The problem with the RG8

I have many problems. I wake up in strange clothes, I yell at children on the light rail, and my 401k won’t provide me a retirement in even the cheapest RV park. But this is the most common one I deal with…the Ibanez RG8. An affordable 8 string that was just born bad. Being a cool dude in the metal scene means I get to handle lots of new, cutting edge gear that goes chugga chugga. I do enjoy fondling other peoples property but anytime one of these lands in my sinkhole I put on my counselor gloves and probe why the player thought this purchase was a good idea. Let’s start with the original sin.


It’s too fucking short! 27 god damn inches is not long enough. I mean yea, it’s longer than any low energy old man 6 string but Ibanez knows everyone wants to be Tosin or Ihsahn or Thordendal. That means the F# just aint low enough! Everyone drops their panties and their string for that low E. At 27″ a standard 0.074 isn’t just a sloppy floppy wet noodle, it’s a signal of ones lack of virility and prowess. If them chugs aren’t tight no ones gonna get on your groove. The audience doesn’t want to swim through your muddy brown sound morass of flubba flubba. So how can we get that chugga chugga? Well, the thicker the better to ram that djent home. So let’s install an 0.080


Oh wait, it don’t fit and I’m out of lube. So the player just got suckered into this and they’re not leaving without that low E so let’s make it fit. First I ream out the ferrule


Then the tuner


Gotta file that nut slot


File the saddle…



Compensate for an intonation screw that’s too long and pinches the string before it’s intonated


And finally after all that it fits


So was that it? Is that all it takes? Don’t get your hopes up. The 0.080 is better but your really only draining the swamp of doody and replacing it with mud. Consider that a standard bass is 34 inches and uses a .105 gauge string for that E1. So not only is the Ibanez RG8 lacking in length but pumping it up to give it that extra girth can bust it apart at the seams. 27 and 0.080 aint enough change to ride the E1 line. Go buy a 30 incher.

Pedal blowout! 

I have a friend, let’s call him Carol. Carol lives in the South Pole research station. He has the largest known pedal collection south of the horn. Problem is there’s no more ice to study what with global warming so he needs to sell some gear for the boat ticket home but the used pedal market went bust down there. That’s where I come in. Click on these reverb links and buy these pedals so Carol can get home to his lovely wife and horrible children (they really need some sense knocked into them).


Super sick strat series pickup wire options 

I recently had a customer slip into the Gutter with his American Strat (I greese the sidewalk to “attract” customers). At some point he had a push pull pot installed giving him three series modes. You can see the mod detailed here.

While in series mode these are the pickup switch combinations.


  1. Bridge and neck in series
  2. Neck and mid in series and neck and bridge in series as parallel pair
  3. Neck and mid in series
  4. Neck
  5. Neck

As you can see position 4 is boring and redundant. The customer is an adventerous go getter and wanted another option for that switch position. The circuit doesn’t lend itself easily to other options.

Fortunately the customer, we’ll call him Cus for short, also wants a master treble and a master bass cut. This frees up one half of the 5 way pickup selector…. Interesting. Thinking, head scratching. I could just google a solution but I prefer a novel approach.

Let’s look at that middle bastard and figure out why he’s too subborn to TURN THE FUCK ON when pup switch is at 4. So a litle about electricity. Like water (and myself at times) it has little will of its own so will follow the path of least resistance. Pickup coils are essentially just a long, winding, miserable, grueling path of resistance. When a pickup circuit is connected correctly from ground through the coil to positive the electrons have no choice but to rejoice when the strings excite the magnet mist. (Stay with me). Looking at the PP switch (it’s a technical term, look it up) we see that the middle negative can either be connected to the ground lead or the wire going to the 5th lug of the pickup switch which also happens to be connected to the positive lead of the neck pickup. Same with the bridge but we don’t care about that right now. When PP switch is down electricy can flow from ground through neck coil to postive out to the negative entry of the middle,through its coil and to the 4th switch lug creating the series connection. But you can see all that. (Nevermind that pickups induce an AC current, it’s just eaiser to think about it this way).

So now that we are all electrical engineers we can clearly see what the problem is. No? Since water, er, electricity is kinda lazy it doesn’t want to go through the middle even when it has a path because while in the 4th position there are two paths and one is much easier than the other, through the neck and out the jack.

Cutting to the chase since Cus needs his guitar back I decided to use the now free half of the pickup switch to change the middle pickups ground path while in the 4th. But there is a snag. For reasons I’m too tired to explain the 3rd and 2nd terminals cannot be connected on this half of the switch to work correctly. My hack solution was to cut the wiper in the switch that connects them. Only it’s a fender switch and they are a pain to disassmble. So I used an asian enclosed five way and opened it up. See below, go ahead, you can look, it’s asleep and won’t mind a peak at its insides.


open switch surgery



cut wiper

Long story short I wired it up so the neck and mid are in parallel in the 4th position. Cus already has that option when the series switch is disengaged and the strat functions as usual but fuck it, he’s happy with it.


modified switch

Next post we will discuss the treble bass cut portion of this.

Back in action

After a two month temporary eviction the Guitar Gutter is back up and badder than ever. Better I mean, better is gooder. Had a spat with the landlord. He saw how cool it is here in the Gutter. He moved in, started wearing my clothes, basically stole my identity and tried to become me. If you had your guitar repaired here recently I apologize for not preventing that shaved ape from gunking up your gear…

Lot’s of cool projects in the works. Check back soon.

lay down right here

Kinda gross in the gutter…

This is not the update i wanted to post. Gutter living has it’s perks; little sun, spiders, hearing the neighbors above argue and bang, but there is a downside too. While away for the day chasing loose women and spilling boxes of loose screws on the floor of my favorite junk shop a pipe burst in my apartment last week. I came home to an inch of water over the whole place. I’m currently shacking up with political refugees. Anyway, no guitar services will be performed in the GuitarGutter for some time. Here, have a look


Projects brewing in the Gutter

I’ve neglected this web site for some time. As you can see on the sidebar, I’m more active on instagram. I chewed through the most jobs I’ve had since working out of the Gutter these last few months and have some breathing space. In the downtime im tackling some larger repair and restoration projects. Keep your eyes glued to this site. Make it your home page. Dont close your browser. Sleep with your phone on your fucking pillow. You dont want to miss this!

Back in the gutter

Due to time constraints I’ll no longer be working out of Flipside Music. I want to thank Ike for the oppurtunity and encourage everyone to check out this new guitar shop in Denver. They have a great pedal selection as well as guitars and amps you won’t find anywhere else in town!

I’ll continue to work out of the Gutter for the forseable future. Contact me as you always have, carrier pigeon.

Here to serve

Got a call this afternoon while taking a break from burning in hell (roofing at 99 degrees). A band called The Spill Canvas was looking for a pickup install by show time. I told the devil to tar his steep ass victorian him self, grabbed my tools, and went to the venue. Put a Seymour Duncan 59 in their Tele and did a little setup work. 
I’ll stay up late, come to where you are, even change your tire (unlike those big box guitar shops). So grab your guitar and come on down, just please call first, Satan gives me breaks but his place is 7 stories tall and it takes a while to climb down. #somerestforthewicked

The Guitar Gutter is Denver Colorado’s finest garden level guitar repair shop.

I’m Nick, your proprietor and private dancer. I’ve been a tech about town since 2008. I’ve seen some things. Some things I don’t want to talk about. Broken necks, cracked backs, crushed nuts, you name it. It’s always tough to see an older guitar in disrepair, neglected by previous owners. Down and out but still trying to play while choking on it’s notes. The streets can be tough. I can help. Let’s get that guitar out of the gutter.