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Old 06-24-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
RedJamaX
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Strat-Copy, lots of mods!! Long-winded explanation

Finally upgraded and re-wired my AXL Badwater SRO (Strat-Copy). The first photo is the original stock configuration... H-S-S with standard Volume-Tone-Tone, 5-way switch, EMG "designed" Alnico II pickups. I bought this with the intention of rebuilding it at some point and the result is far beyond what I was hoping for.

THE MODS:
New Pickups: (neck) GFS Overwound Liverpool, (mid) Seymour Duncan Duckbucker (for the bridge position for extra output), (bridge) Seymour Duncan JB. Each Pickup has it's own 3-way mini-switch (on/off/on). Switch Positions - UP=Series (full humbucker) - MID=Off - DOWN=Parallel (single coils with kick). Master Volume (A500k), Master Tone (A300K), Variable Treble Bleed (A500k), and 12-Position Varitone Switch (12 position uf ratings: .001 - .0022 - .0047 - .0068 - .0082 - .01 - .022 - .047 - .068 - .082 - .1 - .33)

MORE INFO:
The "stuff" on the back of the three mini-switches is Steel-Stick Epoxy Putty. I needed that because I am a novice when it comes to soldering and my first attempts resulted in melting the plastic of the mini switch... soldering iron is only 30W, I'm just not fast enough. Before I could get the solder to bind to the mini-switch posts, the plastic melts and the post would sink into the mini-switch. So the Epoxy binds to the plastic and the solder posts preventing them from sinking in. The switches work properly, and the epoxy is non-conductive.

CUSTOM VARITONE:
The values I chose for the varitone were based on three day’s worth of testing. Due to the design of a strat-style guitar and top routing, I used my other guitars with rear routing to determine which caps I wanted. The lower rated caps allow for trimming off the top end and removing that harsh trebly sound with the modern gain channels without muddying the tone. The middle range values, combined with the multitude of pickup configurations, allow me to create almost any standard humbucker tone. Then the lower spectrum creates a really cool deep crunch.

THE POTS:
A500K Volume gives the full range output control for the humbuckers. The A300K Tone control rolls the tone off much smoother than a 500K. In combination with the varitone, I find that the low and mid-level rated caps provide the smoothest tone control. When I get to .082uf the tone rolls down smoothly until around 8 and then drops very quickly. Each lower cap drops faster even closer to the max tone setting.

VARIABLE TREBLE:
I tested multiple pots when trying to determine the best pot to use for the variable treble control. The A500K provides the smoothest control. With the Volume rolled off on the highest cap ratings on the varitone, the treble bleed can provide the ability to keep the same tone consistent across the volume control. Of course the effect is less dramatic as the cap ratings drop as I move toward the first setting of the varitone.

PICKUPS:
GFS Overwound Liverpool - This thing really is overwound... Sounds great though! Perfect for clean tones, dirty blues, Jazz and Classic Rock gain.

Duckbucker - I got the bridge version for the neck position because I just wanted something different. Turns out it was a good decision because the GFS and the JB both have a LOT of output. The Duckbucker is the quietest of the three. It actually sounds very similar to the JB, less output with a little more mid-range, probably from the position.

JB - Almost everybody knows this pickup pretty well... I can definitely say that it sounds much better in this guitar than it ever did in my LTD EC400vf, it was just a little too bright in the Eclipse. The 12 position varitone really brings out a range for the JB that just can’t be achieved with the standard .022uf and 500k pot. Even with the .1uf cap, on high gain channels, some of the crisp highs can still get through.

ODD RESULT:
The weird result is that when I have all three pickups set to OFF in the middle position, I can still hear sound coming through, although it's very quiet. Tapping the pickups screws with a small screw driver confirms that all three pickups are still engaged. I cannot hear the pickups on the last 4 varitone settings, but I think that's just because of the noise gate on my Vypyr 100 amp. My only guess is that even though the South-Finish, and North-Start aren’t actually wired together, the North-Finish is always connected to the output, so there will always be some amount of current running to the output… Is my logic correct?

I do plan to make a video and post it on YouTube in the next few weeks… I’ve also got several requests to make on for the mods on my SE Santana. Thoughts, comments, questions?

Original configuration form the factory:


The new look:






The Controls:




The Wiring:






The Diagram:
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PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:17 PM   #2
played[out]
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how in the world.....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilots
Discrepancy: While at 110 KIAS and 35 deg AOB with full right pedal, trims would not keep helicopter in correct Outer roll loop.

Corrective action:
Could not duplicate on ground. 11A799. NPPC
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:58 AM   #3
BirdRiverCustom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by played[out]
how in the world.....


+1
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
terribleguitar
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that wiring scheme looks like some computer schematics
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #5
bigblockelectra
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Nice wiring....but definitely not a fan of the aged look.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:55 AM   #6
RedJamaX
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Thanks! Still has more work to go... this was just the rough-in, so-to-speak, just to make sure I was please with the pickup configuration and wiring mods... After some research I discovered that I probably have some ground-loops and need to rewire all the ground connections, and better insulate the entire cavity and cover assemblies.

This will happen after I get a new pick guard and new neck. Considering the Black Faux Steel Plate style pick guard. Neck is going to be Mahogany with a Macassar Ebony fret board.
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PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
joe
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Yes
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from me
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
Emperor's Child
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So that Varitone switch is for the tone control? Wouldn't it make more sense to use a VR and 2 capacitors to the same effect?

Also, disengaging the switches via off mode wont ground the connections from the jack. This could be where the excess noise is coming from although I can't be bothered to work out that diagram.

Last edited by Emperor's Child : 06-27-2013 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:59 AM   #9
RedJamaX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor's Child
So that Varitone switch is for the tone control? Wouldn't it make more sense to use a VR and 2 capacitors to the same effect?


Honestly, just using the highest rated cap could technically allow me to get every one of those tones, but it would be hard to dial into anything specifically, and repeatedly. Using two caps would allow for "more" control. I like 12 because it allows me to dial in to specific tones with more control and easier repetition. Although, I;m sure I won't use many of the settings, I have already found that I really like these the best.
.0047 - .0082 - .022 - .047 - .068 - .1
But it would have been far more difficult to figure that out without being able to switch around easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor's Child
Also, disengaging the switches via off mode wont ground the connections from the jack. This could be where the excess noise is coming from although I can't be bothered to work out that diagram.


I was referred to an article called "Quieting the beast" which covers a lot of improper wiring techniques which are employed even in $5000 guitars. So the next time I change my strings I will be re-wiring it again to see if I can correct it. Also thinking about ditching the Variable Treble Bleed... I put one on my SE Santana and it's very useful with the tone of those pickups, but not so much on this particular guitar. I think I'll add a piezo instead and just use the extra A500k as a separate volume control.
__________________
PRS SE Santana - Santana III Bass/Treble
ESP LTD EC400vf - Gibson Zebra 496R/500T
AXL Badwater SRO - GFS OW Liverpool, SD Duckbucker, SD JB
Mitchell Acoustic MD100SCE
Peavey Vypyr 100

Last edited by RedJamaX : 06-28-2013 at 11:01 AM.
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