Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jackson surfcaster update.

Not my guitar, but the same config,
but with the TV Jones in the bridge.
Since I got my Fender Princeton, the Surfcaster doesn't sound all that great.
Acoustically it's got a nice tone, but the pickup combo isn't quite right.
I'm not getting the richness of the wood and it's all sounding a bit mid scooped and dull.

The Neck pickup has scooped mids and the bridge has no top end when it's set to series humbucking mode.
Overall the tone of the guitar with these pickups seems a little flat and without the dynamics and definition I have become accustomed to from my other guitars. So I've decided on trying completely different pickups.

Recently I was impressed y the sound of Grestch humbuckers with a Fender amp and have decided to order a Filtertron for the bridge position, my inclination was reinforced by a post by TV Jones himself about using one of his TV Classic pickups in a Surfcaster. I can't really justify spending $170 on a pickup when I haven't heard it, so I did the next best thing and ordered a $50 Gretsch filtertron reissue (I know they're not the same, but I can't afford more at the moment). Anyway the pickup is a few weeks away from arriving in the post so I decided to do a little experimenting.

You may recall from my earlier post, that I had placed the Seymour Duncan P-Rail in the reverse configuration.
Well this morning I decided to put it the "proper" way around. This did have an effect on the tone, but it's still not quite what I'm trying to achieve. One thing that I did notice, is that when the bridge pickup is set to the single coil rail mode and it's selected in parallel with the neck pickup, it becomes a hum bucking pickup of sorts.

Since the rail pickup is very low output, the neck's tone dominates. I get that bathtub sound from the neck pickup, but without the buzz. the P90 coil on the bridge doesn't do this unfortunately, and when in the humucking  mode, the buzz remains with the neck pickup selected.

The P90 coil being slightly closer to the bridge seems to suit it a little better. So I may keep it in there after all.
When the Filtertron arrives, I'm still going to try it out, just to see if it's the perfect pickup for the Surfcaster.

I'm also working on a design for a Vibramate type device to allow me to have a vibrato on the Surfcaster, but be completely reversible.

Custom Charvel® Surfcaster with TV Jones® Pickups

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Disaster strikes!

Yesterday morning I had a very unhappy moment.
While searching for a screwdriver to adjust the pickup height on my Mosrite, I went into my kitchen with the guitar still strapped to my body.

I figured nothing would happen, it's strapped on with a locking strap.

Unfortunately I had a little too much faith in the strap.
For a moment I slung the guitar across my back as I reached into a box to get the afore mentioned screwdriver.
Without warning I felt the guitar slip, I wasn't fast enough to catch it and the guitar was driven toward the slate floor by the so called "weakest" force at 32 square feet per second per second.


First the decade old nitrocellulose coupled with the billion year old compressed sediment, the force of the planet below, pushing up on the guitar above, caused the grain to compress and the finish to fragment. The head of the guitar was the next to make contact. A smaller collision, with less severe damage, but damage none the less.
The result of the impact left a scar, showing the underlying timber. There were no fragments of the finish, it had turned to power.

The lesson.
Spend a few bucks more to get a quality strap, and make the effort to take your guitar off before venturing onto any surface harder than padded carpet (unless you're doing a show of course).

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