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Thread: What's cookin' on Spellcaster's stovetop?

  1. #111
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I finally decided to try and finish the Tele. I was shocked when I looked back at my last post about it and realized that was June. Anyway, dragged it out today, finished and mounted the pickguard, and finished the wiring. It's taken all day, lol.....My eyes are so bad that I work for fifteen minutes or so, with eye glasses, magnifying glass, and magnifier lamp, and then my vision is pooched for an hour or more. Anyway, calling it a day. Tomorrow, I'll finish mounting the bridge and control panel, and do a quick bench test before I string it up and start the setup.

    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  2. #112
    Super Moderator die Bullen's Avatar
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    Godness how time flies...

  3. #113
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    Good job buddy.
    The mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work unless it's open.
    Frank Zappa.

  4. #114
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Thanks, KC.

    I'm going through periods of liking and detesting this guitar. Using that screwed up GFS body has really come back to bite me in the butt. After hours and hours of work, I've got it together looking fairly correct from the front....It's lost that cockeyed look. However, the string ferrule holes don't line up nicely with the holes in the bridge plate. I spent 'way too much time just threading the strings through the body. If this was going to be a long term keeper, I'd probably route a Delisle ferrule bar in place of the individual ferrule holes. That's the only fix I can think of that'd make it ultimately right - But I don't want to invest more money in what's now a losing proposition.

    A new little ugly issue showed up after it was strung. The new pickguard is a really tight fit between the neck pocket and the bridge. It was very happy and a precise fit that didn't seem to even want mounting screws along the top edge. Suddenly, as soon as there was string tension, it shows a suggestion of buckling. I guess there's a phase II adjustment in store for the pickguard.

    The other thing that I'm not really happy about is the sound of the Proline P90's. The multimeter was telling me that the pickup with higher output should go at the bridge position, but the screw spacing (narrower) suited the neck position. And the lower output pickup had the correct physical spacing for the bridge position. My initial impressions when I plugged it in was that there was not only a fairly discrepancy in output level, but also that the bridge pickup sounded okay (although not very P90-ish), but the neck pickup was completely muddy sounding. There's a possibility that some tweaking may help....The pickups are both set low, at body height, and they might be able to raise up very slightly. Also, there's the screw slugs in the pickups that could be adjusted a bit.

    I need to back away from this one for a couple of days. I still haven't set the action and intonation, but I'm leaving that till the guitar settles in a bit.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  5. #115
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I thought I was going to get this thing finished off today, but I'm still struggling. I have the guitar set up and intonated, so it's playing reasonable well. The only issues now are pickup-related. I managed to get the balance in output fairly close by playing with pickup heights, but something still sounds wrong.

    Either pickup, playing by itself, sounds strong with lots of output, but very bassy. When I have the switch in the middle with both pickups in parallel, the output is significantly lower, but sounds much better (more treble response and rings like a bell). Normally, I'd think the two pickups are wired out of phase, but in this case, the individual pickups don't sound good on their own, but sound quality improves when they're both playing.

    The only thing I can think of to try is to somehow reverse the phasing on one pickup. It wouldn't be easy, because both pickups are sealed inside metal bottom plates so the wiring isn't accessible. The pickup harnesses are done with two conductor metal sheathed shielded wiring, and I assume the metal pickup covers are joined into the shield side of the wiring. Past experience tells me that if I reverse the wires, I'll end up with noise because the casing will be paralleled into the positive side.

    I'm tearing my hair out and wondering if I'm going to have to change pickups and throw these P90's in the scrap heap. If anybody's got any ideas, I'd welcome suggestions.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  6. #116
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    One man's horrible tone is another's holy grail--but it's your guitar so, yeah you need to like it.
    My first thought was phase as well--and maybe it still is--but not like you thought?

    Keep trying I guess.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

  7. #117
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zontar View Post
    One man's horrible tone is another's holy grail--but it's your guitar so, yeah you need to like it.
    My first thought was phase as well--and maybe it still is--but not like you thought?

    Keep trying I guess.
    I'm thinking the only way to proceed is to try and determine whether the polarity is the same or opposite. I'm a little vague on how to do that....I seem to remember a test that involves putting the pickups face-to-face and observing whether they attract or repel. Unfortunately, I can't remember how to interpret the results. Unless somebody here knows (Damn, I wish Mike was around!), I guess it'll be tomorrow's project to research online.

    This Tele is going to be for sale as soon as I get this solved, so it's not even a question of sorting it out for myself......I'll be trying to make it right for a potential buyer. (This is a combination of thinning the herd, building a bankroll for dental work to come, and what I'm calling a "pre-estate sale")
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  8. #118
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I'm not having much success with this. I also posted an inquiry over on TDPRI, hoping that one of the experts might have some advice, but haven't heard anything good. One poster brought up the issue of pot values, and quite honestly, I hadn't given that much thought. I'm using a CTS 250K pot, which probably isn't the best choice.....I know tradition dictates 330K for P90's, but many guys now are using 500K pots. I'm sure if I changed to a 500K, I'd hear more top end. However, that still doesn't address the tonal issues that I hear when I switch pickups.

    I'm pretty much ready to pull the plug on this and look at using humbuckers instead. I don't think I have anything suitable....Lots of single humbuckers, but no pairs, and I'd really like a pair of cosmetically matched ones. I guess I'm going to keep an eye on eBay in hopes of finding a deal. I really can't justify throwing more money at this project.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  9. #119
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I still haven't found a resolution for this pickup issue. I'm thinking the easiest thing might be to wait until the Canada Post strike is over and things are back to normal. There are some cheapo buckers, under 15.00/pr. including shipping that would be an economy way of dealing with this. I just want it done at this point. I feel disappointed that two efforts at making something good out this (first by spending big bucks to buy the Ric Toasters, and later by committing huge amounts of work to convert it for the P90's) have basically failed. Now, I just want it to go away.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  10. #120
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    If I liked the Tele shape (It is uncomfortable for me to play) I would take it off your hands if I had the cash--even with the pickups as you describe them
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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