Telecaster Deluxe Variations: Six Pickups and Some Weird Wiring

Fender’s Telecaster Deluxe has had an interesting and checkered history. Once regarded as yet another mediocre product from the company’s era of CBS ownership, these turn-of-the-seventies instruments now fetch huge prices on the collector’s market. I’ve never owned own. But when singer/songwriter Greer Sinclair loaned me one of Fender’s 2010 reissues, it was time for […]

Indispensable DIY Tool

UPIf you build pedals, you REALLY want this $41 tool.

UPDATE: A Facebook friend of mine found the same tool on eBay for $25.49.

Jon Cusack — the pedal builder, not the actor — recently turned me on to one of the best DIY tools I’ve ever owned: The Multi-Function Tester TC1.

Jon’s Michigan […]

The Prettiest Pedalboard! (Plus: A New DIY Lipstick Tube Guitar)

You know what sucks about attending NAMM as a manufacturer rather than a gear writer? I was epoxied to my booth all day, and I barely saw anything other than my guitar pedals. But on one rare break, I got to hang out with Jannis Anastasakis and his crew from JAM Pedals of Athens, Greece. […]

Mojotone British 45 Kit

I almost always play small combo amps of 20 watts or less. But I wanted something with a bit more clean headroom for a possible upcoming project — and to demo my stompboxes. I’ve always enjoyed playing JTM-45s when I’ve reviewed them for guitar mags, so I ordered Monotone’s British 45 kit.

I’d […]

Ultimate Lipstick-Tube Guitar (with experimental tone control & onboard overdrive)

Okay, it’s not the ultimate lipstick-tube guitar for everybody, but it probably is for me. It’s my third lipstick-tube pickup experiment — and definitely my favorite.

You may have heard some of these parts before: I used the neck for all my Mongrel Strat projects, and the Strat-sized Seymour Duncan pickups appeared in my […]

A New Tone Control Concept — or Is It?

Hey, smart people — let me get your take on this. I’ve been playing with a new tone control idea that’s so simple, I can’t believe no one’s done it before. (Chances are someone has.)

Here’s the idea: Conventional electric guitar tone controls employ a single pot and single capacitor connected to ground. As you […]

Double Varitone: A Two-Headed Tone Control

I was kind of stoked about my latest wiring experiment: a “double Varitone” scheme I installed in my DIY “Kitschcaster.” I’ve written about these multi-capacitor tone switches a lot on this site, but this is the first time I’ve tried using a similar scheme to cut bass frequencies. The result is a lot like the […]

Capacitor Smackdown! Does Cap Type Matter?

Oh man, I’ve been wanting to do this test for ages! A direct comparison between capacitor types in a standard guitar tone circuit.

So who’s right? The Tone Illuminati who discern dramatic tone improvements after installing vintage/audiophile caps? Or skeptics who say those perceptions are delusional? Does cap type matter at all?

You tell […]

Kitschcaster: An Experimental Fender/Gretsch Hybrid

I just completed my third DIY guitar experiment using Warmoth parts. This one is a wacky Fender/Gretsch hybrid with a semi-acoustic Fender Starcaster body, a reverse, angled Strat neck, and various Gretsch-like elements, including TV Jones Filter’Tron pickups, a Bigsby/Vibramate vibrato, and a vulgar silver-sparkle finish — a tribute to the Gretsch Silver Jet, […]

A Cool Wiring Diagram Worksheet

Check it out! Reader Mike Taylor tried to share this cool wiring diagram worksheet in the forum, but sadly, my meager WordPress forum plug-in doesn’t support uploads. It’s so handy and nicely done that I present it here. (Right-click to download.)

It’s an MS Word file, with the graphic elements for pickup wiring […]