guitars & amps

2020/Spanish Solid Body Electric Nylon

New Design and Build based on J&D DIY Kit Single Cut

Sound of spanish classic guitar with soft nylon strings, with advantages of electric guitar attributes including thin rounded neck, low strings action, piezoelectric bridge pickup,  no acustic feedback. 

I used J&D DIY kit as a platform. Body and neck was painted transparent  in Mahogany  and the top in Yellow with Wood Stein (Holzbeiz), than a few layers of lack was applied and finally polished.                                                 The core of solution is tune-o-matic piezo bridge from Schaller.                   One potentiometer is utilized for volume control, and the other 3 holes I filled up with 3 way passive tone control (Bass/Middle/Treble). The pup 3-way switch is used instead to short circuit the tone control, hence providing 100% unprocessed pickup output.

Classic sound.

Rock sound.

2011 / Black Stratocaster

Squier Strat by Fender (50 years anniversary release-1996) reconstruction and customization

I was searching for a cheap no name startocaster in pawn shop, with idea to reuse the neck with my own body construction, and throw away the rest of parts. I already selected  one, when the shop guy pulled out  a “Squier Strat by Fender”  50 years anniversary model with damaged bridge and offered it for the same price. Bingo.                                                                                                                           I didn’t have a heart to destroy that thing as originally planned.                Instead I refurbished  it.

– I installed a new Floyd Rose bridge /double locking tremolo and a Floyd Rose locking Saddle (Neck). Neck and Middle pickups were replaced with “Golden age” pups from “Stewmac”. Bridge pickup was replaced with Seymour Duncan’s “Hot Rails for Strat”.                                                                – I added a switch to tap one coil of “Hot Rails” humbucker  which converts it to single coil pup. Another switch connects middle and bridge pups in series, forming a mega sensitive pup.                                                                   – I added a “Black Ice” passive overdrive circuit which alternates the basic master tone control (push pull on potentiomere axis).                                      – Finally I added active overdrive-boost, an EMG’s “After Burner” instead of second tone control.                                                                                                  – The body cavity and the cover plate are completely covered with copper foil to eliminate electric disturbances. 


New Circuit Diagram

Sound demo on Clean amp: Different customization options.

Sound demo on Overdriven amp: Different customization options.

2011 / White Les Paul

Stagg E400W reconstruction and customization

Nicely coloured  and well crafted Stagg completely refurbished with quality parts become a very nice instrument with good handling, various tone capabilities and excellent sustain.

Specification and New Diagram

Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups proved to be excellent choice. I added a phase in/out switch and a hand made simple 2 transistor based Preamp Booster with “hot” level fixed output.  Grover Rotomatic locking tuners improved significantly the tuning stability, as well as the Gotoh Tune-o-matic bridge.  

Sound demo: 1.Humbuckers  2.Humbuckers-Out of phase 3. Rails 4. P90 and Amp Booster

Sound demo.

2012 / SE5A British Overdrive Amp

SE5A kit from "Ampmaker" build and customization/expansion

SE5A Amp (5 watt / EL 84 / ECC 83)

Nowadays Tube Amps are still most popular guitar amps. I wanted to have my own built. Basic circuit, pure tone, 5 W.  By turning the volume and gain to max the Amp goes into overload and produces typical British Overdrive  Amp sound of legendary Rock age. Since this can be too loud for home use (even with only 5 watts) the VVR circuit (variable Voltage Regulator) with MOSFET is used to control the power supply voltage (by altering voltage continuously from 350V to 115V), which means to control the amplifier’s power output.

I purchased  SE5E and VVR kits  from                             In addition to original amp circuit and VVR, I added a reverb circuit from old “Holy Grail” stomp box after some tweaking of it, a Line Out for direct recording, and LED illumination (green for Clean  and Blue for Reverberated sound).                                                                                                 All installed in hand made wooden box covered with white tolex, with plexiglass front and metal grid on rear side.                                                      The output goes to the hand made (of course) speaker box covered with the same white tolex and featuring two 12 inch Eminence EM12-75 PE “Veteran” loudspeakers of “New Old Stock” type.                                                    

Nixie IN-8 application

Indication of full power of 5 W

Since dealing with tubes, in this project, I decided to introduce a visual indication of Amp’s max power with Nixie tube, fix wired to number 5. It is of course influenced with VVR circuit and changes intensity until the voltage drops to 120 V and than extinguishes.

"Holy Grail" reverb tweaking

Expansion from 3 to 8 effects

5 more (already built in) effects released from original product.

Sound demo: Amp in clean mode.

Sound demo: Amp in overdrive mode.

Sound demo: Amp clean mode with reverb type 0 (Hall).

Sound demo: Amp overdrive mode with reverb  type 0 (Hall).

Sound demo: Amp clean mode with reverb type 6 (Spring Rev. + tremolo)