Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Modding a Harley Benton Slider II lap steel guitar


I found a used Harley Benton Slider II guitar with a stand for a very good price and decided to get it, mainly because of the price and because it will be my first lap steel guitar.

Overall it's a very nice guitar for the price, and with some modifications, it can sound really good.

The guitar comes with a very cheap and thin sounding single coil pickup, that was the first thing I intended on replacing. 

The pots are also cheap and had to go. Their shafts are smaller in diameter than the normal pots so the holes had to be widened to accommodate normal pots.

I had a set of single coils that I took from my American Standard Strat. I used the bridge pickup here to get a sharp sound which is more suitable for a lap steel. Fits perfectly.

After drilling to widen the holes for the pots' shafts, the new pots fit perfectly. Again, using 250K pots that I took from my American Standard Strat.

I left the original input jack for the meantime, even though it is also not a quality one.

Next step was to shield the cavity to reduce hum because of the single coil pups.

The bar that comes with the guitar isn't too bad, but I replaced it with a Shubb SP2 for better control:

Shubb SP2 steel bar

 I'm very pleased with the results. It makes a really good sounding and looking lap steel.

Here I'm performing with it.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Building a killswitch pedal

Here I built a small and handy pedal that kills the sound. You can position it right after the tuner (my tuner is always on and doesn't kill the sound output). 

Two input jacks and one SPDT are required. The wiring is very simple.

A few minutes of work and you get a handy pedal for your pedalboard.

I decided to name it "Lull" :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Shielding a Strat

Here I will show the process of shielding a Strat guitar. For this process I used a sticky copper tape and an aluminum pickguard shield, both were ordered from eBay.

 The guitar as it comes from Corona.

 It's important to cover all cavities.

 Including the output jack cavity.

 Done with the copper tape.

 This is the aluminum shield. Sits secretly underneath the pickguard.

 It's necessary to remove all electronics from the pickguard for the shield installation.

 All done, the guitar is more quiet now and less bound to radio interference.

Adding Malmsteen's secret weapon...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Building a Colorsound Power Boost pedal replica

One of David Gilmours' most essential pedal is, without a doubt, the Power Boost.
So I decided to build one. It takes natively 18v, so I added another circuit to transform 9v into 18v so the pedal won't be the ugly duckling of the pedalboard.

Here the some pictures from the building process:

I ordered a full kit, with all parts, from Fuzz Dog's Everything came nicely packaged and in a timely manner.

Here is the populated PCB. It has two options - 9v or 18v. I went with the 18v for a more authentic sound.

To make the pedal take 9v I added the Power Pump - a nice and small 9v to 18v converter.

Of course I ordered an orange casing for the Power Boost.

 Testing phase.

Fitting everything inside the enclosure. Note how small the Power Pump is - right beside the 3PDT switch.

Done. Sounds great and has a gain knob which the original pedal is missing.
The plan is to use water transfer paper to create the decal.

 Here it is on the pedalboard.

Ended up printing label on a P-Touch device.

Sweet sounding pedal. Very happy with it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Building an MXR Noise Gate pedal replica

After examining the DIY PCB market I decided to go with
I ordered the PCB from them, printed the bill-of-materials PDF and ordered all the parts from eBay - some parts came from Europe, but most of them came from China.
Here are the pictures from the building process:

Most of the parts have arrived, the soldering iron is hot and I'm ready to begin.
 High quality PCB printing and well easy to read diagrams by

 Almost fully populated PCB, still need resistors with special values and go to to the local DIY shop to test transistor values.

 Completed the PCB. Testing with headphones with the Zoom multi effect pedal.

 After changing two resistors according to user comments on tonepad's website and selecting matching transistors the PCB is fully operational and ready to be housed.
The coupled resistors are to double the value to create values that were missing in the DIY shop: (e.g: in the lower left corner: 1M1+1M1=2M2)

 Measuring for guts and holes placements.

 Testing in the pedalboard with "noisy" input.

 The final result, it is so efficient that I find myself with it on most of the time.