Customising an 8-String Beast Under the In... Fluence.

I do love a good upgrade and this Dean 8 string was absolutely begging to get tricked out to the max.

This bad boy was a real blank canvas for some "LVL Up" mayhem. Lucky for me the owner being a gentleman of taste and distinction brought a set of Fishman Fluence Stephen Carpenter signature pick-ups to the party and set me loose. It was a big job.

The previous EMG harness was very utilitarian with only 1 on/off toggle switch and a single three way switch. Given the optimum set up for the Fluence pick ups are a 2 pot with push/pull and 3 way switch. Coupled with the uncomfortable proximity of the original switch hole to the bridge, I was left with no option but to seal, fill, and refinish the original hole to make way for two new ones!

No easy task, but with a lot of elbow grease and patience I got there, and I'm glad I did.

The new Fishman setup was transformative. Easily the best sounds I have ever heard from the Fluence line, my new favourite. Beautiful crystalline cleans and neck shattering heavy tones. They are quite an intriguing departure from traditional pickup design.

Traditionally pickups both passive and active relied on quite similar components. Those being multiple copper windings around pole pieces or a "blade", attached to a magnet at the base. The difference between active and passive being that active have a basic yet powerful 9v preamp circuit voicing the output of the pickup.

This design has two main advantages over traditional passive pickup design.

1. Consistency of Manufactured Output.

With traditional passive construction small differences in magnet strength, number of coil windings, and wire density can effect the final tonal quality. In active pickups these small differences are negated by the pre amp voicing. Meaning pickup to pickup regardless what you put them in, the sound is the same.

2. Voltage Assisted Output.

Because of the 9V preamp you are essentially output buffered directly from the guitar, meaning you can use very long leads without loss of signal.

The interesting thing about the Fishman Fluence design is instead of coils, poles, and magnets, these pickups are composed of layers of thin circuit boards each with its own embedded magnetic coils and voicing components. This radical reinvention has allowed Fishman designers the freedom to sculpt multiple voicing options into their pickups with an even greater degree of pickup to pickup tonal accuracy.

Pretty cool stuff!

Anyway, after a bit of further polishing and neck work this tonez behemoth is back better than ever to wreak havoc on the ears of the innocent. Cower mortals!

Well, that's it from me this week. If you're looking to freshen up your tonez with a tasteful pick-up-grade gimme a holler, I love that solder lyfe.

'Till next time stay safe and riff hard.

Chris Re-Animator.

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