Double tracking guitars has become a pretty standard practice for getting electric guitars to sound larger than life. Turn on the radio today and almost every rock song you hear has double tracked guitars.
I wanted to find a way to make my guitar sound bigger without having to double track it. There are a few simple ways of doing this: Stereo mic’ing the amp, running the guitar through 2 different amps, chorus, etc. All of these have a widening effect, but don’t quite capture the largeness of a double tracked guitar.
1 Guitar, 2 Outputs
Enter the stereo guitar. This mod gives you a separate output for each pickup, so you can record the output of each pickup onto separate tracks, or send them to separate amps. So we can run the bridge pickup out to one amp, and the neck pickup to another amp and track them at the same time. Or, if you like using amp sims, you can just run them through different (or the same) amp sims.
I liked the results so much that I did the same mod to my other guitar as well (which was far more work because I had to drill a huge hole through thick hard wood). I then did the mod to my bass. The results were, um… dumb.
The cool thing about this mod is that the guitar still works as it did originally. Because the second output is just hardwired to the bridge pickup directly, the original output is still switchable when nothing is plugged into the new output.
How it’s Done
There are lots of ways to do this and a lot depends on the style of guitar you have. I choose the simplest way I could think of: Connect a wire directly from volume knob to a new output jack (also connect the ground). That’s all there is to it. This assumes you have separate volume control for each pickup (like LP or SG style wiring).
The hardest part is drilling the new hole for the new output jack. This was waaaaay easier in my SG than it was in my LP. The LP required drilling a thick hole through very thick hard wood. The SG just needed a little spot routed out to fit a new jack.
I’ll be modding my new telecaster knockoff here in a couple weeks, so I’ll take better pictures of the process and post them.
Here are a couple quick examples of what a stereo vs mono guitar sounds like. These clips start out as normal mono guitars and switch to stereo guitars.
|Clean Guitar||Stereo Guitar Clean|
|Distorted Guitar||stereo Guitar Distorted|
|Mix (1 Guitar + Bass)||Stereo Guitar in a mix|