Steinberger GT

This is a low-end (i.e., "Spirit") version of the Steinberger GL.  I picked it up on eBay shortly after the company reintroduced this line.  They abandoned the EMG Select pickups (which the majority of us thought were crap) and replaced them with their own pickups with a silver "Steinberger" logo.  Honestly, these weren't all that much better.

Lace Sensors are among my favorite pickups.  They have a futuristic look like I like in virtually any modern guitar, and this is one that looks like it's right out of Star Trek.  Further, they have no 60 Hz hum, even in single coils.

The most innovative thing about this guitar's wiring now is that I reconceptualized the pickup scheme.  Ostensibly it's a SSH guitar, but what if we ignore the middle pickup and instead imagine the humbucker as two distinct pickups, not a single pickup with two coils?

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Pickups
Lace Sensor Blue - Neck position.  This is purported to sound something like a P-90, but I don't feel like it has that kind of clarity.  AGI-Lace's site says it sounds warm like a humbucker, which I think is more accurate, but it wasn't what I was looking for.  I believe I'm going to replace this with a Lace Hot Gold instead.

Lace Sensor Silver/Red - Bridge position, although I treat this as electronically as a middle and bridge position.  See, the Silver is wired as a middle pickup.  The two coils are not connected in series.  In fact, the Red has a higher output in order to act as almost a humbucker already.  This means I sort of have two bridge pickups: one for a thicker tone (e.g., for distorted rhythm parts) and another that is clean and clangy if I want to do something more traditionally Strat-like.


Phase switch (more here)
Control: Under the volume pot

Function: These are great for getting new and weird sounds.  I wired this to reverse the phase on the Silver pickup.  However, as my serendipitous carelessness would have it, I accidentally wired the Silver and Red pickups out of phase.  As a result, the Blue was in phase with the Silver, but the Red and Silver were out of phase with one another.  This was actually very useful since I rarely use the 4th position (i.e., Middle and Bridge), and so I could get an out-of-phase sound just by flipping the pickup selector to that combination and without ever having to touch the phase switch.  In fact, the phase switch put the Silver/Red combination in phase.


Unmastered tone
I just don't like having a master tone pot.  I adjust the tone knob for my neck pickup, but I hate that it affects my other pickups since I have to turn the pot back up every time I switch back to the bridge pickup.  In guitars like this, where there is a master tone knob, I frequently rearrange the wiring so that it only affects the neck pickup and no others.  In fact, I usually like to switch between a crunchy bridge and a creamy neck pickup.  But I like the neck to be clean too sometimes, so I need to have control over it and not just hardwire a capacitor into the circuit.

Alternative approaches
Note that the phase switch was the only thing added.  There simply was not enough room to add a second push-pull pot under the tone pot because that it where the input jack enters (see below).  The components are literally stacked on top of one another.  The only real other wiring option here would have been to use a 4P5T pickup selector switch to get a mix of series connections instead of the strictly Strat-like approach I used.

This is pre-modification, obviously.  I don't know why they leave the leads so long on the stock pickups, considering they have to find a place for the spaghetti in this cramped space.  (Note how they have a zip tie on it to make it more manageable.

That's the aforementioned jack below tone pot.  Not a whole lot of room to expand the electronics.  You would even have to rout a separate space for a battery box if you wanted anything active in the circuit (i.e., EMG pickups or a preamp).




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