When it all comes together...


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Sometimes, tone just works.

Last night, a recent quest to redefine my tone all came together. I haven't been this happy with my sound in ages! The rig du jour...

  • 1984 Schecter Strat with a Harmonic Design Z90 bridge and Mojo Gold Foil neck pickups.
  • HAO Rumble Mod (on "boost") stacked into a Voodoo Lab Giggity with loudness about 3/4 up, into a WET Reverb.
  • VHT 12/20 head about halfway up with the boost on, into a ported cab with a Jensen C12N.

The result? Well, there's this special glass used for windows on deep sea exploring vehicles, several inches thick. It's still glass and still clear, but there's thousands of pounds of pressure on the other side. It sounds like that.

Gain is just one big sweep from almost-clean to Sabbath-level grind, right from the volume knob. The Rumble Mod can be turned off for a slightly cleaner sound without noticeably altering the tone. Incredibly touch-sensitive, easy to make individual notes stand out just by picking differently - something I always want my rig to do.

The bottom end is HUGE - a combination of the pickups and the speaker cab. The lower mids are glassy like a Strat, and there's a substantial bite on the attack. The Gold Foil in the neck really works, conferring a woody tone that I associate with hollowbody jazz guitars with single-coil pickups. It's quiet too, really well-shielded for a single coil. The Z90 bridge is brilliant. It's both glassier and deeper than a P90, but it still comes at you middle finger first. When I first put the two together, I was worried that it wouldn't work. I liked each one separately, and I like the two together, but it seemed like too much contrast. Now that it's dialed in, though, it's nearly perfect. The EQ curves are very similar, even though the Z90 is glassy rather than woody, and is biting rather than chewy like the Gold Foil.

And it's great to finally (maybe?) have settled on the right pickups for this guitar. The Schecter is beautiful, has an incredible neck, and feeds back almost magically well. But I've never really been fully satisfied with pickups in it before, and it's probably had 20 combinations over the years. Part of it is that I historically hated single coil hum, and would do anything to avoid it. Now, I can live with the hum - for this!

Really, it all came together at band practice the other night. I've been working this guitar/amp combo with both bands, trying to get it dialed in and get the opinions of bandmates. But thursday night, it was a monster. It actually surpassed my favorite Tele that has driven that band for several years! We have an emergency gig on sunday. Looking forward to how it performs then!

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