Last time I blogged, I noted that my guitar sounded strangely muffled compared to the stock Telecaster with which I tested my modded EVJ (Epiphone Valve Junior) combo. At the time, I put it down to the fact that Telecasters are often wired with a 'bleed' capacitor, which leaks treble frequencies when the guitar volume is turned down in order to keep that Telecaster edge.
But when Alnicomagnet (for it was he) pointed out that his Telecaster was so 'stock' that it didn't even include a bleed capacitor, I decided that it was time to INVESTIGATE.
As previously described, I had replaced my Kent Armstrong pickups with GFS pickups. Would it make any difference?
This is a simple exercise: record several different guitars, compare them and broadcast the results.
"Cue music. FX. Whisky for the Director! Action..."
As if anything was that simple
I'm writing these Progress updates using a "web log" tool called Wordpress, which automatically generates an RSS feed (don't ask). Every time I post an update on the progress section of the site, Wordpress automagically generates an RSS version of the story. Using the right software, you can 'subscribe' to this RSS feed and you'll get notified every time there's a new story. Now, a 'Podcast' is really just the combination of an RSS feed with an attached audio file. You subscribe to the blog, and every time an audio file is attached to an RSS feed, your podcast software checks it, downloads it and slaps it on your iPod.
So, if I attempt to demonstrate the nature of modern electric guitar wiring by attaching an audio file to this post, I am by default, podcasting.
Which means that I really ought to include some sort of explanation on the audio file explaining what I'm doing, or the poor bugger who has subscribed to the James Bisset Fiftieth Anniversary Edition Podcasts, will download and be baffled by something that sounds suspiciously like me tuning up several guitars.
Clarity and Sparkle
OK - back to the purpose of this post. I'd spent altogether too much time and stress (did I say that I've stopped smoking again?) rewiring my custom built strat with 'vintage' style pickups to try and clean up the sound, which was muddy when the guitar volume was turned down low. How do the new pickups compare with my other guitars?
So I've recorded four different guitars playing through the EVJ amp. I've included all four recordings on one podcast. And I've even made the podcast self-explanatory for anyone who downloads the podcasts and doesn't bother with the blog.
And for those of you in too much of a hurry even to listen to the podcasts: the muddiness is apparent using the Kent Armstrong pickups AND the GFS pickups. Conclusion: there's nothing wrong with the pickups, but there's something freaky about the star-grounding wiring technique.