For our annual guitar mods issue, we asked readers to share projects from their own workbenches.
Anthony Pereira: Jackson with Warpigs
Not as elaborate as others I’ve seen, but I’ve always been a sucker for Jackson guitars, and I’m not even a shred player. I wanted to do something different to my SL2, so I installed FU-Tone Noiseless Springs, an FU-Tone Brass Block on the Floyd Rose, a trem stopper, and Bare Knuckle Warpig pickups. The kicker is that I put a P-90 Warpig in the neck position for the punchy leads. The pickups are much darker than the stock pickups, but they scream through my 1982 Marshall 2203.
Gregg Ledoux: Meet Mavis
This is Mavis. She has a Warmoth swamp-ash body, a Warmoth Goncalo Alves neck with pau ferro fretboard, and stainless-steel frets. I chose a Lollar P-90 and Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates for the pickups. I assembled this guitar in the last couple of months. She rocks!
Jin J. X: Covering Serious Ground
Hi Premier Guitar!
This may look like a “normal” Ibanez Artcore, though it has some extra goodies. This is an Ibanez AFJ85 with a Stewmac Golden Age Parson Street alnico 2 PAF-style pickup in the bridge, and a custom alnico 3 neck pickup made for me by David Magazzi out of Connecticut. Instead of a 3-way switch, it uses the middle three notches of a 5-way rotary switch with the outside positions acting as a “mute.” The “top” master volume and tone pots are dedicated to the magnetic pickups with their own input jack.
You may notice a small wire coming from the bridge—this is a Fishman Powerbridge posted to the floating posts. That wire goes to the “bottom” volume and tone and to a separate jack. Historically, I’ve not been the biggest fan of piezo pickups in solidbodies, but in a hollowbody it actually sounds more real (a trick I picked up from the mighty Gilad Hekselman). So, this guitar covers some serious ground: legitimate jazz and R&B sounds in the neck, bright twangy sounds in the bridge, and a whole separate circuit for acoustic sounds that, in the studio with EQ, sound very much like a dreadnought we all know and love.
Thank you for all you do, and I appreciate that you give readers the opportunity to get in on the fun.
Justin Lee: Smashing Pumpkins Squier
Hi Premier Guitar,
Love all your content, especially the Rig Rundowns! I’d like to share with you my quarantine guitar project. It’s my first-ever guitar that had been unassembled for the longest time. I’ve since gone on to own much better guitars but there’s still something very magical about this one.
It’s started life as a Korean Squier and I thought the white finish was a bit boring (no offense to Jimi), so I painted it, inspired by Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. I guess the choice of red and white was inspired by Van Halen.
During this whole period of quarantine, I decided to get it back up and running with some help from my local guitar shop. I changed the tuners and nut, and I wired in a few old pickups I had around: a Gibson pickup in the bridge and a DiMarzio Vintage Pro in the neck. I’m still not sure what to do about the space for the middle pickup. I might just leave it empty, which makes it more Frankencaster-esque. I’ve set it up with .011s and raised the action with the intention of trying to play slide (again!). I’m also waiting to get the right (free) knob for the second tone pot.
It’s probably not worth the money that I’ve just put into it, but I can’t give it up and it should be played. Also, it seems to be my kids’ favorite one of them all.
Justin (currently living in Singapore but spent a lot of time in the U.K. and Canada)
Justin Motander Jones: Berto
This pine-bodied “Berto” was made from a beam from a neighbor’s 1930s patio here in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego, California. The purpleheart fretboard pays tribute to the now-defunct historic Ken Cinema. The guitar has a TV Jones Magna’Tron, and a McNelly CC neck pickup. The anodized aluminum knobs are made locally by Forney Guitars. Berto has a Schroeder bridge and Gotoh tuners. I make guitars in San Diego and my IG handle is @justinmotanderjones, if you’d like to see some others.
