Your personalized mods that make your axe more playable.

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by Believer7713, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. 98springer

    98springer Strat-Talker

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    On the edge, baby!
    I just can't leave a guitar alone.
    I have a 2014 MIM and there's not much left that's original.

    Changes:
    Treble bleed - Cheap and lets me use the whole range of the volume knob. For 20 years the volume was either on 10 or off.

    Callaham trem - seems like it added sustain but the other advantage is that there is no play in the bar. If you touch it, it does something. This can be accomplished with some teflon tape as well. Trem is floated slightly. Used Raw Vintage springs so that I could get the claw screws in deeper.

    SD SSL-2 (neck and middle). Cream SD covers. Because cream covers sound the best. :)
    SD Quarter Pound bridge. SD doesn't sell covers for these so I had to drill out the holes and use a dremel and sandpaper until I had a plate that i glued to the top of the bobbin.

    Copper foil shielding.

    Blend pot - Not sure how much I like it but I definitely liked the fact that it was all prewired and used better pots.

    Roasted maple Warmoth neck rosewood fretboard with Jumbo frets. Love it but I have to take it in for leveling/crowning before adjusting the trussrod, etc.

    Original body and tuners. Didn't want to go overboard!
     
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  2. Nick-O

    Nick-O Senior Stratmaster

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    Custom nut for intonation;

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    The LSR is really nice! I am thinking about one on one of my "brother" builds this summer. I just put one on the tele that I posted a few posts back.
    20210314_213152.jpg
     
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  4. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    Interesting. Did you figure out the geometry and make it yourself?
     
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  5. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah, the LSR is very good. I tell you what though, the TUSQ nut I put on my Strat and cut the slots for keeps it in pretty darned good tuning. The Suhr is just ridiculously stable and they use TUSQ as well. I also do lube the slots with Slick Nutz. That Slick Nutz is great - you use so little a 1 oz. bottle should last me for at least a decade.
     
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  6. Nokie

    Nokie Strat-Talker

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    The whammy spring. I only learned about this about 3 years ago after 40+ years of playing Strats. For those who don't already know, it's a little spring small enough to fit in the hole for the whammy bar to keep the bar from floppin' around. Yeah, I know, its sort like Viagra for your Strat to treat flopping whammys. I also know it is not much of a mod. I understand Fender includes this spring with new Strats but those of us who weren't in the know for 40+ years lost 'em and had to purchase a bag of 'em from Fender.

    The wax and paper tone cap. A very important mod for me from which I hear no difference in sound (before and after the mod), and nobody sees, but makes me feel better knowing my CS vintage Strats are that much more vintage in spec.

    The three position switch. Knopfler and Cray are among my favorite guitarists but I don't want to sound like them - I favor different tones. It's another mod I do primarily to bring an AV or CS more vintage in specs.
     
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  7. Nick-O

    Nick-O Senior Stratmaster

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    Nope, have a legit lutherie near me and he did it. I play with a guy with perfect pitch and it was killing him! hahaha...I know it is right, cause he would be nattering all the time.
     
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  8. SILENCER

    SILENCER Strat-Talker

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    Frets on some, absolutely. I like the 6105s

    On Strats, I usually have the whammy decked
    I like to roll the dice on pickups every now and then
     
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  9. fos1

    fos1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Carpal tunnel braces on my wrists while sleeping at night. :(
     
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  10. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    Been there. I feel for you. When I worked in the foundry in the mid nineties, I ended up with CTS from running a high cycle grinder for 4 to 8 hours a day and had to wear those braces. I still have my hands fall asleep at night but at least I don't have to wear the braces anymore. they definitely aren't the most comfortable things to deal with for sure.
     
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  11. OttoG

    OttoG Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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    Call me dumb, but in my wanna be shredder days, I used to think it would be a great idea to use one of those Bass thumb rests and install it next to the place I rest my pinky (Petrucci anchor style hahaha). Never did it.
     
  12. RandyRoot

    RandyRoot Strat-Talk Member

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    [​IMG]

    For me, the way controls are laid out on Fenders makes more sense than Gibsons.

    I changed the orientation of the toggle switches on all my Gibbys and rewired the bridge pickup volume controls and made the neck pups a master volume.

