Friday, April 17, 2009

Born To Be Mild

You've seen the #1. It dresses in all back. It has three saddles, like a hard-rockin' Coelacanth that the Telecaster is. Straplocks, because you toss the axe around when you're rockin'. A scrunchie on the neck, color-coordinated with the body, like Greg Howe does. Low action and a straight neck. It's a rocker, a bad boy.

But lately, I've noticed. Specifically Wednesday night, playing out. It's ... nice. In a way that the bridge pickup of a Tele caster is Just. Not. Supposed. To. Be. It's think and understated.

I know at least part of the problem. I have it as my country guitar. I have Slinky .009s on it, and especially with single-coil pickups, the smaller the string, the less initial signal. I remember wondering "What happened to my guitar?!?" when I dropped from the .012s I originally had on it. Dropping the strings basically castrated the thing.

But I don't know that I ever got the bridge pickup to a one-true position once I installed the Wilkinson. I've raised it some. And I'm playing on Friday evening. Church crowd, so I won't necessarily get to be a fire-breather.

OK, I'm almost never happy with my mix, and I was going for the clean patches on my multi-effects unit instead of the high-gain ones. I have potential mitigating circumstances galore, should I think I need them. But I think there's more to it.

I just got the SX as a #2, a spare guitar so I can mod one and always have a second around. I am now convinced that the modifications will happen to the #1, and they will include the following.
  • 4-way switch, so I can get both serial and parallel
  • push-pull on volume pot so I can switch phase on the neck pickup, effectively giving me Baja switching
  • a no-load tone pot so I can go direct out
  • a black pickup cover
  • because how much more black could it be? That much more.
And also .010 strings. Give the pickups more to work with.


Furtheron said...

Go 10s - I went 9s for a while as a whimp out, but having then gone back to 10s on the Gibson I've slowly moved back to 10s on everything and it's a huge improvement tonewise, harder work on a Fender scale for bending but tone much better.

My son has just gone to 11s on his ESP, but that is since he is now using that for loads of downtuned stuff - System of a Down, Lamb of God etc. and with 10s there was too much flap and fret buzz, his run through Aerials last night impressed me sounding much more metal!

Dave Jacoby said...

My #2 has 12s on it, with fairly high action. I planned for it to be my alterable guitar, available for slide, Eb tuning, Drop D, even baritone. B is still a bit too floppy for 12-56, though. And even tuned standard, I can blues-bend on it. I just can't get the James Burton country bends.

So, yeah, you've convinced me. 10s next time I buy strings.