Kato: Tilt-Back Banana
I put together this beautiful guitar out of some parts that were made to my specifications. It’s a Strat-style body but it’s a little bit thinner than normal. The neck is custom-made and the closest replication of the tilt-back banana headstock like George Lynch’s. The pickups are alnico 2 in the bridge, alnico 4 in middle, and alnico 5 in the neck. The neck has a slightly slimmer profile, so it’s easier to play blazing-fast leads. I had the neck plate custom-engraved with my logo and the headstock is currently out being painted to match the body and I’m having my logo applied. Hope you like it. Took me quite a while. Can’t wait to play her!
Mark Cully: Two-Fer
I have two guitar projects to share. The first is my ’90s MIM Squier Telecaster. I put a gold-foil pickup from a 1960s Teisco guitar in the neck position along with CTS pots, orange drop capacitors, and a proper Fender switch.
The second project is my Lotus guitar. It started out as a double-humbucker guitar with a Tune-o-matic bridge. I installed a Tele-style bridge and pickup, and a P-90 in the neck position. It’s now a string-through body. I handmade a hardwood shim for the neck pocket to make the neck angle suitable for the lower bridge. It has all new electronics, including CTS pots, orange drop capacitors, etc. Great mag, by the way!
Matt Dunn: Best of Both Worlds
This guitar started its life as a cheap Strat copy under the Stadium brand. I’ve always loved HSS Strats because of how versatile they are in terms of sonic possibilities. But you rarely ever see P-90s put into a Strat, let alone P-90s for an HSS configuration! So, I ordered a custom pickguard with the help of WD Music, loaded the guitar with some GFS pickups, and decided to see how a pair of P-90s and a Wide Range-style humbucker would sound. It ended up sounding wonderful, with more of a Gibson flavor than I anticipated or expected. As a Les Paul Junior fan, this guitar provided me the best of both worlds and is quite the conversation starter!
Michael Menkes: Modded Explorer
- Hipshot A Bass Bridge with string through
- Bartolini Classic Bass humbuckers
- John East Uni-Pre preamp
- Hipshot D extender tuner
- Alperious Custom pickguard, pickup covers, and truss rod cover
It took a full year to complete! Worth it.
- 10 Ways to Optimize Your Guitar for Under $100 - Premier Guitar ›
- 10 Easy Hot Rod Tweaks - Premier Guitar ›
- Hot-Rod Your Electric: Tiny Tone Tweaks, Done Dirt Cheap ... ›
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
A highly versatile sonic tool, the pedal can deliver a broad range of tones – everything from mild, wonderfully organic overdrive to medium-gain crunch with a richly satisfying midrange kick.
The pedal is a collaboration between Shnobel Tone and guitarist, songwriter, composer, and record producer Frank Simes. Based in Hollywood, Simes‘ long list of credits includes work with A-list artists such as Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Warren Zevon, RodStewart, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, and Martha Davis from The Motels. Additionally, Simes was the musical director for The Who for many years.
Its touch sensitivity makes it a perfect choice for guitarists who rely on precise right-hand technique, and it cleans up nicely when you roll back your guitar's volume knob.
Frank Simes Overdrive features include:
- Three knobs: Volume, Gain, and Tone controls
- True bypass foot switch
- Top mounted power and in/out jacks
- Hand-built with through-hole components
- Crinkle-coated diecast aluminum enclosure, dimensions 4.7 x 3.7 Inches
- Standard 9v center negative power – no battery compartment
Frank Simes Signature Overdrive
Shnobel Tone’s Frank Simes Overdrive has a suggested retail price and MAP of $249.
For more information, please visit shnobeltone.com.
The tour will kick off July 6th, 2023 with special guest Loverboy.
The tour is set to launch on July 6, 2023, at Atlanta’s Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, the area’s largest outdoor venue. For the first leg of the US Live Nation tour, Foreigner will be joined by Loverboy, one of the 80’s biggest hit-makers. The show plans to thrill audiences with performances of more than 20 combined chart-topping songs.
