Number Six is on its way.

2

Comments

  • daveeff101daveeff101 Posts: 10Member
    Wow, looking great. I thought it would be a single pickup job with just a volume pot - looking so clean and elegant as it is.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member

    Megi said:


    Wilko's clear lacquer appears to be good stuff! So with the decals, when you say "use as normal" what does that actually involve? Apologies if I'm a bit slow on the uptake!

    Oh sorry, I assume everyone grew up with Airfix kits!
    • Cut out with scissors.
    • Drop in a saucer of water for 30-60 seconds.
    • Slide off backing paper onto guitar (or Messerschmidt BF109/Spitfire/etc).
    • Let dry.
    • Stand in awe of your own brilliance.

    Easy :)

    Excellent. I love the decal too.

    :smile:

    Now relic it !

    :neutral:
    LOL
    We'll see how the clear coat goes. That may still be an option!!
    So basically, get a few layers of clear finish dried on the headstock. Then apply decal as described above. Then, when dry, add more finish over the top? Sorry if I seem dense, just want to be clear, as I may want to try it myself, cheers Nick. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Lol nah it's all good! You only have to clear coat again afterwards if you feel like it. I didn't . I didn't feel like it.
    The decal needs to be clear coated as well as the guitar, both before the 'cut out with scissors' bit.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member

    Wow, looking great. I thought it would be a single pickup job with just a volume pot - looking so clean and elegant as it is.

    Thanks! Glad you like the look. Sometimes I just want fewer options and fewer controls. Trying to keep it simple sometimes is good.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member

    Lol nah it's all good! You only have to clear coat again afterwards if you feel like it. I didn't . I didn't feel like it.
    The decal needs to be clear coated as well as the guitar, both before the 'cut out with scissors' bit.

    Ah - this is the bit that confused me - so you spray clear finish on the decal before cutting out, dropping in water and sliding off the backing paper? I would never have thought of doing that!

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    You got it! No, it didn't occur to me either. Weird instructions but it makes them really tough. I wasted a couple of sheets trying to keep the ink dry. If you lacquer first, you really can't mess them up.
    Honestly.... you can't! I tried!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    It's been a while, but things are progressing, I've taken pics to prove it, and I'll upload them here shortly. It's been a crazy last few weeks, but I will get to it soon. Yea I know you're all waiting with bated breath :-)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Cor, been a bit quiet here lately! Oh well, I'll post a couple of pics...

    I was patient! I waited the required two months for the clear coat to harden and then began the wet sanding. Going from 600 grit to 800, 1000, 1500 and finishing with Maguiars compound and a touch of elbow grease, I got a finish I'm happy with. I'll give it another polish and maybe a light sanding beforehand when I'm done with everything else (nut, pickguard, bridge, etc).

    Finishing finishing

    Finishing finishing

    Finishing finishing


  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member
    That is looking really superb Nick, I love the shaped heel with inset ferrules for the neck screws, very nicely done. If it was me, I would so want to make that into my ultimate HSH pickup, floating trem superstrat type guitar - are you sure you don't want to do that?? :D (forgive me)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Thanks G! Weeeelll, I kind of sort of have, actually! I bought a black SSS scratch plate for £2.57 and put in pickups I had lying around - a £4 Amazon rails, a neodymium single coil I made a while ago and another rails by Vanson, so essentially that's HSH! It was more out of impatience because I'm waiting for money to get the Fletcher pickups. Going with what I already have, I put in one push-pull pot and two DPDT mini switches, so I have volume, with coil split, one switch to switch between neck and bridge pickups and one switch to turn on/off the middle pickup. So I essentially have neck -neck and middle - bridge and middle - bridge plus coil splits. And I love it! That neck pickup is killer. It sounds like an overwound strat on steroids. And adding the middle pickup really gives it a straty in between sound. The split sounds aren't great, but I'll leave the switch in for now.
    I've also made up a pearl HSS scratch plate (only £6.99) with other pickups I have - a Fender Lace Sensor, GFS middle and a humbucker I built, that really needs to be rewound as it's a bit weak. I'll be asking Ben a fletcher to fix that for me. But I still need another pot and a 3way switch for that.
    Then when I get the spare funds I'll finish the original idea of a hot rails in the neck and a humbucker in the bridge.
    Three scratchplates. Lots of fun!
    Maybe I'll make an HSH one for it too... well see :-) this is certainly a cheaper way of having options without buying loads of guitars.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Oh yea, I have pics, but need to upload them...
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member
    Love reading all your pickups thoughts Nick - for a pickup nerd like me, it's very interesting. I think HSS is great as well, but as a jazzer, I find I like to have that neck humbucker tone available. Will love to see what pickups Ben does for the guitar if you're going that route.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Hehe alright, I'll not hold back then lol. I have a tele-thing with a neck mini humbucker that I just love for jazz. It never gets muddy but is warm and articulate. Love it!

