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Hervé Senni

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… Continue reading

Artec EXP Review – Artec Expand to Peak Controller – Onboard Booster

Artec EXPArtec EXP & EX3 Expand to Peak Controller review

Artec EXP is an excellent and affordable onboard booster that you can easily install on any electric guitar and bass.

It owns three functions in one device.

  • First: the frequency expander
  • Second: mid-band peak control
  • Third: flat booster

You can get two different version of the Artec EXP. The regular EXP model mounted on a push-pull potentiometer and the EX3.

The EX3 is the same circuit with a three positions toggle switch instead of a push-pull. It gives less control than the pot version, but if you lack room on your instrument, and you can’t add an extra potentiometer this is the way to go.

The frequency expander

When the potentiometer is on 10, it is a bass and treble boost. It gives a crystal-clear tone to the guitar.

Mid-Band peak control

When the pot is on 0, the EXP acts as a mid-boost.

Flat booster

When the pot is on middle position it is a neutral boost. It increases the… Continue reading

Red Special Wiring Schematic Using Only 3 On-On-On Toggle switches – PTB Tone Control & Solo Switch

red special wiringRed Special Wiring Plan – The Best and Easiest Wirework

The Red Special Wiring is a popular pattern. It has been popularized by Brian May on his famous Red Special handmade guitar. I don’t think he invented it, out of phase pickups were famous in the 50s, but he is the first one to have used it massively in rock. Well, at least the first well-known artist.

Is it because of a lack od knowledge or because the On-On-On toggle switch didn’t exist at that time? Whatever the reason was, Brian May used 6 ON-ON slide switch to achieve it. Because of that, today most people doing this wiring are doing it the old way.

The six toggle switch wiring is more complicated to perform, cost more money, require a heavier pickguard modification and is a PITA to run.

The switch needed to assemble the Red Special wiring using only three switches are 3, three positions double pole (DP3T) ON/ON/ON toggle switch.

Also, because I’m a gear geek, I am… Continue reading

Guitar Tone Controls – PTB Control Mod on two Conductor Humbuckers – Out of Phase & Master Series

Guitar Tone Controls PTB Control Mod The best alternative

Guitar Tone Controls - PTB Control ModI made this guitar for a friend of mine. It is a Les Paul guitar type, but with a bolt on neck.

Since I had two BC Ritch humbuckers sporting two conductor wires only, I decided to use them as they are and to test all the possible mods you can do with such pups.

I could have modified them easily into four wire pickups, but doing that requires to wax them back again to avoid microphony issues. I could have wax them too, but since my friend is a drummer, he doesn’t need tons of fancy mods.

The only mods you can do with two conductor humbuckers are:
Out of Phase and master series.

The electronic have two push-pull potentiometers with an independent volume wiring. The two tone pots are the famous PTB Tone Control.

The neck pickup volume sets pickups out of phase, and the bridge volume is a master series.

The two bands EQ is very effective, especially… Continue reading

Artec BCU Test on Active And Passive Stratocaster Pickguard

Artec BCU On Board Active controllable parametric EQ

Artec BCUThe Artec BCU is an active parametric EQ coupled with a booster. BCU stands for Band Control Unit. It’s a small and cheap active circuit that you can install easily on any electric guitar or bass, owning an active or passive electronic wiring. It changes the natural sound of your pickups and expands the possibility from the tone of single coils to a fat and powerful tone of humbucker pickups.

In the video included in this article, I am testing the Artec BCU on two different pickguards installed on two separate Stratocaster.

I performed The first test on an active pickguard featuring two single coils and one humbucker from EMG. I installed it on my LabStrat before installing it on a custom strat.

The Humbucker is an EMG 81 and I have no info concerning the two single coils. I have them since 1988. They were installed on a custom Godin, and I didn’t like them much. I uninstalled them over 20… Continue reading

Guitar Tone Capacitors – Testing Different Values for an EMG SSH Stratocaster Pickguard

Quest for the perfect tone

guitar tone capacitorsGuitar Tone Capacitors is today’s subject. In the video included in this article, I am testing different capacitor values to find the best tone for an EMG Strat pickguard I am building.

