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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Can You Get An Accurate Read Of Sounds By Instruments Being Demonstrated In Video Clips?

 The answer is clearly-maybe but probably not.  Videos?  Sound clips? Sound files? Accurate sounds from instruments being demonstrated by instruments for sale are almost impossible. Why?  There are too many variables in the way a guitar can be made to sound such as; the speaker used, the amp (is it tube or solid state?), the EQ settings on the board when recording, any effects being used, gauge of strings, the player's style, proximity of pickups to the strings. A small change in any one of these things can and will change the sounds coming out of an electric guitar. 

It's very difficult if not impossible to get a true read on the actual sound of any guitar in a sound clip being used to "demonstrate" how an instrument sounds. It's smoke and mirrors on the part of the sales team. They want to sell you on what a guitar CAN sounds like with a fabulous player at the helm of the demo. You still don't get it?  You can get a close idea of what a guitar sounds like sometimes in a clip however when you plug in to your "rig"-it will be lots different!  Don't expect miracles by relying too heavily on sound clips and sound files when buying guitars and pickups. You'll be disappointed every time. If you're relying on a "sound clip" to get what you need then you're setting yourself up for problems. The best you can do is get close. What you have to do as a guitar player is find an instrument with an ergonomic shape that you can tolerate, a weight you can live with, next and unfortunately on the list-color,  neck feel, neck profile and fret size with the last consideration being-pickups. All you need is a good signal from your pickups-period. Guitar players have lots of choices in ways to over-process themselves and their instruments. Look up-guitar effects pedals for instance.

Bottom line-let me repeat, the last consideration of a guitar purchase being-pickups. It's not rocket science. Pickups won't make you sound great. Sorry to give you the bad news but someone has to do it. Great playing makes you sound great-period. Guitarists: let that simmer for about six months while you practice and before your next gear purchase. Guitar players are vain. That's almost a given. They are  shallow and therefore are subject to and sensitive to what people have to say about their rig, their sound, their gear, their playing. They look to blame everything for not getting the right sound with the exception of their own skills. They almost never question those. How do I know this? I deal with guitar players every day. The favorite is to blame the elusive sound they seek on the "pickups".
The best advice I can offer is to make a decision-then make it right. What do I mean by that? Get an instrument that has all the comfort, feel and weight you need then learn to adjust it so the action is perfect, the strings are just right, the signal is strong then learn how to play it. It sounds easy enough. Let me repeat myself one more time-guitar players are very superficial. How do I know this? I work with guitar players every day. Now, not all of them are that way-just 95%.  Let me give you just one example. A customer in Arizona this year received his guitar from us. He promptly returned it with a terse message. "I can't play this guitar-is unplayable". By the end of the message the reason for the return was very apparent. A screw was missing from the pick guard rendering the whole guitar useless. I can go on with many stories like this about the ways guitar players embarrass themselves and give away their superficiality, but I don't want to bore you with the details. I am sorry to say there are however lots of similar examples.

The goal here is not to complain about guitar players but to simply point out that listening to a sound clip of guitar pickups is just another players interpretation of what sounds he can get from a particular rig-and that's it. Please don't think you'll be the next Hendrix or Stevie Ray because you bought a $300 set of pickups-it won't happen. Just learn how to play properly and find a style you're comfortable with-preferably your own. You don't have to sound like someone else to be good.
We have to be dedicated to something and it's either build great guitars or be great at recording them. We are similar to the Fender and Gibson custom shops except-we use everyone's pickups including our own. We can put in anything you like in a guitar but the unique sound you play with. You should know we do put every guitar through quality control. If it feels, sounds and looks great only then, do we sell it. We can help you become a better player by providing all the tools you need. You must provide the skill.

USA Haywire Custom Shop Customer Support go to website: 
Haywire Custom Guitars website here: 
Shop Phone number:
9-5 Monday-Thursday

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What Is The Sound Difference Between A Stratocaster And A Telecaster?$_57.JPG?set_id=8800005007 
 First let's look at the physical differences in the configurations.  The Stratocaster and Telecaster have similar electronics. They each have a master volume control, but where the Tele only has one tone control, the Strat has dedicated tone knobs for the middle and neck pickup but NONE for the bridge pickup. I always wire the so all three pickups have a tone control. The player then has the option to take the "edge" off of any shrill sounds that degrade the music. More about that in a minute. The Tele has a 3 position blade switch as follows:

3-way switch
position 1    Bridge pickup alone
position 2    Bridge + Neck in parallel
position 3    neck pickup alone

The Strat has a 5  position blade switch for more tones, but  then when we add the Haywire Seven sound switch it will add two more tones not available on any commercial Strat built by Fender.

