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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Modding My N2

My made-in-USA Padauk Washburn N4 guitar is my main workhorse for dropped-tuning songs. Because that mean monster is expensive & rare over here, I bought a cheaper made-in-Indonesia N2 signed by my Guitar Hero Nuno Bettencourt (which is miles better than my previous made-in-China N2) for my regular dropped-tuning practice sessions while my N4 is reserved for serious performance & recording works to minimize wear & tear on it. For standard-tuning songs or anything requiring 24 frets (the N2 & N4 have 22), I use my standard-tuned Ibanez RG Prestige.

The playability of my coil-splitted N2 is heavenly because of the neck profile but its Washburn neck pickup is meh & the licensed Floyd Rose tremolo is absolutely atrocious since the tremolo bar can become looser than my grip on sanity everytime I pull up or push down on it.

Sure, I'm using my N2 as just a practice guitar but a call for some mods is in order, me thinks, since I do not wish to live with the thought that I could have improved things on that axe even for just practices but I did nothing about it.

Besides improving the hardware, the idea is also to mod my N2 so that it can sound as close as possible to my N4 even though an N2 made of alder wood can never sound exactly the same as an N4 made of padauk wood (which I've installed the coil-split mod). But hey, being as close as one could get is better than having no cigar.

And I'll bet you can figure out why I've named my N2 'Little Storm' while I gave the name 'Abysmal Gale' to my N4; Storm's big sister.

So I made an appointment with Zen Guitar at Peninsula Plaza because they carry made-in-Japan Gotoh Floyds which I know will fit into my N2 without the need for any routing. Lucky eh? Gotohs are the business.

Reaching the shop at the appointed time, I found it closed. Thinking that perhaps the shopkeeper is out for a break, I started to hang around outside the shop until it gets on my nerves that I've been waiting here long enough to grow a bit of mold on my patience. Luckily, the guy in the clothing store opposite told me I can check with Maestro Guitars, which is Zen Guitar's subsidiary shop just round the corner.

So I popped over slinging my N2 and managed to find the guy by the name of 'Ren' whom I have spoken to on the phone. So here he is in Maestro, playing an acoustic and I'm like WTF since we have an appointment. Perhaps he wanted to escape the hassle of changing Flyods but whatever.

Anyway, we both made our way back to Zen and after choosing my Floyd, I made my way over to Davis Guitar to purchase a $130 Seymour Duncan '59 neck pickup for Ren to install on my N2. Might as well let him install that for me along the way too since he's installing the Gotoh Floyd for me.

Back at Zen, I begin chatting with Ren as well as some of the customers who walked in. So this guy comes into the shop to buy a new nut to replace the cracked one on his acoustic. Answering his question that the guitar I've brought over to mod is a Washburn N2, his expression is that of 'Washburn? Must be some Ho-hum axe' as he mutters a long "Ooohhh..".

Ha, being more on a non-mainstream lower profile here, the dude just doesn't know that the Washburn N-series guitars can hold their own against the rest of the other packs here. And then some.

Doraemon Guitars At Davis Guitar Shop
Now that Ren has finished installing the Gotoh & the Seymour Duncan and it's gonna be closing time soon, we begin to test the newly modded N2 and we both think it sounds quite weird and out of phase. But because all that testing has gone past closing time, I decided to take my axe back home to try it on my own amp since I'm thinking it could just be his amp in the shop. What denial?

(Accounting Time in SGD: The Seymour Duncan '59 neck pickup cost me $130 and the Gotoh Floyd along with the installation fees for everything cost me around $300).

So when I got home and tested my N2 on my Peavey Viper amp and things still sounded funny & out of phase even after I've flipped the new neck pickup around, I brought the N2 to another shop at Peninsula Plaza on another day and got everything fixed.

The idea of using my N2 solely as my practice guitar for dropped-tuning songs went out the window after the mods. Even though it's still humbled by my N4, I think my N2 has reached a performance-worthy level and I know I can now use it too for the more serious recording & performance works.

Stoked!!! Can't be helped.

- De Lion Speaks

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