Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here is Justin Oakley holding up his brand new Fender Stratocaster 12-string electric guitar. Justin knows exactly what he wants and that increases his potential for happiness. It also assists us in seeing his vision through. While we can (and routinely do) provide all manner of pithy and cogent advice for the lovelorn guitarist at free (or even cheap) rates the likelihood of a happy outcome is increased by orders of magnitude when the instrument's owner knows what they want.
In this case Justin is having us install a set of Lollar Jazzmaster-style pickups. We are providing a pickguard to hold the different pickup configuration and routing the body. We'll wire the 5 position switch so that position 1 will be neck only, position 2 will be neck and bridge in series, position 3 will be neck & bridge in parallel, position 4 will be neck & bridge out of phase and in series* and position 5 will be bridge pickup only. We'll also shield all of the electronics cavities on the guitar.
After that we'll do a hand set up on the instrument; always a good idea with a new purchase.
* wiring the pickups "out of phase" cuts the signal in half for that tight, nasally sound while simultaneously having the pickups in series increases the volume and also fattens up the tone.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here a chance meeting between two different aesthetics finds Billy (L) and Luke swapping knowledge and experience over a pile of used pickups. A meter is close at hand to test for DC resistance and also whether or not they work. We don't have uber-valuable vintage stuff in those boxes but we manage to keep a large assortment of serviceable single-coil, hum-canceling and bass pickups for all budgets.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here's Dan Pickell expressing his pleasure upon playing his Carvin DC-400 following our PLEK (computerized fretmill) and hand set-up. These Carvins are very solid guitars. Dan's expostulation reminds us why we love what we do.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Here's Dan Feeney paying us a beautiful complement. He's holding up his Tele Deluxe in one hand and the original pickguard in the other. The new pickguard we installed for him has a humbucker (Seymour Duncan '59) in the neck position. We built the wiring harness from the ground up with all new parts. When he opened the case out of his mouth came the quote above. That makes us feel great.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
You gotta have fretwire and there's multiple flavors. We have it in different sizes, hardnesses and various alloys. We've even custom ordered special fretwire to our own crown and tang measurements for special needs. Our suppliers (Stewart-MacDonald, Jescar, Dunlop and Luthier's Mercantile) can get us fret material in sizes from tiny mandolin wire all the way up to big fat Jumbo-style rails. Nickel-silver is the usual alloy for most frets but we stock and install stainless steel frets and can supply other, weirder stuff upon request. We keep the tubes of fretwire in a drawer but Fern recently moved the loose coils into the back stairwell where they can actually be somewhat categorized.
Reorganization in a small space is not for the faint of heart.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Bill Kirchen, one of the Fathers of Tone in our Universe of Guitar, stopped by prior to sitting in with Elvis Costello at the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concerts in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park. He brought with him his current favorite, a Big Tex tele- style relic for some maintenance. We shielded the guitar, replaced the two potentiometers (note reversed control plate - he likes to swell with his pinkie!) and plekked (computerized fretmill) the frets along with a full set-up. He's very happy.
While he was playing the guitar, post-maintenance and modification, another gentleman recognized the instrument, first, and then it's owner from a recent issue of ToneQuest magazine. In an endless example of synchronicity yet another gentleman brought in a copy of the exact issue of the magazine. We obviously need to subscribe to this periodical.
And we need to see Mr. Kirchen more often, whether or not he requires guitar assistance.