#1
Something I'm wont to do is continually screw around with all the "little things" that really fine tune the sound I'm getting. Anyway, I tried a few things last night and here are my observations:

Regarding strings I went from 14's to 12's (Ernie Ball both ways, and in C standard). The tonal difference when dealing with heavy gauge strings is astounding at this point. The 14's were pretty new (brand new as of last Saturday) and nowhere close to being worn out, but seemed to have very little 'punch' compared to the 12's. At the same time the guitar lost a bit of resonance/depth, and the sustain has suffered noticeably. I did have to make some (very irritating) adjustments to the tremolo, but found that the string tension was best with the bridge leaning back a bit. This also gave the strings a little more of a pronounced arch and improved the general feel of the guitar.

I screwed both bridge posts all the way to the body in order to lower the action as much as possible and then brought them back up 1/4 turn at a time until there was no buzz. I also loosened the truss rod a little bit to give some relief (and to compensate for dropping 2 string sizes). I generally prefer to play with action that may very well be considered ridiculous, but I was kind of in the mood for something less detrimental to my finger tips. As such, you guys should probably make it a point to try a set of loose, detuned 12's with almost no action at all. Due to the string size there's less deflection when you press them, and due to the action this requires almost no effort at all. That being said, this thing plays faster than any guitar with 9's or 10's I've ever tried.

Regarding pickups (Bare Knuckle Nailbombs in this case), I generally keep them relatively low as they tend to sound more full (even though the output is lessened). This time I decided to bring them up pretty much all the way. As the pickup height increased the expected changes in overall richness and output were observed, but also some things I didn't expect. The frequency response curve of the bridge pickup seems to have shifted up so that now the lower end of the high frequencies push harder than anything else, and this is evident no matter how much I adjust the poles. Also the bridge pickup has become both a lot more airy and a lot more punchy at the same time. Another point of interest is that when the guys at BKP said these were a matched set they meant it, unless both pickups are exactly the same height there are output issues between the two of them. I ended up backing the pickups back down a little as they were quite ridiculous all the way up. The output increased so much I had to drop the gain on my overdrive channel from 8 to 5.5 and I still have more distortion than when I started.

Last but not lease I became quite enamored by the level of newfound "punch" that the guitar has gained during this setup. So I decided to take it a bit further. I removed the tone control from the circuit altogether in order to reduce capacitance and then rewired the control cavity with heavier gauge copper wire. I still have a "pseudo" tone control by using both pickups and rolling off the bridge pickup volume, this is actually more useful than the original tone control ever was as I can reduce treble response without losing that hard-earned midrange punch.

At the end of it all, the guitar is a completely different animal. It's not quite a 180 degree turnaround, but it's close. I spent an hour screwing with amp settings and effect levels just trying to get them back to a reasonable output level.

The lesson: if you're looking for more tonal options, sometimes you should stop fantasizing about amps and effects and take a good long look at your guitar.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#2
Sounds cool, I messed around with everything you did with one of my guitars except for the tone control and I noticed it sounded alot better as well.
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#4
+1
I did the 18v mod on the EMG's on my Jackson Rhoads and raised the pickups a good bit and my tone went from eh to OH! Mods are always fun!
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#5
Good post, Kendall. I learned a lot about this recently when I had Victor Mason (founder of Plexi Palace & Mojave Amp Works) check out my Mojave Scorpion to make sure it sounded right (I had bought the amp on ebay a year ago, & couldn't get it to sound like the Mojave sound clips unless I used my OCD). Vic plugged his guitar into it, & ran it through his wet/dry rig, & it sounded EXACTLY like the Mojave clips (uber-brown EVH tone with NO OD!). I have the exact same pickup, too. His guitar is set up so sweet, that it just rings with tone, punch, & sustain. Unknown wood w/ Floyd trem. I was so amazed listening to him play it, I didn't take notes about the guitar. I thought it had more to do with the way the wet/dry rig filled out the tone. Afterward, I realized that the wet side was actually turned way down, & was only very subtle background, & most of the tone came from that super mojo guitar! That was an eye-opener. I've been screwing with my guitars for 2 months since then, trying to duplicate the mojo, but with only moderate success...
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#7
Quote by aaronjk0406
LMAO i thought the same thing...I have a short attention span

Which makes me want to write a post about the global increase in adoption of anti-intellectualism as a supposed way of life, when it's really a primary underlying cause of many of the world's foremost problems.........but you guys probably wouldn't read that either.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#8
Quote by Kendall
Which makes me want to write a post about the global increase in adoption of anti-intellectualism as a supposed way of life, when it's really a primary underlying cause of many of the world's foremost problems.........but you guys probably wouldn't read that either.

sounds interesting. go for it.
#9
Interesting post Kendall!
I'm getting Nailbombs and would like to know your experience with them.
How do they compare to your other pickups/guitars tonewise and the overall quality?
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#11
Quote by plankermaxx
Interesting post Kendall!
I'm getting Nailbombs and would like to know your experience with them.
How do they compare to your other pickups/guitars tonewise and the overall quality?

The Nailbombs are very modern sounding and VERY hot. They're "airier" than any other pickup I've used which I like quite a bit. These things work best between the high end of the mid frequencies to the midrange of the high frequencies and really tend to accentuate those frequencies a lot more than anything else. That said, they'll work for just about anything and do a fine job though they're probably best suited for a hard rock sound. I wouldn't recommend them for any type of classic rock, and though they'll do metal like little else, there are other BKP offerings that fit the bill better in that regard. The quality is fantastic and I've had no issues whatsoever.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#12
Sounds good - I wanna go and play round with the height of my pickups now.......
Interesting/helpful read
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#13
When you ripped the tone control out of the guitar, was the change in tone noticeable? I'm considering doing this too.
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#14
Quote by aznrockerdude
When you ripped the tone control out of the guitar, was the change in tone noticeable? I'm considering doing this too.

A little bit, but I'm not sure how much is related to removing the tone control and how much is related to rewiring everything with larger wire. I'm guessing it's a bit of both, but I'm unsure of the exact ratio between them. Tonally, if there were still a tone control (and it could defy physics), it sounds like what would happen if it were set at about 10.5 or 11.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#15
Thanks Kendall thats exactly what I'm looking for
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Laney VC30 112
Roland MicroCube
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