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Thread: Outboard guitar controls for testing?

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    Outboard guitar controls for testing?

    I have a couple guitars for testing pickups. I like the ability to swap pickups with just a screwdriver and I don't have to even slack the strings. OTOH I am frustrated with the limitation of my hard-wired volume and tone controls. E.g. now it is set up with 500k pots and I-can't-remember-what capacitor, and I want to test strat pickups with other values. So I will have to rewire the guitar again, which kinda defeats the purpose.

    I thought of making swappable pickguards with a quick connect.

    Then I thought of the following idea, which is basically an outboard box to live-audition pot and cap values.

    As I imagine it, this outboard box should sound the same as the controls in the guitar. Will this work the way I expect?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Alternately, has anyone collected good ideas for guitars like these - a test platform for pickups?

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    That is one king size excellent idea.

    FWIW I ran my guitar pickups straight-out in the late 70's. If my information is correct, so did another fellow who later on became a major gittar-pickin' sensation, Eddie van Halen. He practiced a lot more than I did.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    We've discussed the test guitars in the past, and seems like we had pictures listed by members.
    Not sure where those threads are.
    I will try to find some.
    T

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    Terry

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kindly Killer View Post
    I have a couple guitars for testing pickups. I like the ability to swap pickups with just a screwdriver and I don't have to even slack the strings. OTOH I am frustrated with the limitation of my hard-wired volume and tone controls. E.g. now it is set up with 500k pots and I-can't-remember-what capacitor, and I want to test strat pickups with other values. So I will have to rewire the guitar again, which kinda defeats the purpose.

    I thought of making swappable pickguards with a quick connect.

    Then I thought of the following idea, which is basically an outboard box to live-audition pot and cap values.

    As I imagine it, this outboard box should sound the same as the controls in the guitar. Will this work the way I expect?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	outboard box volume tone guitar.JPG 
Views:	74 
Size:	1.99 MB 
ID:	51615

    Alternately, has anyone collected good ideas for guitars like these - a test platform for pickups?
    I like the idea of a dedicated guitar-test platform, I'd guess a budget Strat-look-alike, tweaked to behave like a good one, but with the body cavities routed so you can quickly swap out pickups as you're doing/want to do with just a screwdriver. I'd set up the pickup wiring on suitable quality connectors so they can plug into your 'shielded control box', and also have your pots connectorized so they too can be swapped out or switched in. I'd be inclined to wire up machine pin sockets for allowing plugging in caps, which are wired to your rotary switches, all accessible from one panel. And, have that control box mounted to the body so you can still play without having a maze of wiring following you and falling over everything.

    In many of my breadboard constructions, I use in-line gold-plated sockets, 0.1" ctrs, come in break-away strips, and solder them into copper-clad perf board, allowing parts to be swapped out by plugging into the strips.

    The images below are for an API Console ProTools Monitor Panel I put together using this method....obviously more complex than your control box/cap selection box for the guitar test bed, but you'll get the idea.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The original panel with all rotary controls ended up changing to short-throw Penny & Giles faders, Mute & Solo switches & pan pots, but it's the mechanics of the idea I'm talking about for your swappable parts to support your guitar test bed.

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