    Works much better for me...
     
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  13. martinmj

    martinmj Strat-Talk Member

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    Apart from the usual set-up when first getting a guitar, no matter if it is used or new, I tend to upgrade electrics where needed, and that includes pickups if those fitted don't hit the sweet-spot for me. Some of those replacement pickups are home-made using hybrid mixes of alnico pole-pieces, I used to fit 7-way and 9-way switches to give me numerous pickup combinations, but these days I tend to just fit an Emerson blend-pot between neck and bridge pickups-trying to remember the appropriate swich combination with the 7 and 9-ways was too confusing. And the blend is infinitely variable, which I like. I've also got three Strats I've fitted with internal Roland GK-3 pickups and electronics with built-in 13-pin socket , plus the volume , 3-way selector and up/down patch switches on the pickguard, none of which impedes the use of the guitar as a 'standard' Strat. Humbucker guitars I add switches that give the choice of coil-switching combinations. And since I don't use the whammy bar, most bridges are either decked,blocked or converted to hard-tail. Regarding finish, I've taken one body down to lovely figured wood , finished with teak-oil, but only because the original finish was damaged rather than play-worn. If I don't like the original finish colour I don't buy it! I had one Strat with a warped neck, so that has been replaced with a maple Telecaster neck just for fun!
    Sounds like a lot of work, but it gets each guitar as I want it, not as the manufacturer thinks I want it.
     
  14. burrencrawler

    burrencrawler New Member!

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    1) Buzz stop (for Jazzmaster)
    2) compensated nut (better tuning) also round filed round the back and greased, so tuning stays good
    3) slight neck tilt for better break angle
    4) good pickups
    5) full shielding (very important, including shielding the pickup itself) unless you are using kinman noiseless pickups.
    6) proper neck adjustment, pickup heights, action height, and intonation settings for exact gauge of string used
    7) if using a trem, then a proper one that stays in tune like EVH uses
    8) stripping out stock pots and replacing with good quality ones (treble bleed circuit if you si desire)
     
  15. Slartybartfast

    Slartybartfast Strat-Talker

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    Oak Grigsby Super Switch. I've not only gotten rid of the neck/middle combo (never liked it) in favor of the neck/bridge, and once I got into it found I could put in series. Sounds more Gibson than tele. Then I saw that I could program the tone controls pretty much any way I wanted so one is for position 1 (bridge) and the middle one is for the other four. That switch is in all three of my strats.
     
  16. keys88

    keys88 Strat-Talker

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    Columbus, OH
    All of the mods I've done on my guitars are more for tonal options than fixing playability issues. Stuff like push-pull pots or mini toggles for coil splitting and/or parallel wiring, no load tone pots, upgrading pots and caps in cheaper guitars, swapping pickups, 4-way switches in Tele-style guitars, etc. I don't do it to necessarily change the way the guitar plays. But I do enjoy working on guitars and making them my own.
     
  17. SatinNeck81

    SatinNeck81 Strat-Talker

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    I replaced the tuners on my Epiphone Les Paul. The plastic ones just felt really cheap and it went out of tune too often. Got some nice brass ping tuners on there. Looks nice with the sunburst color, and stays in any tuning much much better than the Epiphone tuners. I see those plastic looking tuners on Gibsons too, but they are probably of higher quality than the Epis.
     
  18. mattier303

    mattier303 Strat-Talk Member

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    new mexico
    So I did what is called the “flamemaple” mod to my Edwards E-LP.
    (Japanese Les Paul of high quality). This can done on any LP, imo I’d do it on every LP I own from now on.
    This mod replaces the threaded bridge stud rods on an ABR-1 bridge with longer stainless steel ones. It also sinks the rods down through the maple cap and sits them atop the mahogany body, creating the most amazing sustain and bell like tone.
    Apparently Gibson especially and other manufacturers don’t drive the bridge posts that screw into the body down very far. They often sit just a few mm into the maple cap. Also the material of the threaded rods is usually a zinc covered metal. Not sure exactly what.
    So you buy the longer stainless rods, and using two nuts and or a nut and stopper reverse out the old rods and using the same technique thread in the new ones. Until they bottom out in the mahogany. Mine went close to a half in down more than old ones. No drilling, no glueing, no soldering. Easiest and best mod I’ve ever done.
    Literally one of the best sounding guitars I’ve ever played. I think it’s a combination of good metal and the solid connection into the middle of the guitar.
    Info can be found online, so make sure to buy the right rods if your into it. And get two nuts so you can retract and sink the rods with your fingers.
     
