Guitar Mods!

The Learnings, Experiences, and Musings of The Laboratory's newest employee.

Hey, everybody! In this week's edition of Gavin's Musings, I'm going to tell you about my guitar and the modifications I've recently made to it. First and foremost, I'm a bassist, but lately, I've been enjoying playing the guitar more than ever before. I'm not sure exactly what has led me to feel this way, but I see it as a positive change, so I won't dwell on it too much. I think I own something like 6 or 7 bass guitars, meanwhile, I have 3 guitars: one acoustic, one electric, and of course, one Squier Strat, because everyone needs one. Lately, the main piece I've been playing is my other electric guitar, a Jackson Warrior JS32. Personally, I am a big fan of the late, great Chuck Schuldiner. Chuck always played a B.C. Rich Stealth, which is the same shape/bodystyle as the Jackson I purchased, which is why I bought it. Although I do also dabble in jazz, I am primarily a metal player, which is what this guitar is geared towards.

As I have been playing more guitar lately, I found that I wanted to make some upgrades to my JS32. There are two main things that have been bothering me with the guitar. The first is that the guitar comes equipped with a floating bridge. If you're not familiar with what a floating bridge does, I'll explain. A floating bridge is basically exactly what it sounds like. The part of the guitar where the strings meet the body is floating. It is held to tension by a set of springs inside the guitar body. Floating bridges allow the player to rapidly and dramatically raise and lower the tension of the strings while playing. Doing either of these things allows for some pretty cool tricks and sounds. Although a floating bridge is cool and allows for some unique sounds in your playing, it's not something I want on my main guitar. The disadvantages to having one (goes out of tune more often, difficult to set up, gets in the way while playing, etc.) are too numerous for something I feel doesn't really fit into my play style anyway. Luckily, here at The Lab, we carry a product called the Tremel-No. This is a device that allows me to lock my floating bridge and remove all of the cons I just discussed, while also allowing me to easily unlock the bridge if I decide I want to do some dive bombs. I purchased a Tremel-No we had in stock here and installed it the same night, with some help from the boys and a 17-year-old YouTube video. Since then, I have been playing my guitar a lot more and have really been making improvements in my playing!

(Okay, I am going to come to a screeching halt here for a second. At the beginning of this blog post, I said I don't know why I suddenly started playing so much guitar. Well, I just remembered why that is the case. My lovely girlfriend would come over to my house and beg to play the Jackson, but I would always tell her that there's no point because the floating bridge was causing too many dead notes and just making the guitar generally unplayable. Well, I eventually gave in to her demands, and that's what made me get the Tremel-No and fix my guitar!).

Anyway, the second thing I want to swap out on my guitar is, of course, the pickup. The pickup is what's responsible for picking up the sound of the strings and turning it into an electrical signal for the amp. As you may imagine, pickups play a pretty massive role in the overall tone and sound of your guitar. My JS32 is not a particularly expensive guitar. I got it for about $400 new. On a guitar that affordable, the pickups are less of a priority versus something like the overall build quality. Luckily, it's comparatively easy to swap out pickups versus fixing overall lackluster build quality. At this moment, all I am going to do is swap out the bridge pickup. The bridge pickup is the one that is, of course, closest to the bridge of the guitar. The bridge pickup generally has a snappier, less mid-range, and more high-end focused sound. For my style of playing, my guitar's pickup switch almost never leaves the bridge position. So, for my purposes, I am going to be swapping out just the bridge pickup.

Deciding what pickup you want can be a very arduous and confusing process. Personally, I wasn't really sure what I wanted at all. There are a TON of options on the market at all different price ranges. It also doesn't help that a lot of them are trying to do the same or very similar things, making your shopping even more confusing. Luckily, Stefan here at The Lab made my shopping very short and easy for me. I was browsing our pickup section unsure what to get when Stefan asked why don't I just get whatever pickup Chuck Schuldiner himself used. "Why, that's a great idea!" I exclaimed. A Chuck-shaped guitar should have a Chuck-shaped sound after all. Chuck used a DiMarzio X2N pickup in the bridge position of his guitar. Thanks to Stefan, that's what we went ahead and ordered for me and my guitar!

The pickup is yet to arrive, and I am very excited to finally get it into my guitar, change the strings, and let 'er rip! The X2N is a very high gain aggressive-sounding pickup, perfect for what I want to do with it. I'm also excited to get some more soldering practice in (something that I DEFINITELY need more practice with).

This has been a lengthy one for sure. If you've read all the way to the end, I really appreciate it! I'll be sure to let you all know how I'm liking the pickup once it's installed! All in all, modifying my instrument has made me want to pick it up more than ever before and has made me a better player just by way of playing more. I recommend everyone learn to work on their own instrument in any capacity. It is an extremely fun and rewarding process. Thanks again for everyone! Until next time!


Guitar Mods!
Gavin Miele April 16, 2024
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