Tight fit

I tried to put my new Warmoth project guitar in the fender strat case I have for my Wolverine guitar… that was short lived.  The guitar body probably fits well, but the firebird neck is too long for the case by about an inch.  I was warned that the angled headstock wouldn’t work with a standard fender strat case, but this had nothing to do with the angle.  It is just barely too long.

Now I have to decide if I’m going to get a gig bag or shell out some real cash for a hard case.  I’ll probably start with a gig bag. I’ll check them out tomorrow when I stop buy my local guitar shop to ask a professional why the middle position on the 3 way blade pick up selector is a kill switch.

Maybe I’ll get a gig bag that will work for both the Del Rey and for the Warmoth… then I’ll get a hardshell case for the Warmoth when funds are more readily available.  Makes me wish I’d picked up the last two gig bags I’ve seen at thrift stores.

Also, based on what I’ve read online, I may need to solder a ground wire to the pick up selector blade switch.

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Tonight

7:45 p.m.  Kids are in bed.  Wife has gone out with the girls.  Work bench is ready for use after spending half the day cleaning the garage.  Soldering iron, here I come!

7:53 p.m. Actually heading out to the garage.  Got distracted by Guitar for Worship’s video post using his new pedal board.

8:38 p.m.  Admittedly I am going slow, but I have completed the connecting wire on my three way blade pick up selector switch.  I will say it looks very nice in my opinion…for a first time.  I have also prepped the concentric pots that will be the two tone knobs for the two pick ups, but I’m nervous about soldering the capacitors on, so I’ve come back inside to read online tutorials about soldering capacitors to pots for guitars.

8:57 p.m. Head back out to the garage to solder the capacitors onto my concentric tone pot.

9:14 p.m. Daughter made weird noise in her sleep (thank you wireless monitor).  Went up to check on her but nothing seems wrong.

9:16 p.m. Back to the garage.  I was able to complete soldering the first cap on the first level of the concentric pot before coming inside.  I had difficulty getting the glob of solder to stick to the side of the pot casing, but it seems to be holding now.

9:42 p.m. Come inside to try to put all the pots and switches into the guitar (rear cavity) to then solder everything together.  In the process I lost one of the nuts for attaching a pot to the body and broke the solder point on the inner portion of the concentric pot.

9:48 p.m. Back inside after reattaching the capacitor to the side of the inner concentric pot.  Found the missing nut on the way back inside.

10:13 p.m. On the computer looking at wiring configurations to decide which way the pots should face inside the rear cavity.

11:53 p.m. Came back inside to heat up some heat shrink I used in two spots for some extra insulation.  Everything is wired up except the jack.  I will confirm on the internet how to install and wire the jack, then the big test…

12:07 a.m. Went back to garage to solder and install the jack.

12:27 a.m. Came inside to test the guitar!  At first nothing comes out. Then I change the pick up selector from the middle to the bridge… we have sound!  Then I go back to the middle, nothing.  I go to the bridge…we have sound!  Volume and tone knobs work for their individual pick ups.  I’m just not getting any sound when I am in the middle position of the pick up selector switch.  Instead of combining the two pick ups, I get nothing.  Time to do some testing and research.

12:51 a.m. I have an idea, but I want to confirm it online.

1:43 a.m. I cannot confirm my wiring idea online.  So I put all six strings on the guitar (only had two before).  I will do a final set up (intonation, neck relief, pick up height, etc.) tomorrow.  As for the pick up selector wiring problem, I’ll have to talk to an expert or post something on a forum.  Perhaps on Monday I’ll talk to a professional.  Good night.

Del Rey Guitar Project: Final (almost)

It is done.  Well, almost done.  I drilled a final hole for the ground wire to go from the pickguard to the vibrato tail piece.  Wired everything up.  Screwed everything together.  Strung it with 10’s.  It works!  I tuned it.  I didn’t do the whole intonation and string height set up with a feeler gauge thing, but eye balled it.  It plays well and is fun.  It sounds pretty gnarly!

I then got out my strap with the strap locks only to find that one of the strap buttons had the wrong size screw in it, so I couldn’t get the strap lock over the strap lock button.  So this project is almost done!  I just have to get the right screw for the strap lock button and do an intonation adjustment.  Woo hoo!

Pictures coming soon!

Del Rey Guitar Project: Almost Done

I just have to drill a hole for the ground wire to go to the bridge and then this project is done.  Well, done in the sense that it will be put together and working.  Then I’ll get the joy of setting it up.

Besides drilling all the other guide holes for all the pick guard and bridge screws, I also rewired the center pick up.  It is no longer canceling out half the volume when played with the bridge pick up…now it is canceling out half the volume when played with the neck pick up.

I actually kind of like this.  The bridge pick up has a lot smoother sound (like it is supposed to), but when combined with the middle pick up it acts almost like a tone control by increasing the highs and eliminating some of the  lows.  So for now I’m going to keep the middle pick up wired in reverse.  When played with the bridge pick up it sounds pretty good.  We’ll see what I think after playing with it for a few weeks.

Bad Mix

While folding laundry the wife and I watched the Nine Inch Nails live performance on Palladia.  It was their tour supporting With Teeth.  We were enjoying the show but kept getting distracted by the bad mix.  I don’t know if it was because of our old tv or the fact that we don’t have our stereo hooked up to our cable, but all we heard were the bass, the singer, some keyboards, and some drums.

