The Karlsson, baritone guitar test

When I first started to plan this baritone guitar (that you can listen to at the end of this post 😉 ) I tried to avoid it being a one trick pony, after all, a body made of mahogany with a 30” scale could mean it would sound like muffled rumble covered with a thick woolly sock. My intention was to tune it from A to A (or drop G), so the goal was to keep it clear even with heavy distortion.

harakka karlsson-2
The first thing I did was to make a pair of slightly underwound P90’s. They have the ability to stay clear and focused but are also very punchy at the same time, much more so than a pair of humbuckers. I also wanted to be able to blend the pickups, so I installed a blend pot instead of using a switch. Like that you’re able to get some “in between” sounds as well and, in a funny way,  use it as a fine tune EQ. Since I wound them RWRP they work as a humbucker too (halfway) if I get too much hum for some reason.

Next, I wanted to use a PTB (passive treble bass) wiring since I wanted to be able to get rid of some bass if needed. It has proved very handy particularly when playing with plenty of gain (otherwise the amount of bass will quickly overdrive your preamp, which I do like from time time, but not all time). Instead of using pots I decided on mini switches, first because of their size and second because of the option of using different value caps. Each switch (hi pass/low pass) has three positions: bypass, low value & high value and I like to think of them as pre-sets. So I can literally go from Stoner to Country in a fraction of a second!

I’ve tested the wiring on recordings and one can quickly come up with some great sounds thanks to the pre-sets (and if the values are not right for you, they can always be changed for ones that do), although it depends on the rest of your signal chain how much effect they’ll have.

The wiring has also been tested with a live band and again, finding a good sound doesn’t take long at all. Perhaps hearing the different pre-sets is harder because of a usually heavy hitting drummer, but it becomes clear fairly quickly in which pre-set you can hear yourself better (rather than just twisting the volume knob clockwise).

harakka karlsson
Perhaps this idea of having a pot to change pickups and switches for EQ seems a little backwards, but I strongly encourage to try it out. Who knows, you might get hooked on it like yours truly.

And here is the result!

I strongly recommend headphones or good monitors to be able to hear all those yummy bass frequencies.

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