Saturday, June 20, 2009

Has everything already been tried?

Certainly there are still some experiments worth is, and will always remain possible, to tease just one more element of tonal variation out of the sum of available parts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gary gets to have one little (well earned) vacation...

...and look what happens. Timmy drops by with a flat of gorgeous produce (he knows how to make us happy) and, while putting uncoated strings on this handmade Ribbecke Testadora prior to having the PLEK process done (coated nylon strings prevent conductivity and a very light current is run through the strings so the sensor finger of the PLEK machine can determine where, exactly, those strings are) Jimmy's trained eye sees an opportunity for beauty and, unbidden, creates a pleasing arrangement which is a joy to behold. It's a beautiful day outside and tomorrow is the Summer Solstice. It's been very busy (lots of guitars coming and going and the phone's been ringing off the hook) and everything's fine here boss...see you next week!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Great minds think alike...

...and occasionally look alike (at least from a specific angle). Here's Joe and Gary listening intently as Chris plays some American blues through a vintage Fender tube amplifier on an orange solid body Ibanez electric guitar. Chris was comparing two similar instruments and felt that the other guitar had "more wood in the sound."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Lam(inate) Lies Down on Tim's Bench (part #2)

Here's the guitar and the work all done. Can you see the border of the laminate? Now the neck is stronger than the original with no loss of playability or tone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

vegetable raga

today meaning is suspect; so here's a video of a tomato dancing on the strings of a drawer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

color coded contents

Hidden in corners of the shop are objects whose provenance is unknown and whose presence cannot be accredited to organizational forethought. It's a clearcut case of simple accretion. Eventually the things become part of the craptacular ornate feng shui of the place and we cease to see them.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

does this career make my butt look big?

ah the stories....get your mind out of the gutter, Harrison, it's not bragging if it's true!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

a continuation of a previous post

Back in late March of 2009 we posted, perhaps irresponsibly, regarding an element of furniture requiring amplification. Eating crow, it turns out the idea is feasible and even fabulous. Trevor fabricated a strip of aluminum to hold the tuning pegs on firmly and amplified the item with transducers. While he obviously hasn't tuned it correctly (see video) he is, however enjoying himself immensely. If he had another one just like it he'd have a pair of drawers.*

* - thanks Benny!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Lam(inate) Lies Down on Tim's Bench (part #1)

The almost brand new Gibson J-200 presented with the headstock broken completely (and rather messily) off of the neck. Also, portions of the celluloid binding around the edge of the headstock were either missing or dangling off in sections. We didn't ask how it happened. Tim, empathetic to the owner's grief, shakes his head and gets to work.

First Tim glues the headstock back on to the neck - a tricky proposition requiring special attention to the alignment of the two pieces. Even using small wooden blocks between the clamps and the wood of the guitar the tendency of the parts is to slide apart under pressure. Tim takes extra steps to commingle the parts for positioning accuracy.

Next Tim carves out some of the wood in the area of the break prior to fabricating a strengthening laminate. To make the laminate he glues together a stripe of bubinga onto a piece of curly maple (using cyano-acrylate) and heat bends the resulting section to match the bend of the neck of the guitar. Cyano-acrylate (aka superglue) is used on the laminate so that it does not separate during the process of heat-bending.

After he has ascertained that the curves fit he places the curly maple/bubinga laminate onto the neck of the guitar and, to assist in making sure the fit and position is perfect, he first tapes the laminate into place and then drills four small alignment holes directly through the laminate and into wooden plugs he previously installed into four of the tuning peg holes. He then places toothpicks into those drilled holes so that the bubinga center stripe lines up precisely with the original. Once the glue on the carefully positioned laminate has set Tim then painstakingly cuts away the excess wood so the shape of the neck/body join is correct.

Now that the neck and headstock laminate is complete it's time to address the binding. Tim painstakingly cuts and installs new celluloid binding, taping it down while the glue sets. Tim has masked the pearl inlay and logo on the headstock with clear scotch tape and gently cut around the inlays prior to applying black lacquer. Once it has set he scrapes the extra lacquer off the binding and removes the tape. Then he sprays a few clearcoats of unthinned lacquer over the entire headstock and neck. As a final finish touch, he sprays amber laquer on the new binding to match the patina of the original sections.

Because of the laminate the headstock/neck join is now stronger than the original. The guitar is now ready for tuning pegs and a set-up. This process has taken Tim a fair amount of time, with breaks for lunch, sleep and diverting youtube goodness. Tim says of his work: "it's fun." He adds that it's important to remember that the good repairman "strives for his work to be invisible."