My Top Three Wiring Mods

Premier Guitar just posted my new article on three favorite electric guitar wiring mods. The concepts won’t be new to anyone who hangs out here — I’ve pretty much flogged them all to death! But the new article includes the step-by-step walkthroughs that I never got around to creating for this site, and PG art [...]

Museum of Lost Effects:
Interfax Harmonic Percolator

Few guitar pedals can rival the cult cachet of the Harmonic Percolator, a singularly ugly distortion stompbox produced in minuscule numbers in the early ’70s by Interfax, a small company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And guess what? They sound ugly too, though they’re ugly in a cool and useful way.

They don’t get much [...]

Odds & Ends & Pixies

Oh man — the gods have been generous this week.

I just received from Warmoth all the parts for my next DIY guitar. I loved testing eight sets of P-90 pickups for Premier Guitar, but I don’t own any P-90-eqipped guitars.I will soon, though!

This one will be a bit of a platypus — [...]

Bigsby + Vibramate + Les Paul

It’s a holiday miracle! The 30-minute Bigsby tremolo installation.

Sometimes it pays to write for a guitar magazine!

My old pal and Premier Guitar colleague Andy Ellis hipped me to the Vibramate, an adapter that allows you to install a Bigsby tremolo on many types of guitars with no drilling or other permanent modifications [...]

Hey, Gang! Let’s Design a DIY Amp!

Let’s not just talk about one-knob gear — let’s design some! Any interest in conspiring to create a minimalist DIY amp?

Frankly, the intensity of the reaction to my recent One Knob Manifesto startled me. I had a general sense there was a growing interest in minimalist gear, but I was no idea the sentiment [...]

The Lipstick Lab
New Experiments with Old Pickups

Do you ever get an idea that you just know is going to work out brilliantly? And then discover you were totally wrong?

That’s how it was when I finally reassembled my generic Mexican Strat with Duncan lipstick tube pickups. After I recorded a demoing of it here almost two years ago, the guitar lay [...]

The One-Knob Manifesto

Can you help me figure this thing out?

It’s almost always a bad idea to label something a manifesto. It’s pretentious, and it makes you sound like a crank, especially if you were born between 1890 and 1990. But it is dramatic. And would anyone pay attention if I gave this post a more [...]

Blood on the Workbench

Small puncture, big pain.

I was trying to decide which self-indulgent experiment fascinating project to demo this week when my hand slipped, driving a sharp soldering iron tip into the meat of my fretting-hand index finger. It didn’t hurt all that much—until I tried to play. Ye-OWCH! (No, of course I wasn’t using the [...]

The Fender TBX:
A Cool 2-Band Tone Control

You can TELL it’s Photoshopped! There’s no TBX!

Thanks again to everyone who chimed in on the “What your favorite mod?” discussion. I got tons of great ideas from your comments.

Like this one, which I’ve been meaning to explore for ages: the Fender TBX tone control circuit, which appears in several Custom Shop [...]

What’s Your Favorite Mod? (Here’s Mine.)

How am me make guitar thing better?

What’s your favorite guitar mod? The kind that changes how you play. One you’ve become so accustomed to that you wince when you pick up an axe that lacks it?

I’ll choose pickup wiring mods as a starting point: During the year that Seymour Duncan sponsored tonefiend.com, [...]