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S2 Vela Mods

mwong61

New Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2020
Messages
34
Location
Florida
Hey all,

Since getting my Vela a couple months ago I've been pondering a couple of modifications that I wanted to do. Let me first emphatically state that none of these mods or upgrades are "necessary". The stock components are perfectly fine and the wiring/soldering is all top notch. I've read some people complain about the offshore components wearing out, breaking, getting scratchy, etc. In my experience that happens to any brand electrical component. Whether you use CTS, Bourns, CRL, Switchcraft, Oaks Grigsby, whatever, stuff breaks and wears out. The Korean made components in the S2 and SE line are a far cry from the really cheap stuff that you'll find in other brands price point lines of guitars. Tolerances between even the best US made CTS 450G pots can vary widely, which is why I will generally buy a bunch then test them and try to match up pairs that are close. I was lucky to have a pair of CTS pots for this project that both came in exactly at 500k. I have another pair that are 484k, and so on. Having said that, I am an incurable tinkerer and some guitars just seems to lend themselves to being tinkered with hahaha, the Vela is just such a guitar for me. I'm seriously considering getting another Vela to do some even more radical mods, it's such a great platform.

On my last string change, I decided to pop the pickguard and take a peek under the hood. When I was replacing the pickguard I did a big no-no, I got lazy and used a screw gun (I usually use a screwdriver and install pick guards by hand. Sure enough, even on the lowest torque setting I overdrove one of the screws and cracked the pickguard. (the one on screw at the sharp corner under the neck pickup is particularly vulnerable).

Anyway, kind of motivated me to do the mods as I was ordering a new pickguard anyway.

1. First off, I decided to get a tortoise pickguard, I think the cherry finish and tort really sets each color off nicely with the ivoroid knobs I installed.

Here's a Before and After pic.

eEXD8q9.jpg


2. Notice I no longer have a 3 way toggle. One of the things about the Vela that I really love is how the neck and bridge pickups blend together. With the stock layout and wiring I felt like I was missing some "in between" sounds of mixing the pickups (like I am able to get with my 594 or 335 style guitars with 2 vol/2 tones). So I thought through a couple of different approaches to be able to get access to more blended sounds between the two pickups, and rejected the idea of concentric pots to get 2 vol/ 2 tone. I decided to replace the 3 way toggle with a Dual Gang Blender Pot. This is essentially 2 pots stacked on top of one another that swipe in opposite directions with a center detent of wide open for both pots. I went with a Dual Gang pot as opposed to a "standard" blender pot where the center detent position would be 50% - 50% of each pickup, I wanted the center position to be just like a 3 way switch with 100% - 100% of each pickup.

I also replaced the stock components with some upgraded components.

Here's a shot of the stock wiring:
Ov2y5Pc.jpg


Here's the beginning of my project with the matched pair of CTS pots that both measured 500k on the nose plus the CTS Blender/Fader pot.

VuIglpP.jpg


With the CTS Blender/Fader pot I can get full neck pickup in one direction, full bridge pickup in other direction, both pickups full in the center detent position and then I can get blend of all the sounds in between of neck and bridge pickups. I used a linear taper pot as I was hoping for more resolution than a log or "audio" taper would give me.

3. Notice I'm also missing the Push-Pull coil tap pot. I really detest push pull pots. I never use them because they're generally a pain in the butt to get my fingers under. So I was looking for a more elegant way to tap the bridge coil without adding mini-toggles and decided to try Bill Nash's Les Paul coil tap wiring. To date, I've never seen anyone else use this method except Nash Guitars on his Les Paul re-builds. Essentially it's a slick bit of wiring where the tone pot acts like a regular tone pot between 1-8, then when you dime it, it taps the coil and voila, you have a single coil sound. No push pull, no push push, just a plain old 500k pot. I had never done this before, so it was a first for me.

