Guitar Stuff

I used to try to keep this page updated with what I was doing on the guitar… but that has gone by the wayside since I turned my page into a blog site. Now I just update pretty much everything in my blog, so you’re much more likely to find out what’s going on in my guitar world by browsing through the Guitar-related posts in my weblog. You’ll find more up to date information there. What you will find here is a description of the equipment I use, and a few pictures. That stuff doesn’t change too much, so it’s easier to stow away in here.

The Bolt

[the Bolt]
Make: Carvin Bolt
Year: 2002
Finish: Black
Neck: Maple
Fretboard: Ebony
Strings: D’Addario XL .011″ – .049″
Bridge: Fixed
Frets: 22
Pickups: Lace Sensors (From Bridge to Neck: Red/Silver/Blue)

This guitar started off as a cool idea that I got when I was reading through a Carvin catalog. I had never heard of Carvin before I got the catalog, so when I got I was like ‘what the heck is this?’ After some perusing, I saw a guitar kit with all the parts required for making a guitar, with all the wood pieces being unfinished. I thought it would be a pretty cool project to undertake. Painting and finishing the guitar was easily the hardest part of the whole building process. When I was painting it, it seemed like every piece of dust in southeast Michigan found its way on to the drying paint. The polyurethane was just as much of a pain. Having a paint booth would have definitely helped. Once the painting and finishing was completed, assembly was quite quick and easy. That whole process only took about an hour.

I made a brief photo-diary of the project in the photo gallery. Click here to check it out.

I must say that I’m quite pleased with the finished product. There are a couple defects in the finish, but they’re mostly on the back of the guitar and out of sight. I wasn’t expecting perfection anyways, so it doesn’t matter much. The guitar plays pretty good as well, just as good or better than the Strat in my opinion. It has a wider neck than the Strat does, which is good for me. My fingers are not exactly thin.

I recently (February ’08) bought a new set of pickups for use in this beast. The original Carvin TBH60 pickups ended up being pretty fragile in the grand scheme of things, and all three shorted out on me within 2 years of putting the kit together. My buddy Phil was gracious enough to lend (give?) me a gold Fender Lace Sensor pickup when my pickups started dying, and I really dug the tone it yielded. After somewhere near 4 years of playing only with one pickup in this guitar, I decided to load it up properly, and started hunting around eBay. I found a guitar store in Florida that sold pre-assembled Strat pickguards with the Lace Sensor pickups already installed, and I pulled the trigger. It’s definitely a rig made for metal. The red Lace Sensor pickup in the bridge position absolutely growls with distortion, and is fantastic for palm muting. The blue Sensor in the neck position is great for hitting chords that just smack you right in the stomach and knock the wind out of you. The silver Sensor in the middle position serves as a nice calming force when used in combination with either of the other two pickups, and yields a pretty sweet tone comparable to the same positions on the Strat. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the new pickups. Lace Sensors rule!

The Strat

Make: Fender Stratocaster
Year: 1994
Finish: Sunburst
Neck: Maple
Fretboard: Maple
Strings: D’Addario XL .011″ – .049″
Bridge: Tremolo (whammy bar)
*currently ‘modified,’ see below
Frets: 21
Pickups: Stock Fender single coils

I like pretty much everything about this guitar, except for the tremolo bridge and the pick guard. The tremolo bridge makes the guitar a pain in the ass to keep in tune. The pick guard sucks because it is just ugly. It’s this weird flower-modern art-random paint kind of pattern, and it needs to go. I’ll probably just buy a plain white one that goes with everything else. But if I had my choice of a guitar, I would go for a new, American Standard Stratocaster, with a Black Finish, a white pick guard, and a maple neck/fretboard. Oh yeah, and NO WHAMMY BAR! 🙂 That would be pretty sweet in my book. I could also go for a 7-string guitar too. That would let me play some of the other music I listen to, but can’t play because I can’t get low enough, like Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit, or Korn.

The ‘modification’ I did on the bridge basically changes the tremolo bridge into a solid bridge. I took a piece of wood and fit it in between the body of the guitar and the bridge (on the back where the strings go in), and it basically blocks any movement past a certain point. Once I tighten the strings up, the bridge can’t move, and I have a solid bridge.


