Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:05 am

Anybody have experience with after-market onboard boosters/pre-amps for guitars? Anything you'd recommend?

I've just had an 80's Squier Bullet strat modded with a D'Armond gold foil in the neck and a Japanese gold foil (blue sparkle actually) in the bridge. It sounds great except that the Japanese pickup has about 30% of the output of the American. I've been running an MXR micro amp on the Japanese pick-up and it sounds fantastic. It's got me thinking about adding an onboard pre-amp for the Japanese pick-up. I know mixing passive and active pick-ups is a pain but I never use the middle position on any of my two pick-up guitars so blending the two sources isn't an issue for me. Having the boost be switchable or true bypass isn't an issue either. I basically only need something that will level out the volumes between the two pick-ups. Set and forget.

Any recommendations?

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by kslight » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:37 am

Have you tried balancing by adjusting pickup height?

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:55 am

Yep. It's been adjusted as much as possible but the real issue is that the D'Armond is super hot and the Japanese pick-up is super quiet.

It's like this one (except blue sparkle) - https://drowninginguitars.files.wordpre ... al-pup.jpg
It measures about 2.5K vs 10(ish)K for the D'Armond. It sounds amazing once you get the level up.


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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by floid » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:45 pm

Switch positions?
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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:52 pm

That was my plan when I first started this but the mounting plate for the blue pick-up (which is hidden under the scratch plate) is too wide to fit in the neck position.
I also really like the sound of the blue guy in the bridge (when the level is boosted).

So, back to onboard boosters/pre-amps? I've got a few leads but looking for recommendations before I pull the trigger on something.

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by losthighway » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:55 pm

If it were me I'd just enjoy the headroom and the plethora of clean boost, overdrive options out there. That EP boost from xotic sounds awesome. I have a 2010 boost from the now defunct Freakshow Effects that has a similarly nice sound.

All of my main performance guitars have fairly hot humbuckers on them, and I've slowly found myself using a pedal, and neck pickup settings to cut volume. As a singer, and just conceptually, it seems more logical to start with a low output, and then use various boosts and overdrive to bring up the guitar dynamically.

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:17 pm

https://www.seymourduncan.com/accessory ... c005d036fe

Something like that might get you there.
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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by joninc » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:54 pm

Is the issue is that you often switch pickups in the same song and don't want to have to always hit a pedal?
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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:02 am

joninc wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:54 pm
Is the issue is that you often switch pickups in the same song and don't want to have to always hit a pedal?
Yep.
It's also a studio guitar that clients will be using. I'd like it to be reasonable plug and play friendly without a lot of explanation.

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by digitaldrummer » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:53 am

found this. no idea if/how it works... not exactly a boost, but if impedance is a factor it may help. but not sure if you can tie to just one pickup either.

https://www.creationaudiolabs.com/redeemer

another option might be to try and attenuate (pad) the output of the other pickup so it is a better match to the one with lower output?

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by kslight » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:19 am

Not a recommendation exactly as I’ve never used one, but guitar fetish sells some cheap active effects and preamps designed for guitar mounting:

https://www.guitarfetish.com/Active-Preamps_c_51.html
https://www.guitarfetish.com/MODboards_c_30.html

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by dave watkins » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:40 am

if you love the combo of the pickup plus a micro amp, why not stuff a micro amp circuit in there between the pickup and the pickup selector?
definitely a bunch of schematics out there, and they aren't too complicated of a circuit so it could be built pretty small when you lose the footswitch, maybe even the volume adjustment for it if you just use a little trim pot that could be stuffed in the control cavity instead of modifying the pickguard to fit another volume knob, if you really want to make it set it and forget it.

lots of other tiny cheap clean boost circuits/kits out there that might work like this:
https://buildyourownclone.com/collectio ... onfbooster
that kit is already set up to have an onboard trim pot and work with no footswitch so it could work well under a pickguard, you'd just have to find room for the pcb and a 9v battery.

couple other possible solutions:
https://reverb.com/item/7896453-guitar- ... lean-boost

these look really cool but they are a bit pricey and ship from romania:
http://microbooster.becos.ro/
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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:00 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up pulling the trigger on an Artec 5 position booster. I'm hoping to set it for the right amount of boost to level out the pick ups and then bury it and the battery in the cavity where the middle pick-up used to be.
I'm waiting for it to ship. Will report back once it's installed.

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Re: Onboard Guitar Pre-Amps/Boosters

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:46 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:00 am
Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up pulling the trigger on an Artec 5 position booster. I'm hoping to set it for the right amount of boost to level out the pick ups and then bury it and the battery in the cavity where the middle pick-up used to be.
I'm waiting for it to ship. Will report back once it's installed.
With steps, you might not get exactly the same gain. But, do tell us how it goes.

I have a few guitars that I want to mod too...
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