Guitar & Bass Mods

Luthier Dave Helmer shows you how to cure buzzy strings, bad intonation, gnarly frets, high action, and other common troubles with off-the-shelf axes.

Guitars are the best. We love them. It’s fun to fall in love with a guitar at a store, buy it, and proudly bring it home. But we’ve all been there … where after a month that new guitar is just not playing as good as it was before. As guitar players, we know what feels good and what feels bad when it comes to playability. Maybe you have setup preferences that you like on all your guitars, or maybe you want to experiment with changes to your setup?

Read More Show less

This diagram clearly illustrates Dirk Wacker's wiring mod for this month.

Photo courtesy of SINGLECOIL (singlecoil.com)

If you want the maximum tones out of an HSS-configured guitar, here’s how to wire the switching and eliminate two pet peeves from a basic auto-split wiring.

Welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll have a deeper look into auto-splitting pickups on an HSS-configured Strat and similar guitars. We covered this a long time ago, exploring the basic version of this wiring in “Stratocaster Auto-Split Mod.” Today we’ll take it one step further with a pro version and discuss what can be done with it.

Read More Show less

Straight from the builder’s bench: Here are some tools that might just make your life a little easier.

Straight from the builder’s bench—these are the cool tools you need to keep your workflow moving along smoothly.

Guitar gear, by nature, regularly requires a bit of maintenance. So whether you’re a guitarist, builder, or both, having good tools makes it easier to stay on top of seasonal or technical changes. Any endeavor that requires mechanical or electrical maintenance is subject to what I call the 80/20 rule. This axiom refers to how we can spend 80 percent of our time fixing and 20 percent enjoying the fruits of our labor. You probably have a screwdriver or some wrenches, but there are a few neat little bits that make life on the workbench more pleasant and maybe shift the percentages of that rule.

Read More Show less

Installing a vintage tone cap, like this paper-waxed capacitor (PIW), can make a noticeable difference in your guitar’s tone, because vintage caps leak more rich and detailed overtones than new tone caps.

Photo courtesy www.singlecoil.com

To swap or not to swap? Let’s explore some situations when it makes sense to replace hardware … and instances when it doesn’t.

Welcome back to Mod Garage. This month I want to give you some insight into putting vintage parts into new electric guitars and explore why so many people are doing this.

The trend to put old vintage parts into electric guitars started years ago and it’s still in vogue today. But besides the hip factor, is it reasonable to do so? What can you expect, and are there specific situations where this makes sense for a new electric guitar? In this column, we’ll have to face some sad and unpopular facts (and myths) about vintage guitars and vintage parts, so not everyone will be happy about this.

Read More Show less
x