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Hot Rod Garage: Mods from Readers

An eye-popping gallery of radically reimagined guitars.


Matt West
Sometimes hot-rodding a guitar makes it look <em>less</em> showy, as with Matt West’s customized Carparelli S4. “It was a decent Les Paul-style guitar, but I wanted to improve its looks,” says West. “The original had moderate-output generic humbuckers and all gold accessories, which looked too gaudy against the red quilted-maple top. I bought handwound pickups and replaced all the gold hardware with black.” The new tailpiece and roller bridge are solid brass. The new tuners are Sperzels. Even the screws are black. “The new handwound Carparelli pickups scream at full volume, growl at medium volume, and mellow out nicely at low volume,” observes Matt. He replaced the original pots with push/pull units with switches that split the pickups’ coils.

Throughout the year we collect stories and photos of guitar-mod projects created by you, our dear readers. Some are so inspiring that we include them here in our annual Hot Rod issue.