Frequently Asked Questions

Actually, this is kind of an "About Me" page as well.  Just in case you care.

Submit your own caption, folks.
Yes, these are all mine.*  Most of them and their electronic mods are discussed on their own pages in this site.

(Note the soldering iron in its stand on the top of the parts drawers in the upper right.)

*Well, I've sold some and bought others since this photo was taken several years ago (e.g., I have a different LP and Steinberger now).

Q: Will you draw me a schematic if I tell you what I want it in?
A: Yes, for money.  The more complicated it is, the more it will cost.  Tell me what you want and I'll give you a quote.  For a guitar with one or two basic mods, price is around $50.  Something with a rotary pickup selection system is going to be much more because I'll have to work out all the combinations, keep them in the appropriate phase, etc.

Q: My guitar is making a weird hum.  What's wrong with it?

A: It isn't properly grounded.  To figure out exactly where without me seeing it and testing it with a multimeter is almost impossible.  Best guess: You forgot to connect the string ground. Regardless, read the All About Grounding page.

Q: Can you check my schematic out to see if it works?

A: Probably not.  Most people who ask me this question send me schematics without telling me what the circuit is actually supposed to do.  Does it work?  Work as what?  If you're serious about it, the best approach is to use a circuit modelling program.  The next best is to just trace each combination yourself and see if it all checks out.  Time-consuming?  Yes.  That's why you should do it yourself rather than asking me.

Q: Help!  I bought a rotary switch and don't know which pole is which.

A: You need a multimeter with a continuity test.  Your multimeter will beep to tell you which are connected when you touch a closed common/position pairing.

Q: Help!  I bought a Strat pickup selector switch and don't know which one's the common.

A: Same as the last guy.  You need a multimeter with a continuity test.

Q:  How did you get into all this electronics stuff?

A:  Honestly, I didn't set out to at all.  What happened was that I had a switch with a bad contact on my (then) only guitar.  I bought a replacement, but it turned out to have the connections in a different arrangement than the one that was bad.  After looking around on the web for help in sorting this out, I started finding little bits of information about guitars and their electronics.  I just started getting curious about the possibilities, so I began experimenting.

Q:  Why did you build this site?

A:  When I started out, I had to pull this knowledge from a multitude of sites around the web as well as several books and, in a few rare cases, my own ingenuity.  My goal is to have as much information in one place as possible in order to provide the greatest access, especially for the beginners in this area.

Q:  Do you do this for a living?

A:  No, this is purely a hobby.  A kind of expensive one at that, sadly.

Q:  Can you actually play guitar?

A:  Yes, quite well, I think.  I wouldn't mind posting an mp3 section at some point, but I haven't recorded anything in years.  Also, I really don't want to burn through the bandwidth since I'm not exactly promoting an album or anything.

Q:  If you're "Alexplorer" why don't you play an Explorer?

A:  Actually, I did have one at one point, but it was something I got for cheap and sold at a nice profit.  That's the long answer.  Short answer: My partner thinks they're ugly.  (And they're tough to play sitting down too with all the wood sticking everywhere.)

Q:  Are all these your guitars?

A:  Yes.  I've built/owned a few others, but the only ones I have posted are those I've modified or at least designed mods for.  I have a few others that I haven't posted.

Q:  Don't you have any acoustic guitars?

A:  Yes, just a classical guitar and a Saga DG-500 model like the one Django Reinhardt played, but guess what?  I'll be adding electronics to that as soon as I can.  I wouldn't mind a Chet Atkins style solid-body classical as well if it had more options than a single tone knob (e.g., a three-band EQ would have been nice!  Hello?!).  Update: I also have another gypsy jazz guitar as well as a knock-off of Yamaha's silent classical guitar.

Q:  How much did all this cost?

A:  Not as much as you would think.  With a few exceptions, most of my guitars cost less than $500... usually a lot less, in fact.  Admittedly, parts and labor probably pushed them beyond that in most cases, but I do this for fun and end up with guitars I like more than the expensive versions I emulate with my creations.

Q:  What effects do you use?

A:  I have what I regard as the Holy Grail of processors: The Digitech 2120 (see some patches for it here).  You can read more about it at this page.  Previously, I owned a Digitech RP-20 (which broke down after much use; patches for it found here) and, before that, a DOD FX-7 which was a great little unit, if a bit inflexible (patches for it here).  I have also owned a couple pedals, but I can't see the point in employing anything that isn't programmable unless you're only going to use one single sound.  I also built a talkbox.

Q:  What kind of amp do you have?

A:  I'm using a Fender Ultimate Chorus.  My version predates the later incarnation with all the extra effects (e.g., flange, delay, etc.).  Mine only comes with chorus, reverb, and two channels.  It does the job though since I use the 2120 for just about everything.

Q:  I would like to place an ad on your site.  Do you sell advertising space?
A:  Yes, please check this page for details.

If you have any questions not addressed on this page, just write me.
Copyright Alexplorer.