This month, we check out what two PG columnists
do when they’re not writing for us…
Dirk Wacker is known for his monthly “Mod
Garage” column, where he gives tips on
making your instruments sound their best.
His website, singlecoil.com, goes a step further, with more in-depth projects for effects,
amps and guitar.
Though Dirk is German, the site is in very
good English, with some understandable
grammatical shortcomings. There’s a loose
fifties-era theme to the site, with era-appro-priate cartoons that remind us a little bit of
someecards.com (which, though totally unrelated to guitars is a must-see website). The
vibe sets the scene for a heavy emphasis on
the guitars of the era—Strats and Teles.
Dirk’s Stompboxes page features 12 simple
mods and projects. Many of the projects are
borrowed from friends and colleagues, including
an A/B box project from Mike Fuller of Fulltone.
Other projects include making specific pedals
true bypass and various switching boxes. You’re
not going to be building any effects here, but
there are a number of useful, simple mods.
Dirk’s Amplifiers page features eight mods
that range from adding a standby switch or
speaker-out jack to modding amps for more
vintage tones. In the case of the latter, the
emphasis is again on Fender products.
The meatiest part of the site is on Dirk’s
Guitars page. Here, he has a number of modifications that are similar to what he writes
about in Premier Guitar, along with some
articles he’s already written. There are a few
projects involving Les Pauls, but nearly all are
meant to enhance the Strat or Tele.
All of the mods and projects are on down-loadable PDFs with schematics and photos.
They are in English, and though the translation gets a bit sketchy at times, it never
makes the project impossible to do. There’s
nothing slick about the PDFs—which lends a
kind of DIY community charm.
Aside from the projects, Dirk also has a shop
where you can buy components for the projects. There are a lot of fun components, like
NOS cloth wire and a wide variety of tone
capacitors. Just keep in mind that these are
shipping from Germany which can increase
the cost of orders.
Stomp School columnist “Analog” Tom Hughes
also runs a website called For Musicians Only.
While the site is largely a retail outlet with some
really esoteric vintage & boutique finds, there’s
a great community aspect to it as well.
The site is broken into a few different sections, and navigation between each can be
tricky, but it’s worth popping around if you
love effects. We think it’s fun to start by scanning their Wanted list (
formusiciansonly/want-ed), where you’ll find a list of pedals they’re
looking to buy. It’s a who’s who of classics,
and chances are if you have something on
the list, you want to keep it.
From there, the Wah Wah Footwear Fashion
Show is a lot of fun, where people show off
their wahs and their shoes at the same time.
It may sound utterly silly—and it is—but it’s
also kind of fascinating to see which shoes
match up with which style of wah.
Finally, you make your way to the blog (also
called Rants and Raves on some parts of the
site). Here you can see what Tom is up to,
from photos of shipments of tubes to updates
from the building of their new shop. Updates
are somewhat sporadic, but interesting.
The meat here is in the gear shop, which is
easily accessible from anywhere. And while
you may not have the dough to drop on a
$45000 A/DA Harmony Synthesizer, it certainly is fun to look.