Re-NGD: Reborn as The Bluebird (a Switch Vibracell guitar)

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by littlebadboy, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    You may have already read my NGD for this guitar before. But, it has been reborn to a different guitar now, hence “Re-NGD”!

    My Switch Blue Bird

    Backstory…
    After having Darth Paul, I did not want another guitar because it was already the ultimate guitar I have always wanted. However, one boring day... stuck at home back in July... I decided to check out Facebook Marketplace and then chanced on this...

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    The guitar has not been used for 15 years. The previous owner tried to learn to play the guitar on it. I got it for $100 which included an amp and a guitar stand. I sold both for $60 later on, so it was like I got the guitar for $40!

    Information from the internet says that the guitar uses “Vibracell Technology”. Vibracell is a patented process of completely molding both electric and bass guitars including the neck and headstock, from the patented Switch Vibracell material creating an instrument with precise harmonic resonance and sound frequency. Vibracell allows the entire instrument to be created as a whole with complete control of neck, body weight, and density by controlling the internal cells. With the ability to control the cells we can effectively tune the body and neck to exceed the characteristics and response of those instruments made from the best available woods in the world. Additionally, Vibracell has the pure strength to withstand extreme temperature changes that affect traditional wooden bodies and necks.

    Wits its unique look and make, I thought that this would be a great modification platform for a project. After an exchange of ideas with Dr.Fill (friend at another forum), a plan was drawn! I am so grateful that the doc took on this project!

    And so, I present… The Bluebird!

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    It now has Gibson Firebird V mini humbucker pickups loaded on a carbon fiber faux pickguard which Dr.Fill made from scratch. All the other covers were also turned into carbon fiber faux:

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    Details
    Dr.Fill was very meticulous on this project! He used tiny stainless steel washers under the p/u height adjustment screws so that they were not riding directly on the carbon fiber faux cover.
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    Button stainless steel allen screws were used to hold down the guard, both rear covers and the truss rod cover.

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    The guitar came with a tremolo bridge with roller saddles and the tuning stability of which is excellent. I preferred to turn this guitar to a hard tail. So, Dr.Fill wedged the tremolo block inside the cavity and used two large button head allen screws to hold down the bridge flush to the body. As a result, it made the guitar sustain UNREAL. He said that this guitar has some of the best sustain he ever heard from a solidbody guitar! The string action is unbelievably low!

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    Electronics Wizardry - Modified Eldred Wiring with “Top Cut” ala Dr.Fill!

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    The 3 position rotary switch operates as follows:
    Rear position: No tone control. Just the volume and 3 way Schaller switch
    Middle position: Operates like any normal guitar: Volume, tone, and Schaller switch are working
    Front position: Volume, Schaller, and a 39k resistor are engaged, the tone control is disengaged. This is doc’s “Top Cut” wizardy! It works excellent with the volume wide open with distortion, and with a clean amp setting when the volume is rolled back a bit.

    As per Dr.Fill, the benefit of not having a cap is that when you roll the volume back even slightly, you get a gorgeous clean, sparkly tone that the traditional Eldred may not have. Even with the volume not rolled back, its almost like having 3 different guitars, one very bright with no tone circuit load, one with the tone circuit engaged, and one thats just a bit darker, and sounds amazing with some distortion, and REALLY sounds amazing clean with the volume rolled off a touch. Doc used a really nice combination of a resistor and a vintage Aerofilm capacitor for a treble bleed on the volume pot, which you can see in the pic above. The tone circuit cap is a vintage "bumblebee" .027uF cap, same as would be used on a '50's Les Paul. The volume is a CTS 490k audio taper pot with a treble bleed kit, and the tone is a CTS 280k linear taper pot. The rotary is a VERY high-quality NOS switch, same as Gibson used in the late ‘50's/early ‘60's for their VariTone circuits.

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    SPECIFICATIONS:
    Specifications:
    Hardware
    • Vibracell® One Piece Body & Neck
    • Roller-Saddle Tremolo Bridge
    • Grover Tuners
    • Rosewood Fingerboard w/ Pearl Dot Inlays
    • Carbon Fiber Faux Pickguard
    • Scale: 25 1/2"
    • Neck Width @ Nut 1 21/32"
    • 22 Frets

    Electronics (Modified Eldred Wiring with “Top Cut” ala Dr.Fill)
    • Gibson Firebird V Mini Humbucker Pickups
    • 3-way Lever Switch, Schaller
    • Volume pot: CTS 490k audio taper pot with a treble bleed kit
    • Tone pot: CTS 280k linear taper pot
    • NOS Rotary switch

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    Every detail that Doc did on the guitar is unbelievable! It is so pretty that I go to the guitar room to take a look at it before I sleep! (Don’t tell my wife!)

    How does it sound? A demo is coming soon!
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Nice, it has a slight Parker Fly vibe!
    I had a pearlescent white Tele style Switch a few years ago.
    We didn’t bond.
     
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  3. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Extraordinary.
     
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  4. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I remember seeing those guitars at a Summer NAMM Show years ago, they also made a midi capable version with a Roland GK pickup.
    You got a great deal and it's a cool looking axe!
     
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  5. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    That looks great. You (or Dr Fill) have improved it, the double p/ups with chrome covers give it a whole new personality...
     
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  6. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was not familiar w/ the Switch guitar - had to look it up on eBay

    the mods look like an upgrade, esp the carbon plates

    Peace - Deeve
     
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  7. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks! The cf faux pick guard was actually made from a black plastic clipboard and covered it with carbon fiber faux film sticker. Dr.Fill did a great job in doing this from scratch! A pickguard custom maker was backed up with jobs, so they said it will take time to work on ours. So, Dr.Fill tried to make one himself.

    Trev Wilkinson, one of the guitar industry gurus, started the Switch Guitars company in the early 2000s. But, the company closed because people didn't like the idea of a guitar not made of wood.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
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