By Helene Brinson. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 20:00:54 PM.
I like to do my own guitar repair and set up. I hate paying people to things I can do myself, I like to do them my way, and I get a great deal of satisfaction from a successful guitar repair. So I was determined to work this one out for myself. So, after grabbing the dental floss from the medicine cabinet, I took the guitar out to my garage workshop and got to work. I laid the guitar on its back on some carpet remnants on my workbench, and removed the strings. It was time for a new set anyhow.
Another thing to consider is the wiring harness (i.e. the tone and volume controls, and the pickup selector) inside the guitar. You can swap out cheap pickups to improve the tone of your guitar, but you won't be able to get the most out of the change if you have a cheap, low quality wiring harness connecting the pickups to the output jack. The harness consists of two or four potentiometers, one or two capacitors, a switch and the wiring connecting them all together (and any shielding inside the control cavity or around the wires). The best components are US-made CTS pots, Sprague caps, Switchcraft switches and jacks, etc. The controls reduce volume or treble by introducing resistance and capacitance into the circuit. If the quality isn't there, the tone will be negatively affected even when the controls are turned all the way up; and the pickups may hum more or less depending upon how well the harness is shielded. So if you are replacing your pickups to improve the sound, it usually makes sense to also check the wiring and see if it needs to be upgraded or additional shielding needs to be added. And, last but not least, any effect pedals you use between the guitar and the amplifier will also tend to dominate the final tone. Some pedals are more transparent than others, but obviously if you rely heavily on pedals for the tone you want, then the type of pickups and strings you use will have less of an effect.
The Solution We Have Been Waiting For. This is the installed switch. It is selecting the neck pickup, a Classic Strat Stack Plus. This is the installed switch. When building a guitar using Warmoth Guitar Parts this past year, I set out to build the ultimate HSS guitar. I wanted to solve the the hum and balance problems between the pickups. I also know that I never use the middle pickup alone, even on my Strat. I love it in conjunction with the neck or bridge pickup though, so it was important for me to have.
The other primary factor in determining the tone of an electric guitar is the strings. Electric guitar strings are made of nickel and steel. The more nickel, the warmer the sound; the more steel, the brighter and louder the strings sound. Also, the thicker the strings the more volume they will produce. That's why some players like to use heavy strings; they have more tone. If you try them and find they are too hard to play, you can always tune down a half step or more to compensate.
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