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Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by Angry Possum, Jan 31, 2020.
Don't go for complicated. A set of bellows rails from ebay ( max £5), and you are away . I've done it with two modded 'Strats', and it is a brilliant way of having both a sliding pickup and a way of testing other pickups. I just put some felt behind the rails to disguise the routed area of the guitar. And if you get tired of it, takes no time at all to go back to coventional Strat with pickguard. Not quite as sophisticated as my ancient Framus Hollywood, but it works.
Hi, Can you send a link for the bellows rails. And also can you elaborate more on how the pickup gets mounted to the rail etc.
The lego wheels came in today, ran into a problem, the pickup cavity needs to be routed out wider, because theres not enuff room for the wheels to fit into the width of the cavity. Im not really into routing it, feeling a lil lazy.. So I may try the bellows rails as stated by one of the forum members.
I sanded the plywood squier body as best as I could for spray painting. I may go yellow or orange. Unsure yet. Some pics.
And in response to Angry Possum, I attach a shot of suitable bellows for the sliding pickup I used in a couple of my guitars. You don't need to go mad buying anything expensive-a simple set of 35mm camera bellows are all that are needed. Some buyers try to charge an arm and a leg, but you should be able to pick them up off ebay for less than £10 including postage.
As for modification, just remove the end-screws and plate nearest in the photo, detach the bellows from the other plate, and slide the whole section off. Then replace the plate and screws-the plate holds the rails apart. The other end ( which would be nearest the camera), will have a vertical plate that needs to be reduced in height to just above the rails, retaining the integrity of the bottom of the plate since this also holds the rails apart. The end is just light alloy, and a simple hacksaw will remove it to the correct height in minutes . If you look at my photos of the one of my modded guitars, the rails do not need shortening, and the width may just fit in the central routed section of the guitar. However it makes life easier to remove some of the guitar wood either side of the rout so that you have a clear, parallel rout in the guitar body. Again, easy job-just a simple chisel and mallet-no need for a router-you are not creating complicated shapes or curves. I then lined the bottom of the space with matt-black felt, and screwed the plate nearest the neck end into the rout. You may need to drill a couple of holes in the plate-again it is alloy, so a simple job. If you leave sufficient of the cut-down plate you can screw in the vertical rather than in the bottom. I did NOT screw the bottom end nearest the bridge, because this enables you to slide whatever your choice of pickup slider you use. You could modify the sliding sction of the bellows-I just found a strip of thin steel through which I punched two holes that would accept the pickup mount-screws. Test it with screws BEFORE you slide it on the rails. Then just position your pickup over the strip, above the rails, position two springs on the mounting screws, and tighten your pickup to the required height. The springs hold the pickup at the set height. If you wish to tilt the pickup a la Strat bridge setting, it will do just that and stay there. The pickup wires can be run under the rails, and if you want, you can put a thin spring ( or elastic) on the wire to allow it to retract as the pickup is moved. I don't find it's an issue, so haven't bothered. If I want to test out pickups, I just put an elastic band over the rails via the free end and leave it in place, and then just slip loops of the elastic band over the pickup ends. You don't have height adjustment, but it works since the rails hold the pickup exactly where you want it, and height is where a pickup would be about 2mm above the pickguard normally. I made a simple stand-alone connector to wire the temporary pickup to ( see earlier pics), but it is a simple thing to make a porthole through from the rear cavity and fix a small wiring block, connected to the controls, and which enables the two pickup wires to be changed in seconds.
This all sounds complicated, but it is not-far easier than wheels and all the complicated schemes I have seen-the pickups can just be positioned where you want them. It will take you less time to do than I have taken to describe the process! Good luck-any help you need, just ask.
I have a few questions, I'll inbox you.
A few more detailed photos might help-or not!
Mike does the pickup get attached to the bellows rods somehow? If so how, and can u be specific.
Excuse my ignorance.
Can u send me a link. I cannot find anything under $20 US. Thanks
As I said in my description earlier "I just found a strip of thin steel through which I punched two holes that would accept the pickup mount-screws. Test it with screws BEFORE you slide it on the rails. Then just position your pickup over the strip, above the rails, position two springs on the mounting screws, and tighten your pickup to the required height." Simple, or if you don't need height-adjustment, just put an elastic band over the two rails, and wrap over the pickup ends. Even simpler-takes me a minute when I do pickup comparisons.
As for your later request for a link, I'm in the UK so a link won't be relevent. It would cost more in postage! But ANY set of bellows can be used irrespective of camera-fitting, so a cheap m42 fitting ( no longer a current fitting, so less likely to be in demand). And you can find them in charity shops, and even camera shops may have some kicking around they can't sell. So only a few dollars should buy it.
So what causes it to slide. I'm still ignorant. Is the pickup sitting on the adjustable slide bellows mechanism. Can u take a pic of what's underneath the pickup. And how its connected etc.
