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Wednesday 1 July 2015

Anecdote, anectdote...

Anecdote 1 ---

There was an issue with my JMP-1 guitar preamp making obnoxious sound whenever turning its output volume control knob, due to corrosion of its pot, so I opened it up and sprayed Deoxit on the pot to clean it, and while I was working inside of the preamp, I figured I'd de-oxidize everything else in there while I'm at it. If a little is good, then a lot must be better, right? Yeah, I know that's not how things work... and they didn't work like that here. Turning on the preamp afterwards, its sound had altered radically, becoming very bright sounding, and with a splashy warping effect in its distortion after hitting the guitar strings with the pick. Also, the digital display to change sound presets was pretty borked, and the preamp was stuck in one distortion mode and at one volume setting.

Checking up on the issue online, I read a) Deoxit doesn't hurt electrical components and is safe, period, and b) a post by someone who had experienced the very same issue as myself, and fixed it by spraying brake cleaner into their amp circuitry to wash out the Deoxit. Looking for an alternative to clean out my preamp of Deoxit residue (because I expected brake cleaner could melt various plastic parts of the amp), I decided on using 99% isopropyl alcohol, and emptied a bottle of it into the preamp chassis, outdoors, swished it around a lot, and then poured it out - and in less than a minute, the whole thing was bone-dry again.

That didn't fix or help the sound - though it didn't make it worse, either. Still, I wondered whether I'd bricked my preamp.

Considering that the issue might be moisture that somehow absorbed into an electrical component when I sprayed the Deoxit, I heated my oven to a pretty low temperature (low enough that plastic wouldn't burn or melt), around 170F, then turned the oven off, let some heat escape from it, then placed the preamp into the oven for a couple of hours, figuring any moisture should be drawn out and evaporated by then. Things weren't entirely different after that - the sound was still altered, but the digital display now worked, and the settings weren't locked in to one distortion mode and volume setting.

I started trying to acclimatize my perception to the reality that my preamp now sounds a whole lot brighter and can't handle as much distortion without tripping out, setting up new presets, and found some I really liked, even with this entirely different sound, and even wondered whether this new brighter sound would work better than the normal sound for recording clarity.

However, over a few days' time, the preamp's sound gradually shifted completely back to normal. I judiciously re-sprayed some Deoxit on the output volume pot so it wouldn't build up new corrosion, and also some on the input jacks, put the case back together, and now I've got a regular-sounding JMP-1 preamp.

 Anecdote 2 ---

I've had some used guitar hardware laying around for years that I'd intended for use in another custom guitar that I was going to build, but  which I've had no opportunity to build, and I recently thought I could use it to instead personalize my 2002-built '57 strat reissue, picture here as it was ahead of any modification:

For parts, I had some gold Wilkinson tuners, gold string trees, and a white-laced black pickguard. I also had a spare newer Red Lace Sensor pickup, which I swapped with the old one already in the guitar.

The gold Wilkinson turners out to be the wrong fit for the holes in the '57 strat headstock, and the white-laced black pickguard had its mount holes placed in different locations than the '57 strat body requires - but I didn't notice that until I had removed the previous pickguard and assembled everything into the black one... I just screwed that one in for now, making use of the holes that do align. At least the gold string trees went on without issue, and they look much better than the original(s).

I think it looks good:

C~ Soundscapes