5-way switch standard  pickup selections                      Your 2 new selections with the                                                                                    7 Sound Toggle switch:

position 1    Bridge pickup alone                                          bridge + neck in parallel    
position 2    bridge + middle pickup in parallel                   all three pickups in parallel
position 3    middle pickup alone  
position 4    middle + neck pickup in parallel  
position 5    neck pickup alone  

So, why does the Strat lack a tone control on the loudest most piercing pickup? Is it a defect? No, just a design that was only meant to please the inventor, Mr. Leo Fender.

Leo wanted a pickup position that sounded similar to a steel guitar. So now, the bridge pickup selection has no tone control wired to it whatsoever and no one at Fender Corp. since then has seemed to notice. They have failed to hear what guitarists for years have asked. Can we simply have a tone control on our bridge pickup? I do it with all of my Strats. I also add a toggle switch which will activate the neck pickup in any position of the Strat 5 way switch.

The switching, however, is another story. The Telecaster has always carried a three-way switch, but after guitarists found that they could get more tonal versatility by jamming the Strat’s original three-way switch in between the first and second position and second and third position, Fender outfitted it with a standard five-way selector.

The Telecaster typically has two single-coil pickups, with the bridge pickup being wider and longer, heavier, more magnetics and more windings than its Strat counterpart which can give it a more powerful tone. I can add a Tele bridge pickup to a Strat (which I have done on my own guitar) to slip between Tele and Strat sounds.
 It was an idea born out of many requests from Branson and Nashville Show players to give their guitars access to BOTH Strat and Tele tones so they wouldn't have to keep changing guitars during a fast paced show. In short Whatever the difference between the two sounds it can be compensated for and ultimately eliminated giving a player full use of both The Tele and Strat sound spectrum with an added TONE control on the bridge and the 7 way toggle switch.
                                                                     Rick Mariner

Friday, April 27, 2018

Benefits Of Wider Fret Boards Include: Better Action, Pull-offs, No Crowded Fingers

Haywire Custom Guitars Custom shop has been in operation for many years and we are experienced in the needs of guitar players. We try and address issues they don't know how to address. One of the ways we accomplish this is to add custom necks onto guitars with features only seasoned guitarists would understand and appreciate. 

For example, we'll add a neck with a wider fret board so that the guitar player would have more room to move around on the guitar without the feeling of being crowded. We can only however go so wide and still maintain decent string alignment with the pickup pole pieces. As the nut widens, so also does the string spread at the heel of the neck. To make it all work, we widen the fret board over a 16th of an inch on either side. This results in a normal string to fret board edge margin over the full length of the neck. 

The benefits of the wider fret board include but are not limited to: better action, better pull-offs, no crowded fingers when chording, easier finger placement, clearer notes and more real estate on the top of the fret board for the guitarist to play. It is just a building technique to add comfort to playing a guitar that you cannot get from "off the rack" instruments in a music store. There are real benefits to a custom extra wide necks and good luthiers who understand what techniques to apply to an instrument so it will be easier to play. We do it all the time. They know that guitarists need to improve their playing and anything they can do to facilitate that will be appreciated. We think about and apply these techniques every day in our shop for our customers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Guitar Pickups are Akin To Microphones So You Need To ........

Image result for strat pickup containing even poles

Your guitar pickups are similar to microphones with subtle differences and some are made to be snugged right up to the strings where they will perform much better. I set them close, so they will scream, and will also hear a great deal more that other pickups placed farther away.  Some players use: Dimarzio, Duncans, Bareknuckle and others with their humbuckers bearing huge magnets. They are more powerful but in what way?  They need to stand off from the strings for magnetic and vibration resistance reasons. But the biggest reason is NOISE.  Big fat heavy pickups are noisy. Guitar strings will get pulled out of tune when they sense too much magnetic force in their orbit. A big fat heavy magnetic humbuckers will exert a lot of downward pull.
Why? Simply because it hampers string sustain and bends the strings by pulling downward on the strings. A downward pull on an in tune string equals, "out of tune" strings.  Do you want to be in tune?  Would you like more sustain or less?  If you'd like more sustain then use a low wound pickup or one with a weaker ceramic magnet rather than an Alnico-2, 3 4 or 5.
Just because the magnet is weak doesn't mean you have a wimpy pickup. It just means you have to handle it differently. What you do is to raise the pickup all the way up (not so far that the strings bang the top of the pole piece) just below the strings where it can hear everything. You want an accurate reproduction of the sound.

