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Search for the Perfect 10 (In a Quilter MicroPro Mach II)

Okay, this harkens back to the early days of my blog.  I’m basically taking you all along for the ride as I search for the best 10” speaker to pair with my new Quilter amp, a MicroPro Mach II.  I fell in love with the Quilter stuff at this Summer’s NAMM show in Nashville, and sweet talked them into selling me a head with an EMPTY 10” combo cab so I could choose my own speaker.  I’m a tube-amp guy, and I make my own … so my ponying up with some greenbacks on a decidedly solid-state amp is quite a statement!  In later blogs I plan to do a full demo on the MicroPro,...

Thiele/Small Sensitivity Specs: When Numbers Lie (or at least don’t tell the whole truth)

Every now and then I get a question on the forum something like this: “Speaker A has a listed sensitivity (SPL) of 99-db, and speaker B is listed at 98dB, yet you say speaker B is the louder one … what’s up with that”.  Okay, that’s an excellent topic for a blog, let’s dig in! In its pure form, Sensitivity is defined as the speakers’ ability to convert power into sound. The standard way of measuring a speakers’ sensitivity is using 1 watt/1 meter, meaning a microphone is placed 1 meter away from the speaker to measure the sound output (in decibels) with 1 watt of sound played through it...

How Much Is A "Partscaster" Worth?

Hi fellow tone seekers, great to be with you once again on this fine day.  Hey, hows about we talk “partscasters”?  In particular, let’s talk about the value of a partscaster in cold, hard cash.  Cool, let’s dig in.The partscaster phenomenon is in full-tilt boogie As I pen this blog, in the summer of 2015, I can say without reservation that the partscaster phenomenon is in full-tilt boogie.  From boutique “builders” charging multiple thousands of dollars for their beat-up and bolted together “custom builds” to the average Joe having a little fun in his garage, this trend...

Rare Gibson SG-Z Bass: From Weak to Whoo-Hoo With a Custom Pickup Replacement!

  I’ve ran into a handful of these super-cool bass guitars; they are in fact a tricked out EB-3 with cool visuals and two soap-bar humbuckers with a pickup switching system that allows both pickups to operate in standard series-coil humbucking, parallel coils, or dingle-coil … for a grand total of 18 separate pickup combinations!  Problem is … and this is a head-scratcher … Gibson put extremely low-output pickups in them … downright stupidly low!   Thundering bass, no way … more like a baby fart hitting a diaper! As a bona-fide tone nut, I Love, love, love the...

How To Adjust (Set) Pickup Height on a Stratocaster for ULTIMATE STRAT TONE!

I recently received an email from one of my pickup affectionados in Germany asking a question that I realized is of ULTIMATE importance in Strat tone: “what is the best distance from the pickup to the strings for the best results?”  Now that’s a question EVERYONE who owns or works on Strat’s NEEDS to know the answer to!I need to make it clear that I am talking about real-deal vintage pickups and real-deal quality pickups like the ones made by Jason Lollar, Curtis Novak, Lindy Fralin, And myself.  Those crappy Ceramic Bars glued next to steel slug things that come standard in so many...

Vintage Burny “Les Paul” … a Fake that’s Better Than the Real Thing?

Over the decades I’ve owned a fair number of what I call “big Boy” Les Pauls; you know,  the kind with full binding, extra-glossy finishes, and multi-thousand dollar price tags.  I have failed to bond with any of them in a sufficient enough manner to justify my keeping them.  It’s quite possible that the problem is that I’m just downright spoiled.  You see, I’ve had opportunity to possess … but never actually own … several 58 and 59 Pauls.  That WILL spoil you, they really are THAT good.  Okay, let’s cut to the chase … A couple months back a buddy of mine...

Upgrade Your Made in Mexico Standard Telecaster [MIM Tele] to be Truly Top-Notch! (Pickups, set-up, and other secret tweaks)

Hi gang!  Sooo, this is a bit of a last minute addition.  I just finished a set of fully custom pickups for a Gibson SG-Z bass; it was a TON of R&D to get that design to actually sound good, but man-oh-man did I get there!  I was going to blog about THAT … but then in comes this fantastic video of our buddy Daniel at WGS upgrading WGS boss-man David’s MIM Tele, and … well … I just HAD to blog about it.  So cool!  First, watch this short video, then … let’s talk about Tele upgrades!   Cool, huh?  THIS is exactly why I make pickups....

What You Need To Know About Buying a Guitar On-Line : Vaughn’s Guide to Guitar Reviews

Howdy friends!  Sooo, today I was researching a couple guitars, to see if the ones I just picked up used were indeed the good buys I thought they were (An Epiphone Les Paul Plus Top PRO/FX and a Gibson Les Paul Future Tribute) .  Now, I generally go straight to reviews from places like Musicians Friend and Sweetwater to see what other buyers of a particular guitar have to say about it.  And, as is always the case, I felt that some of the buyers/reviewers just don’t understand the whole “mail-order” guitar concept.  Let’s discuss that.First, if you only...

Best Place to Buy a Guitar? Best Place to Sell a Guitar? I say: Guitar Show!

Howdy friendly guitar folks!  This past weekend I set up shop at the 4-Amigos Guitar Show in Nashville, one of Nashville’s finest annual shows.  Man, I gotta tell ya, I LOVE guitar shows! Let me tell ya why! First, it is, of course a fantastic place to see holy-grail dream guitars, like this ’59 Burst: Or, this real-deal ’57 Gold-Top! As a matter of fact, there are ALWAYS more Les Paul’s that you can shake a stick at! And acoustic players, there are always plenty of holy-grail acoustics too. Man, I LOVE seeing the cool, the weird, the wonderful, and the...

The ET10! Plus a Rundown on 10" Replacement Guitar Speaker Options

Howdy guitar slingers.  Today is one of those excellent days to be alive and playing the electric guitar.  Today is the day the awesome WGS ET10 is available to the masses!  Let’s talk about this fine lil’ filly. First, what does it sound like?  That’s fairly easy, it sounds a good bit like it’s big sibling the ET65.  Like the ET65, the ET10 has a sweet “organic” tone that’s perfect for overly sterile, clinical, or downright harsh sounding amps.  It’s not QUITE as warm as an ET65, but it’s close.  The ET10 will join the ranks of the G10C as a great all-...

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