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Post subject: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:07 pm
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I've been playing acoustic guitar for 12+ years but never got into electric. I recently decided to build a Strat through Fender's Mod Shop.

I love the feel of this guitar but I also love modding it to find a unique yet classic sound. This is why the V-Mod pickups seemed like the right choice. I chose the HSS Strat with a Shawbucker in the bridge for versatility. While it sounds good, I'm looking for more. Something that'll 'click' with me. Also, I'm a tech nerd and love to tinker.

So far I've swapped the pickguard for a Fender 3-Ply Mint.

Tonight, I'll be swapping the Shawbucker for the Seymour Duncan Phat Cat (P90).

Next week, when everything arrives, I'll be:
-Blocking the trem.
-Swapping the V-Mod Neck pickup for a Custom Shop 69 (leaving the reverse wound V-Mod in the middle).

I just want to share the journey a bit and see if anyone had any advice along the way since this is my first mod. I know some reasonable advice might be, leave it alone or adjust the pickup heights. I have adjusted the heights and I'm not really interested in leaving it alone lol.

I'll post more pictures along the way!

https://i.imgur.com/9aqFoiq.png
https://i.imgur.com/Qt9I5VX.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/Cf4OjPA.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/fUdkJ2B.jpg

Thanks,

ScroogeMcDucc


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:31 pm
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Update: I blocked the tremolo with little blocks of maple of Guilford Guitars.

I swapped the neck V-Mod for the Custom Shop 69 (first time soldering was a success! Phew.) The tone is awesome, what a difference from the V-Mod. Not better, but different. Less output for sure, more even across the strings.

The 4 position (Neck & Middle) is awesome. I find myself using it more than before. Real unique sound. But, the hum canceling I had previously experienced seems to be gone.

The Phat Cat I plan to put in place of the Shawbucker Bridge is too big to fit in my current pickguard so I ordered one that will fit.

However, the Shawbucker wiring seems pretty intimidating. There are all sorts of chips and circuits running from pot to pot. The Phat Cat wiring is straight forward. I’m hesitant to remove it until I do some more research.

Here’s a pic of the current Shawbucker wiring. Probably not clear enough, but does anyone know what those chips do? I suspect Treble Bleed. Should I be keeping them with the Phat Cat set up?

https://i.imgur.com/m6lSnem.jpg

Thanks


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:34 pm
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If anyone is out there; my real question is... do I keep the Treble Bleed circuits when I install my Phat Cat (P90) in the bridge? It’s 1 braided wire. Hoping to attempt soon.


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:17 pm
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https://wgsusa.com/p90-pickups-les-paul ... rcuit-mods
Maybe only you can be the judge.
You should do a b4 and afta recording
What magnetic polarity are your 69 and vmod I thought the middle vmod was north so maybe you could enlighten me. Do you get any issues combining the two? Watch out for this in combo with the Phat :D


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:10 pm
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ScroogeMcDucc wrote:
If anyone is out there; my real question is... do I keep the Treble Bleed circuits when I install my Phat Cat (P90) in the bridge? It’s 1 braided wire. Hoping to attempt soon.

You can if you'd like. It will work with the P90, there's nothing about it being a single braided cable that would preclude the use of the bleed.

Looking good.... You can tell I like Oly White too....

Image

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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:40 pm
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Jimmy James, thanks for that article. I’ll test the polarities and let you know! That’s interesting.
No trouble combining the 69 and the V-Mod. The 4 position between them sounds awesome.

CB, thanks for the advice. The wire running from the Shawbucker to the Treble Bleed is very thin, much thinner than a regular single coil wire, let alone a braided wire. That’s the only reason I mention it. Seems like it might be a challenge to fit the braided where the Shawbucker currently connects. I’m going to attempt to keep the treble bleed.

Btw, your white on white Strat is super clean! The pickguard I’ll be fitting the Phat Cat in to will be ivory white. I swear I ordered it before I saw yours lol.


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:16 pm
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Like that roasted neck. TBH I wouldn't be changing much on that geetar! :D


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:25 am
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That's a pretty looking Strat

Image

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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 pm
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Eureka! So, I finally found a diagram to match my current wiring. This is what’s been causing me grief about the removing the Shawbucker bridge and replacing it with the Phat Cat.

