Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #105727  by redeyedjim
 Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:55 pm
I was going to wait until I finished the whole thing to post some pics, but all that's left is the wiring, and there's no harm in posting now and again later.

So, here's she is, my Kramer/Tiger:



I could not have done this without the help I received from folks on this forum. Special thanks to Leo (softmachine72 / Scarlet Fire Guitars ) and Brian (9mileskid / ) for all of their help and skilled metal work. The pickup ring itself was designed by Dave of and made in chromed 360 HH brass by MIchael Slotboom of Armadillo Guitar.

I'm pretty psyched to have reached this point. Now, off to finish the wiring and find out how it sounds :smile:
 #105766  by redeyedjim
 Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:16 am
OK, the finished guitar:


(sorry for the blur -- camera didn't want to focus for some reason)

I'm really pleased with the way it turned out -- the tone is great, very clear and bright, and other than wiring the tone pots in reverse, everything worked as expected the first time.

Thanks again for helping me through this build. This forum is great! :smile:
 #105994  by redeyedjim
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 pm
So I've been playing my guitar for a week now with the Tiger mods, and overall I'm very happy with it - these mods produced big improvements in tone and versatility over the previous incarnation. I feel like I breathed a lot of life back into this guitar, which makes me very happy :smile:

One thing I need to play around with, however, is the height (or depth) of the pickups relative to the strings. I took a stab at this when I put it together, but the pups sit pretty close to the strings and I find I'm hitting them more than I like when I play. I need to drop the pups down a bit, but unfortunately when I did the initial install I trimmed the pup height adjustment screws too short, so I need to go back in and replace them with somewhat longer screws (but not too long as the pup cavity isn't deep enough to handle a full length adjustment screw...blah, blah, blah.) Anyway, while acknowledging that every guitar is different and each player has their own preference, I was wondering what sort of pup distance you guys used as your standard starting position? Right now the pups are snugged pretty close to the strings, probably only 1/4" below them. FWIW the pole pieces are still flush with the surface of the top of the pups. I know each guitar has its own sweet spot for this, but since so many of us are using the same pups and similar gauge strings, I'm curious what measurements others are using?

 #105996  by strumminsix
 Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:36 pm
That looks really cool!

Set your pickups by fretting the last fret and then 2 nickels on the bass side, 1 neckel on the treble side :lol:

Joking, that's the standard Tele starting point.

For your ax I'd start with the neck and likely right around 1 nickel for both sides, then play and tweak and when 100% happy, tweak your other pickups to compliment.
 #106302  by redeyedjim
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:11 pm
So far I'm really loving the new pickups and the unity gain preamp/OBEL -- the tone is fantastic! - but I have a question about pickup sensitivity: the new pickups and mounting ring seem especially sensitive to percussion, and in fact are almost microphonic: If I tap on the ring or the pups I hear it much more distinctly now that I did with the old arrangement. The previous pups were Dimarzio SuperDistortions, but they were mounted to posts and springs that were in turn mounted to an aluminum plate from the rear of the guitar,m whereas the new arrangement has the pups mounted to a heavy brass ring on the front of the guitar.

I basically just want to make sure that what I'm experiencing is within the range of expected behavior. I don't have any issues with hum or noise, and I believe everything is properly grounded. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated - this may just be a result of the more sensitive pickups and the onboard preamp. It isn't causing me any issues at this time, just curious if it's "normal" for the pups and mounting ring to be this sensitive to percussion?
 #106321  by redeyedjim
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:17 pm
Tennessee Jedi wrote:Your guitar is a beauty !
Are you hitting the pup with pick ?
Sometimes when I get sloppy with the pick and hit a pup pole it makes a noise ...
My pup ring is non-musical though.
I think the specific thing I'm curious about is just how "microphonic" the pup ring and pups should be with the onboard preamp? I have nothing to compare it to other than its previous incarnation as a standard dual humbucker guitar, and thanks to the preamp it's definitely more sensitive now than it used to be. I'm wondering if it's more sensitive than it "should" be, but I don't have any standard for that comparison. :dunno: Sounds great, though. :-)

> Your guitar is a beauty !

Thanks! I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out :smile:
 #106331  by mkaufman
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:08 pm
Tennessee Jedi wrote:Your guitar is a beauty !
Are you hitting the pup with pick ?
Sometimes when I get sloppy with the pick and hit a pup pole it makes a noise ...
My pup ring is non-musical though.
It's easy to hit the pups with a pick when the pups are set high (ie: close to the strings).

 #106337  by redeyedjim
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:51 pm
Thanks for your reply. Let me be clear: this question isn't about accidentally hitting the pickups; I know what happens when I do that. This question is about the volume and clarity of the sound when I intentionally tap the pup ring or pups with my pick, or tap them hard with my finger. When I do those things, the surface I tap acts as a microphone, and the resulting tap is loud and very clear - louder and clearer than it was previously when the guitar had the standard two humbuckers and passive electronics. It's so loud and clear that I feel the need to ask if this behavior is typical of a guitar with an onboard preamp, or if what I'm hearing is unusual?

My guess is that this is expected behavior, that the brass pup ring does an excellent job of transmitting sound/vibrations (which was the whole intent of using brass for that piece), and that the onboard preamp is also working as expected. However, since this is my first instrument with active pickups, and also my first with a big ol' brass pup mounting ring, I'm just trying to make sure this is the way it's supposed to behave vs. me screwing up the wiring. Though, as I said, it isn't humming or otherwise noisy and the tone sounds great, so I'm not unhappy with this extra sensitivity. I just want to know if this is a bug or a feature, lol.

Maybe I'll screw up the courage to post some youtube clips to better illustrate my question...though the more I write about this, the more I think this is just what happens when you have an onboard preamp and powerful pickups mounted to a heavy piece of brass. :D
 #106341  by milobender
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:01 pm
I think your wiring must be correct, in the absence of hums or noise/distortion, and with the 'tone sounding great' :smile:

I can't help with the other yet... but I'll have the quilt top I'm working on done in a few weeks, same pups and a brass pickguard/plate too, and I'll see if I get the same phenomononamonnnn (sp?) :D

What preamp/buffer are you using?