    Unfortunately I've got a few things ahead of buying pickups that need to be paid for first (pfft, life hey?). Hopefully work will pick up (no pun intended) soon.

    Ok couple more pics. Here's the HSS pickguard waiting for a second pot and knobs. That humbucker is the one I want to get rewound.

    IMG_7941

    IMG_7942


    IMG_7943
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Wiring for the pearly hss will be 3-way for neck - neck & bridge - bridge, DPDT to switch middle on/off, volume and tone. The bridge pickup will only be 7.8k so I don't know if it's worth splitting. Don't care!

    I just found a video showing how to turn a normal pot into a no load pot so I'll give that a true. Super simple!
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    That looks truly professional and you have managed to get the body shape and pickguard shapes far enough away from a Strat that the guitar looks very personal. Well done!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Thanks Lester! Very kind of you. It certainly is fun and rewarding building a collection of unique instruments. Keeps me out of trouble (mostly).
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,241Member
    What a wonderful example of a unique instrument! Great looks and quality. :smile:

    It's hard enough work to build just to a standard specification.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Thanks Mark :) I'll have to put a video together and show a few of the tones I get. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member
    Brilliant work Nick - I love the look of that pearl scratchplate, especially with the chrome pickup covers - very classy somehow. I'd be wanting to make a separate guitar for each scratchplate, knowing how my brain works... :D
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Thanks Graham. Haha, wouldn't mind separate guitars either, but I'm running out of space!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    So here is number 6 as it now stands.
    Or hangs.

    I ordered two pickups from Ben Fletcher - a rewind of a rails pickup (Ben's suggestion as I wanted a zebra finished pickup) and a Purgatory VIII, which is a 14k pickup with an alnico VIII magnet.
    And yes, that Purgatory is a force of nature, let me tell you. Rather than just being loud and screamy, it's think and forceful, yet musical and articulate. I have a bit of wiring to do as I managed to melt to death the push-push pot (there's a cheap mini volume pot in there at the moment) and I somehow managed to destroy the megaswitch too. I'm not sure how, but it wasn't an expensive model, so perhaps the connectors weren't up for much adjusting. I've had a few superswitches and never had the problem where it just wouldn't switch properly. I have a 3-way in the post, which will be a bit simpler than the 5-way. Once the parts come in, it will feature a push-push parallel switch and a 3-way blade. Nice and simple.

    I'm itching to do some videos for this! Very soon.


    no.6
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,892Member
    Stunning.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,241Member
    WOW! Classy look!

    Look forward to hearing your #6 on video.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member
    Looks tremendous Nick, magnificent work. I've found with some switches in the past, including the own brand super-switch that Axesrus sell, that you do have to be pretty quick on and off with the soldering iron. If you keep the iron on the joint a second or two too long, then the contact piece/lug becomes loose on the fiber board support, causing problems. I only found this with experience. Don't know if that's the switch you used, but it could be something similar anyhow.

    Good to hear you're still making good use of Mr Fletcher's fine pickups - I'm really interested to find out more about that Purgatory. I have to confess I ended up swapping out the set he made for my semi-acoustic for something else in the end (a set made by Oil City pickups, just wanted to try them, and they are very good) - not Ben's fault at all, just that a) I didn't ask for the right thing, with hindsight, and b) it took me a fair while to realise what kind of thing actually would work best with the guitar. We live and learn.

    Happily though, the neck pickup from the set Ben made (a "low wind" alnico 3 humbucker) is now installed in my arch top, next to the new CC pickup, and it's working extremely well there - it's really a lovely sounding pickup. It's not really a fair comparison with the CC, as that is nicely up against the fingerboard in "position A" for jazz tone, and Ben's humbucker isn't. But that said, it's doing as good a job as it possibly could in my opinion, and is a definite improvement on the humbucker I had in there before. Anyhow, more on all this in a separate thread soon...
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Thanks Kevin, Mark, Megi.
    That probably explains what might have happened to the superswitch. I’ll have to look up where I bought previous versions, because I have one that has been liberally abused with a soldering iron and seems to work okay.
    This time around I went with a 3-way switch, just to keep it simpler, and a push-push for parallel switching on the neck pickup. I got one of the hot wires wrong so the middle position is out of phase, but I actually like it more than both pickups in phase, so I’ll leave it like that.

    The Purgatory is a really articulate high powered pickup. It’s not bright or brash, but has enough treble bite and midrange to cut through. It even sounds good clean, which I find a bit unusual for a bridge pickup. Thanks to the 14k rating, it pushes most of my clean settings on my amp into overdrive and in a really nice way - no fuzz or digital breakups (this is on a Fender Mustang III). The pickup is just a lot of fun!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Oil City pickups sound interesting. They don’t seem too expensive either. Which models did you go with, Megi?
    Pickup swapping is all part of the fun and journey of finding what works for you and the guitar in question, really. I do like A3 pickups too. I have an Artec (ok, not the same!) in a tele like guitar that I just love for jazz. It’s a great balance of tone and articulation. Lovely!
    More pickup threads? Woohoo!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member
    edited November 29
    The Oil City set is a Blitz Spirit alnico 2 in the neck (7.5K ish) and a Nightfighter alnico 4 in the bridge (14-ish K) - I had him make them with zebra cream/black bobbins, plus gold slugs and screws, and they do look nice and distinctive in the guitar.

