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So these little tips apply to built guitars as well... but hey, good to have in the process of making guitars.

Now let me start off by saying, some of these are my own experience, and some are others, just sharing what i know and have seen. Also, none of these tips will make your guitar improve 100%... then again it might, especially if cryogenically treating electronics and pickups works as well as people say it does... but its just little tweaks to get that last 5% of awesomeness out. Do at your own risk.

1. Shielding. My god, why haven't most single coil (and humbucking to a lesser degree) guitars have shielding? Whether it be conductive paint, or self adhesive copper, connect it to the ground and voila, 90% of the time it will fix your hum from external sources! Use some shielded cable for runs longer than a couple of inches and hey presto!

There are tonnes and tonnes of resources for shielding out there, stewmac has a kit for it too.

2. Electronics quality. Now this may be me being pedantic, but alot of guitars, use low-mid range electronics. This would mostly have something to do with cost i guess, but if you replace your 250k/500k pots with alpha or preferably CTS pots, you'll have much more, if not better sounding, then better reliability. Get rid of those ceramic caps and replace them with something like the sprague orange drop caps, available at guitar fetish or callaham guitars.

Now here is a controversial topic, cryogenically treating electronics, this goes for components and cables, believe it or don't believe it, its not all that expensive (for where i've talked to, 50 bucks will do a bunch of guitar strings, all components and a couple of leads) You could even try the pickups, but do so at you're own risk.

Moral of the story in the end, use quality parts!! Never cheap out on electronics if you can avoid it.

3. Strings, use good strings for goodness sake. Don't buy the 5 dollar specials at your local shop, try different brands, different guages, different materials, hell go get 2 of every kind and crygenically treat 1 of each if you wanna be crazy about it! Strings make a difference.

4. Lubrication, pretty simple, when you're guitar is ready to go, make sure the strings aren't catching on everything, make sure everything is nicely lubricated, lubricant with Teflon works great, don't overdo it, a little goes a long way.

5. Hardware and wood quality, don't cheap out! Buy nice solid bits of steel, not cast iron or zinc. Pretty obvious really. Callaham guitars make some really good stuff for a bunch of different guitars. Research what woods are good for what and choose based on what you want. Wanna build a strat? Alder or Swamp Ash Body, Rock maple neck, maple or rosewood fretboard, Nitrocellulose lacquer, there you have it.

6. Setup, get it setup properly, if you can do it yourself, great, if you're not sure, get a pro to do it. At least fix the intonation.

7. Pickup height, now this most people get wrong, what i do is lower all the pickups to the lowest possible then raise the bridge til it sounds its best, move both sides up and down, see where the sound goes to when its too high, or you lose too much bass when it goes low, find the best happy medium and balance between the strings so its all nice and even. Then just match the volume with the other pickups. Thats if you want them all the same volume that is, tweak from there.

8. Contact with wood to wood bits. Another simple one, with things like the neck hole and the neck but, if its a wood to wood contact, it will generally resonate much better, for existing guitars, get rid of any stickers or that may be in your neck joint, if you don't need it there, get rid of it. Some people feel that on strat style bridges, removing the paint/lacquer under the bridge makes it sound better. Some even say removing all lacquer where you can't see it improves tone as well.

9. Guitar cables. Basically, don't buy cables that are thinner than a straw unless its a thick straw, but you know what i mean, fork out the extra 10 bucks and get quality cables, preferably ones that you can unscrew and repair if necessary.

10! Stop worrying about tone and go play some music :D
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