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Thread: #2 SSCM-Q Left

  1. #1
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    #2 SSCM-Q Left

    Hi everyone,

    While tinkering with and upgrading my tele (1st build) and telling myself I didn't need another guitar in my life right now, I got some family news that made me want to build something to dedicate my creativity towards.

    The SSCM was the model I wanted to build as my first guitar, but 2 years ago they were not available, so I build the TL. Now they are back, I knew I was going to enable myself at some point :-).

    There is still a lot that I need to plan and decide on for this build, like using the kit's bridge or upgrading it, and keeping the inlay or changing them to white mop trapezoid inlays if someone could lean in to advise me to go either way that would be appreciated!

    Colour-wise, though I wanted to do something plain after my TL, I'll save that for a Strat of JM, for this, I am planning to do a blue to purple burst like the PRS Aquableux. This might bring me further out of my comfort zone than I can handle, but we'll see where/when/if my hidden talent's will come to the rescue. On my previous build, I did a burst without sanding back, and though that might be sound advice given how thin the veneer is, I still would like to create a better separation to highlight the quilt. I am still looking for a harder finish than the acrylic clear I used on the TL, I find it too soft and was hoping to find something harder for this build.

    I will upgrade to a tusq-nut and I'd like to change the pickups to Tonerider's AC2's or AC4's but I cannot make up my mind which ones sound better. The AC2's have that nice warm vintage sound that I love listening to in blues or Americana type of music, yet the AC4's have that more precise sound, bit more boost and what you would expect from a Singlecut. Does anyone have experience with these and why should/would I pick one over the other?


    In the meantime, the guitar is on backorder and that should give me plenty of time to decide on everything.

    Thank you so much for all the great information you are providing, I am looking forward to being able to contribute to this wonderful forum again!

  2. #2
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    I have 2 sets of Tonerider humbuckers, the ac2 in my sg and rocksongs in the lp. Both are excellent. The ac2 is great for AC/DC style drive I think. The rocksongs certainly have more output.
    I'm probably going to be shot down here, but I also have a guitar with the stock kit humbuckers in it, and I think they sound great! The stock humbuckers are a whole lot nicer than the single coil kit pickups I think, but I have no idea why.
    I have not tried the ac4 but I would imagine it sits between these 2 pickups
    I upgraded to a roller bridge on both from eBay, I like the roller saddles and not expensive as well as the tone caps on the LP (I didn't wire up the tine on the SG)
    Wiring these is much nicer with cotton covered wires rather than the kit wiring as there is so many joints to do.
    Last edited by Andyxlh; 12-10-2021 at 10:07 AM.

  3. #3
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    For sunburst I use a basic airbrush and meths based timber stain. Oak to mahogany is nice
    For finish I like polyurethane clear, I use cabots from Bunnings. Takes a while to go off but is nice and hard if you give it time and sits over the feast Watson stains perfectly

  4. #4
    Probably not going to help you any, but I just completed (save for the couple of upgrades I'm still waiting for) a 3 humbucker SG (AGM3-F). I only wanted a 2 HB kit but kinda stumbled into this due to stock issues with my original order. I'd already ordered the Tonerider AC4 set with the original order and then had to decide what to drop in the middle. Ended up getting an AC2 neck. Three way switch means the middle is always on, but I can dial it in and out via volume controls. Each have their place and I'm quite happy with the variety of sounds I can get with the flick of a switch and the turn of a dial.
    Having to pick a favourite, however, is like choosing a favourite child - each can have their good and bad qualities, but in the right mood each one can be your favourite in the moment. :-D
    You'd probably be happy with either, but I expect it would come down what you like to play.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyxlh View Post
    I have 2 sets of Tonerider humbuckers, the ac2 in my sg and rocksongs in the lp. Both are excellent. The ac2 is great for AC/DC style drive I think. The rocksongs certainly have more output.
    I'm probably going to be shot down here, but I also have a guitar with the stock kit humbuckers in it, and I think they sound great! The stock humbuckers are a whole lot nicer than the single coil kit pickups I think, but I have no idea why.
    I have not tried the ac4 but I would imagine it sits between these 2 pickups
    I upgraded to a roller bridge on both from eBay, I like the roller saddles and not expensive as well as the tone caps on the LP (I didn't wire up the tine on the SG)
    Wiring these is much nicer with cotton covered wires rather than the kit wiring as there is so many joints to do.
    Andy, I won't tell anyone about your stock kit-buckers ;-)
    Your review of the AC2's sound promising. I had a listen to the rocksongs and that sounded a bit too aggressive for most of my styles.
    Most will be Americana, bluesy tones with the occasional need to vent with some Tool or A perfect circle.

