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  • Miscellaneous

    General FAQ

    • Where are PHRED instruments guitar made?

      Our main guitar workshop is located in the Agoura Hills area of Southern California. We contract with guitar factories in China who source materials, electronics, and hardware from around the world. Guitars are then delivered to our workshop in small batches throughout the year. Each guitar is then setup by one of our guitar techs.  Setup includes fret leveling, crowning and polishing to ensure smooth and level frets.  The action is adjusted to ensure low string height, which include a truss rod adjustment, bridge height adjustment, and bridge saddle adjustment for accurate intonation. Upon the completion of a setup, the pickup heights are adjusted, the electronics are double-checked, and the entire guitar is inspected and tested before it's ready to ship. If you choose any of our add-on options, those are installed in our workshop in the Agoura Hills area.

      There are two Phred instruments guitars models currently made in the USA, the Stratus Custom Shop model, and the R2 model.  The Stratus Custom Shop is made by Shabat Guitars in West Hills, CA. The R2 is handmade by Greg DeLuis of DeLuis Guitars in Los Angeles, CA. 

    • Do PHRED instruments guitars ship inside a case or gig bag?

      You do have the option to purchase a hard shell case, custom made for your PHRED guitar. If you do not order your guitar with a case then it will ship with bubble wrap inside a triangular shaped cardboard guitar box which is wrapped with 2-3 layers of cardboard.

    • Are there any other hardshell case recommendations for the Ernesto VH and VH3 series?

      Check out the Gretsch G6238 Hardshell Case, or the SKB 4214 ATA Electric Guitar Case with Open Cavity.

    • Do you ship Phred guitars outside the USA?

      Yes. We ship internationally via the United States Postal Service Priority International Mail.  You may need to pay additional import and VAT taxes upon delivery to the respective organization of the country in which you reside.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

    • How do I order a left handed guitar?

      We can custom make any of our guitars for left handed guitar players. Left handed guitars are built to order and there is no additional charge. However, the wait time can be 6-9 months, depending on where we are at in a production run cycle. To place your order for a left handed guitar, simply type in the Additional Notes text area that you would like the guitar made as a left handed guitar and we will see that when your order is received.

    • Where do PHRED instruments guitars ship from?

      PHRED instruments guitars ship out from Agoura Hills in Southern California.

  • Guitar Setup

    Setup FAQ

    • Are PHRED guitars setup before they ship?

      14-point Setup and Inspection
      Our 14-point setup and inspection ensures that every PHRED Instruments guitar we ship is professionally setup and ready to play when it's delivered to you. Setup will include string-height adjustment, intonation, electronics inspection, and the frets are leveled, crowned, and polished, as outlined below.

      Fretwork and Fingerboard
      1. Debur Fret Edges
      This process involves filing the edges of each fret such that the edge of the fretboard feels smooth as you play up and down the neck.

      2. Level Frets
      Leveling all the frets ensures that you can play at low string action and with clear and articulated notes on each fret.

      3. Crown Frets
      After leveling the frets, they are crowned. Crowning frets is a process by which the frets are rounded slightly at the top. This makes the frets feel nice and smooth all around, ensures smooth bends, and also makes it easy to slide up and down the fretboard.

      4. Polish Frets
      After crowning the frets, polishing makes them shine brightly. Polishing them also makes them even more smooth to the touch.

      5. Condition the fingerboard
      The fretboard wood is cleaned and conditioned using fretboard oil.

      6. Install D’Addario 10-46 gauge strings
      We install D’Addario EXL 10-46 gauge strings on all guitars. If you prefer a different brand or string gauge, contact us and we can accommodate other brands and string gauges, and adjust the setup accordingly to the strings that you prefer to use.

      7. Adjust Truss Rod
      The truss rod should be adjusted such that the neck is slightly concave.

      8. Adjust Nut
      The nut height is adjusted to the fingerboard, and the string slots are filed to a perfect height and width for the strings we install.

      9. Adjust the Bridge Height
      As a part of setting the string action, the bridge height is adjusted to our standard measurement of 1.75mm above the 12th fret on the low E string, and 1.5mm above the 12th fret on the high E string. We leave a little bit of room if you want to adjust the bridge a bit lower than that.

      10. Adjust the Bridge Saddles
      Intonation is set by adjusting the bridge saddles. We tune up and stretch a fresh set of strings, and then adjust the bridge saddle position until the harmonic at the 12th fret compared to the note at the 12th fret.

