Sunday, 1 June 2014


Owdoo Brummies and Mates Across the World,

Here in 'Blog Villas' life has been turned on it's head.   Mrs Bob
is injured, she fell over and has broken her wrist and dislocated her knee,
she was in ample amounts of pain that would have made even Jeff Astle cry and she has been a real hero throughout.  I have now been promoted to taking care of the house and the cooking...............piece of piss this housekeeping lark Lucy keeps going on about, what does worry me though is, I just don't know how long it will be before she can use that new wheelbarrow I bought for her anniversary present??

I can see it out of the window from here, it's still full of water from when it rained  a fortnight ago and I think she's out of action for another five weeks so I hope it doesn't rust by then!!   Needless to say, everything, including this here blog has suffered so I am here in the early hours of 31 May rattling this thing off just so I have something to offer.
My apologies.....normal service will be resumed following my current nursing duties.


"It just can't be done!" you're thinking, and up to now I would have been there agreeing with you.  Can 50 quid make such a difference? the answer is yes, I'm quite amazed and because of that I want to pass this on to you lucky
Bobs Blog readers.  

It was not long ago that I talked about the financial plight of updating the piss poor electrics inside a Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster.  They are a disaster, with both my and my mates CV Tele's electrics breaking down at the same time.  He replaced his with the DiMarzio Solderless tele set, which I fitted, and it certainly did make a world of difference but at 200 quid a pop, it's a lot to spend in addition to the cost of buying the guitar in the first place.   

One day whilst roaming about on some random internet pages I came across a comment that had been left on some Telecaster forum or other talking about pick up replacements and the name 'Ironstone' came to my attention and it said that the brand was a British guy from Rutland, marketing telecaster pick ups that he'd designed himself that had varying heights of the poles in the bridge pick up which particularly interested me.   What delighted me the most though was the price.....24.95 for the bridge pick up, a snippet.   I thought,
"This simply can't be true and even if it was, the quality must be very bad?"  However, at that price it was definitely worth a gamble so I ordered one through EBay.

Well I'd found a new, bargain priced, pick up but what about the control plate?  The one that came fitted to the guitar was thin metal, badly assembled and as the three-way switch had ceased to function after only two weeks and the tone control was practically no more than a decoration so there seemed little point in trying to repair the defective components.   I went looking for a complete replacement.

Now I am sodding useless at soldering so I always look for the easiest option to lessen the misery of working with to EBay I went looking for an affordable pre-wired control plate.  It wasn't long before I came across this model advertised at 13.99, I sent off for it the same day as the pick up.

Both items arrived in short time which was nice.   The control plate had been well packed for postage which I applaud and on inspection it is a nice solid piece of hardware and the control knobs feel sturdy.  

A lot of folk feel daunted at the thought of doing these jobs but it really is quite easy and will save you a lot of dosh.  

These days we are blessed to have YouTube where you can source any advice you could ever think of and there are several clips relating to soldering pick ups to telecaster control plates which I used because Black Dog neither supply you with fitting instructions or have anything available on their website for you to consult, we are not all Bass players who know what a soldering iron is you know??? it wouldn't hurt their customer relations to feature something this simple as a part of their after sales service.

Nonetheless, armed with a soldering iron,
This is a soldering Iron
some wire clippers and a screwdriver 
I set about replacing the bridge pick up, which is the most difficult of the two.

I burnt myself twice with the soldering iron but in a short time I had successfully attached the new bridge pick up and control plate - patience is the key to success, check everything twice before soldering and don't forget that soldering irons have bloody hot ends!!!

I connected a Gibson guitar to my amp and played with that for a while to get accustomed to the potency level of those powerful pick ups, I then plugged in
the Ironstone fitted Tele.........Wow!! what a great surprise, gutsy
and loud, with a bluesy driven sound!!   I had purposely only ordered the bridge pick up so I could test it against the fitted neck pick up and the difference in sensitivity was staggering,  I immediately ordered the neck pick up.
It arrived three days ago and I immediately fitted to my Squier CVibe and I wasn't disappointed with the sound.   I would say though, from a consumer viewpoint, that the chrome on the pick up cover wasn't that good compared to the fitted one but it's a small price to pay for a massive improvement in sound.   I did this upgrade for around 50 quid nwhich is brilliant these days.

There are also a broad range of Stratocaster pick ups
and fitted scratchplate assemblies, so if your Squier Strat or any budget copy for that matter sounds like its being played through a rice pudding, you could invest a little dosh and give your guitar a little Ironstone Viagra!!!!!

I don't often endorse any kind of product but these are great pick ups at a great price so I can only say that it could be an affordable option. 

You can visit the Ironstone website at....

I sourced both these items from EBay.

It was a nail biting end to the season for the City's football teams and although I am a Villa supporter and therefore still recovering from the usual
end of season panics about Premier League survival I would like to say that I am pleased that the OTHER team didn't get relegated to League One.

Well I really have to get some sleep.

See ya next month.

Copyright.  Bullsheadbob