Is that so bad?  Yes! What about the guitars!  There were at least two guitars on that stage.  We also couldn’t hear any back up vocals.  I’m sure we were missing more, but we couldn’t tell.  It made it difficult to watch.  In fact we didn’t finish it.  It is still on the dvr, but I don’t know how soon we’ll be watching the rest of it.

So who is to blame?  Is it us?  Our tv?  Cable?  The tv station?  The venue?  The band?  The record label?  The music industry?  Yes, it’s got to be the music industry.

Luckily the second half of the show was much better mix wise.  And the filming seemed different because it seemed a lot more audience friendly.  The show started dark and went, not lighter, but more open and more involved with the audience.  I liked it at the end.

Oh, and it looks like Trent was playing a Dean guitar most of the time, with a single cut away Parker for one song.

Del Rey Guitar Project: Wiring and Assembly

This morning I finished wiring the Del Rey!  I’d show you a picture, but I didn’t take one.  Don’t worry, as I’ll explain shortly, I’ll have another opportunity to do so.

After getting everything rewired under the pickguard I screwed it in place, screwed the bridge into place, screwed the tailpiece into place, and then attached the neck.  It looks so cool!

I then strung it up with one string to test my soldering job.  I tested it as best I could with a volt/ohm meter thingy, but as you can probably tell from my description, I really don’t know what iIm doing.  Anyway, I got it strung up with one string, plugged it into my amp…and got wonderful sounds!  Each pick up worked individually.  The tone switch had a clear impact.  Each individual volume knob (one for each pick up) worked.  The tone knob worked.  It was glorious!

The one thing that was quickly obvious is that the two bridge pick ups, when both activated, are cancelling each other out.  There is a definite lowering of volume and the sound is not nearly as full.  With the tone switch activated the amp makes almost no noise.  So apparently this means the pick ups are out of phase…or maybe it is in phase.  Anyway, I think this means I have to reverse the wiring to the switch on one of them.  So you’ll get a pick of the rewiring job anyway.

Overall this has gone well.  I’m very excited to finish, but will take my time so I don’t screw up too many things.  Thanks again to my friend who did all the body and paint work.  The Del Rey looks amazing!

First Mistake

I installed the pick ups.  I put together the Seymour Duncan P-Rails and the Triple Shot humbucker mounting rings so I could easily access all the cool things the P-Rail does.  I had to solder the four wires coming from the P-Rails to the little board for the switching system on the Triple Shot rings.  This went smoother than I thought it would.

Next I screwed the rings into the guitar using the guide holes I had drilled previously.  I got done, stood back to admire my work, and saw that the bridge pick up was lined up with the bridge.  Which means it is at a slight angle compared to the neck pick up.

I’m excited to have this step done but am disappointed with my mistake.  If I straighten out the bridge pick up, at least one or two old screw holes will show.  Bummer.

What’s he building in there?

For the few people who read this blog (and the fewer people who care), you may be wondering what this Warmoth guitar project is all about.

The body is the traditional strat shape but the wood is mahogany with a quilt maple top like a les paul.  The body is chambered, so it is very light and should have good resonance with a string through fixed bridge.  It is rear routed so no need for a pick guard.  The jack is on the bottom side of the body so I’ve got lots of room to add switches and knobs and effects in the cavity if I choose to modify this any more (plus there’s more of that quilt maple to show off), but for now I’m sticking with a traditional strat knob configuration (three knobs and a blade switch).  Well, a strat knob configuration in terms of spacing.  I am not using a strat wiring set up.

The first two knobs will be separate volume controls for the two pick ups.  The third knob will actually be a concentric pot (2 knobs in one) to control tone for each pick up.  The top one will be for the neck pick up and the bottom one will be for the bridge pick up.  The blade pick up selector switch is a 3-way instead of a 5-way.

The pick ups will be Seymour Duncan P-Rails.  I was originally going to go with more traditional humbuckers since I was basically recreating a les paul in a strat body, but then I went with a different scale neck (25 1/2 in scale instead of 24 3/4 in) and decided I wanted something that would be unique but have a les paul vibe.  The P-Rail has a P-90 and a single coil put together.  I also got the Seymour Duncan Triple Shot pick up rings that allow me to use all four possible configurations of the P-Rails without making additional holes for switches and knobs (thanks Seymour Duncan user forums).  With the Triple Shots I will be able to play with the P-90, the single coil, the humbucker in parallel, and the humbucker in series.  I can then switch between the neck and bridge pick ups or play them together, all while controlling their volume and tone separately!

For anyone interested in using the triple shot with the P-Rails, I am going to reverse wire the neck pick up so that the little switches will match the bridge and always point toward the single coil or P-90 I am using.

The neck is mahogany with an ebony fretboard and stainless steel frets.  The fret markers are mother of pearl.  The headstock is a firebird, so it is reversed (tuners on the bottom) and angled.  The headstock also has an ebony cap that matches the fretboard, but the beveling on the firebird style headstock still lets the mahogany show through.  The neck has a satin finish, so it should be pretty fast.  The fretboard is a compound radius going from 10 inches to 16 inches.  The back of the neck is Warmoth’s thin profile.

I’ll have the same strap lock buttons I have on all my guitars, so I can use multiple guitars with the same strap.  This guitar should be good blend of different guitar models.  Some les paul, some sg, some strat, some firebird, some other stuff…and it will look good!

Well, that’s all the guitar geekiness I can think of right now.  Back to my project.