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  1. #1
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    Default Body Swap: The AT Custom Sunburst Flame Ash Strat!

    A couple of days ago I gave new life to a custom guitar assembled earlier this year. The Red Agathis Strat (http://www.andrewthomas.net/archives/00000128.html), an extra-parts project I put together in January when my curiosity about the GFS VEH pickups I'd bought months earlier became overwhelming, was a surprisingly excellent sounding guitar. The process of putting it together went smoother than almost any project prior, and it quickly became a favorite for gigs and practice. The ultra-cheapie body I'd used, however, was an eyesore with its faux quilt top; and the finish was so thin it was cracking off in places. So I'd been on the lookout for a suitable replacement. I should explain that I've become something of a bargain hunter with regard to guitar parts. And so with that said it's probably understood how excited I was when, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered an eBay store selling guitar body factory seconds. (The occasional buffing mark or small scratch does not bother me if it means the price is cut in half.) I picked up a Mighty Mite sunburst flame maple ash Strat body, and thus finally had a replacement for the ailing red agathis body. In less than 24 hours I turned around the body swap, making all the necessary routes to the new body and modifications to the transplant parts to insure a perfect fit. Literally all of the parts of the existing guitar were switched over with the small exceptions being the neck plate, spring claw, and volume potentiometer. I even kept the same strings on it. Thankfully, like with this guitar's first manifestation, the assembly was smooth.

    Though I'm considering this the same guitar, and it will hold the same serial number in my catalog of custom axes, I went through a small amount of contemplation to arrive at that decision. I've always considered the body of a guitar its "essence," if-you-will. It's the main tone wood, the wood grain characteristics are unique to it alone, the majority of the routing is done to the body, and of course color helps define the guitar as much as anything. I only decided this, though, after having the chance to play the guitar in its new epitome. The similarity in tone and resonance is frighteningly uncanny, which I believe lends credibility to the argument that neck wood and tremolo play a large part in the overall sonic quality of a guitar.

    Pictures of this guitar in progress, along with my other guitar projects, can be found in the photos section of my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/andrewthomassolomusic.

    The revised parts list and new photos are below!

    Mighty Mite Solid Ash/Flamed Maple Top Body--Translucent Sunburst Finish
    Mighty Mite Maple Strat Neck--22 Frets, 1 5/8" Original Floyd Rose Locking Nut, C-Shape Profile, 9.5"-12" Compound Radius, Medium-Jumbo Frets, Black Inlays, Satin Finish
    GFS VEH Humbucker Bridge & Neck Pickups
    Ping Licensed Floyd Rose Chrome Tremolo Bridge w/ EVH D-Tuna & Oversized Brass Sustain Block
    Bourns 500K Volume Potentiometer w/ Black Knob
    3-Way Pickup Selector Switch w/ Black Tip
    Warmoth 3-Ply Cream White Pearloid Pickguard
    Switchcraft Jack w/ Chrome Jack Plate
    Gotoh Mini Chrome Tuners
    Chrome Floyd Rose String Retainer Bar
    Chrome Neck Plate
    Chrome Strap Buttons








  2. #2
    Eruption
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    12.06.17 @ 10:09 AM
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    I like it a lot, AT! Very, very nice!
    WGAF?!!

  3. #3
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    that is one sweet looking guitar.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, guys. I was seriously concerned I was going to eff up what was already a great sounding guitar, but the old body was just such an ugly piece of crap. I think it's actually better now, and the setup even seems to be a little more stable.

    I gotta say, too... those GFS VEH pups are freakin' awesome! Neck pickup included!

  5. #5
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    i was gonna ask how they sounded.

  6. #6
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Alexander View Post
    i was gonna ask how they sounded.
    Jim, I've got about the exact same rig as you, and I can tell you that the GFS VEH bridge pickup sounds great through it. Haven't tried the neck version yet, but I want to get one soon.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Jim, I've got about the exact same rig as you, and I can tell you that the GFS VEH bridge pickup sounds great through it. Haven't tried the neck version yet, but I want to get one soon.
    The neck pup is awesome, for my tastes at least. I like a warm, thick neck humbucker. I still haven't found one I like better than the Peavey Wolfgang neck pickup--but the VEH comes damn close. Closer than any DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan I've tried.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    The neck pup is awesome, for my tastes at least. I like a warm, thick neck humbucker. I still haven't found one I like better than the Peavey Wolfgang neck pickup--but the VEH comes damn close. Closer than any DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan I've tried.
    You like the neck VEH more than a Dimarzio Air Norton? Wow... I do need to get one.

  9. #9
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    see i like my axis and ebmm evh pickups but i feel that the bridge is abit to bright and like the neck. i will have to give some of these a try.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Alexander View Post
    see i like my axis and ebmm evh pickups but i feel that the bridge is abit to bright and like the neck. i will have to give some of these a try.
    If you ever swap out your axis bridge pickup, or would like to trade it for a Tone Zone (a slightly less bright version of the axis pickup), let me know...

    I should also add that the crunchy PAT neck pickup, which I have used, seems like a more dirty sounding version of the VEH neck pickup, and is also highly recommended.

  11. #11
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    12.11.17 @ 08:47 PM
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    Aren't those VEH pickups pretty reasonably priced too?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    Aren't those VEH pickups pretty reasonably priced too?
    Yup. $35 each.

  13. #13
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    thats pretty damn cheap

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    You like the neck VEH more than a Dimarzio Air Norton? Wow... I do need to get one.
    Dude, I'm gonna have some daggers thrown at me when I say this, but I don't really like the Air Norton. I've had the TZ/AN combo in two Wolfgangs now, and to me they just don't have the same warmth and bite as the stock Peavey Wolfgang pups--or even the VEHs, for that matter. The Air Norton is kind "weak," in a way; it doesn't have the bottom end I like, and there's something just a little too prickly about its high-mids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Dude, I'm gonna have some daggers thrown at me when I say this, but I don't really like the Air Norton. I've had the TZ/AN combo in two Wolfgangs now, and to me they just don't have the same warmth and bite as the stock Peavey Wolfgang pups--or even the VEHs, for that matter. The Air Norton is kind "weak," in a way; it doesn't have the bottom end I like, and there's something just a little too prickly about its high-mids.
    Hmmm. Just curious, could you describe in detail what you didn't like about the TZ?

 

 

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