Vader new build - need advice - blues player

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DavidCatalano
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Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby DavidCatalano » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:06 pm

Please review my new build. I have attached my new build and need some advice. I prefer a strong midrange tone and play the blues. Mostly lead and prefer a shred approach. What do you think of this combo. See attached.
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gumbynotpokey
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby gumbynotpokey » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:14 pm

The right amp and effect settings should do the trick. After that, the neck carve and ss frets. Lastly, the pickups. So, I think you're fine. Do the other choices matter? On stage at concert volumes? Probably not.
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby X1Glider » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:51 am

The ebony fingerboard will add initial brightness. If anything, perhaps a rosewood fingerboard would be best. I love walnut though. My bass is pure walnut with a quilted maple top and it's got great deep tones and can really growl when pushed. The Berylliums are the right choice as far as Kiesel pickups go. I'm also a fan of Graphtech String Saver saddles over steel. They sound nice and full but get rid of the high pitch spikes. Same goes for the Tusq nut.
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That aside, the only time I care about careful wood selection is when I want a guitar that has a specific inherent volume level and length of sustain (acoustically). Those are things the pickups and amp and cab can't add without also adding more to the noise floor. The actual tones can be tailored downstream via pickup choice and ultimately the speakers, which IMO, make the most difference.

I'll tell you what my new favorite pickup is: The Seymour Duncan P-Rails. I went through the custom shop for mine. Off the shelf, the single coil part is a Hot Rails and the P90 part is vintage based. The custom shop made my single coil part based on the Cool Rails instead of Hot rails and mounted them in the Triple Shot pickup rings so I can get every coil combo imaginable. I have them in a semi-hollow carve top Schecter C1-A/E. Get's a great hot blues sound and reacts to picking force nicely. It's in the medium output category.

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby HarlowTheFish » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:44 am

I'd say that depending on your tones of choice, also consider the new Holdsworth pickups. I've heard them described as "clarinet-like", and as p90-like, so they might work for you as well.

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby Alcathous » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:45 pm

You definitely want Berylliums over Lithiums, but I would go for Holdsworths. And maybe the Greg Howe in the bridge, but I don't know anything about that. I think overall the Berylliums are too hot for what I would prefer for blues. I have a guitar with Berylliums and one with Holdsworths, but no clue about the Howe ones and I barely see it discussed. I think it is also lower output?

You would think you would want a pickup with alnico ii, like the Berylliums. But Holdsworths and Howe bridge both have alnico v. I am sure you can still get a good blues sound with a Kiesel. But they don't seem to offer a dedicated blues pickup right now. And from my experience the Beryllium is a lot hotter than the Holdsworth. And of course there are many different styles and sounds of blues. Some use humbuckers, some single coils. I think Berylliums are fine for more of a Gary Moore style of blues.
And if you use a single coil split Beryllium, the output already drops significantly. But they aren't PAFs.

If you really want a single coil sound, of course the coil splitting does give a single pickup sound. But I have seen some people suggest that a split humbucker sounds inferior to an actual single coil. I do not know if this is true and it sounds fishy. Different, maybe. But worse? Why? But something to consider. Otherwise your only reason to get a HSH is to make sure you can get the sound of the middle pickup.

Considering you will be in direct contact with the fretboard at all time and considering it is still up to debate if the type of wood actually significantly affects your tone, I would pick the fretboard wood you like most and instead consider your strings and your pickups. I have seem some people swear that only a guitar with a certain fretboard wood does not sound too bright for them. But then they also mention they always order a guitar without a tone knob because 'you would never use it anyway' which to me is an extremely silly thing to say. Why is tone at 10 necessarily the best? Why not go to 11 then? Why is the max tone always the best?

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby X1Glider » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:06 pm

Alcathous wrote:Why is tone at 10 necessarily the best? Why not go to 11 then?

Passive setups are always tone "cuts." You can't go to 11. Up to 10 is as close as you'll get to the pickup's pure tone. With a passive tone circuit, you're still losing some highs (and perceived volume) because there's always some bleed due to the capacitor and pot always being hooked up. Changing cap values can alter at what point the highs get cut. Useful to keep it if you have really bright pickups like Lithiums.

