Guitarist’s Dave Durban is a musician on a mission. He is searching for a sonic grail: the ultimate guitar tone and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. During his quest he will encounter all manner of wonders and obstacles: gigs in far flung places, studio sessions, guitar mods, amp tests and sea monsters.
Welcome to the world of a dedicated gearhead, the Durban Guerrilla – and every week he’ll be sharing his candid journal with you. This week Dave’s been continuing his pet project to mod a Squier 60s Vintage Vibe Stratocaster (that earned a glowing review in the current November issue) to create an intermediate guitar worthy of a champion.
Now it’s time for the pups.
Having had a fair amount of success with wiring up the tone, volume pots and selector switch, I’m now mounting the pickups and soldering them on.
I’ve chosen two Lindy Fralin Vintage Hots for the bridge and neck. Why? They’re wound with 42 gauge heavy Formvar wire for a hot sounding pickup.
It’s got to be hot.
The middle pickup is an Amalfitano. I’m going by recommendation of a friend on this one and have no idea what it will sound like. It’s a risk… but they don’t call me Dangerous Dave for nothin’.
First – as is often the way with my little projects – I hit a stumbling block. Sometimes on certain pickups you will have to adjust the mounting screw holes to fit either a screw size, thread or scratch plate spacing. Using a tap (pictured below) to adjust this should do the trick; but be gentle.
Once this was done and I’d got the pickups to sit properly I began soldering everything together.
But there was stumbling block two to overcome; after a quick sound test it was soon realised that the Amalfitano pickup was out of phase with the Lindy Fralins.
This is not uncommon between brands. Addressing the problem is not something I can breeze over here with a few choice lines so visit this link http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/pickup-phasing-faq.txt that gives more detail.
Having switched the phase all the pickups now work perfectly. Next time I’ll set the Squier up and truly unleash the tonal beast…
I hope it’s a beast anyway.
Back in the Guitarist office this week I set up an interview East End amplifier guru Dennis Cornell to coincide with a review I’m currently working on.
You may have seen his amps on stage with none other than Eric Clapton at Cream’s reunion Royal Albert Hall shows. Cornell has now released a new range of effects pedals, of which we have the first look coming up in issue 310. The range includes a fuzz, middle and treble booster plus an overdrive that’s promising to be a Swiss army knife in terms of versatility.
Next week I’ll be playing two more gigs in my role as an alt country band’s bass player as well as finishing the Strat. But for now I’ll leave you with a quote from one of Guitarists favourite modern philosophers, Sir James Bluntus III:
“It may be over but it won't stop there.”