As I said, you could use the sliding section of the bellows, but I found it easier to just put a thin strip of metal under the rails, make a hole in each end corresponding to the position of the pickup mount screws, and mount the pickup with springs and the usual screws. I would love to photograph the pickup underneath, but it would involve removing the pickup-and then you would not see anything but a piece of metal under the rails! The thin strip of metal bends because it is thin, acts as a spring and is bendy, the pickup can be slid and postioned wherever you want it. The addition of the mount springs
mean you can also adjust the pickup height as usual. This diagram may help ( sorry for the freehand drawing!) The red sections are the rails in cross-section i.e. end-on, the pickup is hopefully self-explanatory, and the green represents the thin metal strip under the rails. Does that help?
Hi again. A slight addition to the original diagram-should have shown the guitar rout, otherwise the pickup would rattle every which-way, and it doesn't! The spring strip, which is about an inch wide, has enough friction to hold the pickup in place, and the bow of the curve at the bottom slides along the felt-lined rout when you do want to move the pickup.
I also had a further think overnight, and it would probably be simpler to use the bellows sliding section ( minus the bellows, of course) on which to fix the pickup. Since it is already fixed to the rails, it will slide freely once any rack & pinion mechanism that may be present on the bellows has been disabled/removed. If a piece of flat steel ( or thin wood ,is then fixed to the top of the moving section of sufficient width to accomodate the pickup mounting screws this solves easily the pickup mounting height requieremnt. The pickup mount holes will need widening so that the mount screws will rotate within them, but NOT tighten, since the screws will be screwing in to the plate , and compressing the springs. A strip of wood rather than metal would probably make this easier to do. If you like, you could fix that strip with a small bolt with a spring washer through the centre of the strip rather than two fixing screws to facilitate swivelling the pickup to give a canted angle closer to the bridge to emulate a Strat bridge pickup angle.
I'v also attached a few more photos over some of the variations of bellows there are out there ( these are from my spares box-I accumulate old camera gear!). The 'bare' rails are from a set that I cut down and used in another slider Start, there is one complete set, and another where I robbed out the bellows to repair a set of Nikon bellows that required replacement, and so give as idea of what a set of bellows might look like prior to modding to fit the rout on the guitar. There is also a subsidiary set of rails,minus bellows, that are used to extend a standard set, and once the large central screw that connects the two sections together is removed you have a set of rails that will need very little modding to use. They are a little short in length, though. Finally a Russian set that uses a sliding middle section to move the bellows without needing any rails, or rack and pinion adjustment. These would make an excellent alternative to the rails set-up, since the platform slides on a tongue and groove , and therefore would have sufficient clearance in the rout to enable the smooth movement of the pickup. One slight issue with my existing setup is that it takes a finger either side of the pickup to slide it-something not really practical when playing a solo! I might consider trying this in the future, another 'project ' for the list......as it is, I get plenty of tonal variation at the moment since the humbucker currently in use has coil-splits, humbucker and phase-reversal all in teh switching that I rigged up. Don't ask how I did that-I would need to dismantle the guitar to remind myself! All i can recall is it involves the
standard 5-way, and a mini 3-way switch.....
Although the large knob on the side of the last photo seems to show a rack system, this relates to the rails on which the WHOLE of this set-up moves when mounted on a tripod. They are redundant for our needs-the bottom section is solid as can be seen from the last shot, and the platform on which any pickup can slide is the tongue and groove section clearly seen in that shot. All that need doing is the bellows removing from teh moving section, and the bottom part adjusted so that it sits as low as needed in the guitar rout.
Hope this help clarify some of the points I made earlier, and inspires others to try the 'you only need one pickup' system. Not quite as elegent as my original Framus Hollywood back in the 60's, where the pickup runs in a sunken central groove, with a covered rout, but I am contemplating making just such a system at some time. I miss that Framus-and I can't justify buying another at what are now silly prices for a so-so sounding guitar, if my memory serves me well!
Further to my earlier posts, I experimented using the cut-down sliding section of the bellows instead of my original system as outlined above, including a swivel plate to permit slanting the pickup. However, having modified my setup, I found that there was marginal clearance below the strings, particularly when using a humbucker as I have. So I reverted to my original system which works well.Incidentally the addition of the metal frame aids the height-adjustment as well as the pickup alignment.
It hit 55 degrees here in NY today, so thought id put a coat of golden sunset on the Franken Squier. I'm really liking this color so far. It has some runs and some orange peel so far, but I can lightly sand it down and get her done.
Im gonna stick with the basic SSH setup, so no sliding system at the moment. An old Japanese Gotoh Humbucker and 2 Squier Strat single coils. The Gotoh humbucker has 14k ohms.
I just applied the second coat. Its looking nice. I may sand and shoot it again for 3 coats total. Im unsure, let's see how it dries. I'm liking the color. Its more like a mustard color.