Foreigner will continue its long-term initiative with the Grammy Museum Foundation to invite choirs to open the show with a live a cappella ‘Pitch Perfect’ performance of Classic Rock songs. Foreigner will join radio partners across the country to create a contest for local choirs to win donations to their music programs. One winning choir will be selected at each show, and that choir will receive a grand prize of new musical equipment. For more details please go to foreignerchoirs.com.
Leader and founder of Foreigner, Mick Jones said, “Many years ago, I wrote a song called ‘Feels Like The First Time’ and today we are launching one last worldwide tour. We will be presenting a show that I know will have the same enthusiasm as our very first appearances. The tour will start this summer in America and we hope to get to every place that we have played over the last several years. While I’m sure our fans will have mixed feelings about the end of the road for the band, I know our shows are going to delight audiences everywhere.”
Thu July 6th Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Sat July 8th West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
Sun July 9th Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tue July 11th Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheatre
Fri July 14th Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP
Tue July 18th Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
Wed July 19th St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Fri July 21st Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Music Center
Sat July 22nd Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Mon July 24th Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Tue July 25th Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
Fri July 28th Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
Sat July 29th Burgettstown, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
Tue August 1st Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Wed August 2nd Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach
Fri August 4th Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Sat August 5th Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
Tue August 8th Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
Wed August 9th Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Fri August 11th Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
Sat August 12th Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Mon August 14th Austin, TX – Moody Center
Wed August 16th Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Fri August 18th Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheater
Sun August 20th Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Mon August 21st Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheater
Wed August 23rd Wheatland, CA – Toyota Amphitheater
Thu August 24th Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Weds August 30th Detroit, MI – Pine Knob Music Theater
Fri September 1st Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
Sat September 2nd Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
Sun September 3rd Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
The Reference II Series 112 and new 115 feature a new look, ceramic magnets, and Poplar ply shells.
With gigging musicians in mind, portability was paramount to the design of these cabinets, which still feature all of the power that you expect from Bergantino. Using a lightweight Poplarply shell and Baltic Birch baffles to encase the ceramic-based speakers, these cabinets are extremely easy to transport, while still packing all of the low-end presence and warmth that is required for professional bassists in any genre of music. Covered with rugged tolex finishes and cloth grills, these cabinets look as good as they sound and provide long-term durability that is required for the wear and tear of touring and gigging musicians.
The Reference II Series utilize ceramic magnets with vented pole pieces for the fullest and roundest low-end possible. Along with their high-power handling capability, the Reference II Series cabinets boast versatility fit for players who utilize fingerstyle, pick, slapping, and tapping techniques. Their presence and punch matches their low-end output and produce an accurate, full-bodied, and authentic representation of your bass guitar in both live and studio settings.
Reference II Series 112
The Reference II Series 112 is new and improved, featuring the tone that bass purists love, but in a lighter package without sacrificing any of the full-bodied, robust properties that have made this a favorite. The 112 can achieve any sonic palette you desire while faithfully reproducing the natural tone that comes directly from your bass and your fingers. Many bassists love the Reference II Series 112 because of the “blank canvas” it provides the player seeking a solid, no-frills bass tone, and this updated edition upholds that, but with noticeable improvements. Seamless, tight, quick, and responsive, this cabinet is the right choice for players of all levels.
Reference II Series 115
After receiving many requests to bring back our 115 cabinets, lovers of rumbling low-end can rejoice, as the latest edition to our lineup is here to maximize your bottom end with a responsiveness second to none. We’ve taken everything our players loved about our previous15” offering, shaved some weight, and updated its design to fit our high standards of the Reference II Series. With our proprietary speaker curves, it can be made to sound full and modern or vintage and rolled off, but never dry. The 115 cabinet provides a massive sound in a lightweight, easily transportable package that is ready for small venues, arenas, and everything in between.
Reference II Series 112: $1059.00
Reference II Series 115: $1099.00
These Cabinets Currently Shipping in the USA. For more information, please visit bergantino.com.