Where we last left off was the point of selecting pickups. Many leave after this step, but being a professional nutter I decided to keep going.
Seymour Duncan makes these little gems called “Triple Shot rings” and they do some amazing things. In humbucking pickups (means “bucks hum, or cancels out a single pups nature to hum/buzz) it’s a cosmetic treatment to add plastic rings of matching color to the outside of the pickup to frame it nicely and hide the inners that could show. SD engineers were clever and realized there was missing real estate that could be used there.
Last preface – humbuckers have two coils stacked atop one another to cancel out the hum and in many of the varieties today you get four wires for connections and a ground lead. Two must be used and typically the inside two wires in the pup are soldered together and taped off (making a series circuit of the two single coils). There’s a north set of + and – leads, as well as a south set.
Full on crazies want to see what the tone would sound like if you just used the north, or the south, or maybe had them in parallel instead of series configuration. Now the wires are pretty delicate and you solder everything in a guitar build so just ‘changing’ it doesn’t fly. You need to have access to change these setups on the fly. Enter the triple shot. It allows you to flips small switches on the players side of the pickup and make these changes while keeping the wiring dead simple. (I made it work with no help and just the instructions. Just make sure you if you have a carved top set that the skinny one goes on the neck pickup; wordy dirds were used).
Net net – instead of having to build in crazy wiring options, these rings (bridge and neck) will allow me to control what’s doing what and going where for the best tone at the time. If you are further interested, an aptly named blog from SD called the “Tone Fiend” has a series of posts called the Pagey Project (after Jimmy Page inspired wiring configs). You have to listen to the YouTube video at that link if you have a remotely discerning ear for tone. If you’re still thrilled with your TV’s speakers performance, not so much for you probably… 😉
In addition to those, I opted for the big kahuna of Strat switches – the 5 Way 4 Pole switch. I won’t bore you with that yet; I’ll do it just one with the wiring diagram so you can skip it!. I’ll be using three knobs to control volume and tone, and these can have additional things configured when you pull the knob up that can kick on (another pup, a tone switch, different phase options, etc). All of these config options allow for one thing – getting at the capabilities of the gear purchased instead of connecting and forgetting. I installed the triple shots in a crud korean les paul copy (around a SD Hot Rodded set) and whoa nelly – those pickups gave new tones and even stronger outputs based on what switch options you used (Joe the Tone Fiend explains – in mime….).
The last major bit I’ve failed to mention is the Schaller locking tremolo system (locks at the top and bottoms of the strings) and allows for Steve Vai like dive bombs in pitch without losing the tuning of the string or adding to the risk they’ll break when you whammy up a note (whammy up: use the tremolo bar to pull up, shortening the string and increasing it’s pitch variably). The tuners I’l’l get to in the finishing stage, but for now that’s where I am at.
Cheers! Thanks for reading!