#1
Hey all,

I normally play in C standard, but there are a few songs and bands that I want to play that go as low as G tuning (e.g. Warhorse - the US Band).

This Affinity squire (HSS) was my first guitar, and it is fairly decent. That is, I didn't get a lemon. It is, after all, still an Affinity, but there are no defects and it stays in tune quite well.

Since I don't play it very often, I decided to make it my project guitar, and try to get it set up for the extreme low end - G to A tunings. With nothing to lose, I bought a pack of 8 strings and used the heaviest 6 strings. Effectively this would be 17 - 74. String tension was pretty good in G, so I went ahead and set everything up (truss, bridge, pup height, etc). Having wound strings on 2nd and 3rd might sound weird, but it works amazingly well for power chords. Just have to get used to bending for solos... I have strong fingers anyway.

So far I'm happy with it's playability, but the standard humbucker is way too muddy for this tuning, and the sustain is garbage (G string is still vibrating after a couple of seconds, but pickup goes fairly quiet). Sustain was okay in standard. Now I'm on the search for a dirt cheap pickup, that is tight(ish) with good mids. The Duncan Designed HB 103 is my top choice so far (based off the SD Distortion).

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Will changing out the pots make a nice improvement as well? Maybe even the input jack?

This guitar will just be for messing around at home with. Maybe one day I will get a baritone, but for now, the Affinity will have to do.

Thanks
Last edited by The\/\/izard at Jul 13, 2015,
#3
Quote by The\/\/izard
Hey all,

I normally play in C standard, but there are a few songs and bands that I want to play that go as low as G tuning (e.g. Warhorse - the US Band).

This Affinity squire (HSS) was my first guitar, and it is fairly decent. That is, I didn't get a lemon. It is, after all, still an Affinity, but there are no defects and it stays in tune quite well.

Since I don't play it very often, I decided to make it my project guitar, and try to get it set up for the extreme low end - G to A tunings. With nothing to lose, I bought a pack of 8 strings and used the heaviest 6 strings. Effectively this would be 17 - 74. String tension was pretty good in G, so I went ahead and set everything up (truss, bridge, pup height, etc). Having wound strings on 2nd and 3rd might sound weird, but it works amazingly well for power chords. Just have to get used to bending for solos... I have strong fingers anyway.

So far I'm happy with it's playability, but the standard humbucker is way too muddy for this tuning, and the sustain is garbage (G string is still vibrating after a couple of seconds, but pickup goes fairly quiet). Sustain was okay in standard. Now I'm on the search for a dirt cheap pickup, that is tight(ish) with good mids. The Duncan Designed HB 103 is my top choice so far (based off the SD Distortion).

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Will changing out the pots make a nice improvement as well? Maybe even the jack connection?

This guitar will just be for messing around at home with. Maybe one day I will get a baritone, but for now, the Affinity will have to do.

Thanks


a dirt cheap pickup that is tight(ish) with good mids is dependent upon what you consider dirt cheap and tight(ish) with good mids. people want so much for so little these days .

first, make sure you aren't quenching your bass strings with the extra string excursion. make sure your pickups aren't too close to the strings. dropped tuned and trem (you have one?) guitars need more room. and did you re-slot the nut?
#4
The Duncan Designed HB103 can be had for like $25 used on ebay. I have never used this pickup before, but it is based off the SD distortion which many people recommend for down tunings. I figured this would be fairly decent upgrade considering the price. I just don't have faith in the stock humbucker on the Affinity.

It's not that I'm cheap per se... it's more that this is not a guitar I want to put money into. I just want to tinker with it. I've never done it before, so it's a good way to learn more and hopefully reach a point where the guitar serves it's purpose.

Yes, there's a trem on there - a terrible one. I did not reslot the nut. I'll look into both options, but I assumed it was a pup issue because I can see the string vibrating with the naked eye even once the note dies away.

I'll try adjusting the pickup height again to see if there's any improvement.

And yeah, I realize this is, in essence, a dumb idea... but the challenge is half the fun. Whether or not it is worth it is obviously subjective. I'm not looking to recoup the cost of this project.
#5
Well I ended up throwing in a GFS Crunchy Hot Rails humbucker. Much better. The muddy flub is all but gone now.

