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Artec VTC Review – Onboard Active Guitar Tone Control

Artec VTC TestArtec VTC review – Cheap and easy to install onboard booster

The Artec VTC is an effective onboard booster you can easily fit on any electric guitar or bass, sporting an active or passive electronic circuit. VTC stands for Active Tone Controller.

In the video included in this article, I demoed the Artec VTC using an HSH custom made Stratocaster featuring GFS Gold Foil pickups. The wiring I made for this pickguard is as follow:

  • Neck switch
  • Series-split-parallel for each humbucker
  • Solo switch
  • 0,010uF capacitor using a 50s wiring on a 250k potentiometer
  • A brass sustains block
  • A Fender LSR Roller Nut
  • Planet Wave locking tuners

The body is made out of zebra wood, hence the name of the guitar: Red Zebra. It’s an excellent guitar easy to play with a low action.

You can listen this guitar in action in a song called Red Zebra on Deezer:

Artec VTC in the video

The only effects used in the video are: the crunch sound of my amps, Ramhead handmade fuzz by Vic Audio, some Boss DD-500 Digital Delay and a bit of reverb using the Cathedral stompbox from EHX set on mode one. ( Grail Springs)

That guitar delivers a warm and mellow sound. Effects such as Fuzz or Overdrive react differently to it.

The use of the Artec VTC is a blessing for this instrument. It adds some bite to the sound. When the Artec VTC is on 0, it changes nothing to the sound. The more you roll up the pot, and the more the sound is boosted.

It is perfect to use it with a crunch sound or a distortion set low. With the Artec VTC sets on 0 or off, you get the usual sound of your driven sound. The more you crank up the Artec VTC and the heavier it gets. It’s convenient to adjust your sound from mellow to lead or rhythm to solo just changing a tone pot.

Why the Artec VTC?

You can have a plethora of stompbox boosters that can achieve the same result, but to have it on board is like having an expression pedal that you can use with any of your effects. Having a pedal booster obliges you to get on your knee every time you want to change settings or to use only one setting.

Even if I think it’s tailor-made for driven sound, you can also use it for the clean sound as well. Above seven it boosts the sound too much, and it’s not pretty, as demonstrated in the video. It’s useful for low output pickups when you want to have a clean, powerful sound for solos, but above seven, it changes the sound too much to be usable IMHO.

Things to keep in mind

Keep in mind that those values are directly related to the pickup’s output level. The ones I use on this guitar have a medium output. With quieter or louder pickups, the result will be entirely different.

With lower output pickups you can certainly use the booster all the way up to 10 on a clean sound without distorting as much as my guitar. But the driven sound will be not as heavy as mine too.

artec vtc install

Artec vtc install

About the Artec VTC

The Artec VTC is affordable; you can get it under 20$ on eBay. This is where I bought mine. It is also incredibly easy to install. Check out the plan located on the right lo see how. You have to place it at the end of the wiring, just before the output jack.

On a Stratocaster, the most difficult task is to find a place to locate the battery. On my guitars, I’m rooting a slot to insert a battery case each time. On Les Paul type of guitar, it’s even easier. You can place the battery inside the electronic rooting. Keep in mind that modifying the guitar body makes it harder to sell afterward. You have to be 100% sure of the mod before drilling into it.

One thing you can do is to test it outside of the guitar to decide if you like it or not and if it works well with your instrument. If you choose not to amend your guitar, you can still resell it on eBay and not lose any money or just a few dollars.

Personally, I made all my custom guitars using parts from eBay, Alixpress or DIY guitar kit. I don’t plan to sell them anytime soon. I am aware that it will be almost impossible to sell them in the event I change my mind. People are brand addicted, and custom instruments, built by an unknown guy like me are extremely hard to sell. Or at such a low price that I won’t cover the cost.

Where to buy an Artec VTC booster

Fell free to contact me if you have anything to say about the Artec VTC.

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This post is also available in: French

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