4. The last bit of trick wiring I did was the coil tap itself. PRS guitars are known for retaining pickup volume when coil splitting is because the coil is not really split but rather tapped. (You can see @bryanewald demo this and call it out in his demo videos). They use a resistor in the tap circuit that actually only partially shuts off the second coil but allows "some" amount of the second coil active. So if you're a player that uses the coil split a lot on PRS guitars you'll notice that you don't get that big volume drop and wind up with a thin, weak sounding split coil (as with some other methods) but rather you get a full "single-ish" sounding very usable sound. This is called the "Partial Tap Resistor" method. I've always referred to it as the "Lindy Fralin Coil tap" as he was the first person I remember reading that advocated the circuit. Fralin recommends using a 7k resistor. (The higher the resistor value, the less amount of the second coil remains active). I believe with a 7k resistor it leaves 20% of the second coil active. PRS uses a 2.2k resistor for splitting bridge humbuckers. At least they did on my Vela and also on my Mcarty 594. On my 594 they use a 1.1k resistor on the neck pickup.

Here's a pic of my 594, the bridge pickup partial tap resistor is 2.2k the neck is 1.1k (according to the schematic at prs.com, I have not measured it to verify).

C6Mb5jh.jpg


One thing that I thought would be worth trying is trying different value resistors to see what affect it has on the tone and maybe dial in my personal tastes and applications in coil tap mode. To make that easier to do, I decided to try something I read about in an article at the Humbucker Soup website (awesome resource, btw!) Instead of swapping out different value resistors, I installed a "10k variable resistor trim pot". Basically a tiny little potentiometer with a max value of 10k and a little trimmer that you can set at any value between 0 and 10k. This makes it a lot easier to experiment with different resistor values on the coil tap. I started out setting it at around 5.8k. So somewhere between what Lindy Fralin recommends and what PRS does. I'll probably mess around with it some more during future string changes to dial in what sounds best to me.

Continued in next post....
 
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Here's what the final wiring looks like.
hto83Gu.jpg


I liked the way the treble bleed on the volume pot worked on the Vela so I stayed with the same value capacitor, 181uf, but upgraded it from the stock ceramic disc to a silver mica cap. I also liked the the stock tone capacitor value they used (.033uf) so I stayed with the same value there too but also upgraded it to an NOS Russian PIO capacitor.

Last but not least, I swapped out the stock jack with a PureTone multi contact jack. I started using these last year and absolutely love them. I've been swapping them out on my guitars slowly as the opportunity comes up.

d9MzgFD.jpg


I'm still waiting for another Ivoroid knob from Tone Ninja arrive to match the Vol and Tone knobs to complete the look. It reminds me of my very first PRS, an early 90's CE Bolt on when they were still using the rotary switching system.

So the downside to this whole wiring scheme is that switching pickups will be slower than a toggle switch, so if you're a shredder and do a lot of pickup switching whilst wheedling away 64th note runs, then this mod is probably not for you. (I am not one of those...hah.) Another downside is that coil splitting, more importantly, UN-splitting is not an exact motion. It's somewhere between 8 and 10 on the tone knob and getting it from split to un-split is a bit fiddly. Also, by utilizing the tone knob as the coil tap mechanism, you lose the ability to have tone control when in split mode. Meaning, you're relying on overall value of the tone capacitor and the resistor value of how the overall tone is shaped.

The upsides for me, at least, is now I can get the exact blend of neck and bridge coil I want for a particular part or song, just like I can with a Gibson style 2vol/2Tone setup. And I don't have to deal with the push pull pot. Even though I've only messed with it for a few hours today, I find pickup switching fairly intuitive and fast, although not as fast as a toggle switch. The trade off seems worth it for me. And not to be too much of a cork sniffer, I do find the upgraded components, wiring, caps, seem to let these pickups "breath" a bit more, I feel like I'm getting the most out of these pickups that were being a bit stifled before.

Anyways, I will try to record some clips and post back here with some sound samples and maybe something in the context of a tune at some point. Feel free to ping me for any of the wiring resources I used if you're interested. Also a big shout out to AxeGrinderz Tone Products. Great place to find hard to find parts, excellent service and an awesome resource!

Thanks for following me through my journey so far......!

M-
 
Useful and informative post! Especially good in explaining both the principle and the detail of PRS coil-splitting/tapping.

I haven't had the least inclination (yet) to mod my Vela, because I'm enjoying all the funk just as it is.

