White Aluminium Schecter-style pickguards now available

Posted on 17 CommentsPosted in Guitar in general, Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

After the brass pickguards, the white ones are also available now. Just like on Mark Knopfler’s red Schecter Strat, they are made of white enamel aluminium, they feature three mini toggle switches, one volume poti and one tone poti with chrome or gold knobs (e.g. Mark Knopfler’s blue Schecter – played on stage by Hal Lindes – had gold knobs).

Just two potis are great: you can finally rest your right hand closer to the bridge to get that funky, crisp attack like Knopfler.

Probably there will be other pick-up choices (e.g. Seymour Duncans) available soon. Note however that with standard (= non-tapped)  pick-ups you won’t get those 27 sound combinations.

Here are some first pictures.

Check it out in the shop.

Alternate Sultans of Swing solo take from first album session – unheard before – exclusively on mk-guitar.com

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Misc, MK guitar style and licks

Here you will find an alternate take of the Sultans of Swing first  solo from the recording session for the first album at Basing Street Studios in February 1978. Unfortunately the quality is more than poor, you might guess where it is coming from…

It is not so much different, but it is for sure not the take  that was released. This can maybe heard best between 0:15 and 0:22 where the phrasing and some notes are different, similar to some live versions or to the version from Pathway Studios.

And that’s the neck pick-up, I’d think the FS-1, isn’t it?

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Inside the Schecter F500T pick-up – What is a tapped pick-up?

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

The Schecter-F400 loaded pickguards normally came with Schecter’s F500T pick-ups. The ‘T’ stands for tapped. So, what is meant with this, what is a tapped pick-up?
A normal Strat pick-up consists of six individual magnet pole pieces wrapped by a coil of thin wire. The original Fender design had about 8,000 turns (varying to some extent, the vintage ’54 pick-up was specified to 8,350, while a 1978 Strat pick-up had about 7,600 turns). This will result in a coil of about 6 kOhms. Compared to a humbucker like Gibson’s PAF the Strat sound is rather thin and weak with lots of treble, which is not ideal to get a heavy distortion from most vintage amps. Adding more turns will result in a louder and at the same time fuller sound (more midrange, less harsh treble). This was the reason why pick-ups like the DiMarzio FS-1 or SDS-1 were invented in the early 70ies. They had a coil with almost twice as many turns, which means about 12 – 13 kOhms. Great for distortion, and a great fat and warm sound for clean stuff. However, you cannot recreate the crisp original Strat sound with these.

The solution that combines the best of both worlds is the tapped pick-up. David Schecter was probably not the person who invented these, or used them for the first time, but probably the one who made them popular in the late 70ies. The idea of a tapped pick-up is to make a coil with the standard number of turns first. Next a second coil is added around the first one, wired in series with the first. Consequently a tapped pick-up has three cables: ground, normal coil output, and the output of both coils in series (which is equal to one coil with the double number of turns). Of course you need some switching system to select the normal or double coil, ideally individually for each pick-up. Here the three mini toggle switches of the Schecter Dream Machines came in. Each of them has three positions: up is the first coil for a standard Strat sound, in the middle position the pick-up is off, and in the down position you have the full coil. As you can combine the three pick-ups in any coil position, you will get 27 individual sounds this way.

A tapped pick-up has two coils, an inner (blue) and an outer coil (green). The inner coil gives you the standard Strat sound, adding the outer coil will result in a higher output.
A tapped pick-up has three connectors

For my loaded Schecter-style pickguards, I use handwound pick-ups by Germany’s pick-up specialist Harry Häussel that are based on the F500T design. Check them out in this site’s shop.