barrels. I did the test multiple times using highly accurate measurements to rule out all other possibilities and my conclusions remain the same. Angles barrels are not a good method of intonating strings. maybe if the saddles came to a point like an acoustic bridge does so there isn't large area for string contact it would work. many saddles are angled and have no problems because the contact point is very narrow. Large wide barrels are more like a Buzz bridge for sitar tones as you turn them sideways. At least for the string gauges 9/46 I use. I used a micrometer to set the barrels at a perfect 90 degree angle to the frets. From there I could tweak the intonation and it sounds great for chords or leads. One other item I used which was one of those Dial type string measurement tools. Normally I'd set the first string height to 3/64ths and the 6th to 5/64ths using a ruler then use an under string radius gauge to set the rest of the strings which gets the action about as good as you'll ever need it. Instead I used this. These will measure string height down to 1/1000 of an inch or even half that much. These are normally used for setting nut height but I found that can be used for string height at the 12th as well. I set the strings from High to low at 35/1000, 40/1000, 45/1000, 50/1000, 55/1000, 60/1000, 65/1000 I get no string buzz, strings bend really nice, I don't get fatigue playing chords and the intonation is excellent. Not much more I can ask for. I do question the accuracy of this ruler however. I bought 2 of these, 2 different types on EBay and neither seem to measure the correct height 60/1000 on the ruler is closer to 50/1000 on the dial type meter. I don't think they stenciled those generic rulers very well plus looking under a string can create a shadow making the accuracy tougher to read. In any case I got better results using the dial type in this case and I can play now without sour notes or buzz where those were an issue before getting things set right.
  13. Bit by bit I been getting this tele up to my performance standards. This week I did some more tweaking to the electronics. I didn't buy the best pots out there and though they work fine, they tend to get a little dark rolling off those new alnico pickups I installed 2 weeks ago. I also wired the to pots differently then a normal tele that has a master volume and tone. I instead wired the two pots as separate volume controls for each pickup which I prefer, especially for recording because I can get changes to the pickup levels without having to adjust their height. Even there it was only good when adjusting one pot lower by 1 or 2 numbers. any more it had little effect> I picked up a bag of 25 .001uf bleeder caps for $2 I also bought another 10 .033Uf tone caps for $1. I figured I'd restock my parts cab. The trick to buying them low cost is to search by value, not by what you want to use them for. When I first googled Bleeder caps I was seeing single caps for $5 plus $2 shipping. Quite a price gouge if you don't know how to search. I found them in bulk for much less with free shipping. I really like what they do when turning the volume down now. The caps are actually quite mild. I could probably double or triple them and still not need a resistor in parallel. I'll probably keep it as is though. I have a nice range of mix using one pot only and when I turn them both down a bit then blend they have another range of blends which are even cleaner sounding. It essentially doubles the tonal range I had before which is exactly what I needed. I'll likely put a .033 and a bleeder in the Strat I built. The cap I have in there is too mild and barely makes any difference. I'll have the bleeder connected to a pot so I can either dial it in or out completely as the volume is used. I like both options on a Strat. sometime I like them to darken depending on the drive pedal used, other times I like it to brighten and get a classic Strat Funky clean sound when turned down.
