We’re going to talk about simple volume control wiring, but before we start to solder anything let’s go over a few things. First, let’s talk about the volume potentiometer itself, and what value we should use.
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For many of us, the overdrive that is built into our amplifier, even if it is a good one, can become stale and restrictive over time, thus leaving you looking for something more. An overdrive pedal can be the perfect solution. Pedals are usually much cheaper than a new amplifier, and much less bulky. There are so many overdrive pedals available that it won’t be too hard to find one or more that you like, thereby leaving you free to create for yourself a truly custom sound that is unique to you. Right now we’re going to look at some of the best guitar overdrive pedals available out there, and we’ll talk about why they are so great, and also what makes them that way.
We’re going to take a look at vintage designs as well as modern overdrive pedals, to see how things have changed, and how they have remained the same. These are all going to be Overdrive pedals, so we will probably see a few tube emulators, and pedals designed to sound like an amp naturally breaking up. You’ll get some good crunch and even distortion out of many of these pedals, but these are not Fuzz pedals or Metal distortion pedals; those are for another time.
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Rock Telecaster Bridge Pickups
The Fender Telecaster is actually a great guitar for Rock. The twangy sound fattens up nicely when run through some overdrive or a fuzz pedal. Even though many people consider the Telecaster to be a country guitar many great Rock players, including Jeff Beck, Mike Campbell, John 5, Richie Kotzen, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, and Bruce Springsteen often use a Tele. One way that you might be able to help your Telecaster deliver a more Rock tone is to change the pickups. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about some of the best Rock Telecaster bridge pickups around.
The ones that we’ve listed here are of very high quality, and they were designed for Rock and for the great gain that they produce. So that means that we’ll be looking at humbucker pickups, which will allow us to run through overdrive or fuzz while keeping inherent noise to a minimum. We’ll be looking at pickups that fit into the bridge position of a Tele without having to modify the guitar, taking into account the slanted nature of its bridge pickup. So, if you’re looking to get a heavier rock sound, this list of the best Rock Telecaster bridge pickups should help you narrow down your choices.
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Guitar fuzz pedals are often great substitutes for other solid state, and sometimes even tube-driven, overdrives and distortions. Fuzz was actually the first solid state distortion available to guitar players and it has been around long enough to have a vintage sound to it, as well as a long list of big name users. Fuzz is usually created with either germanium or silicon fuzz-based transistors. The germanium-based fuzz boxes produce a warmer sound, more like a tube amp, and you can also change the fuzz level by adjusting your guitar’s volume.
Germanium-based fuzz boxes are affected by the environment and can sound differently on warm and cold days. Silicon-based fuzz guitar pedals will sound brighter and sharper, and since silicon transistors are cheaper than germanium, they are usually cheaper as well. The level of fuzz is not affected by the guitar’s volume knob and silicon is much less susceptible to the environment. Both types of distortion are capable of going from just a hint of fuzz to massive levels of tone-changing fuzz at any volume level. Right now we look at the best of the best guitar fuzz pedals, so you can see which one is right for you.
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Perhaps your guitar tone is getting stale, or perhaps it never sounded that good to begin with. Well, before you buy a new one, review this post and put some thought into upgrading your pickups instead. If you play Rock or Metal through a Stratocaster then this information should be especially useful to you. In making our selections for best Rock Stratocaster pickups, we looked at a number of things. For example, since Rock guitar players are probably going to use a lot of overdrive and distortion, they’ll need a high output pickup capable of delivering a lot of voltage to the amplifier, to push the preamp harder for a better-sounding overdrive. But, lots of overdrive and distortion can also be very noisy, especially in a Strat, with its stock single coil pickups.
So, because noise is a serious issue, it’s probably best to use a humbucking pickup. For those who don’t know, a humbucking pickup is two coils working together to cancel out noise and just leave the pure guitar signal, in much the same way a balanced XLR mic cable does. Because a humbucker is two coils, we need those that can fit into a single coil space. Of course, all of the other things that you might look for in a pickup — such as even, clear tone across all strings — are still important. So, all that said, here are what we consider to be some strong candidates for the best Rock pickups for the Strat.
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The combo amp is pretty standard equipment for guitarists of every music genre and skill level. Their compact and rugged design, and often reasonable purchase price, are sure to keep the combo amps going strong well into the future. So, what’s the best Rock guitar combo amplifier? Well, in this post, we’ll concentrate on combo amps that were designed to play Rock and Heavy Rock. Of course, we want the clean sounds to be clear and lush, but the gain, crunch, and distortion are going to be very important elements to this discussion, because of their emphasis in this style of music.
The music in this genre also often switches from a clean tone to a heavy distortion and then back again sometimes several times in a single song, and at a moment’s notice. This means that we are probably going to be looking for a two-channel amp (one clean, one distorted), preferably with the ability to switch channels using a footswitch. Because most people would probably agree that tubes sound better than solid state even in a modern Rock context, these amps will all be tube amps.
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Many people think of the Fender Telecaster as a Country or Rock guitar but the Tele is actually quite good for playing the Blues. Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Albert Lee, and many other great blues players played a Telecaster. The combination of the biting, gritty, bridge pickup mixed with the warm, smooth tone of the neck pickup really work together to create the perfect instrument for playing the Blues. Right now, let’s talk about some of the best Blues Telecaster bridge pickups out there, and how you can swap out yours for one specifically designed with the Blues guitarist in mind.
We’ll discuss the differences between each, and what makes them great for creating a blues tone. The pickups in the bridge position of the Tele are known to be pretty twangy so in this post we will likely be looking to fatten up the sound just a bit. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Telecaster Bridge Pickups?”
Eric Clapton, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters all got plenty of miles out of their combo amps. This list of great combo amps for the Blues is just scratching the surface. The combo amp is the perfect partner for the blues guitarist, especially since they are most often easy to transport. Combo amps are usually lower wattage which means that you can drive them harder without turning your neighbours into enemies. Continue reading “What are the Best Guitar Combo Amps for the Blues?”
It is possible to upgrade your guitar at a reasonable price: change the pickups. Quite often, the results can be significant, especially with lower priced guitars in which the quality of the pickups is questionable. It is possible to get the sound you are looking for simply by selecting the right pickups rather than buying a new guitar. Pickups are fairly easy to change yourself, as they require minimal knowledge and a few tools. There are probably more brands of pickups than brands of guitars and amps combined. That said, it’s no surprise that there are pickups for virtually every style of music, type of player, and type of guitar. Naturally, it can be hard to know where to begin when faced with so many options. This post narrows it down to a Stratocaster body style, with three single-coil pickups, and a five-way switch configuration, but any of these should also be available as a single. From smooth David Gilmour to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas tone,” or from vintage to modern, this list covers most Blues players and includes some great Blues Stratocaster pickups. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Stratocaster Pickups?”
The Stratocaster is one of the most flexible guitars ever made. When compared to many Gibson models such as the Les Paul or SG, there is a dramatic difference with regard to your customization options. One of the most popular areas of focus for Stratocaster modification is the pickups. This change will have the most dramatic effect on your guitar’s sound. Now, while some may prefer vintage-style / low-output Stratocaster pickups, others may opt for noiseless or active models. There are a zillion options out there for pickups. Some good, some great, and some just plain awful.
Among the “great” options, the “right” pickup depends on not only your budget, but also your taste. This is a very subjective area and opinions differ. There are no right or wrong answers here, just what works best for you. Hopefully this list of some of the best Stratocaster pickups around, will help you get started in making this choice.
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