Guitar Upgrade – Paula gets the final touch – Part 4 Smooth as Basalt

A lot is going on, but the items I need didn’t arrive yet.

So I’m overthinking and coming up with new ideas 🙂

Links to the rest of the process:
Part #1 – The Plan
Part #2 – Parts, Parts Everywhere
Part #3 – Before We Begin

Link to Upgrade Table on Google Docs

I Do know One Thing, Though
Parts They Come They Go

So I ordered Transparent No-Holes Single Coil Covers,
they came white… which is a bummer.
I got a full refund for the seller’s mistake.

The mishap gave me some more time to consider the colour choice!
I noticed that my Warman Texas Vintage Pickups where not
looking so good under the covers.
So I decided I’ll go with white or black covers, with holes,
which I’ve got plenty of.
Except that, while reconsidering the cover colour I remembered
that when I used covers without holes – they came too close to
the strings and made noise (buzz).

Raise your volts up in the air!

While having too much time to think about my beloved Paula,
I came up again with an idea which never leaves me when upgrading my guitars.

Why won’t I put a Pre Amp inside the guitar, with On\Bypass switch?
It will cancel out some noise, add buffer, give some warmth to the sound (hopefully)
and drive the guitar more into natural distortion of the amp!

The reason I never do this addition every other time is the complexity of putting
all of the electronics in the somewhat small cavity of the guitar.
Especially when considering putting the 9V battery in there, too!
And no, I’m not going to drill holes on the backside where all
the tension of the strings is concentrated,
I don’t want this already fragile guitar failing on me…
But this time I’m taking the risk and challenging myself!

Scheme by J. Donald Tillman

I found (again) the simplest working Pre Amp on the net for guitars.
Discrete FET Guitar Preamp – Don Tillman (Original Pre-Amp Page)

I went right away to make one as I already have the parts 🙂
It works! and it does get rid of (a lot of) noise!
(even outside the guitar and without shielding!!!)
In the first board I didn’t make stress relief for the cables, so they tore fast…
I planned where the battery box will be, and went on drilling…

then something awful almost happened…

When using the chisel, a small speck of wood came flying to my face.
It stuck in my ear duct of the right eye.
I almost lost an eye for this guitar…

yeah I’m an idiot, and it isn’t an excuse, just a bad reason for my mistakes…

Anyway, I succeeded in making the holes for the battery box,
and it’s nicer than I expected from myself!
I admit, I was really afraid digging into a guitar body, without spare one,
which I spent 3 months removing the paint from and repainting…

I put some foam (PVA) to cushion the battery box and to prevent rattling noises.

Then came another challenge –
how do I put the pickguard now?
How do I wire it?
If I put the box in the pickguard (through a hole) I won’t be able to route the wires in the cavity… (see image)
So I decided on making a hole to fit the whole box, so it will sit on the body,
separately from the pickguard.

Just a reminder of the paint job on the right

But as you might already see on me – I can’t do anything straight…
So when widening the hole for the box, I did too much.
Then came another ‘brilliant’ idea from the DynaZor’s Idea Factory!
Of course, cutting away half of the pickguard.
I have a lot of reasoning for what I did, and I’ll admit that:
I REALLY like the way it looks;
There’s the transparent cavity part,
the battery box which hides the awful paint job I made,
and there’s the nice black paint of the horn
which works nicely with the black Sharpie shape on the neck.

I feel obligated to repeat;

Anyway, I forgot (notice how open I am 😛 ) about the part where I want the
pre amp to look good.
What I did about it is planning it in DIY Layout Creator.
Then re arranging the parts to minimize the size of the board.
You can see the new scheme here:

Now the pre amp board won’t take as much space as before,
actually – I halved the size of the board!
Also, notice I made a space for cable relief
by running the wires through a hole first and soldering them only in the second hole.
I’m currently waiting for all the new parts for the board so I can redo it.

Having Ideas, all the time

It’s bad isn’t it? nah I know it’s good but they’re the same ones over and over again…
Things I “Came Up With”;

  • Adding a P90 or a Humbucker Sized P90 in the Bridge Position
    – I already have Dualova which is a strat with TWO HB sized P90’s in her…
  • Adding an Infinite Sustain
    – Take even more space, more battery, more money,
    and I can’t figure out a clean way of implementing it. I have ideas though…
    BUT!!!! It means I’ll need to give up on a PickUp (middle one..) and I don’t want to.
  • Buying a new set of Pickups so I would have transparent covers on
    -Waste of money, I like the ones I have and I can just use black\white covers…
  • Making 2-Part-Pickguard
    – Why Shahar?! Why? It already looks good for you *sigh*
  • Putting back the original Squire neck on the Squire body of Paula
    – The best neck I have is the on I have on her now, it is set up and the nicest.
    I f***ing drilled new holes in it just to fit it on Paula.
    Straight Nope.
  • Adding art…?
    – Where… exactly…?

So now after I expressed all my desires to ruin Paula, I can finish this post.

Closing words

I have come through a long way while waiting for the parts to arrive,
I’m proud of myself!

All I have to do now is wait for the parts to arrive and when they do,
assemble and finish making Paula great! 🙂

You can notice in the Upgrade Table that I
didn’t exactly follow the steps I have specifically wrote down for myself XD
I didn’t know how hard it is working like that…

PS. The title of the post is a joke on my behalf –
my answer to “how things are going with Paula?”.

Anyway that’s all for today 🙂
I’m open for suggestions and would love to communicate with you!
Wish me luck and have a nice day,

Link to Upgrade Table on Google Docs


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