An existing factory instrument can be customised in terms of playability and tone, based on its original construction methods.
You can alter the tone of your electric instrument radically by swapping out your pickups. We can advise on the choice (which is huge) and fit with the minimum amount of invasive work to your pride and joy. You may wish in the future to sell your instrument with the original pickups, so we keep this in mind with every pickup swap job. Some pickups can also we wired for coil taps and we can fit any variation of wiring for the pickup selector switch. The selector can be changed for a 5 or 6 way. Volume and tone pots can be changed and most vintage style wiring can be recreated.
On an electric, generally a wide range can be fitted, along with a new nut if required, and adjustment of the pickup pole pieces to rebalance the sound. This is most common with a setup for slide and bottleneck playing.
Acoustic instruments have a little less leeway with string gauge. Banjos and resonators are totally dependent on the tunings required. Hybrid gauges are useful for balancing instruments that have uneven tone.
Most electric guitars can have a tremolo retro-fitted. There are many tremolos on the market; some good, some bad. We will only fit those that will allow the instrument to stay reliably in tune. Fully floating tremolos require a precise setup according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Bigsby tremolos can be fitted to most instruments.
Bridge Pins and Slots
Tone and volume on acoustic instruments benefit from new unslotted bridge pins with the string holes undercut. This increases the break angle of the string giving more drive to the bridge resulting in greater volume and improved tone. On some instruments it is possible to adjust the balance between the top and the lower strings. Uneven height of bridge pins are corrected for comfort and aesthetics.
All instruments can have the radius changed provided drastic changes are not requested. This necessitates a re-fret. Fingerboards with shallow binding are not suitable.
Existing necks can be re-profiled provided there is enough material. Electric instruments can be adjusted more than acoustic. Banjos and mandolins have even greater range. Once it's re-profiled we recommend that the neck is refinished with shellac or oil for better feel and comfort.
All acoustic instruments can be amplified but remember most pickups only amplify the dry sound, not the acoustic of the room that it is played in. Fortunately there are a number of hybrid solutions with a pickup and a small mic that returns some of the true tone of the guitar. We can advise and fit a solution to best match your tonal requirements taking into account the style of play, and the type of venues played.
Electric guitar bridges can be changed for better tone, but string spacing can only be varied marginally as the neck width and the pickup pole spacing start to affect playability and tone. We also fit quick alternate tuning devices such as the Hipshot Trilogy, Xtender and D Tuners for guitars and banjos.
Banjo bridges can have height and width altered. Mandolin width and string pair spacing is also adjustable. Resonator instruments can be upgraded with better cones, biscuit bridges, spiders and bridge tips. Cheaper instruments can have their tone upgraded considerably using this method.
Drop us a line to discuss possible tonal upgrades to your current instrument.