Thinking of starting another project

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Ryan Michka
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:21 pm

Thinking of starting another project

Post by Ryan Michka »

I finished my first guitar build a little over 6 months ago and a furniture project about a month ago and I'm really itching to get started on another project.

As a student with a limited budget, I don't want to spend a lot, so I was thinking of a bit of a toned back project. I have a metallic red Greg Bennett Malibu 1 that sits neglected back home(It was my first guitar) which I want to revamp. I was thinking of adding some nice pickups, new electronics, some shielded pickup cavities, and a nice new seafoam green paint job.

Even after doing some research I don't really know the quality of the guitar as is. From playing it I know that the pickups are a little weak compared to my other guitars and I have no idea what the body wood is.(probably some sort of cheaper laminated sections?)

The real question is:

1)Am I wasting my time and probably $200 for parts on this guitar? Christmas is around the corner so I could get some decent pickups and the cost of the other materials is relatively small...
2) What are some good pickup options? I really like the Fender vintage Tele pickups that I put in my Telecaster build. I play a lot of Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, and stuff like Cage the Elephant and RHCP

Thanks

Thomas Dooher
Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:18 pm

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Thomas Dooher »

Parts like pickups and pots (and the associated caps and wires) make a great deal of difference in guitars at that level. Duncan has some nice pickups you can drop in there, like the lil' 59, Hotrails,etc. Better pots and shielding would maximize the pickups.

Art Davila
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 am
Location: Chicago, Il U.S.A.

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Art Davila »

Well if you buy quality parts and your not happy with your project,
just strip the parts off and save them for another project later.

I have a parts bin from guitars that never really hit the mark,
necks and all other parts I save but not so much the bodies cause if I made
a mistake its in the body since I don't yet build necks.
Go for it buy the best parts you can afford, nothing is ever wasted when you recycle.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

James Tonguet
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:13 pm
Location: Duluth,Ga

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by James Tonguet »

If you like the way it plays , then it's worth it. Decent pickups and controls on a well set up guitar , no matter the construction will maximize the pleasure .

Greg Carter
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Greg Carter »

New pups are a great idea. The wiring options available with these pups allow a (sort-of) single coil experience in one pup with a full humbucker in the other. Push-pull volume or tone knobs give you access to all this variety.

Low-cost and likely to really provide a payoff.

Greg

Eric Schmitt
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 10:48 pm
Location: Louisiana

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Eric Schmitt »

I will agree with everyone here, better pickups and quality pots will be a nice upgrade and definately will be worth the time and money. I did the same thing your considering with a cheapy flying V I had picked up a while back. The body was solid wood but was no where near top quality and the pups & electronics were pure trash. I pulled everything apart, sanded the body down and repainted it. I upgraded the hardware, got better electronics, reshielded everything and put in a set of duncan jb/jazz pickups. I also did a little sanding on the neck to make the profile more to my liking. Everything turned out really nice and now its a good playing and sounding guitar that I'm proud to show off.

As for your question about pickups, you can't go wrong with Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio's. Quality wise they're all top notch, it just comes down to your preference in sound. They can be expensive buying new but poke around eBay and you should be able to find a set second hand that is in good condidtion for less. Another suggestion is to look into guitar fetish (GFS) pickups. Several members here including me have used and recommend them. Good quality and good prices.

Hope that helps and good luck with your next project!

Ryan Michka
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Ryan Michka »

Thanks everyone. Well it looks like I will be getting some new electronics in the next couple weeks or so. I'll be sure to put the process up on this forum.

Art Davila
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 am
Location: Chicago, Il U.S.A.

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Art Davila »

You should also consider upgrading the bridge and nut.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

Jedi Clampett
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:55 am

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Jedi Clampett »

What I am finding is to not automatically put new hardware and pickups in. Think of the parts of your guitar being what I call a "tone delivery system" The only true upgrade for the most part with most guitars is technique. You improve your technique and it is reflected down the line. Seems really silly for people to give their opinion about a certain pickup call it dull when you take the cap out and the treble will rip your head off. So for electric guitars, it starts with your fingers and ends with your speakers. a 20 cent cap is far cheaper than a $100 pickup. I have 3 bass guitars. My favorite I paid $30 brand new, but is a rogue bass normally sells for $125 or so. I don't touch a thing, because it plays and sounds incredible and if I "upgraded" it would likely lose the mojo it has. The other basses is a early 80's original Japan fender jazz bass, before they made them in USA, it is a collectable and sounds and plays great, then I have a $3500 Fender Custom shop precision that plays like a dream and sounds great, altho my favorite bass to play is the cheap bass, with cheap parts and cheap wiring that plays fantastic and sounds great with my technique.
I recommend if the guitar intonates well, if not get a set up. You cannot know if improvement is made without a properly for you setup instrument. Then do your turning keys keep in tune without slipping? here again an out of tune guitar has no foundation. Try with different amps, and different speaker cabinets. Ask yourself each time am I closer to my ideal sound? Change caps, same question. Try different guitar cable, learn about mods. The facts are that pickups are just one component and for me they are kind of far down the list with technique being first and then your amp setup. Your wiring is important but in the case of my bass, if I "upgraded" my pickups and wiring, it would be a down grade for the guitar. After you try something, ask yourself am I closer or farther from the Holy Grail of tone? Then practice which is the true upgrade, the other things are mostly other choices.

Art Davila
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 am
Location: Chicago, Il U.S.A.

Re: Thinking of starting another project

Post by Art Davila »

Jedi Clampett, You have some points there, but as I re read the original post I see that he has other guitars and plays several bands to steer him in a tonal direction he is trying to get.

Ryan Michka wrote:I finished my first guitar build a little over 6 months ago and a furniture project about a month ago and I'm really itching to get started on another project.

As a student with a limited budget, I don't want to spend a lot, so I was thinking of a bit of a toned back project.
I have a metallic red Greg Bennett Malibu 1 that sits neglected back home (It was my first guitar)
which I want to revamp
. I was thinking of adding some nice pickups, new electronics, some shielded pickup cavities, and a nice new seafoam green paint job.

Even after doing some research I don't really know the quality of the guitar as is. From playing it I know that the pickups are a little weak compared to my other guitars and I have no idea what the body wood is.(probably some sort of cheaper laminated sections?)

The real question is:

1) Am I wasting my time and probably $200 for parts on this guitar?
Christmas is around the corner so I could get some decent pickups and the cost of the other materials is relatively small...

2) What are some good pickup options?
I really like the Fender vintage Tele pickups that I put in my Telecaster build.
I play a lot of Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, and stuff like Cage the Elephant and RHCP

Thanks
So I think he knows what he wants,
and is not getting it from the guitar as is.
That is why he sought advice, as to recommendations to zero in on the sounds he likes best.
Now I am here to read and learn, I assembly and modify guitars but am not yet building,
but there are so many pick ups out there, it is so hard to find what is the right one with out asking around and hearing the pickups in someone else's guitar.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

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