    It's a pretty bright guitar acoustically, and the set Ben made, with the low-wound (6.7K) A3 neck, was just a bit thin and weedy sounding. The idea (mine) with that pickup was to bring out a lot of the detail and acoustic nature of the guitar, which was a good thought, but in practice it wasn't quite right. Raising the pickup height helped fatten the tone a bit, but then the output was too high to match the bridge pickup.

    The bridge was an unorientated A5 about 8K, and also with hindsight, I would have asked for something hotter wound and thicker-sounding. Ben never seemed keen to do me any very hot wound pickups - I did enquire once about the Purgetory, and he seemed to think it wouldn't have enough versatility for me, especially re clean tones - I think he underestimates what his design can do, especially in view of what you've recently found yourself. I'm sure if I'd gone back to Ben, he'd have done me something different that would have been terrific for the guitar. But I just thought I'd try something else for a change, and it's great that one of Ben's pickups now seems a natural for my jazz archtop, and it looks fab in that too with the gold cover.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    I just looked up the specs of the oil cities and they sound very interesting. I have an Axesrus pickup with an A4 in it and I love it. It’s a great balance between bite and warmth and cleans up beautifully. I’m surprised an A3 HB would sound thin but then 6.7k does sound low. Do you find arch tops can get away with lower powered pickups and semis need more?
    7.5k and 14k sounds like quite a difference. I know that impedance doesn’t always equate to output, but are they balanced in volume, or do you like a bit of a volume jump when you switch to bridge?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,877Member

    I just looked up the specs of the oil cities and they sound very interesting. I have an Axesrus pickup with an A4 in it and I love it. It’s a great balance between bite and warmth and cleans up beautifully. I’m surprised an A3 HB would sound thin but then 6.7k does sound low. Do you find arch tops can get away with lower powered pickups and semis need more?
    7.5k and 14k sounds like quite a difference. I know that impedance doesn’t always equate to output, but are they balanced in volume, or do you like a bit of a volume jump when you switch to bridge?

    Sorry, only just seen this post! Re the A3 pickup, I think A3 tends to have a bit more treble and sparkle and less mids, than A2 - I wouldn't say naturally thin-sounding, but with a low wind, and in a bright guitar, then maybe not always ideal. Not entirely sure why it works so much better in the arch top, although that is less bright, and perhaps more acoustic detail in the tone to be brought out in the first place. Anyhow, it works great in that one, just one of those things.

    It does sound a big difference in resistance, but time has taught me that this is what seems to work in my case. And don't forget that the 14k is with thinner gauge wire, so probably equivalent to 11 or so K of the usual stuff for a PAF. I'd say that with the pickups at equal height, they do seem to match for me (OK, maybe a slight tad more from the bridge, but no bad thing) - with less high output bridge pickups, I generally have to have the bridge pickup set a fair bit closer to the strings, and sometimes still can't get the outputs matched.

    But I'm talking about output subjectively, and especially with regard to playing in bands - I've had the experience of switching to the bridge pickup, for a bit of bluesy lead, or with an overdrive pedal, and although the tone is edgier, all the body seems to drop away, and the result is it's not perceived as loud enough. What I want is the different tone quality of the bridge pickup, but with sufficient (pardon the expression) balls. It surprises me that most people seem fine with PAF type sets where the bridge just has an extra K or less of winding, given that the string amplitude near the bridge is a lot less that where the neck pickup is. I need more - give me more! :D
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 718Member
    Hehe no worries!
    More is always more. Not less. I like quite bit more output in a bridge pickup too. In fact, I often like the jump when I “GO TO THE BRIDGE” , using it like a lead boost.
    Perhaps with your semi you’re looking more at the detail in the sound - the fruitcake ingredients! - rather than the tone or gain. Tone and volume can be adjusted at the amp, but detail is either there or it’s not. Some pickups, to me, seem to separate the strings too. You can strum a chord and hear six notes instead of one big sound.

    When looking into impedance for the pickups for this (above!) guitar I looked up what Joe Satriani and Greg Howe use, as theirs was the kind of tone I was looking for. Both use pickups in the neighbourhood of 8.4-10k in the bridge and 7-7.8k in the neck. Not as high as I thought they would be, but still beefy. I used the Seymour Duncan pickup selector thingy and it suggested 10-14k so that’s what I went with. And I’m very happy!
    Just like you - more!
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