How to Install Onboard Effects

There's got to be a better way!

UPDATE: I’ve added a page listing all the “How To” posts on this site. Just click the cleverly titled How-To Posts Are Here! box at upper-right of each page.

There’s got to be a better way!

Several readers asked for more specific tech advice on how to wire up battery-powered effects inside a guitar or [...]

Behold the Synyster Kitty!

Kitty power!!!

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 salt. As much as [...]

A History of Reverb

Hi there. We changed musical history!

Hi there. We changed musical history!

Tonefiend reader Scott S. hipped me to a fabulous little article that just appeared in the online edition of The Atlantic: a history of artificial reverb that’s both technically savvy and fun to read. Author William Weir covers all the right gizmos: echo chambers, plates, springs, tape echo, custom convolution [...]

Hello Kitty Strat: Not for Pussies!

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

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 desecrations/enhancements.

I’d ordered one [...]

DIY Guitar Picks?

Border went bankrupt. Now what the heck am I supposed to do with this pretty red card?

Borders went bankrupt. Now what the heck am I supposed to do with this pretty red card?

Behold my latest gizmo acquisition: the mighty Pick Punch!

It may look like a humble office stapler, but it stamps out standard-sized guitar picks from any compatible material.

I made picks from an old credit card, then [...]

“Vintage” Les Paul Wiring: BS or BFD?

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

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 pinpoint the sonic differences [...]

It Pays to Have Cool Rock Star Friends!

jane_3xkitty

Sadly, it's ony Photoshop. Jane just WISHES she had a Hello Kitty triple-neck!

It was a perfect weekend here in SF: Unseasonably warm weather. BBQ in the garden. A fun recording session for a new project by Jane Weidlin and Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Gos. And there was something else. . .

Oh yeah [...]

Adventures in Direct Recording

Hey man — what happened to your amps?

Hey man — what happened to your amps?

No question about it: Amps are awesome, and guitarists will be plugging into them for a long time to come. But as threatened in this post from last week, I’ve been experimenting with direct- recorded guitar sounds. I’m not talking amp simulators, but the sound of [...]

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

What do you get when you cross . . .

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 I’ve been playing with have [...]