Journal 6


Weapons of Choice USA Part 1
Weapon of Choice

Like I said in an earlier blog, my Fret King yellow guitar had the bridge damaged en route from UK to USA, basically the wrap around bridge had been hit and one of the retaining bolts came loose and got lost. This resulted in the bridge coming away from the body and rendering it unplayable. Tone Pros were kind enough to send me a new bridge free of charge but it wouldn’t arrive for a week. I used Mickey V’s (guitar tech) strat which only had one pickup up working for first few shows which got us through but because the neck pickup didn’t work I couldn’t use the ebow so The Storm and Hail & Farewell suffered because of this.

So anyway, let me introduce you to the red guitar.

The red guitar cost me $149 in Sam Ash’s music store, as we had limited funds because it was our first week on the road I was worried about paying any more than $700 for a decent guitar. I made my way to the used section and came across it lurking in the background, Born in Japan in 1986. Squier guitars from that period are famous for being extremely well made and as good as, if not better than the USA models. This model’s neck reminded me of my green 61 Strat that I got during the Peace In Our Time album. The guitar felt that it had only been used by a bedroom player as all the frets were in good condition, a few dings and scratches on the body were also evident. There is no scratch plate and the configuration is humbucker at bridge and 2 single coils in mid and neck position. The guitar has a floating classic Strat tremelo and 3 mini switches for changing pickups. I immediately saw the potential in the guitar and went about doing my usual customisation. Due to being in America we usually get a lot of interference coming through the amps at venues. This is due to the lighting in buildings and different voltage. I found an EMG active single coil in Leesburg for $33 and my good pal Tom gave me another EMG humbucker out of his old Ibanez.

I ripped out the 3 mini switches as I found them confusing and filled the holes with 8 ball valve caps from an auto parts store. I then had the tone control removed and inserted a Gibson style toggle switch to control the pickups. I don’t use middle position pickup so that was removed and the cavity was covered over by an Altoids peppermint tin lid. The tremolo unit was floating but as I don’t use a tremolo, I screwed the springs up tight and turned it into a hard tail. The machine heads are fine and just needed a little tightening up. To finish the custom job I added a decal of a rose again from an auto parts store. Needless to say the guitar saved my bacon and sounds fantastic.
More on effects and backline soon

That is all.