  19. greggae

    greggae New Member!

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    All mine are custom from the ground up. Warmoth 24 3/4 conversion necks for the most part, although I do have one that's a Vintage Modern 25 1/2 in Birdseye. Bodies either Warmoth or in two cases GFS type stuff that I did the drilling on myself. And on each I've tried a number of the most written up mods.

    • Pickups - Duncan Stacks and/or Humbuckers. Always a HB in the bridge, although I one I have a Dimarzio Pro Track so it's single coil spaced. Never liked single coil sound in the bridge position, even when there was a tone control for it. You can say what you want to about single coils and that 'magic sparkle'. I call it frequencies you always have to roll off - the only time they sound good to me is playing by myself at lower volumes. The Duncans translated way better for band situations IMO. but hey, po tay to, po tah to.
    • Always have a tone control on the bridge.
    • Always have a treble bleed on the master volume.
    • No load tone pots. Out of the picture when on 10.
    • Lower value capacitor(.015) on bridge tone control, so it leaves more middle in.
    • Have tried no tone control on middle, only neck, and on both. Know that they say about the 2 position, I like being able to roll off a bit on the middle, and because they're stacks I don't run that position as a noise gate. With no load tones, it doesn't have that much impact so I have a master tone for middle/neck on everything now and I use the middle a lot by itself.
    • Wilkinson VSVG bridges. For a new guitar that's probably not relevant, but this bridge is so much better than the Super Vee Blade Runner I replaced it's not even funny. The BR was stiff, and it never came back to tune, even after a lot of bridge mods.
    • Locking tuners. X 10. I love these. Have put them on everything. Staggered for trem guitars. And if you're retrofitting, splurge on the Hipshots with the alignment rails. Easiest, quickest upgrade ever.
    • Earvana nut. On the fence. Sounds OK but not sure it's worth the money/trouble.
    • Stainless steel frets. And I always level them initially. Once and done.
    • Shielding around all internals and grounded to output. ESPECIALLY the pickguard. I'd get static buildup and it would show up in recordings, sometimes ruining a take I'd love otherwise because it was in a spot I couldn't fix. Now everything runs to ground and every guitar I've done that to is dead quiet. All the time.
    • Tried a bass roll off a la G&L/Reverend. Does what it's supposed to, but not all that usable for my situations. Got an Axe FX and it's easier to just set it up there.
    • I rolled the edges on the Maple Neck Vintage Modern before it was re-fretted. That's actually a nice feel and while I'm not going backward on any of the other ones that's a nice option to consider if you're going to refret.
    • Schaller Megaswitch. Unless you're getting the platinum version that lets you do coil cuts, parallel etc. not worth the extra IMO.
    • Tremel-No or Floyd Style trem stabilizer with the screw/right angle bracket. I do like the Tremel-No because if I want to float and pull up for something I can reset it. Not that often, but it's nice to have. In any case, that stop doesn't just help the tuning, it changes the sound which is a good news/bad news situation depending on personal preference and ears. Some people like that chingy kind of overtone from a moving bridge and the subdued midrange. I don't and it just sounds more substantial decked to my ears. Again, po tay to, po tah to, but if you have tuning issues, break a lot of strings or keep going, "What are those weird overtones in the background," it's something to try. I did also try a Super Vee Maglok when the Blade Runner was still installed, but I never really cared for it that much. Didn't like the center detent and needed to be fussed with periodically.
    • Graphtech nuts are nice. But not entirely necessary if you do the next item.
    • For the trem guitars I always work on the nuts a lot. To get them just wide enough that the string moves easily across. And I slope the back third downward so there's less material to bind on. This step made a huge difference in my tuning along with the stabilizers.
    • Nut lubricants if it's not a Graphtech. Make my own with powered graphite and chapstick.
     
  20. smithstrato

    smithstrato Senior Stratmaster

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    I pull the plastic off the pickguard.
     
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