Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 86

COLUMN Shop of Hard Knocks
while modern ceramic single-coils use steel
poles and a ceramic bar magnet to direct
magnetic field to the string plane. But, you
can retain the steel poles and simply replace
the magnet. I chose six 2" x 1/16" neodymium
disc magnets as replacements. Six of these tiny
magnets create more field strength than the
considerably larger ceramic bar.
6) The ends of the steel poles must be free
of wax and other contaminants. To ensure
proper polarity, I mark the top of the first
magnet with a black marker, then peel one
off the end of the stack and mark the top of
the second disc, placing the magnet on the
end of the pole and making sure all discs are
oriented in the same manner. I use a small
drop of water-thin cyanoacrylate to hold
them in position.
7) Not only can neodymium poles act as
the sole source of magnetic energy, they

boost existing magnetic field. Alnico
poles are prime candidates for this easy
upgrade because access to the pole ends
is direct. Ceramic magnets don't help
easily identify the pole pieces for correct
placement. I chose .2" x 1/32" neodymium
discs, which have slightly less than half
the gauss power of the 1/16"-thick discs
used previously, so they won't overwhelm
sustain or vibrational ability. I place an
oriented disc magnet at the end of each
Alnico pole, and secure them with a drop
of glue.
8) I fabricated this bench instrument
for testing pickups. It has a quick-change
bridge in the pickup position and is built of
1.25"-thick particle board, with a fretless
solid-walnut neck and accommodations
for four strings. I use a slide with this
instrument so I can easily replicate licks

8

9

VINTAGE GUITAR

86

June 2018

across several styles of pickup without having
to hold it.
9) I have 250k and 500k potentiometers for
testing single-coil and humbucking pickups,
as well as separate terminal inputs for each pot.
With this tool, I can test single-coil pickups in
less than 30 seconds, and evaluate other modified
units including my own hand-wound pickups.
Early guitar pioneers tinkered endlessly with
their gear, trying to discover their tone. With
just a little time, you can better understand how
an instrument works, including the origins of
its tone.
Will Kelly is a guitarist, repairman, and the author of
How to Build Electric Guitars. He operates Hard Knocks
Guitars in Cary, North Carolina, where he has played host
to countless artists, instruments and amplifiers. You can
contact him at WillKelly@nc.rr.com.


http://www.phantomguitars.com http://www.sagamusic.com/VG http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 5
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Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Contents
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