Brian's Guitar Page
Yet another hobby!
I started learning to play the guitar about a year ago. This is something I have wanted to do for years, and now finally have the time for it. I started with an inexpensive acoustic guitar, then added a couple electric guitars and amps shortly after. As my Uncle told me, "one cannot have too many guitars!"
This picture shows my acoustic "dreadnaught" and my Fender Squier Strat. This Stratocaster has been upgraded from the original Squier electronics and pickups to Fender Standard MIA components and Fender Custom Shop Fat 50's pickups. It is wired with vintage cloth wiring and shielded with copper tape inside.
This is my favorite acquisition. I saw a couple of these teles on eBay and since I am also into homebrewing beer, I just couldn't resist.
Plus, I wanted a Tele anyway.
This is a Squier 20th Anniversary Standard Telecaster, which I also upgraded to MIA electronics and Fender Custom Shop Texas Special pickups. It has the four-way switch mod, which allows the Texas Special pickups to be in series in position four. It is also completely wired with vintage cloth wiring and shielded with copper tape inside.
I was a bit surprised how bad the factory setup was (or lack of) on this one. The Strat in the above picture was set up much better. This one was a mess. Just about everything needed adjustment (except the nut) and the intonation was way out of whack.
But it's all setup nice now and sounding great.
I just had the Buzz Feiten Tuning System (BFTS) installed in it, and all I can say is WOW! What a difference... All those notes that sounded a little sour no matter how carefully you tuned the open strings are GONE!
Oh, not another one! (That's what my wife said.) I just got this Squier Standard Precision Bass on eBay too, and am playing around with this.
It too desperately needed a good setup, but it is ready to roll now and sounding good.
And sure enough, here is another one, the newest addition to the fleet, which I built myself (OK I assembled and finished it...)
This is a Baritone Partscaster, modeled after the Fender Bajo Sexto Telecaster. It has a two-piece ash body, maple baritone neck (28 5/8" scale length), Fender Bajo Sexto strings, Fender Custom Shop Nocaster pickups and Schaller locking tuners. It was finished in butterscotch blonde with products from Guitar Reranch. It is tuned down 5, A-D-G-C-E-A. As soon as I finish the neck, I will get a better picture of it posted.
Anyone know how to play one of these things? :-)
As you can see, I also have a Fender "red knob" Twin amplifier. The red knob Twins were made in the late 80's and early 90's and seem somewhat controversial. Folks either love them or hate them!
So far I am liking this one. It really has a great sound. These amps are rumored to have reliability problems, but so far this one works great and is a real screamer. It is all tubes (except for the rectifier and some of the channel switching circuits) using five 12AX7's (preamp tubes), two 12AT7's (drivers) and four 6L6's in the final amplifier stage. It puts out 100 watts into two 12" speakers and is clear as a bell, even turned all the way up.
As a ham radio operator, I am used to working on RF amplifiers with high voltage and tubes, so I am not too worried about any supposed reliability problems, if it happens, I'll just fix it.
The amp did not come with a footswitch, so I just made one out of Radio Shack parts. It turned out much better than I thought it would. The footswitch changes the input channel from the clean channel to the overdrive channel, and turns the reverb function on and off. There is an LED on each function to indicate if it is on or off.
Speaking of 6L6's, I just ordered a new set of finals for the amp just to have them as spares. After doing some research surfing the net, it seems that the TAD (Tube Amp Doctor) 6L6 is the one to get. These are RCA-style black plate premium matched tubes being manufactured to TAD's specifications in China. They are sold in matched sets, and each individual tube has a calibration sticker on it. And they sound great! The amp also has TAD 12AX7 preamp tubes and NOS RCA Command black-plate 12AT7 driver tubes in it.
The Twin is driven some of the time with a TS-9 Tube Screamer, which I modified to TS-808 specs. I did this mod myself, and it turns out it is pretty easy to do. It does not have Analogman's "brown" mods but it has the TS-808 spec chip and output circuitry mods.
More info on TAD tubes is available at this link: The Tube Amp Doctor
Tube Screamer circuit description & mods: The Technology of the Tube Screamer
The Buzz Feiten Tuning System: BFTS
Guitar Finishing products: Guitar Reranch
Last updated 02/20/2012