Stephen, Hansi, and Kowloon Walled Bunny

Sold a guitar, modded a guitar, and did some spraying. Delicious fumes, both solder and clear-coat.

First up was Hansi. I play with Hansi in Truxton. Here he is with a fake moustache holding our band-mate Jeremy’s brand new daughter (2009 model). He’s a red-haired, fair-skinned Swedish guy. If anyone should have bought my Hagstom Natural Viking, it would be him… and it was him. He loves it. Today, I did the generic setup; I put on new strings, adjusted the action, and tried to tweak the intonation.

After that, it was Stephen time. Stephen has been moving away from his Strat and more and more toward his Tele. His tele has the very popular mod of having a humbucker in the neck position. However, it’s been just a touch too murky for his tastes. He decided to get a Duncan Mini Humbucker as a replacement. However, the guy at the guitar shop suggested moving up to 500k post from the stock 250k. Why didn’t I think of that? Am I slipping?

So the first thing we did was replace the 250K pots with 500K pots. This began to help. Stephen actually really liked the middle position sound now. We knew we had at least one option that would work. However, the mini-hum was already in the new, pre-cut pickguard. We just had to try.

Three solder joints and ten screws later, and the pickup was in.
Stephen's Tele with Mini-Humbucker.

I plugged it in first because I’m a selfish bastard. I hit a couple notes and it just sounded correct. By itself it had a nice low content without too much woofiness. There was a good treble articulation but without a lot of the 5kHz that makes a Tele bridge pickup jump out. It was soft on the 300Hz to 600Hz, providing a slight, but not overwhelming, mid cut.

We did do one tricky thing that we always do. Stephen likes to coil-tap his humbuckers in the middle position. It’s pretty easy to do. The tone of the middle position of the tele, with the stock bridge and half of the neck pickup, was really, really awesome. It kicks the treble up a bit as one would expect, but it also did a bit more of a mid cut in the 800Hz to maybe 1.2kHz range. To me it sounded like the best element of the in between Strat positions, plus a bit more fullness in the low, and without the filthy stigma of being a Strat player.

This was a very successful day of tweaking. Stephen looks happy, right?
Stephen in our lair of repair and noise.

Right before I started writing this entry, I put the clear-coat on the upcoming Kowloon Walled Bunny (KWB) pedals. My friend Scott is in a band called Kowloon Walled City, who have been doing very well recently. He and I both love love the Ross/MXR distortion circuit. Scott had this one Distortion + pedal that sounded better than all else. We had a little shootout one
day to figure out why.

It turns out a clipping diode broke and went open in his favorite pedal. The result is a rougher-edged distortion and a LOT more level. For the KWB, I added a knob (the GSE knob) which removes a clipping diode. Essentially, it can be pleasantly broken to Scott’s preference in adjustable amounts. In addition, I took some component values from the Distortion +, some from the Ross Distortion, and adjusted others on my own to my personal taste. The result is more low end and more touch-sensitivity than the standard circuits off which this was based. In addition, the GSE knob plays both the roll of a tone knob, and a “rudeness” knob, if such a thing can exist.

Today I applied the graphics and a clear-coat for the first five units. Mmmmm, fumes.

Thanks for reading!