Alcathous wrote:Why is the max tone always the best?

My logic is that high frequencies are difficult to add in at the amp or through an EQ without also adding hiss (noise floor). That hiss gets multiplied through every gain stage in the amp so you get even more hiss by the time it comes out of your speakers. So I like as pure a signal coming out of the guitar as possible. Then if it's too bright. I back off the treble or presence at the amp, reducing the amp's hiss in the process.

Also, a purer sound going directly into FX pedals also means a lower noise floor before it gets to the amp since FX pedals also have gain stages (and not very sophisticated ones at that). The more pure sound going into them also makes the FX pedals put out an even better sound.

Based on that logic, I actually eliminate tone pots on a new build. Any older guitars I have get a push pull pot to take it out of the circuit.

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby DavidCatalano » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:57 pm

Update - tried to order this today. They will not allow a tung oil finished guitar to be returned with a 10 day trial. Anyone know why? Mike had no excuse after previously telling me that we could send it back. Final check before order placement and they will not take it back per Jeff. Very disappointing. Why would tung oil over the entire guitar be an issue?

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:19 pm

DavidCatalano wrote:Update - tried to order this today. They will not allow a tung oil finished guitar to be returned with a 10 day trial. Anyone know why? Mike had no excuse after previously telling me that we could send it back. Final check before order placement and they will not take it back per Jeff. Very disappointing. Why would tung oil over the entire guitar be an issue?


Tung oil is much less durable than the other body finishes. Raw tone is also non-returnable and tung would dent at least as easily.

I remember back in the day, when they only sold guitars with headstocks, that even if you got a tung-oil guitar, they would "seal" in the logo on the headstock with satin. You can't really do that on a tung oil body with the logo being what it is: just a sticker. I suspect there's just too many things that COULD happen to it, that they don't want to deal with it. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with it. I wonder if that would also be the case on a tung-oiled DC127?

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby dbone » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:40 pm

DavidCatalano wrote:Update - tried to order this today. They will not allow a tung oil finished guitar to be returned with a 10 day trial. Anyone know why? Mike had no excuse after previously telling me that we could send it back. Final check before order placement and they will not take it back per Jeff. Very disappointing. Why would tung oil over the entire guitar be an issue?



Kiesel uses Minwax tung oil finish which is a wood penetrating finish which hardens in the wood, from what I have read it has little if any actual tung oil in it.
I have two Carvin guitars with this finish and it feels great in the hands and the wood retains its natural texture. This used to be a retunable finish back in the day. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I suspect they had issues with people returning dinged up or scratched finishes and decided they were no longer willing to bear the burden of that cost. That being said they still offer it on a no 10 day basis. There are countless examples of this finish lasting a very long time. However It is not nearly as tough as a hard shell gloss poly finish. You need to have reasonable expectations on the durability it’s not UV cured poly.
I like how it feels and it’s cool looking natural satin vibe. I think it is one of the best looking finishes for walnut tops which are naturally dark.
In the end it’s your call good luck.
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby arahobob » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:43 pm

spudmunkey wrote:
DavidCatalano wrote:Update - tried to order this today. They will not allow a tung oil finished guitar to be returned with a 10 day trial. Anyone know why? Mike had no excuse after previously telling me that we could send it back. Final check before order placement and they will not take it back per Jeff. Very disappointing. Why would tung oil over the entire guitar be an issue?


Tung oil is much less durable than the other body finishes. Raw tone is also non-returnable and tung would dent at least as easily.

I remember back in the day, when they only sold guitars with headstocks, that even if you got a tung-oil guitar, they would "seal" in the logo on the headstock with satin. You can't really do that on a tung oil body with the logo being what it is: just a sticker. I suspect there's just too many things that COULD happen to it, that they don't want to deal with it. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with it. I wonder if that would also be the case on a tung-oiled DC127?


I agree with your comparison to RTF.
The DC127 does list Tung oil finish as a returnable option in the builder, not that that means anything at all.

Things change all the time, and Kiesel doesn't really keep the web site (or the staff apparently) that current.
Today's yes is tomorrows no, and vice versa.