But I do frequently think of mods I'd like on guitars, then have someone else figure them out for me and give me a diagram, or better yet do the work. (It's not that I haven't whiled away untold hours whiffing solder fumes, and I do think a nice solder joint is God's work and a thing of beauty, rewarding in itself. But eyes and hands and age and all that, and I'm afraid I'll run out of cuss words sometime and regret the ones I wasted on soldering.)

In general I think most guitars are too limited and generic in their switching configurations, when there's so much more that can be done. It's easy to go too far and end up with a complicated labyrinthe of combinations, many of which just don't sound good. But there's a happy medium, and I appreciate guitars that offer something beyond the basics. (Maybe because my first electric had four single coils with a switch for each, and my second had stereo, true tapping of single coil pickups, a blend/balance control, and both a treble and bass tone control.)

I like where you went with the intentions of the mods on this, but I don't object to push-pull pots; you just have to find the right knobs to make it easy. I have one guitar with push-push, and that's as easy as it gets. You just have to use your ears to know if the pickup is in full or split mode (and maybe if we can't tell, we ought to take up golf or something).

(I admit to wondering why Paul's guitar (and the -8 models) use a separate toggle to tapsplit each pickup. We know PRS doesn't avoid push-pull, so why not do the business on the neck pickup with a push-pull vol pot, and use the push-pull tone pot on the bridge pup?)

I'm a big fan of that blend control between the pickups, which gets a smooth continuum of pickup mixes considerably more easily than the Gib-standard 2-vol/2-tone harness. I've had such a pot blended into a couple of my Gretschs. And one of my favorite factory control systems came on the Reverend Rick Vito: master vol, master tone, Reverend's über-useful bass contour, and the blend pot. (Turned out that and the art deco looks of the guitar were what I liked best about it; I just couldn't find a use for its tonal spectrum.)

I've often eyed that vast empty space between the knobs on most PRS guitars and thought of useful mods to stick in there: like a second volume pot, to have one for each pickup. But when I mention this to guys who can sketch out a circuit for me, they recoil in horror at thought of drilling a hole through a PRS top, as though it was some kind of sacred ground. I can see that on a 10-top Core or PS, maybe...but an SE?

This mod reminds me that there are a lot of useful tones between pickup-on and pickup-off, and at least on toggle-swtich-equipped guitars (which seem to end up my favorite PRSs), I can get a blend pot with no holes. Just replace the toggle.

Hmm.
 
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Brilliant! Trimmers ftw! When you want to get adventurous, there’s a a little variable LC circuit device called the V-Treb. Love ‘em and have a few in guitars. It’s a set-n-forget type thing, at least for me.

great choices and solid upgrades!
 
Brilliant! Trimmers ftw! When you want to get adventurous, there’s a a little variable LC circuit device called the V-Treb. Love ‘em and have a few in guitars. It’s a set-n-forget type thing, at least for me.

great choices and solid upgrades!

Ahh yes, I've seen those V-Treb things, they look pretty cool and let you mess with different values on the treble bleed. I generally don't have a strong preference one way or another on treble bleeds. I actually prefer to not have them on my LP style wired guitars and prefer the 50's style wiring in that type of layout with the more interactive vol/tone controls. Mostly I tend to use about the first 1/5th or so of travel on the vol knob to control gain. So far, I'm digging the mods. I never play live and have plenty of time to muck about dialing in sounds in my home studio. Not so sure these mods would be too useful for a live or band situation.
 
Useful and informative post! Especially good in explaining both the principle and the detail of PRS coil-splitting/tapping.

I haven't had the least inclination (yet) to mod my Vela, because I'm enjoying all the funk just as it is.

But I frequently think of mods I'd like, then have someone else figure them out for me and give me a diagram, or better yet do the work. (It's not that I haven't whiled away untold hours whiffing solder fumes, and I do think a nice solder joint is God's work and a thing of beauty, rewarding in itself. But eyes and hands and age and all that, and I'm afraid I'll run out of cuss words sometime and regret the ones I wasted on soldering.)

In general I think most guitars are too limited and generc in their switching configurations, when there's so much more that can be done. It's easy to go too far and end up with a complicated labyrinthe of combinations, many of which just don't sound good. But there's a happy medium, and I appreciate guitars that offer something beyond the basics. (Maybe because my first electric had four single coils with a switch for each, and my second had stereo, true tapping of single coil pickups, a blend/balance control, and both a treble and bass tone control.)