I installed this pickguard on the labstrat I made. I modified this guitar heavily to be able to test every possible mod I want. It’s a pain to have to remove the strings or unscrew the neck every time. After a few time, some strings are breaking, or the neck holes screw are getting loose. It’s a waste of time and a loss of money.

This situation forced me to keep guitars that were not fully configured the way I wanted, simply because I did not want to disassemble them an umpteenth time, just to change a switch.

Now with this test guitar, I can swap a pickguard in seconds. I can imagine any weird mod, or stumble on an unusual schematic online and check it right away.

When I work on a… Continue reading

Fender LSR Roller Nut Instructions

How to install a Fender L.S.R Roller Nut on a Stratocaster

fender lsr roller nut instructionsIn this post, I’m going to cover how to install a Fender LSR roller nut on a strat.

Fender LSR roller nut instructions

It is a straight forward job easily attainable. Especially if you install it on a rosewood fingerboard. You only need a cutter, a file, a screwdriver and a drill with a small drill bit.

It is slightly more challenging if you want to place it on a maple neck because that type of wood is very hard. You need a Dremel to remove the extra bit of fingerboard. Using a file is going to take forever and trying to do it with a cutter isn’t going to work. You can hurt yourself, break the cutter, or both.

You can achieve this task within 20 minutes. I already installed a Fender L.S.R Roller Nut on most of my Stratocaster, and it was always an easygoing duty.

To get a perfect tuning stability on a Stratocaster sporting a… Continue reading

Advanced Jimmy Page Wiring with Entwistle HVN Humbucker Pickup – DIY SG Kit Part 5

This article covers the advanced Jimmy Page wiring

Advanced Jimmy Page WiringI made this custom electronic for the SG kit project using Entwistle HVN Vintage Humbucker Pickups.

This article is the fifth and last one of the SG Kit Project series

  • In the first video, I glued the neck and painted the guitar.
  • In the second video, I applied nitrocellulose varnish.
  • In the third video, I created and implemented a waterslide decal logo.
  • In the fourth video, I set the neck, the stetsbar tremolo, and the guitar intonation.

A quick update concerning the issue I had with the intonation setting in the previews video.

I had to reverse the saddles of the low E string and the G and B strings. The issue was certainly due because the kit wasn’t well made. When you buy a DIY guitar pack, a number must be penciled on the neck and in the neck slot, to prove that both pieces have been made to fit together. It was not the case with that one.

Also, the… Continue reading

Stetsbar Tremolo Setup & Guitar Intonation – DIY SG Kit Part 4

Setting up Stetsbar Tremolo and guitar’s intonation

SG-Stetsbar-SettingThis article is the fourth one of the series “how to build your guitar kit”.

A stetsbar tremolo is one of the two systems available for a tune-o-matic guitar type. The other one being a Bigsby. The Stetsbar is simple to install. It needs no modification and delivers more advanced performance than a Bigsby.

Bigsby tremolo is a thing of the past. Some people are hooked on vintage gears due to nostalgia or fame. Because that gear was used by superstars, and became a myth over time. Most of the vintage parts are just old, ineffective, unprecise and noisy. They are nowhere near today’s gears. Hendrix and alike would have been baffled by today’s instruments. They would have thrown out of the window their vintage material to grab the ones of today in a blink of an eye.

A stetsbar tremolo is simple to install. You only have to remove the tune-o-matic bridge and place the Stetsbar block on the four washers. You… Continue reading

Custom Waterslide Decal Headstock – DIY SG Kit Part 3

Create and Apply Custom Waterslide Decal – Build your Own Guitar Kit

sg waterslide decal headerThis post is going to show you how to design a Custom Waterslide Decal and paste it on your guitar headstock. This is the third article in the series dedicated on “how to Build your Own Guitar Kit”.

The Custom Waterslide Decal process should typically happen before applying the varnish. First, the guitar was entirely painted in a dark brown color. It was impossible to add a Waterslide Decal on the headstock because the background was too dark. I knew it was going to happen, but I expected a better outcome.

There’s no white ink in printers. Thus, all colors using white pigments are altered when printed on a transparent support. Because of that, the actual background color replaces the white coloring.

One of the solutions is to use a white transfer paper. The other solution is to change the color of the headstock for a paler coloring.

My first reaction was to keep the guitar logo free.… Continue reading