Sunday, September 26, 2010

Diz and the Rude Rhythm Bass

DIZ with new Ransom swamp ash replacement body
I am sure I have known Diz for well over 25 years.  Even as "kid" his ability to play bass, guitar and drums rivaled that of the long studied musician.  Back in the day we had some fun playing together from time to time. Before Dan Ransom (our resident guitar builder here) became his own retailer he used to built necks and bodies to order and I assembled the instruments.  Some time around 1996 we made a very YELLOW bass out of poplar wood for Diz.  About a month ago he came in and asked Dan to make him a swamp ash one for a different sound.  I look forward to get the report.  I miss the bright yellow with RUDE RHYTHM stenciled across the front, I hope the wood is a better sound.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Those Pesky Rattling Tune-o-Matic Screws and Saddles

There are a few ways to attack the problem of the rattling saddles.  Fitting a spring down on the intonation screw, dripping wax in there, locktite, bending the hold down spring, washers, shims, and more.  This idea came from a friend who happens to be a dentist (thank you CC).  He gave me orthodontist wire but I have also used a strand from multi-strand wire or thin buss-wire.  The idea is to tie the intonation screw to the spring that keeps them from falling out.  This keeps them both rattle free.  You can always pack the old standard away and buy a newfangled solid bridge.  I will show some of them coming up.

Loop the wire around the screw and behind the spring
Pull the wires down over the spring and back under the screw
Twist the wires together and cut

Monday, September 20, 2010

Side Dots, Bigger or Biggest. You ask for it, we can do it.

A beautiful bass.

No glasses needed.

Ok, thats ridicules, or is it?

A well tooled man.
Two at the 12th.

Very Very Careful!

Can you see the dots? They sparkle in the lights.

Within one month we were asked to do something that we have not done in years.  Both clients were very particular about what they wanted, which was exceptionally large side dots that stand out on a dark stage.  One player asked for black and the other for abalone.  The biggest problem was to drill over the body to the correct place on the neck.  ENTER CREATIVITY...A few companies make drill extenders but most bulk up the bit at the junction.  Long bits are also made but we wanted to use out very high quality brad point bits.  The advantage is the bits drill a very clean hole and do not drift.  The simple solution is to crimp the bit into a piece of hollow brass tubing.  As you can see it worked perfect.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Allen going on sabbatical

Come in and say hi to Fern and Robert who will be running the counter for awhile in my absence.  I'll be back in a couple of months!

"...after the ecstasy, the laundry."

Friday, September 17, 2010

It was this box!

Ever heard Captain Beefheart's album The Spotlight Kid?  Much of the fuzzy guitar licks were recorded through this handmade distortion pedal, the only one Elliot Ingber ever owned, now given to our friend Henry Kaiser as a gift by him. Mr. Ingber was a founding member of the Mothers of Invention, Fraternity of Man (along with the late Richie Hayward - drummer of renown) and played with Captain Beefheart on several albums under the name of "Winged Eel Fingerling." Mr. Kaiser tells us that Mr. Ingber's guitar playing (through that very box!) is what influenced him to start playing guitar himself. A piece of pop musical history, right before our very eyes and it sounds bitchin', too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sustainer install in PRS, Could be Stealth...

The Suatainiac sustainer is designed to go into tight spaces.  It is possible to do the same install with 2 push pull pots and not use any mini toggle switches.  Finding a place for the battery may be more of a challenge, I would hide it in the trem spring cavity....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cavaquinho pickup install, lots of electronics in a small box!

Notice the under saddle pickup
We got lucky and found this Fishman preamp that fit the existing hole.
BEWARE!!!  Scary shielding job......
Cool Fishman pickup
This cavaquinho was brought to us with a DIY pickup install.  A big hole had been cut on the side with a piece of plastic installed to hold the preamp.  The sound was uneven and quiet, and I'm guessing noisy too because it had been completely covered with copper and aluminum*. 

That was just the start of it...shorted turns, too much capacitance, grounding out of the circuit...the list goes on.  Needless to say this system was not working well.  Enter: The Fishman solution!   In the past we had to order Fishman pickups in custom lengths to be able to put it on a saddle that is this short, but look what they make now.  The Fishman AG-Series 094 Ukelele Passive Undersaddle Pickup is great for any short saddle acoustic instrument.  In a uke it gives a loud, strong feedback-resistant signal.  A battery is required and, in the case of the cavaquinho, there happened to be another hole on the side so we converted that to a pull-out battery box.  This Series 094 side mounted preamp has a pull out battery compartment but we didn't use this so that the owner could have easy battery access**.

The advantage to an undersaddle pickup as compared to any of the stick on pickups is tonal clarity and resistance to feedback.   We have installed many stick on pickups (K&K and B-band, etc) and they sound beautiful, more acoustic and natural than an undersaddle but if you need to cut through the mix in a loud band situation and you do not have a quality sound system you may encounter premature feedback.  In a perfect world we would combine both types (internal stick-on and undersaddle) in a blending circuit.

This instrument sounds beautiful; clear-voiced, clean and loud.

* - One word about shielding, unless the shielding has a solid ground attached, it will become an antenna, attracting more of the same noise you were trying to get rid of!
** - If necessary, just about any on-board preamp can be powered with a remote battery box.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Would you buy a guitar repair from this man?

My brother-in-law Sam happens to be a fantastic artist.  So my wife had this idea to hire him to design a shop t-shirt.  She had an idea to try out some caricatures of yours truly.  These are some very rough ideas to see what it would look like.  Take a peek.....I am not ready to sign off and go to press but it was fun to see.  Thank-U Sam. Take a look at Sam's work.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wiring harness for you to put in or for us to put in.

RMC PolyDrive-1, Roland compatible 13-pin output plus Mag/Piezo blending.
Epiphone Casino / Gibson 335 style.
We have made many templates over the years for many things.  When you put an electronic harness in a hollow or semi-hollow body guitar it is best to wire it up outside the guitar first then patiently slide it into place.  We can make them up for you to "do it yourself" or we can take care of that for you.