...the final stretch!!
With the rest of the hardware fitted, the final purchases were the pickups. My “don’t want to break the bank” approach wasn’t tested too hard with these. A bit of a Google rabbit hole lead me to these Iron Gear pickups. They’re an independent UK company that are making reasonably priced hand wound pickups with a bit of an edge to them.
I was originally thinking of stock with a twist and was going to choose the full Pig Iron Overwound set, however, the allure of a humbucker in the bridge position was too strong to resist! So I complimented the neck and middle single coils with a Jailhouse Rail II in the bridge position.
In the previous post I ditched the S1 pot in favour of a simple Push Push Pot which allows for the humbucker to be coil-tapped for a more classic SSS Strat sound.
Went a bit bonkers with the copper tape... none of those pesky radio waves getting through here!!
Bit of a hop skip and jump... all wired up!! I previously wired up my relic’d Partscaster, but wasn’t too happy with the performance of my soldering iron. I invested in a new one which made wiring sooo nice! Just a quick dab and a solder and all good!
Even on the claw which my old soldering iron never managed to get hot enough to make a good connection.
Still love that UV damage in the poly finish!
Lovely tidy wiring! The pick ups came with cloth wound and waxed wires which I matched with 14awg cloth wires. The only thing I’d watch for in the future would be avoiding too much heat near the cloth as it discolours a bit.
Now, it couldn’t go without complication could it? The wiring diagram I used had the hot wire for the bridge and the live for the bridge the wrong way round which meant that the selector switch was backwards... and the humbucker didn’t work!
This was the bit I was most looking forward to hearing so was quite disappointed! I had a poke around and it appears that my super hot soldering iron had melted solder through the 3rd terminal and it had dripped down and bridged the live to the body of the selector switch and in turn to the copper tape and to earth. Easily sorted whilst switching the bridge and neck wires over.
Last few bits were to fit the scratch plate and string it up for the first time in years. I‘ve set it up as per a Strat with a the relief in the neck, action and intonation all as per Strat spec. The tremolo was adjusted to sit at 2mm over the deck once in tune.
Annoyingly, the scratch plate has bowed out a little after final install - those pesky radio waves will be having a field day. My super tidy wiring is quite tight between the pickups and the body has a more shallow routing between the pickup holes, which I suspect is pushing the pickups upwards once adjusted to the right height. These will have to be adjusted on the next string change.
Final part... a nice burgundy strap from Mr Ernie Ball to compliment the Regular Slinky strings.
So how does it play?
Well, you’ll have to rely of my word for it as I’m not going all YouTube and posting an embarrassing video of my guitar skills!!
It‘s great! Its a touch more comfy than a Strat, which is probably due to the slightly smaller size.
The pickups are truly fantastic! The overwound single coils are pleasantly warmer than the Holy Grail single coils in my Partscaster with a lot more natural volume. The humber is awesome and really gives a nice bit of versatility to a Strat-esque set up. My early influence was 90’s grunge into punky alt rock and whilst it’s not as deep down and dirty as some of those genres it does have a lovely growl!!
One of my current go-to songs to practice is Paranoid Android by Radiohead and this set up happily traverses between the acoustic rhythm through the punchy 7/8 section and into the biting solo parts.