 What I'm suggesting is akin to a singer standing close up to the microphone versus singing 2 feet away. You want to be heard Right? Why sing so far away?  Same with a good, well made low power pickup for your guitar.  Get it CLOSE!
The even pole piece pickups are generally preferable to the staggered pole when trying to accomplish this better sound approach to getting your guitar heard.
Many players select staggered pickups simply for aesthetic reasons. This is great as long as you're just doing photo sessions and not really playing the guitar. Most players have no idea when to apply the use of a set of staggered pickups.  That is why you're here!  The reason to use that kind of pole stagger is when the radius of the neck is especially deep. The necks in the 1940's and 1950's required these because the radius was really curved. A well set up guitar will have a string radius matching the radius of it's particular fret board.  At an extreme 7.25 Radius the pole pieces on the D and G strings were are far away they can not be heard very well (have you heard this somewhere before?).  To solve the problem back then, a few of the poles were extended to be able to reach just under the strings to BE HEARD. Thus the staggered pole pickup was born. YAAAAY!  It doesn't mean however that you need to run out and get a set. Most fret boards these days have a radius of 12" and higher. There is no need for the staggered profile set on newer guitars now otherwise-some of your strings will not be heard. Am I repeating myself? Good, you need to know this.

 The important take away is get the right set of pickups. get the right pole piece setup and set your pickups at the proper height. Then get back with me and let me know how much better your guitar sounds.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Why Block A Tremolo On A Guitar?

Why Block A Tremolo On A Guitar?

How to "Deck" Or Block A Tremolo On An Electric Guitar?

Haywire Double Fat Plus Superstrat® in Antique White with Blocked Tremolo
Haywire Double Fat Plus in Antique White with Blocked Tremolo

Floating Tremolos Equal Out of Tune Guitars.

After playing a Guitar with a blocked tremolo-you'll love it! Why? Well simply put-if your not playing a guitar with an advanced system like the Floyd Rose Tremolo then chances are it's the 70 year old Fender floating tremolo bridge technology your using. So, why will you love playing a guitar with a blocked trem? You'll be in tune more of the time and no one in the band will give you a hard time anymore!
Problems with a “Floating Tremolo Bar” are as follows:
1-Strings almost never return to "zero" after a dive bomb.
2-If one string breaks, the rest of strings go out of tune because of tension change.
3-Intonation is less inaccurate and takes much longer to adjust.
4-Bending just “One String” will cause other strings to go out of tune.
5-Other musicians playing with you most likely will not be in tune with you.

How do we block a trem in the Custom Shop and why?

Blocking the tremolo requires pulling of the inertia block with the tremolo springs closer to the back wall of the trem cavity to prevent it from moving. It is accomplished by tightening the screws at the “claw” and it pulls the springs tight. This makes the bridge behave more like a hard tail bridge, eliminating common headaches. Remember this unit design has not changed since the 1940’s however players have changed!
It’s much easier to decipher an out of tune guitar in these technical times with the advent of our ”electronic tuners” not around when the tremolos were invented.For those who are purists and want to keep their instruments in “collectible” condition then have no fear. The process is not permanent. Eric Clapton blocks all of his guitars and he's got some real vintage models.

The electric guitar ‘Floating” trem bridge is only “blocked” when the screws are tightened under the tremolo cover plate in the back of the guitar body. If done properly the springs will be so tight that the trem will not move thereby rendering it blocked. The re-sale value is much better if you don’t physically change anything that can’t be reversed since lots of players still want a trem or whammy bar on their guitars. Fortunately there is another benefit. There is more sustain without the floating tremolo. If it’s blocked and it stays in perfect tune and it’s not permanent or invasive to your instrument and it’s completely reversible-then what’s not to like about it? Go ahead and block your trem!

Ordering From Haywire Custom Guitars

If you would like to order this or any other custom guitar, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your guitar needs.

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Create a Mood" With A Good Guitar Setup!
 Q: How Do I Know I Have A Good Guitar Setup?

 A: There should be no need to alter your playing technique as you move around on your guitar. 

A pro guitar neck set-up feels great and is consistent all the way up the neck and promotes effortless playing. It's almost impossible to get a good set-up when you buy off the rack in a music store. WHY? Simply because they don't know who is going to buy it and setup requirements are different for every player, so they do nothing. OK, I get it and fully understand why they do that. However they usually don't have a good setup tech on staff the very day you walk in. Know what you want! Take some ownership of knowing what you need to play well.
Then pursue it vigorously.

  A **Custom** guitar set up is what you want and is routinely done in The Haywire Custom Shop to give players maximum breadth and depth of hand freedom to play how they want to play when playing at their best.

