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Hi all.

I've just finished a custom build and am very pleased with the results. The guitar is loaded with clever features and effects - it has an onboard Fuzz with RF Antenna (functions like a theremin), a Pitch Shifter, a GK-3 Roland Divided pickup (for MIDI), 10 mode pickup selector and more. The fullbody pickguard, headstock cover and truss rod cover are all chrome plated steel.

I'm real pleased with the look, and the guitar plays and feels fantastic. A very powerful and versatile instrument. And through much trial and error the technology works perfectly.

There are some photos below, but there are also more photos, the specification and three demo videos (9, 6 and 5 minutes) on YouTube .... see the four links below.

Regards, RJV

Custom Guitar Photos and Specs
Demo Video 1 on YouTube
Demo Video 2 on YouTube - Stockholm Syndrome
Improvised Live Solo on YouTube

Last edited by RJV at Nov 12, 2007,
Let me be the first to say... That's awesome.
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Wow, look at all those shiny buttons
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let me be the first to say, whats the point?
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wow... just wow...
u got so much wire inside... how did u fit all that???
that's just crazy. freaking awesome.
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Whats the point you ask?

Well each one to their own, but there is only so much you can do with your feet.

Just watch and listen to what Matt Bellamy can do with the effects in his guitars and you are sure to see that foot activated effects have plenty of limitations.

Agree, its not everyone's taste, but when you already have a collection of "conventional guitars" and "conventional effects" this guitar opens up a whole new world.

Regards, RJV
Last edited by RJV at Apr 29, 2007,
I'm liking the whole build, even though it's not really my type of guitar. About how much battery life do you get?
What effects did you build into it? I'm thinking it's most likely a Fuzz Factory (everybody seems to want one these days )
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The three main effects are a ZVex Fuzz Probe (not Factory), a Boss PS5 Super Shifter and a Roland GK-3 Divided Pickup Kit.

As its only just finished its too early to know about battery life. The Zvex consumes very little current and a battery can last years (honest !!). The PS5 consumes up to 50mA so one needs to watch this. Two 9 volt DC batteries in parallel should be ample power for everything running non stop for, I'm guessing, 20 hours continuous So plenty of power for stage performance, but I added a 9 volt DC input jack for studio use to save the batteries.

One of the enhancements I considered is to install a stereo phono jack in place of the mono jack and use a stereo guitar lead to output the guitar signal and input 9 volts power - although I think this is probably overkill. Will wait and see.

The GK-3 doesnt draw any power from the on-board batteries.

Regards, RJV
Last edited by RJV at Apr 29, 2007,
Good job. Too many not well enough placed buttons, though. And the upper horn looks... kinky.
I'd resolve this in another way.

Anyway, take this from a luthier: Great mother****ing job.
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We actually trialled several layouts of the controls on a mock-up guitar before deciding on the final layout.

The final layout actually works very well, but sure, another player might prefer a very different layout. Afterall, this is a custom job built for just one player, not a proto-type for a high volume production run.

Regards, RJV
I'm liking the idea of the power and signal cabling running through a stereo jack - the only problem I could see would be induced noise. Providing you've got a good power supply (which I'm assuming you would have), I think this could be an awesome idea.
*writes it down on his list of things to do*
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Hi fellas, it's Conrad here, welcome to the forums .

Man those electronics look tight. Reminds me of this image from the Warmoth forums.

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No, its not heavy (this was a requirement of the original design criteria).

With batteries fitted, its about 500 grams heavier than a Strat ... which makes it a whole lot lighter than a Les Paul. The body alone was necessarily lightened by all the routing for the electronics.

Regards, RJV
Yep. Certainly admire Matt's guitars (and his music) - this was inspired by them.

If he would be impressed, we would be thrilled !!

The 9 volt power supply works really well (the jack is switched, so when the power adaptor is plugged in the batteries are automatically disconnected), but its interesting that the Fuzz performs differently (whether or not its built into a guitar) when powered by batteries versus a power adaptor. We figure that its a slight change in the voltage that makes the difference - not a problem really, just means you need to change the Fuzz settings ever so slightly.

Regards, RJV
Holy wow that's cool. Matt Bellamy would be proud of that mother lol. How does the 10 mode pickup selector work? I imagine a 10-pole switch could be a bit unwieldy to use
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The 10 modes are selected through a combination of a 5 way super switch (which is one switch with four banks of 5 connecting lugs (so has 4x(5+1) = 24 lugs to connect the wiring) and a push/pull switch on the volume knob.

So with the volume knob pushed down you can choose 5 pickup modes (with the super switch) and with it up you can choose the other 5 modes. If you follow the link under my signature below and scroll to the bottom you will see the neck pickup configuration of the 10 modes. In one of the pictures you can also see the super switch and wiring.

Regards, RJV
Bloody brilliant guitar, although I don't like the chrome all that much. As long as it's functional.
Can you give us a little insight into the components and how you did the RF antenna dealie?

Gotta love Bellamy's Black Kaoss...
hey RJV, its Bobby here
glad to see this posted, that pic with the Mesa looks pro as
cya later

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Last edited by Robbieeggo at Apr 29, 2007,
No its not paint. Its actually real steel (about 1.2mm thick) triple chrome plated (the pickguard, the headstock and truss rod covers) and then very highly polished.

It took days to hand cut and then drill and then file them all to shape.

But the end result is as tough as nails and as shiny as a mirror. Will certainly outlast any sort of reflective coated plastic. The close up angle shot of the knobs was a lucky photo - no bad reflections in the chrome. The chrome looks almost white here, but take it from me that ii is run-o-the-mill silver chrome on real steel.

