RJV Posted November 12, 2006 Report Share Posted November 12, 2006 Having purchased many stock guitars before its time to build my own. I have some fixed ideas on design but having read a lot of very relevant threads in this Forum (and elsewhere : Manson Guitars, Muse site etc.) I'm hoping that some members can alert me to any major technical problems I might encounter - particularly with respect to my plans to install effects inside the guitar. I'm not dreaming - this project is really happening as I have already ordered many parts (body, neck, trem, pickups ... but no effects as yet). The design is broadly : - Warmoth Z Body guitar (alder) - Warmoth 25 1/2 inch Wizard profile Pro Neck (AAA Birdseye maple, with Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard) - Original Floyd Rose Tremolo and Locking Nut - HSS Pickup config : Gibson Burstbucker 3 in the bridge with 2 Fender Hot Noiseless Strat in mid and neck - Inbuilt ZVex Fuzz Probe - Inbuilt Boss PS5 Super Shifter - Roland GK-3 Divided Pickup MIDI Kit (inbuilt) I'm big on self help - I've thought about this a lot, and done a lot of research. I've asked very few questions of others as I enjoy the challenge of learning the hard way !! But now its getting close to having to take the plunge and purchase the Zvex Fuzz Probe and Boss PS5 and, shortly after, having to rout some very big holes in what is currently a very nice body. So its time to sense check a few things : 1. Zvex Fuzz Probe vs Fuzz Factory - initially I planned to install the FF but discovered the Probe and would like to see if I can install the Probe successfully. I plan to make a new (slightly smaller) copper plate RF antenna and install this on the upper horn. The PCB will be installed in a new rear rout with the Volume, Drive and Gate knobs rearward and the Comp and Stab knobs up front. An on/on toggle will allow me to select or bypass the Probe. I will also have an on/off toggle to disconnect the RF antenna when not required (an alternative will be to use a push/pull switch on the Stab knob). What I am unsure of is whether (temporarily) disconnecting the RF antenna in this way will still allow the effect to work as the FF does (i.e. will the Stab knob work normally, giving me the full range as per the FF?). I am also unsure as to whether the close proximity of the guitar strings to the RF antenna will mean that a/ the vibrating and grounded strings will influence the RF antenna, and/or b/ the RF antenna will cause the pickups to hum? As I doubt that I can reuse the pots on the Zvex (I believe they are PCB mounted types) I'm hoping that I can figure out their specs and find suitable replacement types for standalone installation. (Please don't suggest I ask Zack at Zvex - he must get hundreds of simialr requests and if he truly wanted to help on this he would have posted some FAQs on his website long ago. He's clearly a very busy person selling pedals, not modifying guitars.) 2. Boss PS5 - installed possibly in the control cavity (but otherwise in a new rear rout), with the Pitch and Speed knobs up front and the other 4 knobs at the rear. This pedal will be wired after the Probe with an on/on toggle to allow the PS5 to be selected or bypassed in the same way as the Probe. Fortunately the pots are mounted on their own small PCB so I can probably reuse this for the 4 knobs at the rear and need only 2 new pots for the front. I don't envisage any problems with this effect, other than I will be installing 2 x 9 volt battery box principally to power this effect (draws 50mA) but also the Probe. 3. Roland GK-3 Divided Pickup MIDI kit - installed in the control cavity. I will substitute the Patch Up and Patch Down push buttons for a rebound toggle but otherwise this will be a stock installation. I have downloaded the installation instructions for this kit and as they are not clear they have me a little confused about how the normal guitar jack wiring integrates with the MIDI wiring. I'm hoping that it will be clearer when I have the kit in my hands. 4. Power - I would like to find a way to power the effects externally but without extra leads, say, by using a 3 conductor stereo guitar lead and sending 9 volts DC up the second conductor returning down the lead's shield conductor (so shared with the pickup output). Sounds simple, but would it create hum or other problems? I know the Line 6 Variax does something like this and it obviously works for this. Other solutions? Does the GK-3 13 conductor cable have a pair of wires dedicated to power? What voltage? 5. Pots - I'm still reading up on this, but for the pots other than those controlling the effects I figure that 250k are generally used for single coils and 500k for humbuckers. So what does one then use for a Master Volume and Master Tone on a HSS configuration? And should the Volume be audio taper and the Tone be Linear Taper? 6. Relative Volumes - The main setup will be broadly as follows (I still need to teach myself more on wiring) : HSS pickups > 5 way selector switch > on/on (bypass) toggle > Fuzz Probe > on/on (bypass) toggle > PS5 > Master Tone pot > master Volume pot > on/off/on toggle kill switch > output jack > amplifier. I'm concerned that toggling the Probe or the PS5 (or both) in and out of the flow will cause unacceptable variations in volume. Maybe I need separate volume knobs for the effects up front? I'm fast running out of space on the front of the guitar so if these are necesary I could install them on the back, or perhaps trim pots might be all that is required (but these would be set and forget). Any thoughts on whether relative volumes will become an issue? 7 Shielding - I expect shielding is going to be critical so I'm planning on copper lining every cavity front and back, under and around the pickups and under every control cover..... and double around the Fuzz Probe. Will this be enough, or am I going to have problems? Well there you have it. A long story, but I would be very appreciative if members could review these plans and help by answering any of the specific questions. Also, if you can see a trap I may fall into, please warn me !!! Thanks in advance. RJV Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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