The Custom guitar shop is where to go. It's not really a players responsibility to know how to do a setup, be he needs to know himself and his playing well enough to be able to describe the feel and know when he feels it. Much like music itself. Your setup should, "Create a Mood" for you.  We take pride, time and care in our set up work so the player is very pleased and surprised with the feel, action and performance of our very fine instrument setups-before he leaves the shop.
No waiting, we do it right away and hand it back over to the player for approval before he or she leaves. Then we guarantee it.  Sometimes finding your setup requires time, testing and patience especially if you are a new player. You know something is wrong, but can't verbalize it in an discerning manner. In addition to callouses, good setups are a necessary roadblock to get familiar with and loving playing a guitar.  Great guitar feel needs to be chased down until caught. Find your setup. Know what you need. Relay it properly. Have it done. Begin playing much better.

We encourage you to write us and let us know what you think about setups. Guitars are set up, intoned perfectly so any note or chord is in tune anywhere on the neck at a bare minimum.  In a great one-the FRETS will also feel smooth, silky and you'll feel the emanation of great tone because they have been leveled, re-crowned and polished. The fret now becomes a great base for the notes. The truss rod and neck angle are in synergy for that particular guitar because each guitar requires it's own custom setup as they are all different, just like people. Guitars need us to pay specific attention to their idiosyncrasies as instruments and don't want us to judge them by just how they look but how they CAN play if you help find their, "Sweet-spots"..... Find your Guitars potential. Find the sweet-spot, or let a good tech do it. Then play great!

 Install a new set of your favorite strings for your feel, before judging any newly setup guitar. In the shop, guitars have been played and thoroughly tested at the Haywire Custom Shop, South Carolina. When properly set up an instrument there is no need to alter your technique as you move around on your guitar.  Is your action the same on the 12fth fret as on the 1st fret?

Your neck set up must feel comfortable and consistent all the way up the neck for you to get comfortable with your best playing. You absolutely need to be pleased, surprised and very comfortable with the feel, action and performance of your instrument setup.  Are you thrilled with it?  You should be.  Find out what you're missing and go get a great setup for your guitar to match your style,playing comfort and level of expertise.  Talk to your tech today!        

Monday, April 16, 2018

This Is An Article About Guitar Shims For Perfect Neck Matching And Alignment

Q:  Is there a problem with my neck pocket I see something in there?

 A: No problem there. It's a shim often used by Haywire, Luthiers and techs for years.
It is necessary in achieving very low action. It's part of the correct process in guitar building, setups or perfect neck matching and alignment.
If you'd like to learn more about the guitar building process
just go to and click on BLOG for over 100 articles here:

What is the purpose of a neck shim for a guitar?

A shim when referring to guitar builds is for a thin spacer with specific measurement particular to one guitar only. A shim for one guitar is not interchangeable with another guitar.
The standard terminology used by luthiers for a thin wedge under a bolt-on neck is a shim.

What is the purpose of a neck shim?
To adjust the angle or pitch of the neck.

Why would you need to adjust the angle or pitch of the neck?

Let’s say you replace the neck on your guitar. You install it, level the frets, re-crown, set the neck on all 4 axis, then add the two "E" strings clamp it, adjust your truss rod for proper bow, and then if notice that the height of the strings is high. You also notice that no matter how low you adjust the
saddles, the strings are still sitting way too high above the frets.It’s at that point you
need a neck shim to change the angle so you can adjust strings to your desired string height. Now, it's time measure for a shim. It's like visiting a tailor for a final fitting.

Where is a shim placed?

Under the heel of a bolt-on neck at the bottom or at the edge of the neck pocket. It's called a reverse shim at the other end of the pocket.

What can be used for shim material?

There’s a long list of materials that could be used. You could use a guitar pick, a thin piece of veneer, a business card,  a thin sheet of metal, however: HVAC silver sealing tape is one of the best choices. It is preferable to use a material that can but cut to fit across the width of the neck easily, and/or layered and won't degrade with age. Shims are also sold by Fender and Stewart-MacDonald.

Is it always required to use a neck shim whenever fitting a new bolt-on neck?

No. If after installing the neck and adjusting the truss rod you see
better action possible and you can set your action with string height better then use a shim.

You will need one, because the likelihood of a new bolt-on neck fitting exactly right just doesn’t happen. It's up to us to "make it happen".

Why is a neck shim so often needed for new neck installations?

Because wood is unpredictable in how it will settle in once installed.
No two necks fit exactly the same on a body.

As long as the bolt-on neck is installed properly and has a
 good, snug fit, the shim does not affect sound whatsoever.

Is it true some builders purposely put in a shim gap for tonal purposes?

Some builders do believe that the gap created by a shim actually adds in a
 special tonal quality and keeps the angle correct all in one operation.
                                      Rick Mariner-Haywire Custom Guitars, Custom Shop