I like where you went with the intentions of the mods on this, but I don't object to push-pull pots; you just have to find the right knobs to make it easy. I have one guitar with push-push, and that's as easy as it gets. You just have to use your ears to know if the pickup is in full or split mode (and maybe if we can't tell, we ought to take up golf or something).

(I admit to wondering why Paul's guitar (and the -8 models) use a separate toggle to tapsplit each pickup. We know PRS doesn't avoid push-pull, so why not do the business on the neck pickup with a push-pull vol pot, and use the push-pull tone pot on the bridge pup?)

I'm a big fan of that blend control between the pickups, which gets a smooth continuum of pickup mixes considerably more easily than the Gib-standard 2-vol/2-tone harness. I've had such a pot blended into a couple of my Gretschs. And one of my favorite factory control systems came on the Reverend Rick Vito: master vol, master tone, Reverend's über-useful bass contour, and the blend pot. (Turned out that and the art deco looks of the guitar were what I liked best about it; I just couldn't find a use for its tonal spectrum.)

I've often eyed that vast empty space between the knobs on most PRS guitars and thought of useful mods to stick in there: like a second volume pot, to have one for each pickup. But when I mention this to guys who can sketch out a circuit for me, they recoil in horror at thought of drilling a hole through a PRS top, as though it was some kind of sacred ground. I can see that on a 10-top Core or PS, maybe...but an SE?

This mod reminds me that there are a lot of useful tones between pickup-on and pickup-off, and at least on toggle-swtich-equipped guitars (which seem to end up my favorite PRSs), I can get a blend pot with no holes. Just replace the toggle.

Hmm.

Omg....don't even mention my golf game....hahah. Ruptured disc at L4-L5 kinda took care of my swing for the most part. I only play a round occasionally these days and swing gingerly like and old man. (wait.......I AM an old man....hahaha) . I hear you on the Gretsch layout with the master vol then individual volume controls. That seems ideal (although I don't own a Gretsch.....yet). But I think that only really works as part of the whole overall Gretsch vibe. Although I HAVE been toying around with the idea of building a Tele-Gretsch with Lollartrons and some custom routing for a blender knob down in the place a typical Gretsch master volume would go. Gotta finish my current two "in process" projects first. I've got a Tele Thinline project that's waiting on a neck from Warmoth and 7/8th size Strat project waiting for me to decide on what pickups to put in it. Then there's my S2 Starla with the Bigbsy........That guitar is so cool it might just stay stock. HAH.....famous last words.
 
Ahh yes, I've seen those V-Treb things, they look pretty cool and let you mess with different values on the treble bleed. I generally don't have a strong preference one way or another on treble bleeds. I actually prefer to not have them on my LP style wired guitars and prefer the 50's style wiring in that type of layout with the more interactive vol/tone controls. Mostly I tend to use about the first 1/5th or so of travel on the vol knob to control gain. So far, I'm digging the mods. I never play live and have plenty of time to muck about dialing in sounds in my home studio. Not so sure these mods would be too useful for a live or band situation.
I’ve used them on guitars gigged for years. If set accordingly, you can get a wah-like level of control of the tone circuit. I call it Dial-a-Q (TM pending). Works spectacularly well on really bright guitars you want to tame or fit better in the mix. The SE One is a perfect example. It has an old Gibson minihumbucker, which I notorious for being out of control without massive amp EQ changes. A twist of the tone knob (yes, I have one of those) with the V-Treb and problem solved. Very useful for certain guitars with certain issues in certain situations. It’s not for everyone.
 
I’ve used them on guitars gigged for years. If set accordingly, you can get a wah-like level of control of the tone circuit. I call it Dial-a-Q (TM pending). Works spectacularly well on really bright guitars you want to tame or fit better in the mix. The SE One is a perfect example. It has an old Gibson minihumbucker, which I notorious for being out of control without massive amp EQ changes. A twist of the tone knob (yes, I have one of those) with the V-Treb and problem solved. Very useful for certain guitars with certain issues in certain situations. It’s not for everyone.

