This guitar is a good example of what the term ‘custom guitar’ really means. When Marcel contacted me, he had a very specific idea of what the guitar should be capable of and how it should look. I am happy and honoured that he chose us to translate his dream into reality.
Together Marcel and I continued finetuning each and every detail of the guitar to its perfection. Marcel even flew to Finland from New Zealand – that’s about as far from our country as you can get on this planet – with his wife to have a look at the progress of the guitar and to discuss of certain details.
Marcel – extra special thanks for insisting us to install the Blower Switch – a part/wiring that wasn’t commercially available at all in the easy-to-use format Marcel wanted, so we ended up developing our own device that we may from now on adapt to many more guitars.
Some specs info – this 7-stringed neck-thru-body Hellcat has a calibrated H-S-H set of Häussel pickups. We also fitted in Graphtech Ghost piezo loaded saddles to the Original Floyd Rose trem. In addition, the trem has not one but two EVH D-Tuna devices. All this together with Tremol-No locking gadget, the guitar can be set fully floating with normal tuning or alternatively you can drop the E and/or B strings down a full step when the trem is locked.
The electronics then… The magnetic pickups are controlled by a 5-way switch, master volume and master tone. The tone knob has a push/pull function to split the humbuckers. The little black button next to the 5-way switch is the blower switch – a push button that bypasses all the guitar electronics, switching on the bridge pickup. This means that no matter what your settings are (5-way switch, vol & tone knobs etc), you can always bypass all the controls and get the full blast lead bridge pickup tone. The piezo signal is routed through the Graphtech Acoustiphonic preamp detecting automatically whether you plug in stereo or mono cord and routing the signal accordingly. When plugging in stereo, the magnetic signal shoots to your guitar amp and the acoustic signal to an acoustic amp or directly to soundboard (or DI box etc), and you can control the signals with the onboard 3-way miniswitch, with the additional pre-EQ’d acoustic tone function on the piezo push/pull volume knob. The system is clever enough to use true bypass when you plug in a normal mono guitar cord, and you don’t need to worry about the battery or the magnetic signal being buffered through the preamp. All in all – quite a complex wiring, but at the same time it all makes sense and is easy to adapt.
I hope you enjoy this little collection of photos we’ve put together of this very special and challenging project. Thanks so much Marcel and Duan – it was great fun to have you here with us – welcome again, any time!