    I'll have a look at the roller bridge suggestion, also thanks for the finishing suggestions PU sounds a lot harder than the Acrylic clear!

    Ps. Love the look of your harley inspired LP! Just doing a surfboard with double Mopar inspired stripes through the center, might just have to couple it with a guitar build

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
    Probably not going to help you any, but I just completed (save for the couple of upgrades I'm still waiting for) a 3 humbucker SG (AGM3-F). I only wanted a 2 HB kit but kinda stumbled into this due to stock issues with my original order. I'd already ordered the Tonerider AC4 set with the original order and then had to decide what to drop in the middle. Ended up getting an AC2 neck. Three way switch means the middle is always on, but I can dial it in and out via volume controls. Each have their place and I'm quite happy with the variety of sounds I can get with the flick of a switch and the turn of a dial.
    Having to pick a favourite, however, is like choosing a favourite child - each can have their good and bad qualities, but in the right mood each one can be your favourite in the moment. :-D
    You'd probably be happy with either, but I expect it would come down what you like to play.
    Haha, I might just end up having to buy both if not more. As I just replied to Andy, I play mostly Americana, bluesy tones, some indie stuff and the occasional Tool/A perfect Circle (progressive rock). So nothing really loud.
    Dare to say which kid favours this party?

  7. #7
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    My only experience of Tonerider AC4s was when fettling an ES-1 kit for a UK builder that needed fret levelling.

    I thought them very powerful and it was very easy to overdrive my normal clean setting on my Two Rock amp.

    I fitted a Rocksong in the bridge of my Hexacaster build. And although it was more powerful than I normally like, it has a nice bright edge to the sound, not too much bass, that fitted in nicely with the single coils.

    I haven't tried the AC2s, but they should have a bit less output than the AC4s, mainly because the magnets are a bit less powerful. But I wasn't that keen on the Iron Gear Alnico 2 Tesla Sharks I originally had in the SG build. But then again, I love the alnico 2 P90s I have on my 330 style ES-1, so it's more than just the magnet that drives the sound.

  8. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    On the hardware side the only things I've ever used from the kit are the control cavity cover plates and possibly one scratchplate. I always fit all my own hardware selections, which makes me very biased on the subject.

    Tailpieces are OK, but I'm not that keen on the kit TOM bridges, they often seem very sloppy with lots of play. Also, I prefer nickel to chrome plating, as it ages nicely rather than stays ultra-shiny, which is another reason I swap out the hardware.

    You can always change the hardware at a later date, though if you want vintage-style tuners, then I'd fit those from the start.

    Not sure what you mean about trapezoid neck inlays as these should be standard, or does the L/H kit have dot inlays for some reason? Assuming you have dots, big neck inlays aren't the sort of thing I'd want to do on a fretted neck. Ideally you'd do it on the neck blank before radiusing, and then sand the fretboard and inlays together before fretting. I'd certainly want to remove the frets first, before attempting that kind of thing, but it's a lot harder to cut out and shallow rout the pits for large flat inlay blocks on a curved surface. Very easy to get them skewed or the routs too large.

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    Thanks for your input on the pickups and hardware Simon.
    I will look into the bridge/tailpiece and tuners.

    Regarding the inlay, yes the kits inlay is trapezoid. I meant upgrading those of the kit, in case the kit's inlay didn't look the part.
    I am not looking for an overly flashy inlay, I just want them to look good.
    I too had thought about the radius and the fiddly-ness of levelling the inlay between the frets and judging by your response, I'd better love them.

  10. #10
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Here's the bridge I used with the LP and SG:
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/20307108...0AAOSwlSdfLql7

    Regarding the pickups, and reading Simon's input, I'd probably (hunkers down here) fit the kit humbuckers, set them up and try them out (ouch*)
    - but be ready to pull the trigger on the AC2 set if this does not work out. In the next couple of days I'll pull out my SG with the AC2 and the PBG1 with the stock pickups and run them next to each other. I haven't done a direct comparison, they don't sound the SAME, but they both sound good.
    Simon's comment on the Rocksongs is spot on IMHO, that's exactly the sound as I'd describe it. They are perfect for classic rock, which is how I use them. Another well priced pickup that sounds awesome is the Artist Bullbucker that I put in the Frankenstein. It was cheap but really sounds great, too powerful for your build though I'd say.
    BTW I have a bit of a history of linking together the aesthetics of my projects, and I have another HD inspired instrument on the way...

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