The Latest

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ASY-T4 Switch by AweSome Musical Instruments,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $99.99 USD + Shipping

About:
AweSome Musical Instruments is the manufacturer of aftermarket guitar switch components that allows a user to achieve up to 76 different pickup configurations.

This ASY-T4 Switch gives you 76 pickup tone combinations on instruments with the following (4) coil pickup configurations: HSS, HHH, HSH, HH, SSSS.

Installation:
AweSome Musical Instruments makes pre-assembled pickguards that just pop into a traditional guitar -- and would take 10 minutes to swap out. For a non-traditional guitar or a guitar that does not have a pickguard -- you will need to drill 6 small holes in your guitar to install this switch. To have a luthier from your local music store install this product it could set you back anywhere from a 1 hour charge + bench fee to a 5 hour charge + bench fee . The total investment will be well worth it.

In the words of the manufacturer:
Our Mission is to create a new pickup switch standard that gives you the maximum number of pure analog pickup tones possible on your electric guitar or bass — giving you incredible performance from your instrument without the use of batteries or sensitive electronics.

We have focused on the smallest possible electric guitar and bass change (replacing your inadequate old style antique pickup switches) to give you the biggest possible long term result (experiencing "pickup tone nirvana" of up to 76 pure analog pickup tones on your upgraded instrument).

Product Description
(ASY-T4 — A Pickup Switch Upgrade for All Instruments with four pickup coils)

This assembled and tested pickup switch UpgradeTM product gives you 76 pure analog pickup tones on any instrument with four separate pickup coils. This is a do-it-yourself project that includes everything you need to install this upgrade into your right-hand or left-hand electric guitar or bass instrument.

It gives you two groups of three mini switches. One group controls two of the pickup coils, letting you turn each one on and off (both in normal phase and reverse phase) and also lets you select whether the two pickup coils will be in a parallel or series circuit. Putting pickup coils in a series circuit to create compound/humbucker heavy-metal pickup tones. The other group of three mini switches lets you control the other two pickup coils in the identical way already described. Connecting your pickup and input wires to this product uses a no-soldering-needed approach.

Sound

Guitar(s) 
RM Olsen Languedoc
Jarrett Zaffiro 
Badd Guitars 30th Street Special 
PRS SE Single Cutaway 
Jeppson Spitfire

Pickup(s)
Jeppson Supernatural 
FootHill PAF (H)
IronGear HotSlag 
Kent Armstrong Vintage O 
Ardizzi Custom Classic Shielded
Amp used:
Bogner Alchemist 2x12 Combo
Pevey 5150 head/ 4x12 Marshall 1985 slant cab
Black Star HT Club 60 Combo 
Vox AC30 Combo 
Fender Blues JR
Egnater 30 Rebel Combo 

Cables used:
Intex

Strings:
Dark Horse 10-46

Reliability & Durability:
The switch seems to be well made and should last the life of the guitar.

Impression:
Going into this review I knew that there was no way I was going to be modifying any of my personal guitars to fit this product -- so I came up with two ways I could put it to use. The first way was how the manufacture designed it to be used -- as an aftermarket switch for a standard guitar giving me the ability to run through 76 different pickup combinations while playing live. So I went out and picked up a Strat HH pickguard and put my new switch in. I installed it in a custom shop Strat style guitar with a set of Kent Armstrong Vintage O's -- then plugged her in. Now this product does everything it is designed to do without fail. I was able to get 76 different pickup tones -- the only problem was that it took me too long to switch from one setting to the next while singing and playing. For example I use a (2) humbucker setup in my personal guitar's -- for the most part they are wired the same way. I use a 3-way toggle with with (2) vol pots no tone. The middle on the 3-way (both pickups on) is out of phase and I roll the neck vol to 7 if I want them back in phase. It takes less then a millisecond to achieve my tone and I do not need to put any thought into it. With this switch I was able to get the same tone, but I needed to flip two switches every time I wanted to go back and forth. Now with that said this was amazing for the studio -- and I was able to get tones out of my guitar that I didn't think where possible.   

Where I found the ASY-T4 switch to be the most practical outside of the studio  -- was as a luthier's or custom shop's tool. While I was reviewing this product I was also in the middle of a humbucker comparison review. Now some of the guitars I was using where made out of dark exotic woods like zebra while others where from more traditional woods like alder and maple -- and as we all know different woods change the characteristics of the guitars voicing. Using the ASY-T4 switch attached to a homemade a tester board, I was able to install the pickups in each guitar and run through the 76 different tones before soldering with the quick hookup terminals on the back of the switch. Now I normally just use my basic knowledge of wood density in relation to the pickup when installing -- but this allowed me to hear what each guitar would sound like with every possible pickup configuration. From a luthiers point of view, this can come in very handy when you are experimenting with new woods or pickups. As a consumer, if I was buying a custom shop guitar and the luthier had me come in for a personal pickup fitting using this switch -- I would probably pay a few hundred more for the same guitar just for the experience. 

What I would Change:
I would like a "set-it-and-forget-it" option. The ASY-T4 switch is one of the most user friendly products to install I have seen that upgrades your pickup tone, and truly delivers results. Now there are ways to wire this product to work with a 5-way blade -- but AweSome Musical Instruments does not have one that will just plugin to your guitar like the ASY-T4 switch does. So I would like to be able to dial in my tone -- set the blade/toggle -- and play.   

My advice:
The ASY-T4 switch works exactly how it was designed to. If you are looking to get the most out of your pickups -- this will do the trick. If you are a luthier I believe this is a must have tool to get the most out of your guitars. 

Contact:
AweSome Musical Instruments

Posted 4/2013