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Guitar Modifications - Part 2
Archive for Guitar Modifications

Fender Hot Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups

img_1730Gerry’s Fender Hot Noiseless 3 Pickup Set

Gerry own’s a Korean made strat, he decided he wanted to sound like
Jeff Beck
without the cost of a brand new guitar.  He brought me his strat, and a box of  Fender Hot Noiseless 3 Pickup Set, and
Graph Tech Slotted Trem-Nut for Stratocaster

and being the whore for adventure that I am – I quickly said “no problem”

After getting started and realizing the moutain I was climbing and a phone call saying…”I don’t think I can” Gerry said – “Oh Yes You Can!”

I put on my thinking cap, and Sailor Jerry and I took over – The first problem I tackled was fitting the pickups in the pickguard.  The cutout’s were too small for the  Noiseless 3 Pickups.

After 3-4 hours of using my scraper made out of a 3 corner scraper, problem solved.  The next problem using the spaces that came with the noiseless set for mounting, was a no-go.  Spacing of a Korean Strat does not like the spacing of img_1732American sized pickups.  (I think it may be some sort of evil plot)  But with the help of Felix and his bag of tricks, I found that traditional mounting springs (stew mac) worked and 1 problem solved.

Wired it up, and Oh No.. Mr. Bill… Noiseless Pickups are not so noiseless under neon lights, unless you are holding onto the strings.  Hey Felix what the hell do I do? After remembering something that I read that Dan Armstrong recommended (0.100 uf 250v, cap) on the wire going to the bridge, and…another problem solved.

Now the Nut – Trem-Nut for Stratocaster – Oh boy, I read that a simple tap to the side of the nut after scoring around it to eliminate finish chipping, is the golden key – not on this strat.  (I guess the guys in Korea don’t hold to this theory.)  They like tight fits and glue, good for tone, but not for me.  More tapping, more tapping and no results.  I finally sawed the nut, making a groove in the middle, hoping to collapse it, WRONG… pieces broke off and flush with the finger board.  Back to the saw for deeper groove and a very narrow chisel.  Tap, Tap, Swear, Swear…Sailor Jerry..Beware!

I finally removed the nut, (ps – it was un-salvageable) Cleaned the nut slot and installed the nut, good fit right out of the box.  (Thanks Trem Nut).  The action was horribly high, nut files to rescue.  Trial and error to get the right height, (truss adjustment involved, check out John Carruthers DVD for some cool tips.)  All went well (alot of cut, restring, check, cut, restring, etc…) until I am approaching the promise land and bam! Buzz on the high E, I am hoping it’s the frets so I can dress it out. NO! Nut slot is .02 to deep….%$#%$#..were my thoughts.   .02…what to do, a new nut and start over.  Felix, where are you? Finally he answered a small piece of 3m 600 grit wet or dry paper 0.01-0.02 did the trick problem 3 solved.

Now onto his preformed case, oh I forgot to tell you about this, it had 3 hinges, 2 of the hinges were pulled away from the case.  Its tabs that hold them in place pulled free.  After removing the bottom preform insert that holds the guitar in place in the case.  (be careful if you try this at home) after reinserting the tab’s in there holes, I peened them over to hold in place, an okay repair not my best, and you will know why if you try this.  I recommend a new case
Fender Stratocaster/Telecaster Molded Guitar Case Black
.  Problem 4 solved!

Gerry owes me a small amount of cash, even more rum and one of his super taco dinners, if you are lucky enough to get one of Gerry’s Taco Dinners, you’ll understand why it’s only a small amount of cash!.

Tools for Guitar Modifications

bucks-guitar-amp-repair Hey Boys & Girls – I am Back, and I have a little attitude today.  Talking outside the box, because remember, if you are in the box, someone can put the lid on and that means you’re dead and ready to be lowered six feet under.

Off topic for a moment, that phrase reminds me of a song by Guns N’ Roses,  “Used to Lover Her” don’t let anyone bury something you love six feet under – quite an acoustic adventure.

I grew up with parents that lived through the depression, people who truly knew what it meant to “want”, having nothing because there was nothing! Wow.. imagine this, they made it.  A world of no big screen tv’s, blue ray disks or SUV’s.

They worked their asses off for maybe .50 a day to survive, looking into our present economy, I look at what I can master with my own hands, and I am going to tell ya.. there are all sorts of unique ways to make some tricked out guitar tools…
Fret Leveling Files
Beveling Files
String Retainers
Neck Cradles
Specialty Wrenches
Radius Gauges and more..

Don’t be afraid to make your own tools, think of how much understanding and insight you will have creating your own world.   Read, Learn, Do or in some cases search the web too!

Remember there are basic tools used in guitar & amp repair and modifications.  Think of this, a tool costing $50.00 you can make for $5.00, you will gain a bigger sense of pride when you complete a project that you put your heart and soul into with a tool that you created to assist in the process.

Joy! So for all you 70’s cats who sparked the rock revolution, it’s like beating the man!The more you know and do for yourself, the more knowledge you will have and you will be better prepared when there comes along a challenge that you need to rely on your guitar or amp repair man.  You’ll not only appreciate your knowledge, you’ll also appreciated the qualified repairman!

If you feel that you need to purchase those tools, as I have many a time, check out the latest and greatest deals from Musicians Friend with Price Cuts and Clearances, sometimes you get lucky!

Save Up to 88% on Price Cuts & Final Clearance at

Fender Bullit

There are so very many Fender Products and I forgot about the Bullit – so Boy’s and Girls, I am back!

Sorry for my absence, layoff’s at work and long winter mix of snow my work hours left me with little desire to do what I enjoy – and there is something wrong with that.

I modified a Fender Bullit back in the early 80’s for my friend Jack L – from Eleven Eleven, he gave it back to me this past weekend and said the volume pot was going bad.  I told him I would replace the pot no problem, well after removing the strings and face plate exposing the electronics, WHOA! I had forgot what I did for wiring. 

I had a cap and resistor wired in the pot and ground wires everywhere.  Luckily I used a DiMarzio Poat (remember it’s 20 years ago0 so being shocked at my past wiring prowness, I thought let’s try and clean it.  Bingo Bob’s your uncle,  black crud everywhere.  Although I had to change out the input jack, I changed the location doing the mod thru the side of the body.

Put it back together, I let my son Jake road test it and our Fender/Jackson Bullit was back barking with authority!.

Epiphone SG Junior – Revisted

The Epiphone SG Junior is up and running, after finding all the necessary missing screws and what not.

It Plays…The God’s of Guitar Music at work again.

I twinked the neck, after years of no strings and neglect, it needed it, Truss Rod Stuff..

I have yet to set the intonation on it, my son is still playing around with it.  Jake ended up filing the frets, (he’s quite good at that, go figure) New input Jack, you don’t want to know that story.

I am thinking of adding magnets (Stewart MacDonald) to spice it up the generic pickup and a monster is born.  A side note to magnets, you know all those old hard drives that you are not sure what to do with that came out of old junk computers.. there are two powerful magnets buried within those bad boys.  I just gutted about 8 hard drives that were laying around and am going to start the process of testing those out. Stay tuned…

Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s gold.. I am that other man..

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