As of X-mas 2000, I have two amps… My first amp was a little Crate GX-15. Small, but adequate for what I used it for. As I started getting better and began playing with other people, I wanted something a bit bigger. So my parents came through and got me a Marshall MG80RCD, a real beaut’. 80 Watts of foot-switchable auditory assault, complete with reverb and a CD input, not to mention a fat distortion sound. I love it! When I combine that with my Marshall 4×12″ speaker cabinet, I actually have the ability to piss off the neighibors if I want to! 🙂 The whole setup gets pretty loud when it’s cranked up, loud enough to rattle windows in the room your in, but most of the time I don’t play that loud.

Eventually I’d like to get a real head unit instead of just a combo amp, but that will require a load of bread to capitalize. Money is something I don’t have an abundance of at this point, so that will have to wait. If/when I can splurge and get a good head unit, I’ll probably get another Marshall or a Mesa Boogie. You can’t go wrong with either one of those.

I’ve been looking into getting a power brake for my rig as well, but that hasn’t materialized yet. The basic idea behind a power brake is that you can turn up the gain and volume on your amp, and the power brake will sap the power, but leave the tone alone. Just about any guitar amplifier you will ever hear sounds better when cranked tone-wise, but cranking up the volume isn’t always up an option. Hopefully I’ll be able to grab one of those soon.


I have three distortion pedals, but one gets used a lot more than the others. I have a Boss Metal Zone MT-2, a Boss XT-2 Xtortion, a DOD FX86 Deathmetal pedal. The Metal Zone is my primary pedal because it has a lot more “punch and crunch.” Basically, it hits harder (that feeling you get in your gut when the music’s loud) and sounds better during the metal songs that I love so much. It also has a lot of adjustments, which yield a lot of different tones and sounds. The DOD has more of a fuzz sound and is more geared towards the high end, which is good for leads, but I normally don’t have a need for it. It also feeds back like a bitch, so that’s a deterrent too. 🙂 I haven’t really found the sound I like with the Xtortion pedal yet. It sounds kinda weak at low volume, which is where I tend to reside most of the time. The few times I’ve been able to make the pedal “sing” have been at moderate to high volume, with a good amount of gain in the amplifier. Perhaps I’ll be able to use it more when I’m out of communal living and have a house of my own.

I also have a DOD FX64 Ice Box Stereo Chorus. This gives the sound a little “flavor”, but I’m kind of disappointed with the pedal overall. It tends to crackle a lot, which makes its sound rather unpleasant when playing clean. It produces a very cool effect when played with distortion though. I also have a Dunlop Crybaby Wah pedal, which I don’t use a whole lot. I do have fun getting a little funky with it though now and again.

[pedal board]

My dad and I constructed the pedal board shown above. It consists of two pieces of wood shelving screwed together with holes cut in one piece for the pedals to sit in. Every pedal is powered by the box at the top left, which pushes a clean and regulated 9V to all of the pedals.


These mp3s and videos are recordings of me playing on my guitar, and not the bands referenced. While it is quite cool to get lots of people hitting my site looking for MP3s and videos, <obiwan>these aren’t the songs you’re looking for.</obiwan>


“One” by Metallica (7:07 – higher quality MPEG video, 66MB). There’s no accompaniment to this one, just me playing. And you can probably see where I screw up by the unhappy looks on my face! This was “filmed” sometime in the spring of 2001 in my cavernous basement abode, not really sure exactly when.

“Only” by Anthrax (4:47, MP3, 5.08 MB) There’s two distinct guitar parts to this song, so this might sound a bit repetitive. When the second guitar part is in there, it sounds a lit cooler. I also goofed up the solo part thingy a bit, but it still sounded ok for the most part.

“99 Ways to Die” by Megadeth (3:58, MP3, 4.43MB). The low E string was a bit out of tune when I played this, so it sounds a bit lower than it should. Oh well, shit happens.

“Sanitarium” by Metallica (6:24, MP3, 7.63 MB). I love playing this song! My fingers were a bit slow in the clean part, blah. That’s the cool part too. Oh well.

“Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine – a.k.a. “that song from the Matrix” (5:58, MP3, 6.6MB). This one’s pretty fun to play. I nailed this one, except for one screw-up (that I remember). See if you can find it! hehe.

I’ve also got a category in my blog for Guitar Clips that I’ve recorded. Most of them are just random doodlings, and not something you’ve ever heard of.

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