      11. Adjust pickup height
      The height of the pickup is adjusted such that the perceived volume is consistent between each of the pickups installed on the guitar. We can setup the pickup height to a custom height at your request.

      12. Inspect and test electronics
      Whether you upgrade to our USA wiring option or go with the stock wiring and electronics, we are going to make sure all the electronics work properly prior to shipping. For guitars that have an OBEL jack, we wire it Tip=Send, Ring=Return.

      Guitar Body & Hardware
      13. Inspect guitar hardware
      Check that all screws are tightened and that the hardware is in good shape.

      14. Clean and polish the guitar body and hardware
      Just before we package up a guitar for shipping, we clean and polish your guitar using StewMac Guitar Polish to make it shine.

    • What brand and model of pickups are installed in the base model guitar?

      The DockStar model stock pickups are made in China and are unbranded PAF Style pickups. 

      Stock pickups for all other PHRED instruments guitars are made by Artec Sound and use the following pickups:

      Black Pickups
      HBC-115 BK
      (Ceramic, 4 conductor/shield)

      Chrome Pickups
      LPC-210 BK
      (Ceramic, 4 conductor/shield)

      Single Coil Pickup
      SSC-12 WH
      (Ceramic, Single Coil)

    • What brand and model of stock tuners are installed on the base model?

      The stock tuners on the DockStar are made in China, and are unbranded. 

      The stock tuners on all other Phred guitars are made by Jinho. Some of the tuners have the Wilkinson brand name on them, others have the Jinho brand name on the underside that touches the headstock.

    • What brand of stop tail-piece and bridge are used in the base model?

      Some of the hardware parts are unbranded and are made in either Korea or China. The parts made in Korea usually come fro Sung-il.

    • What brand and gauge strings are installed?

      During our setup, we install D'Addario 10-46 gauge guitar strings. You may request another brand or gauge and we will setup the guitar accordingly.

    • Can I upgrade the pickups before shipping?

      We offer certain models of DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups for upgrades.  Upgrading the pickups will provide the most noticeable upgrade in tone of all the add-ons we offer.  However, if you are on the fence about upgrading the pickups, we recommended ordering the guitar with stock pickups. This way, you can first hear the stock pickups on the guitar through your pedals and amplifier, and can then decide whether or not you'd like to swap out the pickups down the road.

  • Placing an Order

    Ordering FAQ

  • OBEL (On Board Effects Loop)


    • What does OBEL mean?

      OBEL stands for On-Board Effects Loop. It is a wiring design inside the guitar which uses a separate 1/4" stereo jack to allow the direct output from the pickups to go to effects pedals and then back into the guitar for post-effects volume control. The purpose of the OBEL is to allow for volume adjustments on the guitar after being processed by effects. You may notice that distortion and envelope filters respond differently with volume adjustments on a standard electric guitar. Using an OBEL allows for consistent response from your effects pedals/processors at any guitar volume.

    • What is required to use the OBEL?

      We recommend to use a junction box with a stereo 1/4" guitar cable to connect the guitar to a junction box (a stereo Y-cable can be used instead). A junction box looks like an effects pedal.  It has a 1/4" stereo input jack on one side, which is where the stereo guitar cable from the guitar's OBEL jack plugs into.  The other side of the junction box has 2 mono 1/4" jacks.  One of those jacks is a send to the input of your effects the other is a return from the output of your effects.  Using one mono guitar fx patch cable, connect the send from the junction box into the input of your first effect pedal, and the the return from the junction box plugs into the output of your last effects pedal in the chain.

    • Can an OBEL equipped guitar be plugged in like a standard electric guitar with one cable using just the mono guitar output?

      Yes, you do not have to use the OBEL in order to plug in your guitar to your effects.  You can simply bypass the OBEL using the OBEL bypass mini-toggle switch on the guitar and use the guitar as a standard electric guitar with your effect pedals plugged in-line between your guitar and amp.

    • How do I connect up my OBEL guitar to my effects and amp?

    • Do I need to have a 9V battery installed at all times to hear sound?

      The answer is yes.  You do need a working 9V battery installed at all times to hear sound coming out of the main output, even with the OBEL bypassed.  The pre-amp is always active in the signal and the pre-amp is powered on by plugging in a guitar cable to the main output.  To save battery life, unplug the guitar cable when not playing your guitar.  If you accidentally leave the cable plugged into the guitar, the battery would drain out in about 2 weeks, that's about 14 full 24 hour days of battery life from a single 9V. 