I've also realized it impossible to find a preslotted nut that fits the affinity. There are some that are close, but the string spacing isn't exact and the overall width is a problem too. I'm going to block off the trem and put in some steel saddles as well.
#6
Tony Iommi for example never used anything above 9-42 (e flat tuned guitars) and he plays predominantly in C# , he was often asked about how he gets his large sound and it was never the string set as 17-74 isn't going to do any more than adding volume or make it so uncomfortable to play that you may give up guitar or develop tendanitus compared to playing twice as much with even an 11-50 set. The problem with strats is that they are so hollowed out leaving you with hardly any tone or sustain compared to say a ...dare i say les paul as unoriginal as it is to mention. But this is why guys get telecasters as well as it doesn't have that problem and the neck is usually 25.5 scale not 24.75. One friend wanted to put 13-56 on his affinity or bullet squier and the guitar salesmen or whatever told him not to.

i wouldn't worry about pots or capacitors , or the switch or the input jack unless they break

the tuners are garbage on squiers , get rid of them asap, i suggest grovers, schaller , sperzel or gotoh

the nut a graphtech tusq nut , bone or brass

you can get an H/H pickguard for about 7$ from Hong kong off ebay

blocking the tremolos a good idea too, I'd swap the whole tremolo honestly go with the brass blocked one it's about 25-35$ but totally worth it , brass blocks are an excellent investment

usually if I want a darker sound, more tightness or whatever I go with pure nickel strings and the 2nd tone knob is a bass cut to add more clarity with super hot pickups with a predominantly high amount of treble. The bass cut of choice if you don't mind soldering i go with is the fender greasebucket mod. Make sure you put the bridge pickup close to the strings too to get more intensity. I was going to swap out the pickup in a BC Rich warlock because it wasn't hot enough.. long story short, the pickup i was going to go with (dimarzio X2N at the time) was not as hot. I didn't install or buy one ever for that guitar but i bought, sold and tried everything. Took the bridge pickup out of a bronze series warlock and measured it at around 19.5k , can't think of any other stock pickup that hot , with the bass cut it's an under appreciated pickup.
#7
Tony went to C# with standard sized strings because it made them very loose, which accommodated his hand injury. I don't like loose strings. It's a matter of preference, I suppose, but when I downtune I prefer to keep the strings around the same tension as a standard guitar. To do that you need thicker strings. With an absurd tuning like G standard, I needed 17-74. Most heavy gauge strings like 12-56, while fine for C# and C, are still too loose for G.

I've actually decided to get rid of the single coil pickups and the tone pots altogether. I'll get a pickguard from warmouth with just a space for the humbucker and a volume knob. Don't get me wrong, I like tone pots, but for this project something about a bare bones set up is appealing to me. With such low tunings, I run the tone pot wide open all the time anyway. Any adjustments I want in tone is better handled through the pedals and amp, IMO.

I actually don't mind the tuners. I'm in the minority here no doubt, but my squire stays in tune like a champ so I'm not concerned.

I tried to find a suitable replacement for the absolutely horrible tremolo on the affinity, but the problem is that the body is 3/4 thickness, so any tremolo block I buy will stick out the back. I don't exactly have a grinder or the patience to grind away a block for a tremolo I won't use. I figured my best option was to just replace the saddles. Stock ones are made out of melted down pots and pans.

Graphtech doesn't have a nut that fits the Affinity. Already checked. Some are probably "close enough", and I'll probably have to go that route anyway. Maybe make my own nut if I feel so inclined... but I'd probably end up with more problems than just sustain.

I actually don't like my pickup close to the strings. Too boomy. I prefer to find that place where the tone is clear and warm, and sustain is unaffected. I can't imagine what pure nickel strings would sound like on G tuned w/distortion. Congealed pea soup, probably... one step away from flatwound strings.

I'm intrigued about this greasebucket mod though. It might work well for this build. If you have any suggestions about what to do with tremolo, I'm all ears. Maybe a hardtail bridge with a large base plate to cover the tremolo hole? But that damn affinity string spacing. It's all harder to plan than I thought.