A Few Words Regarding Equipment Modifications. . .
Modification of any machine, when done cleanly and correctly, is one of the best methods of gear personification. There are too many machines currently manufactured that could use a little "kick." We perform a variety of equipment modifications. Here is our current list of Futara Supported Mods.
It is my opinion that most contemporary musical instrument manufacturers no longer follow the old ideal of creating a fully reliable-bulletproof-diehard-whatever-it-takes-so-it-doesn't-fail-and-lasts-forever-and-EVER-type of machine (like an older Fender!). It may be because fine electric instruments are too expensive to build in an economy where people aren't spending as much as they did pre 2009.
Don't get me wrong, great instruments ARE still being designed and manufactured for a reasonable price however, there has been a growing resurgence of that old American ideal with the folks who custom build "boutique" instruments.
The bigger and more well-known companies suffer from a reliability dilemma when cost cutbacks are generated in order to manufacture a product in a competitive market. The result: A "good" machine instead of a "kick-ass" one (don't blame the engineers--blame the corporate yahoos, mucky-mucks and bean counters upstairs). I don't want to think that there is an element of greed here - I want to believe that corporations do it to bring sales up in order to keep their people employed (that is good!).
Therefore, the only way to actually bring a unit back up the level of what it was intended to be is through modification.
There is potentially a great amount of risk involved when agreeing to the application of modifications to your electronic equipment. For example: If your machine has a warranty, it will be void due to unauthorized modification. Seek professional advice when considering modifications to your instruments.
Unfortunately, there are individuals who take gear mods for granted -- These "hack-nicians" never take into consideration a unit's longevity as a result of their scary creativity. Not all amplifiers will react negatively but the potential for failure is always a factor. I have seen horrible and potentially hazardous mods done to equipment. Everything from bad/wrong wiring, epoxy-like super glue on components (is the mod THAT much of a secret?), atrocious solder re-work using plumbers acid-core solder, inferior quality components, incorrect component ratings and values, drilling on inappropriate areas of the chassis or enclosure, and the liberal use of electricians, painters or duct tape. See our "Technical Disasters" section for some examples.
There are so many factors to consider when attempting to modify anything. These factors are heat dissipation, proper component ratings, cleanliness, serviceability, environmental effects, longevity and reliability.
Proper modification, on any machine, is VERY important. In fact, our mod standards in most cases, has made it next to impossible to complete without a complete re-design. At that point, one should consider purchasing another product that would perform as needed. I have dedicated myself to designing mods that will work -- forever! If I see that a problem could develop, I will always let you know FIRST before doing anything.
Modification of any machine is essentially a slap-in-the-face to the engineer who was forced to "dumb-down" the design of a product you feel has inferior performance. As I have said before -- it isn't always the engineer’s fault, he or she is just following orders from upstairs.
Always ask lots of questions when considering modifications. Some things to ponder...:
1. Cost of the mod verses cost of a new machine.
- If you are trying to get a Marshall tone out of a Fender, BUY A MARSHALL!!! Leave that beautiful Black-Face Fender alone!
2. Longevity and Reliability.
- This is important as you want your electric instrument to last as long as possible without complications due to bad modifications. Examples are: bad or mediocre soldering, loose or non-secured parts that will break off and components that are forced to operate under stress or out-of-spec which would eventually fail or cause damage over time!
3. Is the mod reversible?
- A good tech WILL NOT bore holes into the chassis of an instrument of merit. NO! If mods are installed responsibly, they can be reversed with minimal effort. Bad mods will render the original design almost impossible to rebuild!
4. How will the mod affect the value of the machine?
- Drilling any unnecessary holes in the chassis or enclosure or using paint or black epoxy or scratching out or eliminate or cover "secret" component values. a hacknician scribbling his name all over the inside of a chassis or enclosure (I did that my first year in business and then realized how tacky and utterly STUPID that was.) will lower the value of the instrument. Modifications should be installed as cleanly as possible.
5. Can the mod be fixed by another tech if it is the cause of failure?
- How "hack-nicianed" or "bastardized" is it? Is there paint or black hardened silicone all over the circuitry? did that "tech" basically destroy the machine? check out our "Technical Disasters" page for examples!
Thanks for reading!
-- Marty Futara
FUTARA Electronics Company
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