In this section I will demonstrate a fully customized guitar being built from scratch.
Some parts from the previous modified guitar were used such as the X-Bridge, Pickups,
locking tuners, and parts of the original circuit design that worked well. Some of
the circuit design was kept because they were based on the guitar that I have had
been playing for the last fourteen years. I have also been experimenting and rewiring
the guitar for at least ten years. Any guitar can be built any way you want it and
be wired and designed completely from scratch. I was looking to put these designs
into a Fender Strat, but the more I looked into it I found that buying a Fender to
“gut out” would be just as expensive as having a Fender like guitar custom designed
to my specs.. The benefit of this is that the guitar will have equal to or better
quality than a Fender, but the unique choices of wood and design make it one of a
kind. I chose Warmoth to build the neck and body of the guitar since they make Fender
licensed (spec’d) guitars with any wood type you want.
This new custom guitar contains very little of the original Yamaha circuit design.
The only part that was kept was the 5-Way wiring scheme. Unlike a Fender, this
scheme doesn’t combine (neck-middle), and (middle bridge). Fender does this to create
a natural noise canceling effect when coil combinations that are close together.
It’s almost like a humbucker, but the pickups are spread out wider. Looking back
to vintage guitars, they didn’t have ground shield around the pickup wires, so noise
suppression was a necessity. They have been wiring them up that way ever since.
With the Yamaha wiring scheme the guitar is very similar to a Stratocaster, but used
a (neck-middle), and (neck-bridge) combination. This allows all of the Stratocaster
configurations, except for (middle-bridge) and also adds a Telecaster type (neck-bridge)
pickup combination. For the longest time I felt like the 5-way switch was wired
backwards in some way on my old guitar, but now I know why and I like the flexibility
it gives me when playing. All of the pickups in the new guitar were now either mini-humbuckers
or the full bridge humbucker. Noise wasn’t much of a concern due to using humbuckers
and shielding everything.
Trial and error over the years has allowed me to make a new guitar that is basically
like my first guitar, just evolved. With the new guitar I have the same number of
switches, but used the DPDT on-on-on type instead of the on-on. This allows more
options via the same switch. The X-Bridge had a great output, but with the modified
guitar, the tone circuit had a horrible effect. A small movement of the knob would
roll the high edge, but would quickly become too much and turn the sound into mud.
With the custom guitar I treated the X-Bridge to it’s own grease-bucket tone control
circuit that would compliment it better. I have tinkered with the grease-bucket
circuit before, but it just didn’t allow the sound to get low enough for the magnetic
pickups, but would be perfect for the X-Bridge. I incorporated a two way switch
in the tone circuit to allow a 0.01uf tone or a 0.02uF tone control setting. This
gives you the best of both worlds. A complete volume-tone bypass circuit was also
incorporated into the upper tone switch setting. This only works via the kill switch
that is in the center position, so it can’t be used on accident. The bypass setting
will be the loudest and fullest tone that the guitar can produce. The kill switch
can be used with the magnetic pickups or the X-Bridge since it is the center position
between them both. When the X-Bridge and the Bypass switch are engaged, you get
a mix of both the magnetic pickups, and the piezo, while allowing the grease bucket
tone control to still be used. This guitar was an experiment to make something that
was as good as a Fender Strat, but very unique in it’s own way. This guitar has
been a example to me how much different a guitar’s tone can be just by selecting
different wood types. It definitely sounds like a Strat, but with a slightly different
character. Although it may appear too pretty to play, it has proven to be better
than a typical Strat.
Swamp ash body, chambered, flame maple top, pearloid binding.
Hot rails in neck, Vintage rails in middle, and P-rails in bridge.
LR Baggs vintage trem/piezo bridge.
No batteries required with modern configuration and vintage capacitors.
Solid copper shielding with solid copper wire that brings all points to a tight
Custom Designed and wired circuit, head stock decals, and neck plate.
Hot rails: parallel, single coil, series wiring configuration with flip of a switch.
Vintage rails: same capability as hot rails with switch that matches the 5-way position.
P-rails: parallel, rails coil, P-90, series, controllable from two push pull tone
X-Bridge: Operates independently or together with pickups, and has a separate tone
control that fits its tone quality.
Master Tone: Has capability for bypass, 0.01uF cap, and 0.02uF value for lower range.
Master Volume: Has high bypass capacitor to maintain highs while turning down lows.
Kill Switch: The center position between X-Bridge and Pickup selector for use with
Phase Switch: Has push – pull from volume knob to throw the hot rails out of phase
with the other pickups it combines with.
All switch controls point down at their typically used defaults, and push pulls are
all in. Bypass setting is protected from accidentally being engaged by only working
when the kill switch is on. X-Bridge is great for clean and distortion effects. Volume
circuit is cut out of the X-Bridge circuit to allow the pickups to match the same
volume level. All switches are in position to easily correspond to the control it
modifies for quick and easy access. 5 – Way Circuit is wired for middle, neck-middle,
neck, neck-bridge, and bridge. All pickups can be set from a standard single coil
Strat to several other configurations giving the guitar several unique voicing characteristics.