The Secret is Out…

Last winter I tried an odd experiment: a website where players were encouraged to post their best tone secrets — the kinds of tricks and techniques that are almost too good to share. But in order to get, you had to give: The site was password-protected, and the password was only sent to […]

A Really Basic Pickup Install Tutorial

I always forget — which end is the hot part?

Somewhat embarrassingly, I never got around to changing one of my own pickups until I was knocking on senility’s door recently. I owe part of the inspiration to that fabulous DIY Fest known as the Maker Fair, where each year […]

What’s the Deal with Alnico VIII Magnets?

Like this royalty-free clip-art illustration, the Alternative 8 manages to be both aggressive and round.

I was talking to some of the Seymour Duncan dudes the other day about pickups models deserving greater public awareness. One of the first names on everyone’s lips was the Alternative 8, a a high-output […]

A Cheap Archtop Upgrade!

Sounds like MONEY!

I’ve said it so many times, I feel like the parrot of pickups, but here goes again: These days the weakest links on inexpensive Asian and Mexican guitars are invariably the pickups. Upgrading them often yields a princely axe at a pauperly price.

A perfect example is the […]

Mixing Magnets in One Pickup

Aggressive on the bass side, sweet on the top.

I was talking to Seymour the other day about the types of magnets used in vintage Fender pickups. I knew that Fender used strong, punchy alnico V magnets in most of their models, but I didn’t know that the earliest Teles used […]

Behold the Synyster Kitty!

Kitty power!!!

Okay, as promised: One more quick video featuring the Hello Kitty Strat, this time with one of those new Duncan Synyster Gates Invader pickups. I’m told the ceramic-magnet Invader is literally the hottest possible non-active pickup. I’m inclined to believe it.

Take this one with a grain of […]

Hello Kitty Strat: Not for Pussies!

Would this be anything less than awesome? I think not.

As I gloated last week, Jane Weidlin gave me her Hello Kitty Stratocaster — the most bitchin’ $99 guitar ever conceived! I finally had a chance to destroy/customize it yesterday, in what will no doubt be the first of many […]

“Vintage” Les Paul Wiring: BS or BFD?

Which sounds better: modern or vintage wiring? The experts disagree!

There’s a wealth of information online about the relative merits of “vintage” vs. “modern” wiring in Les Pauls. And after reading page after page on the topic, I was more confused than when I started. So here’s an attempt to […]

“Nashville” Tele Wiring . . . in a Strat?!

What do you get when you cross . . .

I’ve been coveting one of those “Nashville-Style” Telecasters — you know, the hot-rodded, three-pickup versions popularized by Nashville session superhero Brent Mason, and now a regular Fender production model.

Then it dawned on me: Since some of Mongrel Strats […]

A Cool Alternative Tone Control for Bass

Looks vintage, but it ain't.

After auditioning so many different tone-control schemes over the course of the Mongrel Strat Project, I wound up with more tone circuits than I have Strats, so I figured I’d victimize a bass — specifically, a 1954 Fender P-Bass reissue with a Seymour Duncan […]