    • The OBEL doesn't seem to be working. When I flip the toggle into the OBEL, I get no sound. My OBEL guitar isn't working with the HubBub Junction Box.

      The Godfrey Daniels HubBub Junction Box is wired Tip to Send, and Ring to Return.  Sometime in 2018, we made sure that PHRED instruments guitars moving forward are wired with the OBEL I/O jack on the guitar to be compatible with the Godfrey Daniels HubBub and HubBub Stage Pro Junction Boxes.

      If you are experiencing issues with your OBEL equipped guitar and a Godfrey Daniels HubBub Junction Box, there are few things you can try to troubleshoot the issue.


      Test #1

      1. Plug a regular mono guitar cable into the Main Output jack on the guitar.  The other end of the cable should be unplugged.  This is just to power on the pre-amp, if your guitar has a pre-amp.  Most guitars with OBEL have a pre-amp.

      2. Plug another standard mono guitar cable into the OBEL I/O jack, and the other end of that cable directly into your guitar amp.

      3. Put the MINI toggle into OBEL mode, and you should get sound if the OBEL jack on the guitar is wired correctly.  The volume knob on the guitar won't work in this test, and that's ok, as the volume on the guitar is bypassed for this test.  Here's a video that shows how to perform the test above.


      Test #2

      This test is mostly specific to PHRED guitars with copper foil inside the electronics cavity or with a dual output jack plate. If you perform Test #1 above and don't get sound, we'll need to make sure that neither the tip or ring lug on the OBEL jack are grounded somehow to the copper foil inside the electronics cavity.  You can visually inspect for this by removing the electronics panel on the back.  If any part of the OBEL jack is touching one of the screws that is securing the Dual Output Jack plate, then there could be grounding.  The best way to check is with a multimeter.  Here's a video on how to test for that.


      The Fix

      If you have performed Test #1 and Test #2 (inspected for grounding of the tip or ring lugs, and there is no grounding, and also no sound from Test #1) then it's recommend to swap the wires that connect to the tip and ring lugs on the OBEL jack.  This will require soldering.  Here's a video that shows which wires need to be swapped.

  • Hollowbody and Archtop Guitars


    • Is the bridge platform glued to the body?

      The bridge platform on the DockStar, Reprise and R2 guitar is not glued down onto the body.  It floats on top of the guitar and is held in place by down pressue from the strings.  For string changes, we recommend changing strings one at a time or using blue painters tape to secure the bridge to the guitar prior to changing all the strings.  If you'd like us to secure the bridge platform to the guitar, we can use really thin double sided tape, but it's typically not necessary and not recommend.

      The Ernesto guitar bridge platform is secured in place with an anchor screw on one side of the bridge platform that is also used to ground the strings. The bridge is not glued or taped to the guitar.

      As for string grounding on the DockStar, Reprise, and R2, the strings are grounded through the tailpiece.

  • Reprise FAQ

    Reprise FAQ

    • What upgrades does Reprise have?

      The construction method is the upgrade.  Reprise is all hand built and the top and back are hand carved.  

    • Is Reprise just a fully upgraded DockStar with a different body shape?

      While the hardware, pickups and electronics installed on Reprise are also offered as upgrades on the DockStar and Ernesto models, Reprise is built like an archtop guitar and the DockStar is built as a hollowed-out solid body.  Reprise is the upgrade.

    • What are the characteristics of Nitrocellulose Lacquer?

      Nitro is generally considered a finer finish on high-end instruments. It appears differently than polyurethane. Where poly has a plastic-y and very clear appearance, nitro has a much softer touch allowing the wood to breathe, and appears differently to the eye than the slick poly finish. It has a texture and quality all its own as you view it up close.

    • Is Reprise an acoustic guitar?

      Reprise is built very similarly to acoustic archtops. The top is generally thinner than many electric Archtops.  It makes the guitar top and back, as well as the neck under your fretting hand vibrate with energy when the strings are strummed. You can test out a guitar by strumming the open strings and putting your hand on areas of the top. Reprise vibrates all around the top plate.

    • Can I choose the woods used on my Reprise build?

      When pre-ordering a Reprise Koa, you will have the option to choose from a small selection of koa woods available at that time.  For the Reprise and Reprise Dark Amber models, we do not offer wood selection.  Additionally, we do not offer wood customization for the neck and fretboard.

    • Can I customize the build aspects of Reprise?

      Unfortunately, we are unable to customize the materials used to build a Reprise guitar, except for the Reprise Koa model as mentioned in FAQ #5.