Wait, you're using the V-Treb in the tone position? Hmmmmm.....that could be interesting......
 
Nice mods!! My first thought, as the Vela evangelist that I am, when someone says "Vela mods" is "NOOO!!!!". Yours, though, have clearly kept your Vela as a Vela and given new and interesting options. The primary potential mod I've toyed with for my Velas is replacing the push-pull with a mini toggle. Well, the primary "functional" mod. As you can see from my pic, I've made a couple slight cosmetic mods, and also obviously agree with your choice of Tort for the pickguard :D

daisymelinda.jpg
 
Nice work! Welcome to the V club! I've used blend pots a few times, and on certain instruments they work great! As you pointed out, most folks don't realize PRS doesn't actually 'split' coils, but rather shunts a portion of the freq through a resistor, giving better results imho. I stopped doing actual splits years ago in favor of series/parallel switching.
Your mods are a good bit more complicated than most of mine! My 1st Vela is from a very small prototype test run of satin finish S2's, which I eventually installed a Railhammer 'bucker for more of a RnR bite.
Number 2 is from the reclaimed run a few years back, which sports a tortoise P/G.
My 3rd is my daily driver, plain Jane that I bought from Zach of Mythos pedals. Installed an older Railhammer "Tel-90" and changed the P-P tone pot to a phase switch... and ditched the lampshades... very happy with all of them!

OD1KtJr.jpg
 
Nice work! Welcome to the V club! I've used blend pots a few times, and on certain instruments they work great! As you pointed out, most folks don't realize PRS doesn't actually 'split' coils, but rather shunts a portion of the freq through a resistor, giving better results imho. I stopped doing actual splits years ago in favor of series/parallel switching.
Your mods are a good bit more complicated than most of mine! My 1st Vela is from a very small prototype test run of satin finish S2's, which I eventually installed a Railhammer 'bucker for more of a RnR bite.
Number 2 is from the reclaimed run a few years back, which sports a tortoise P/G.
My 3rd is my daily driver, plain Jane that I bought from Zach of Mythos pedals. Installed an older Railhammer "Tel-90" and changed the P-P tone pot to a phase switch... and ditched the lampshades... very happy with all of them!

OD1KtJr.jpg

Hey funny you should mention the RailHammer, how do you like them? I've been looking at them for a different project of mine. It's a bright-ish guitar and I was thinking about possible using the Railhammer Humcutter P90. Which one is that you have in there? It's either that or possibly the Lollar Novel 90. I'm an unabashed Lollar fanboy, I've got them in most of my other non-PRS guitars.

Edit: Duh....read your whole post. I don't see a "Tel-90" model on the Railhammer site anymore. Looks pretty interesting. I'm assuming it splits the difference between a Tele and P90 sound?
 
Hey all,

Since getting my Vela a couple months ago I've been pondering a couple of modifications that I wanted to do. Let me first emphatically state that none of these mods or upgrades are "necessary". The stock components are perfectly fine and the wiring/soldering is all top notch. I've read some people complain about the offshore components wearing out, breaking, getting scratchy, etc. In my experience that happens to any brand electrical component. Whether you use CTS, Bourns, CRL, Switchcraft, Oaks Grigsby, whatever, stuff breaks and wears out. The Korean made components in the S2 and SE line are a far cry from the really cheap stuff that you'll find in other brands price point lines of guitars. Tolerances between even the best US made CTS 450G pots can vary widely, which is why I will generally buy a bunch then test them and try to match up pairs that are close. I was lucky to have a pair of CTS pots for this project that both came in exactly at 500k. I have another pair that are 484k, and so on. Having said that, I am an incurable tinkerer and some guitars just seems to lend themselves to being tinkered with hahaha, the Vela is just such a guitar for me. I'm seriously considering getting another Vela to do some even more radical mods, it's such a great platform.

On my last string change, I decided to pop the pickguard and take a peek under the hood. When I was replacing the pickguard I did a big no-no, I got lazy and used a screw gun (I usually use a screwdriver and install pick guards by hand. Sure enough, even on the lowest torque setting I overdrove one of the screws and cracked the pickguard. (the one on screw at the sharp corner under the neck pickup is particularly vulnerable).

