#1
Hi all.

I am wanting to purchase & "build" both an SG & an LP style Kit gtrs, and was wanting to know if anyone has experience with these DIY Gtr Kits - are they any good?
If you built it PROPERLY, will it be as good (possibly better?) than most pre-fabbed axes?
I want to build a few Chaos Custom LP/SG Studio Specials, give it a try, as I want a Chaos Logo on the Headstock, and Chaos in either Elven or Viking Runes down (across) the 12th Fret only, no other Fret Inlays.

With regards to wiring them - I was wanting to know if you can wire one pup Vintage, and the other pup Modern? I wanna play 'round with different wiring configurations until I find what is most pleasing to me for the sounds I am after.

I play mostly Thrashing, Grinding, Blackened Death, with hints of Doom & Power-groove thrown in for good measure. I tune my axes to D and Drop C, as I find this gives better low end for the Grinding Death, yet retains reasonable high-range for the more Grating Black. A perfect blend!
CHAOS - Chaotic Black Death!
#2
Depends entirely on the kit and your skill. Some kits are complete garbage, some are decent, a rare few are quite good. Almost all of them come with terribly cheap hardware. Without a brand name or model there's not much more to say.

You can wire pickups half and half like that, though if you want to hear the difference it's going to be more useful to re-wire the same pickup to hear it back-to-back.
#3
The DIY guitar kits are really variable, and there's no clear answer for an "are they any good" question. Most of these are sourced in China these days and it's possible to get WAY into the build before you find the glitches. Generally speaking, they will NOT be as good as something already manufactured. In fact, most are never completed. For example, the Agile AL-2000 (being discontinued) is an outstanding guitar, ready to play and capable of professional work, and it runs about $225 from RondoMusic dot com. That's cheaper than many of the kits.

That said, if you want Elven/Viking runes as inlays, you're going to have to do *some* work. My suggestion, however, would be to find a guitar without inlays, talk to the folks at Custom Pearl Inlays (google them) and have them do the work for you (or travel there and take one of their courses). They can handle the headstock easily as well. Simply gathering the right tools to do your own inlays well can be a PIA (they have them for you if you want to do your own and they're an amazing source of both knowledge and materials.

Do a little research on wiring; you'll find that what you're proposing is pretty much pointless, but you'll also find a lot of other options that you'll maybe want to consider, including going with a five-way instead of a three-way, etc.

And finally, you may want to find longer scale kits or guitars. Drop C on a shorter scale instrument like an LP or SG (24.75" scale) isn't going to have as much clarity as you might hope for, compared to 25.5" and even 27" scale guitars. I actually use Variax guitars for drop and downtunings (since they can do it with pitch replacement). It's even possible to set up tunings that run the bottom three strings in a drop tuning while maintaining the top three in standard, all while using a standard set of strings in standard tension. It just saves me so many headaches.

Also be aware that an SG is very susceptible to being a neck-heavy guitar even in a scale as short as 24.75". If you're going to get into construction bits and pieces, consider putting a good slug of tungsten or lead in the butt end of one of those guitars just below the bottom strap button, then sealing it in with epoxy, covering it with a mahogany plug, and then finishing it to match the rest of the guitar. Saves a lot of bitching and moaning later.
Last edited by dspellman at Apr 20, 2015,
#4
with vintage vs modern wiring the difference is subtle (i know how dare I)

higher end components like CTS potentiometers (things under the knobs) and capacitors made of paper in oil for example like the sprague bumblebee and braided wires really helped the 50s guitars sound to most "superior". The big pro to it is that your volume when you turn it down maintains the sound. Today we have two options to this which I'll talk about briefly.

with modern right out of the box it depends on what the companies budget was. You can get the cheapest wire, ceramic or metalized polyester capacitors (green or red pill looking capacitors) , parts that won't last half as long and all to contribute to a not as superior sound. This isn't to say you can buy guitars with modern wiring using high end components. Made in Japan or expensive american guitars for example there is a possibility haha.

in the end if you keep your volume to 10 and want to put higher end components in your guitar all the power to you. Go with whatever wiring. If you actually use the volume knob to darken up your guitar when you need we'll explore it a bit more.

with modern wiring you'd need
CTS or bournes potentiometer , bournes people claim on the Seymour Duncan forum and a few I glanced at swear they are better

type?
B500k - with these you don't need vintage wiring your treble is retained as your resistance of the pot is dropped in equal increments. so 10 is 100% , 9 is 90% ..etc where as an Audio taper (logarythmic) like say an A500k is harder to visualize for those with OCD.

if all you can get is A500k audio taper pots I highly suggest the Kinman treble bleed mod. It fixes this issue with pots. Stewmac had a good video "good tone 10 to 0" or whatever. All the components to do this mod can be purchased on ebay from a thai supplier for like under 2$ (us dollar)

metal braided wire helps , as does copper shielding tape inside the guitar. This produces a clearer tone. Even certain pickups have those wires but that is going over kill.

paper in oil capacitors which if you don't want sprague bumblebees because they are like 70$ or so each for NOS (ones that were never used from the 50s) your best alternative is either a sprague black beauty which I swear is metalized polyester like the lowest end capacitors... or ... my personal favorite USSR surplus on ebay, some other capacitors have silver which has some pros but with paper in oil capacitors I brought up the most because it's something used in the 50s. Remember to use heat sinks to ensure you don't damage the capacitor when soldering it in.

value wise
0.022uf - subtle treble loss
0.033uf - a happy medium for everyone
0.047uf - what humbuckers use, it's a stronger treble loss we've all got in our humbuckers
so as we can tell the higher we go in "UF" the bigger the treble loss as a straight up tone knob.

other than that switchcraft input jacks and CRL or whatever switches help big time. We want to solder something in once and that's it right?

mods for metal and all though
the bass cut mod - fender greasebucket - it's a tone knob metal guys will prefer. I like this mod a lot with bridge pickups really close to the strings with a lot of output and get that really trebly bite it's a must for me. This mod is easy and cheap. It can be done to any passive guitar. I find this useless on vintage pickups or single coils. I must have used this on like 10 guitars.

torres engineering mid scoop mod - it chokes the signal of your guitar making it more versatile , if you can play an MG series marshall it does just this. They call i contour and it's a must to have on my guitars or amps. The only con to this one is you got to order an audio transformer from Mouser which is about 8-10$. Sure this isn't walking around money to most guys but yeah ... other than that part it's all just stuff from that same thai supplier at 1-2$ a small bag of components.

and other than that turning the volume down if the guitar is too bright helps, besides that all I can think of for a heavier tone is like dunlop heavycore strings , pure nickle strings by any brand or dare I say half wounds (expensive) for a more bass guitar like tone.