Monday, December 6, 2010

Guitar Wiring a la Frankenstein (Eddie Van Halen, Charvel)

You can build your own Frankenstein guitar like Eddie Van Halen. This is not so difficult today. I will show you my idea on how it can be done from the electronics wiring side.

My wiring is designed for use with a Stratocaster style guitar.
I'm suggesting a Strat, because it's a very comfortable guitar for modifications. It has got easy to change pick-guard and electronics. Many on-line stores are selling parts for these instruments.

The market has got a lot of Squiers and other, economical constructions stylized on famous Fender. You can also use some MIM Strat or even Warmoth parts.
My wiring design is based on one pickup: single-coil sized humbucker (or full size for Fat-Strat). The circuit is quite original - it's not a copy of the Frankenstein. It has got three signal controllers: volume control, tone switch and killswitch. I think, that they can be very useful for fans of shredding and heavy rhythms.


To make it, you will need:
  • Stratocaster style guitar (wood and hardware), 
  • bridge humbucker pickup, 
  • 500K volume pot, 
  • 4,7nF capacitor, 
  • SPDT on-on mini toggle switch, 
  • SPST mini switch/button (on)-off [NO - normally open]. 
It's a one pickup construction, so there is no pickup selector.

How it works?


There is only one potentiometer – volume. I decide to use only one, because of cool treble response of this kind of wiring. Manufacturers like Charvel or ESP are also using this method in some of their guitars. It's a very good thing for aggressive play – like shredding or rhythmic palm muting. Eddie Van Halen also prefer this way.
With more pots, the wiring would be „smoother sounding”.

If the volume control is not enough for you, there are also other functions:

Tone switch:

The switched on tone switch will cut off some portion of treble. It will be a portion of quite high frequencies, so your tone will be darker, but not dull. For my taste, it sounds especially good with a distortion effect.


The killswitch is made from a momentary switch. It will „kill” a signal only when you will be holding it on. If you know Buckethead, you know what I'm talking about.


If you don't need the killswitch or the tone switch, you can just omit one of these circuits. The wiring can  work without them.

My wiring design is made for those of you, who are looking for distinct and screaming guitar tones with distortion. Something in vibes of Van Halen, George Lynch etc.