If someone could take a look at the wiring diagram linked below. This is how the Shawbuckers are shipped from factory (this is somebody else’s diagram, so ignore some of the written text). It’s totally different from the recommended wiring of an aftermarket Shawbucker.

My Shawbucker is not soldered to the 5 way switch.

From what I can tell, the Shawbucker is soldered to a chip on a CONCENTRIC 250K-500K SOLID SHAFT POTENTIOMETER.

I suppose I should just be soldering the Phat Cat directly to the switch and removing the Shawbucker wires, but I’m looking for some confirmation. Will it be that simple? Or are there other changes involved?

Would it be better to keep this funky wiring and try to incorporate the Phat Cat into it? I.e. following the white Shawbucker wire and soldering the Phat Cat to the same chip on that pot.

https://imgur.com/a/SXw3yWu

Thanks for all the help and positive feedback so far.


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:02 am
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That is from this readily avail pdf
http://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Origi ... Manual.pdf
Depends on the model and the year of manufacture as to wether the tonebleed chip cct is included.
Here is possibly a better diagram as to what yours is like substituting the bleed ccts with chips
https://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Orig ... 7-2016.pdf
The switch is wired so neck and mid attach to the 250k whilst the humbucker attaches to the 500k
Your photo is not clear enough to easily determine an answer to your question but yeah just swap the wires and you should be good to go but check the phasing
:D


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:56 am
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Jimmy James, that’s awesome. Thanks man.

I’ll be attempting to swap the wires today!

I’m worried about getting that fat braided wire where the thin white is, but hey! Worst case I $@!& it all up and cry myself to sleep.

I also ordered some small magnets to test the polarity. You guys have been super helpful, I’ll post an update when I’ve got it.


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:41 pm
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Well, it’s done. Phat Cat (P90) is in the bridge. Oh yeahhhhhh. It sounds dope. Way better than the Shawbucker for my style of play. It’s dirty and bluesy.

The Chrome looks great on it too.

https://imgur.com/gallery/B2BWn6O

Only issue is that the 2nd position (Bridge/Middle) is basically unusable. It sounds like it’s only pulling from one of the pickups. Very weak and low output. I can’t exactly tell which pickup. Strange. Could that be a wiring issue? Or is it unreasonable to expect a split between the V-Mod and Phat Cat?

Also, I checked the polarity of the pickups and they’re correct. Middle is reversed from the neck and bridge. Still less hum canceling in position 4 (Neck/Middle) with the CS 69 and V-Mod than when I had 2x V-Mods, but the tone is just perfect.

Finally, I have a fret buzz/rattle on my low E that’s driving me nuts. Nothing while playing frets 1-4, but anything on fret 5 or higher is audible. I raised the saddle but it didn’t help, so I lowered it back down.

I’ll be adjusting the truss rod next.

Thanks again for all the help!


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:44 am
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Could be a phase issue. Try swapping the phat wires over or both of the others. I did mention this.
Prefer the original look though.
Was the fret buzz there b4 if not maybe you have accidentally bent the string and it needs replacing :D


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:00 am
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Ah, I see. I’ll swap it over tonight. I wasn’t exactly sure what you had meant the first time. I just did some more research on the subject.

The fret buzz has been there since before I did any mods, but I believe it’s gotten work since I blocked the trem. I had previously tried to adjust the truss rod but it looks like it’s clogged with glue and sawdust. I’ll try to clear it out with a long thin toothpick, or maybe a nail if that proves unsuccessful.

Just to mention my next adjustments, the cavity for the humbucker wasn’t routed large enough to fit this Phat Cat perfectly. The Phat Cat is pressed against the wood and it seems like it’s giving rise to one side of the pickup. I’ll attempt to sand it down just a hair.

I’ll also be bringing my guitar to get Plek’d later this month. It’ll be after I’ve finished these mods so they can hopefully correct any inconsistencies.

I’m here to do silly mods and learn about the guitar. Love it. Thanks guys.


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Post subject: Re: Modding my Mod Shop Strat like a crazy person
Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:43 am
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ScroogeMcDucc wrote:
I’ll also be bringing my guitar to get Plek’d later this month. It’ll be after I’ve finished these mods so they can hopefully correct any inconsistencies

Possibly the best thing you can do, just so long as the operator is experienced at using the machine - it is just a tool when all's said and done.

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