Regards, RJV
Yes thanks. Enough wire to last awhile.

There needed to be some extra lengths so that I could peel back some of it if I needed to get in to repair or mod it in future. It looks a bit untidy, but take it from me its not hard to follow (all colour coded, grouped, clipped etc.)

I had thought that humm and interference would be a problem but through luck or design its absolutely quiet (aided by the use of noiseless pickups and lots and lots of shielding).

Regards, RJV
I don't even want to think about the time and trouble it took to piece that thing together. And the wiring looks scarier than defusing an atomic time bomb.
However, I love the final product, though the paint and shape are a little outside of my tastes.

^like what was said above i'd like to know about that theremin-like antenna thing too.
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Very well thought out plan first off. Not quite my cup of tea but it is a magnificent instrument. Obviouslly several dozen (at least) hours of planning and several thousand dollars invested in parts alone nevermind all of the man hours involved in putting this piece of art together.

Welcome to UG RJV, looking forward to more of your post in the future.
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Reference the two questions on the RF antenna.

I purchased a ZVex Fuzz Probe which I figured is the same as a ZVex Fuzz Factory except with the addition of some folded plexiglass upon which is mounted a square copper plate connected to a small (additional) PCB inside the Fuzz Factory casing. It seemed obvious that this additional PCB provided the “logic” for the RF antenna as it had two trim pots for adjusting the antenna sensitivity and antenna LED brightness. This PCB was connected to the Fuzz Probe’s main PCB with three short wires – I think one is power, one is ground and one is the antenna signal. I extended these wires as, due to space limitations, I had to install the main PCB in line with the bridge pickup and install the RF antenna PCB closer to the antenna (roughly inline with the neck pickup). The new RF antenna is the copper sheet fixed to the upper horn of the guitar. The copper is lacquered so that it won’t tarnish – it does not rely on being grounded electrically to function, you can just wave your hand above it, tap it or slide your finger around (e.g. like a KAOSS touch pad) to change the Fuzz sound. The RF antenna is electrically isolated from the adjacent chrome pickguard – otherwise the whole pickguard (and whole guitar) becomes an RF antenna and the instrument becomes unplayable.

The main PCB has its five control pots soldered direct to the PCB. I very carefully disconnected these and reconnected them to the PCB with ribbon cable. This enabled me to position the most frequently used Fuzz controls - Stability and Compression - on the face of the guitar, separate from the Drive, Gate and Volume controls (and effect power on/off switch) in a recessed panel on the rear of the guitar. I substituted the Fuzz’s foot activated bypass switch for a miniature DPDT toggle and this is installed next to the RF antenna alongside the kill switch.

I also had to install a power on/off switches for the Fuzz (and separately for the Pitch Shifter) as it has a switchable guitar input jack when in the pedal format - so when you plug your guitar lead in to the pedal the power is switched on. With the effect hard wired inside the guitar I needed another way to switch the effect on/off.

From the outset I was concerned that the lengthening of the three interconnecting wires between the PCBs, the shortening of the wire between the small PCB and the RF antenna and the change in size and shape of the antenna would adversely affect the performance of the Fuzz. I was also concerned that the close proximity of the RF antenna to the guitar strings would be a problem, or that the RF antenna would interfere with the pickups (or vice versa), but this was not the case. I tried to get advice on this early on (before purchasing and dissecting a very expensive pedal !) in other forums but all I got was challenges (“Effects belong on the floor … why would you want to do a stupid thing like that?&rdquo . So I pressed on regardless and through trial and error got it to work just as well as the original pedal did when it was on the floor. Mind you, I did install a lot of copper shielding (see photos at the link under my signature) – around the pickups and around the RF antenna and elsewhere, and note that the neck and middle pickups are both of the noiseless type.

The only issue I have with the Fuzz – and its only a very small issue – is that for a given set of control settings it gives a slightly different performance/sound when swapping from battery power to a power adaptor. It means that your favourite settings need to be tweaked when you switch power sources. I think this is due to the difference, however small, in supply voltage and is not an outcome of having dissected a pedal and installed it in the guitar.

Bottom line is that the RF antenna works just great. Not something to be used a lot, but it is fun to use and is definitely unique.

Regards, RJV
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Very well thought out plan first off. Not quite my cup of tea but it is a magnificent instrument. Obviouslly several dozen (at least) hours of planning and several thousand dollars invested in parts alone nevermind all of the man hours involved in putting this piece of art together.

Welcome to UG RJV, looking forward to more of your post in the future.

Yes, lots of hours planning (and researching). And yes, a lot of money in the build (ouch, those effects were expensive ... and then to have to pull them apart and throw bits away !)

I didn't keep track of the hours but I would estimate more than 300 hours (half of this was working with a magnifying glass as I am far sighted). I really felt like giving up a couple of times but its hard to abandon something in which you have already invested a lot of time and money.

I expect it could be built in less time, but I chose to spend a lot of time testing and retesting at every stage before moving onto the next. Time well invested I think when the result was free of technical problems.

Thanks for the welcome.

Regards, RJV
I have two custom built Warmoth Strats myself. The first has over 200 hours invested in reseach. My second was much easier, around 10 hours. I am very picky about components and tone.

My 2 Warmoth Strats i'm into for over 5,000 so far. Both have custom made P'ups, switching, and woods. I will never buy off the shelf again.
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dude, that is gnarly. i dont think my house has that much wiring! the metal looks fantastic and the shape is sweet.

mucho respecto to the genius behind this build
That is freaking awesome. I can't say I have seen a guitar this awesome since I watched Muse play live. Will there be any sound clips coming our way?

Out of curiosity, if you don't much did the guy pay for this?
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