philbilly productions


                          GUITAR TECH-TRADE SECRETS 

Note: working on pics for this page... 

 Here's my $25.00 generic strat with 3 pick-ups wired in series through the sound recorder of my lap-top! (and a little delay!)

noodlin' on my strat.mp3

People are always asking questions about my gear and how I get my sound! This page is for guitar and amp tech-some of the tricks of the trade I've learned over the years! I've been building and modding electric and acoustic guitars and amps since I first started playing back in grade school! My first guitar was a Sears Silvertone sunburst acoustic-a beginners guitar my uncle bought me for christmas!Well,it was'nt long before I ripped this axe apart and attempted to make it into an electric guitar! Back in the '60s you could mail order electronic parts from Allied Radio and Lafayette Radio  catalogs so I bought a double pick-up kit with attached volume and tone controls and installed it on my Silvertone! Then I took a saw (yes a saw) and promptly cut a notch out of my guitar body creating a crude cut-a-way. Filled it with wood,painted it up and that was my first electric guitar! I couldn't afford a real amp so I plugged her into the aux input of an old stereo-IT SOUNDED HORRIBLE! I was thrilled,however,and thats where it all began....             

                                                             My acoustic guitar rig...                                  

           I bought my epiphone at a pawn shop in Conway,NH back in 2000 for $300! I think its about 25 years old. It has a rosewood body,and a tightly grained spruce top that has turned amber in color. It has a moon ,star and planet on the headstock and abalone and pearl block inlays. I made a custom tortoise shell truss nut cover and pick-guard in a Gibson Songbird style and installed GOTOH 20:1 gold tuners! It has brass bridge pins (highly recommended) and a fishmann undersaddle pick-up. I replaced the bone saddle with man a made saddle for better conductivity. I like the action fairly high so I can really hammer the chords without any clanging on the frets! My preamp is a Yamaha unit with phase switch(extremely important!) and mid-contour. I  like to cut my midrange on an acoustic guitar-sounds cleaner to my ears. I then installed a 25 ohm volume and tone control between the pre-amp and output jack. A volume control on an acoustic guitar is a real luxury in a live setting! (got this idea from Eddie Lester!) Some folks cringe at the thought of cutting holes in thier axes but my guitars are built for function and dependability!! For about half my songs I use a modified capo(about half inche of the end cut off at an angle,perpendicular to the strings) upside-down on the first 5 strings,two frets up! This gives a great dropped D position on the second fret for droning and open string stuff. Its also comfortable for my singing range. I started tuning down a half-step years ago and never looked back-easier to play those 56-11 strings and easier on the guitar neck!(I think my voice dropped in pitch-easier to hit high notes!) This guitar has been my main squeeze for about 11 years now-its well used with a hole being slowly chopped through the top from my pick! Remember these mods are subjective and work well for my own personal style...  When playing loud ,noisy venues I always use a feedback buster in my sound-hole and remove it for quieter rooms. As a backup pick-up I keep a Baggs magnetic handy in case the on-board electronics fail. (and they will...) I use nothing but lemon oil on my guitars body and fretboard. Finally I've always used a Sabine stick on tuner-I love 'em-the only tuner I've found that works with the juke box blastin'...   

                                                       More to come...  My amp/PA system   

          Pics and sound trac below...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's the guitar with on-board pre-amp plugged straight into my laptop recorder!  Sounds a whole lot better though my old JBLs and 180w Behringer...

sloppy sample.mp3

Better pics are on the way! 

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