Anyway, kind of motivated me to do the mods as I was ordering a new pickguard anyway.

1. First off, I decided to get a tortoise pickguard, I think the cherry finish and tort really sets each color off nicely with the ivoroid knobs I installed.

Here's a Before and After pic.

eEXD8q9.jpg


2. Notice I no longer have a 3 way toggle. One of the things about the Vela that I really love is how the neck and bridge pickups blend together. With the stock layout and wiring I felt like I was missing some "in between" sounds of mixing the pickups (like I am able to get with my 594 or 335 style guitars with 2 vol/2 tones). So I thought through a couple of different approaches to be able to get access to more blended sounds between the two pickups, and rejected the idea of concentric pots to get 2 vol/ 2 tone. I decided to replace the 3 way toggle with a Dual Gang Blender Pot. This is essentially 2 pots stacked on top of one another that swipe in opposite directions with a center detent of wide open for both pots. I went with a Dual Gang pot as opposed to a "standard" blender pot where the center detent position would be 50% - 50% of each pickup, I wanted the center position to be just like a 3 way switch with 100% - 100% of each pickup.

I also replaced the stock components with some upgraded components.

Here's a shot of the stock wiring:
Ov2y5Pc.jpg


Here's the beginning of my project with the matched pair of CTS pots that both measured 500k on the nose plus the CTS Blender/Fader pot.

VuIglpP.jpg


With the CTS Blender/Fader pot I can get full neck pickup in one direction, full bridge pickup in other direction, both pickups full in the center detent position and then I can get blend of all the sounds in between of neck and bridge pickups. I used a linear taper pot as I was hoping for more resolution than a log or "audio" taper would give me.

3. Notice I'm also missing the Push-Pull coil tap pot. I really detest push pull pots. I never use them because they're generally a pain in the butt to get my fingers under. So I was looking for a more elegant way to tap the bridge coil without adding mini-toggles and decided to try Bill Nash's Les Paul coil tap wiring. To date, I've never seen anyone else use this method except Nash Guitars on his Les Paul re-builds. Essentially it's a slick bit of wiring where the tone pot acts like a regular tone pot between 1-8, then when you dime it, it taps the coil and voila, you have a single coil sound. No push pull, no push push, just a plain old 500k pot. I had never done this before, so it was a first for me.

4. The last bit of trick wiring I did was the coil tap itself. PRS guitars are known for retaining pickup volume when coil splitting is because the coil is not really split but rather tapped. (You can see @bryanewald demo this and call it out in his demo videos). They use a resistor in the tap circuit that actually only partially shuts off the second coil but allows "some" amount of the second coil active. So if you're a player that uses the coil split a lot on PRS guitars you'll notice that you don't get that big volume drop and wind up with a thin, weak sounding split coil (as with some other methods) but rather you get a full "single-ish" sounding very usable sound. This is called the "Partial Tap Resistor" method. I've always referred to it as the "Lindy Fralin Coil tap" as he was the first person I remember reading that advocated the circuit. Fralin recommends using a 7k resistor. (The higher the resistor value, the less amount of the second coil remains active). I believe with a 7k resistor it leaves 20% of the second coil active. PRS uses a 2.2k resistor for splitting bridge humbuckers. At least they did on my Vela and also on my Mcarty 594. On my 594 they use a 1.1k resistor on the neck pickup.

Here's a pic of my 594, the bridge pickup partial tap resistor is 2.2k the neck is 1.1k (according to the schematic at prs.com, I have not measured it to verify).

C6Mb5jh.jpg


One thing that I thought would be worth trying is trying different value resistors to see what affect it has on the tone and maybe dial in my personal tastes and applications in coil tap mode. To make that easier to do, I decided to try something I read about in an article at the Humbucker Soup website (awesome resource, btw!) Instead of swapping out different value resistors, I installed a "10k variable resistor trim pot". Basically a tiny little potentiometer with a max value of 10k and a little trimmer that you can set at any value between 0 and 10k. This makes it a lot easier to experiment with different resistor values on the coil tap. I started out setting it at around 5.8k. So somewhere between what Lindy Fralin recommends and what PRS does. I'll probably mess around with it some more during future string changes to dial in what sounds best to me.

