Guitarhacking

Handmade Fender style 'casters

On pickups and tone controls

In a previous project, the Tone-caster, I was able to build a tone control which when turned one way cut the treble and when turned the other way, cut the bass. This was an interesting project and the bass cut control is actually pretty useful in creating interesting tones. It cleans up muddy humbucker sounds, for example. When I first started working on that project, I tried to calculate the […]

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The Tone-caster

Over 2019 I worked on several guitar projects, the Relicaster and the Hotrod, and I jokingly started referring to these projects as two of the guitars in the Vintage Trilogy. There were vintage aspects to each, faux relic’ing on one and an old hotrod inspired paint job on the other. In addition, the both were fitted with maple necks and a satin finish with a ‘vintage’ tint. Then when 2020 […]

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The Hotrod

Factory Five is a company which sells kits which you assemble yourself, into functioning cars. Their kits are very high quality products with serious engineering behind them and for a long time I’ve been wanting to build a Factory Five 33 Hotrod. Someday. In the meantime, I occasionally go to their web site and salivate over some of their cars. Recently I was staring at this car: I started asking […]

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The Knopfler-caster

For a long time, my son’s favorite band has been Dire Straits. “Has been”? Yes. I don’t know if it is still his favorite – I don’t ask him every day “what’s your favorite band today?” – but I know he likes their music a lot. So I chose the words ‘has been’ because the present perfect progressive tense perfectly describes something that began in the past, continues in the […]

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The Relicaster

  In retrospect, this is one of the most unlikely guitar projects I’ve undertaken. I am not generally interested in relic guitars, which have become quite a thing. Trying to appear genuine by faking authenticity seems dishonest to me. And yet when I start a guitar project, there must be a solid vision behind it and this is no less true on this project. I love the color blue and […]

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The Holocaster

In the 1990s Fender built some Stratocasters painted in a ‘holoflake’ style, which is to say a base layer of gloss black followed by lots of large metal flakes followed by a final clear coat. The finish sparkled with the colors of the rainbow and it looked really cool. My daughter and I are trying to duplicate this style of Stratocaster but with some upgrades. The biggest upgrade, apart from […]

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Tuttomondo!

I really like the idea of using a guitar as a platform for artistic expression – the idea of a tool for artistic expression (music) being itself an artistic expression. In the 1990s, NYC street artist John ‘Crash’ Matos painted several guitars for Eric Clapton. Eventually Fender got involved and some 50 various “crashocasters” were built and sold by Fender, the artwork coming from Matos. Matos’ art was extremely colorful […]

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The Satincaster

In my search to add wackier and wackier electronics to my Telecasters, I have gone from simple things, like trying to wire different pickups together as a giant humbucker, to more complicated things like trying to create an infinitely variable single coil-to-humbucker knob, and with the latest project, I built a guitar with a knob to continuously select between the bridge and neck pickups. This guitar project started with a […]

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Fingerstyle!

I’ve started trying to learn how to play fingerstyle guitar. Fingerstyle is a technique in which the high strings are plucked by the first three fingers and the thumb plays the bass line on the lower strings. The aspect of this technique which I find interesting is that  it allows playing the melody and the bass line simultaneously. Very competent musicians can also add in rhythm parts: playing rhythym, bass, and […]

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The Psychadelicaster

The Psychadelicaster is my first attempt to paint a guitar. I started with an unfinished Telecaster body (made from alder). The first step was to lay down some undercoating, red and yellow stripes. Then I tried an experiment which I saw on YouTube. I know, you are already rolling your eyes already. But since this is meant to be a learning experience, what the heck? The experiment is to dribble […]

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