Me? If i wasn't sure about a model, I'd just order a returnable finish, and if I REALLY liked it but HAD to have the tung oil, I could return it and build another!! :mrgreen:
I picked up one of the first V6X guitars and avoided the RTF option because I wasn't sure if the bridge was going to work for me. Back it went.
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:23 am

dbone wrote:
DavidCatalano wrote:Update - tried to order this today. They will not allow a tung oil finished guitar to be returned with a 10 day trial. Anyone know why? Mike had no excuse after previously telling me that we could send it back. Final check before order placement and they will not take it back per Jeff. Very disappointing. Why would tung oil over the entire guitar be an issue?



Kiesel uses Minwax tung oil finish which is a wood penetrating finish which hardens in the wood, from what I have read it has little if any actual tung oil in it.
I have two Carvin guitars with this finish and it feels great in the hands and the wood retains its natural texture. This used to be a retunable finish back in the day. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I suspect they had issues with people returning dinged up or scratched finishes and decided they were no longer willing to bear the burden of that cost. That being said they still offer it on a no 10 day basis. There are countless examples of this finish lasting a very long time. However It is not nearly as tough as a hard shell gloss poly finish. You need to have reasonable expectations on the durability it’s not UV cured poly.
I like how it feels and it’s cool looking natural satin vibe. I think it is one of the best looking finishes for walnut tops which are naturally dark.
In the end it’s your call good luck.


I've heard this before, too, and have used several of the "oil finishes." They are all basically a wiping varnish that is primarily mineral spirits to allow wicking and penetration, then winds up with a thin finish, similar to shellac. I recently built a desk for the wife and used "teak oil" finish. Same thing with that, too. It's just a wiping varnish, and takes overnight to dry.

Real Tung oil (also have used) takes weeks to dry, and months to stop smelling. I went with uncut oil and worked it into an Ash Tele style body a few years ago, finishing it off with 0000 steel wool after 3 coats. It took 4 months in total to do those coats and it not be a sticky, smelly mess. It still stank, but not as much.

I'm not against a wiping varnish, and compared to real Tung oil, it'll hold up a little better to wear and tear, as well as moisture. It's also far easier to work with from start to finish.
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby Koshchei » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:35 am

Might be a little too low-mid focused with a mahogany neck. I'd suggest walnut/maple 5pc w/ tung oil. It'll be a lot stronger, feel better and add a bit of sparkle to the upper-mids.

re full oil finish, I'm guessing that some idiot beat his guitar to hell during the trial and tried to return it. Tung is NOT durable and will not protect the wood from damage. I should also note that a figured claro top with an oil finish will be a bit of a hot brown mess. I'd go gloss on the body, so that the subtle variations in the top will jump out.

As well, if you can swing it, the 3pc body might also look really cool, to create a dividing line between the walnut top and mahogany wings, particularly around the bevels.

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby wickid » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:40 am

Koshchei wrote:.... I should also note that a figured claro top with an oil finish will be a bit of a hot brown mess. ....


I don't know about "mess", but it doesn't bring the figuring out as well.
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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby Koshchei » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:53 am

I had a dark piece on a DC747 years ago... it'd have looked like a poop Rorschach in anything but gloss :D

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Re: Vader new build - need advice - blues player

Postby Omsong » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:11 am

Regarding split hummers... It is my experience that they do not sound as crystallize as single coils. Split hummers can sound good, and definitely cleaner/clearer than in their double coil mode. But, if you really want a single coil tone, split hummers are a compromise, IMO. Even with the hummer split, the permanent magnet and metal mass of the disconnected coil still widens the magnetic field (over the narrower field of a single coil) and 'drags' on the string as it vibrates. There are probably other factors at work, too.

The split hummers in my Fatboy were wired so that the 'inside' coils were hot when split. I tried reversing them so that the outside coil (closer to the fretboard) on the Neck Pickup was hot in split mode. My rationale was that this would put the active coil closer to the string's vibrating "sweet" spot. But, surprisingly (to me), I preferred the tone in it's factory wired condition.
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