Continued in next post....

Way to go, making it yours!

I agree the trimpot was a good move. I experimented with different resistors on my S2, but did it the harder way by swapping in various value fixed resistors.

Kudos on the clean soldering work, too.

And lucky on the actual 500k pots! Not that it amounts to any real difference, but every one I've ever measured has been at least 10k above or below.
 
ok my Ivoroid knob came in the mail today to complete the look. BUT....heh....numbers are a little hard to see......(it's always something....) I may wind up using some grease pencil to fill in the number outlines, or at least the number "5" on the blender and "8" on the tone pot to quickly see where I'm at.

NzRiJwR.jpg
 
Hey funny you should mention the RailHammer, how do you like them? I've been looking at them for a different project of mine. It's a bright-ish guitar and I was thinking about possible using the Railhammer Humcutter P90. Which one is that you have in there? It's either that or possibly the Lollar Novel 90. I'm an unabashed Lollar fanboy, I've got them in most of my other non-PRS guitars.

Edit: Duh....read your whole post. I don't see a "Tel-90" model on the Railhammer site anymore. Looks pretty interesting. I'm assuming it splits the difference between a Tele and P90 sound?

I've used a few of the Railhammers in the past, they are fantastic pickups.
 
I don't see a "Tel-90" model on the Railhammer site anymore. Looks pretty interesting. I'm assuming it splits the difference between a Tele and P90 sound?

It's from the first gen RH pups, and it's designed as a slightly thinner, brighter and hotter P90. Does it's job extremely well. Everything Joe Naylor designs is golden...
Gen 2 RH replaced the 1st gen a few years ago. Their website has very good descriptions of each model -
https://railhammer.com/
 
ok my Ivoroid knob came in the mail today to complete the look. BUT....heh....numbers are a little hard to see......(it's always something....) I may wind up using some grease pencil to fill in the number outlines, or at least the number "5" on the blender and "8" on the tone pot to quickly see where I'm at.

NzRiJwR.jpg

Fine Sharpie mark at your "go to" points...
 
Very interesting mods. I'm pretty happy with my Vela as it is but I have noticed one "quirk."

The high E string really "zings" out compared with the other strings. Doesn't matter if the string is played open or fretted, it really jumps out compared to the others. I did lower the adjustable pole piece for the high E and while it did help tame it somewhat it still zings to a degree. When I say zing, it's like it has a bit more volume and a lot more treble content leaning towards more treble. Changing strings made no difference. Anybody experience this with their Vela?
 
Very interesting mods. I'm pretty happy with my Vela as it is but I have noticed one "quirk."

The high E string really "zings" out compared with the other strings. Doesn't matter if the string is played open or fretted, it really jumps out compared to the others. I did lower the adjustable pole piece for the high E and while it did help tame it somewhat it still zings to a degree. When I say zing, it's like it has a bit more volume and a lot more treble content leaning towards more treble. Changing strings made no difference. Anybody experience this with their Vela?

I haven't had that with the high E on any of my Velas. I mean, they're generally bright guitars with strong treble, but haven't had just the E be stronger. Perhaps raise the bridge just a tad under the high E?
 
Very interesting mods. I'm pretty happy with my Vela as it is but I have noticed one "quirk."

The high E string really "zings" out compared with the other strings. Doesn't matter if the string is played open or fretted, it really jumps out compared to the others. I did lower the adjustable pole piece for the high E and while it did help tame it somewhat it still zings to a degree. When I say zing, it's like it has a bit more volume and a lot more treble content leaning towards more treble. Changing strings made no difference. Anybody experience this with their Vela?

Which pickup "zings" or both? Which pick up pole piece did you adjust? Does it "zing" in all pickup selector positions?
If it's in all positions, then I might be suspecting the bridge saddle might an issue. Sometimes the brass alloy (even when its supposed to be "solid" brass) can have variances in density.

If you're comfortable with doing basic set up stuff, one thing I'd try (after eliminating pickup height adjustment) is to swap the 2 saddles. They are identical.
Put the one now for bass strings to the treble position and vice versa. You will have to re-set the action and intonation after the swap.
 
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