Reborn as the Switch Bluebird

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Offline littlebadboy

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Reborn as the Switch Bluebird
« on: October 05, 2020, 05:39:12 pm »
My Switch Bluebird

Backstory…
I did not want another guitar because I thought I already had the ultimate guitar. But, one boring day... stuck at home back in July because of covid... I decided to check out Facebook Marketplace and then chanced on this...



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 (a friend from another forum), a plan was drawn! I am so grateful that the doc took on this project!

And so, I present… The Bluebird!



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:







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.


Button stainless steel Allen screws were used to hold down the guard, both rear covers and the truss rod cover.



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 hardtail. 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 solid-body guitar! The string action is unbelievably low!



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



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” wizardry! 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 that’s 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 ‘’50s/early ‘60s for their VariTone circuits.



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





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!

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Reborn as the Switch Bluebird
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2020, 03:38:47 am »
Cool project, and cool job! Have fun with that axe,

Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Norton, Injector bridge

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Offline HarlowTheFish

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Re: Reborn as the Switch Bluebird
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2020, 07:10:30 am »
These are cool, kinda like a pre-Aristides Aristides. I really dig the idea of the thing, but never really bonded with the Switch(es? Switchs? Switchii?) I've played, partly neck shape and partly the way they sit with the crazy horns -- a bit pokey-in-the-ribcagey for my taste, like a Parker. How's she sound?

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Offline littlebadboy

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Re: Reborn as the Switch Bluebird
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 10:31:33 am »
Thanks for the appreciation everyone!

These are cool, kinda like a pre-Aristides Aristides. I really dig the idea of the thing, but never really bonded with the Switch(es? Switchs? Switchii?) I've played, partly neck shape and partly the way they sit with the crazy horns -- a bit pokey-in-the-ribcagey for my taste, like a Parker. How's she sound?

It plays great! Although, it's my first experience with mini humbuckers. I am still in the process of finding the sound it wants that is amicable to what I want out of it.

Demo will eventually be up.