  14. I been dealing with surge protectors for at least 40 years now. I work in the business equipment industry and we include one with every piece of equipment we sell. ESP, The manufacturer guarantees repairs on any piece of gear damaged by a voltage surge. So far we've only been able to collect on a couple of them and even there we couldn't be sure if the damage was caused by an actual surge or defective surge protector which simply failed. What you don't know is how many times that unit actually did its job and protected the gear. Most do not have any kind of logic to tell you how many times its protected, but we do have new style units that actually have that and are sold with units costing over 100K now. Given the fact most business equipment is networked these days its important their power source isn't loaded with voltage spikes which can cause data and reboot problems when there is voltage problems, especially in a city like Houston which is noted as being the most air conditioned city in the US. Between all those AC units and violent tropical storm systems we see here, it put allot of stress on the AC grid and the surge protectors seem to arrest the spikes that can do the most damage. To the OP. What power conditioners cannot do is prevent the loss of power. They can prevent large spikes in voltage but only a UPS/battery backup or a backup generator can prevent low voltage/brownout conditions. If the voltage sags, it sags. nothing you can do about it. If the conditioner is any good it only protects against voltage spikes and noise as SteinbergerHack mentioned. For most tube amps they don't do jack squat for you, in fact they might introduce more noise then they remove if its a conditioner designed for computers. Your power transformer in a tube amp does far more to separate your gear from the AC supply. Its primary coil is separate from the secondary coils and only mirrors what the primary coil sees using inductive transference. The secondary is then converted to DC where there is plenty of capacitance to smooth any spikes that may make it past the transformer. AC voltage would need to be a good 20V lower before much of a difference in tone might be heard with most tube amps. The exception might be when the amp is a hybrid and has SS components that have narrow voltage parameters. Having played enough clubs to know what you're dealing with your issues may be related to beat up outlets with damaged grounds. Last club I played that had stage outlets, most of those outlets were so beat up you could barely get a connection and if you did they were so loose the music could vibrate the plug right out of the wall. The bass player in my band is a licensed electrician with full certifications. When we play a club that has bad/questionable outlets he brings an electrical snake that connects directly to the breaker box. We also use 20 amp isolation transformers which takes us off line and prevents ground loop issues too. Given the OP's description I think the cause of his issue probably doesn't have anything to do with the power. Its more likely a defective tubes. If you didn't buy the tubes yourself you have no way of knowing whether they stuck used tubes in that amp either. Its not like tubes have a meter on them to tell you how many hours they've burned. Even buying them from reputable dealers is no guarantee you couldn't have gotten some defective tubes. Last time I bought tubes for my Blackface I had to send the first 2 sets back for being defective. I bought Ruby tubes first which means they were shipped from china to Ruby half way around the world, where they unboxed and powered each one for matching them. Matching doesn't test the audio quality, it simply measures current rating for biasing. After that they reship them to customers so the elements have seen allot of vibration and banging around being shipped. The first set started arching out with large popping within 30 seconds of power up. They went back immediately. Second set were JJ's and had the same kinds of issues. Noise in the background when simply idling. I learned a long time ago tubes don't get better as the burn in. They only get worse. The third set were Electro Harmonix and were as good as another set I bought for another amp. The JJ preamp tubes were awful too. Low output, Midrange tones and distorted easily. I switched to JJ's and it was like day and night. Bright, clean, low noise and low distortion. Makes a Fender amp sound Like I was using RCA tubes in it again. I had good luck with Groove tubes too. Got nearly 20 years out of that set. Fender owns them now which is a good move for them. The tubes are sold with three different power levels so you can choose clean, driven of in between depending on the amp you have. My advice. if the amp sounds bad at home, I doubt the power at that gig had anything to do with it. You may have moved the amp before the tubes had time to cool off and damaged its filaments when knocking the amp around. The other possibility is the load was incorrect for the head. An impedance too high will burn your power tubes up very quickly and the fidelity can go right down the tubes. (Pun Intended) In other cases you can even damage or blow the screen resistors. Check and make sure make sure the power tubes don't glow cherry red. If they have a blue tint you're probably OK. If you have an extra preamp tube try swapping them one at a time and see if you can isolate the bad one.
  15. I just saw a concert on TV over the weekend that had the Cure playing. They had a line of small amps they were using. Looks like they were Rolland Cube amps. They turned the B in CUBE to an R using a black piece of tape) By the size they couldn't have had more then a 12" in each one, Maybe even 10's. That outdoor audience must have been 100,000 people or more. In an article they said their stage volume has always been based on an acoustic drummers drum set.
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