Taylor 814CE First Impressions

Early one Saturday morning I found myself searching for “taylor acoustic” on dallas.craigslist.org. Little did I know I would stumble on a lot of guitars that a guy was needing to sell quickly. He had three Taylors I was interested in, but only two were in my price range: 814CE (2017) and 712CE (2012). They were both amazing instruments, and I would have been happy with either one. I chose the 814 because it was larger and was more of what I was originally looking for. It was crazy clean; not a mark on it and still had the factory strings. It was basically a new guitar that was $1,200 less than the going price. How could I not buy it?!

What a beauty! I love the rosewood pickguard
Continue reading “Taylor 814CE First Impressions”

Tele Neck Refinish


I was so pleased with the results from refinishing my bass neck that I decided to do the same to my tele. This neck originally had a Tru-oil Gunstock finish on it that I sanded off. It was my first expieriment with finishing and it didn’t go very well. In hind sight, I think I may have bought a defective bottle. I remember the oil being more like a tar that was incredibly difficult to spread. Honestly this was about 12 years ago so my memory is not to be trusted.
Continue reading “Tele Neck Refinish”

Sprucing-up my Bass

I put this bass together in 2009, and I can’t believe that was almost a decade ago. It’s been a great bass and I primarily use it for recording. Historically the action has been on the high side with this instrument. This is a bit of a trade-off, but the upside is the strings take advantage of the extra room and the notes ring out like crazy on this bass. So all in all, it’s been a joy to own and play.

This was the second Warmoth project I completed and I’ve learned a lot since then. I was never happy with the finish I did on the neck. I went down the Tru-oil path originally, but somehow I got it in my head that I should go with a thicker finish to help ensure the neck would hold up to the string tension. ….in hind sight, this was an absurd idea and should never be attempted. This resulted in a gummy feeling on the  back of the neck and there were also some drip marks on the fretboard from when I hung it to dry. While the finish left a lot to desire, it did work fine and hold up for almost a decade, but I finally got the end of my rope and decided to do something about it. Continue reading “Sprucing-up my Bass”

Guitarists and Bands I’ve Seen Live and Those I Intend to See

Last weekend I subjected my sweet wife to a Winger concert. It may not have been the smartest thing I’ve ever done for my marriage (interpret that however you like), but we did have a good time. Growing up, I always enjoyed Reb’s guitar playing and it was really cool to get to see him live. The experience made me feel like I should document the shows I’ve seen before I forget about them with time. The fact that I waited until age 37 to do this means I’m probably forgetting about a number of shows. Regardless, these are the most memorable shows that I can remember off the top of my head: Continue reading “Guitarists and Bands I’ve Seen Live and Those I Intend to See”

New Highwood Vintage Strat Saddles

A vintage style Gotoh tremolo

I consider vintage strat tremolos an iconic piece of guitar heritage and engineering. They are undoubtedly one of the most common bridges used on electric guitars, yet many players find certain aspects about them frustrating. On the positive side, I have always found that these bridges sound great and bring a really cool vibe to the guitar. The drawbacks that are typically cited are tuning stability, play in the tremolo arm, rough saddle adjustment screws (this hurts the palm of your picking hand), strings not staying in the center of the saddle, and probably others I’m forgetting about. Interestingly enough, some of the most prolific guitarists that favor strats manage to not be deterred by these issues, particularly players like Jeff Beck & Scott Henderson come to mind. Both of these guys make heavy use of their tremolos and almost embed the tremolo bar into their picking hands.

Continue reading “New Highwood Vintage Strat Saddles”

Tele Hardware Update

Over the past several years I’ve made several upgrades on my tele and I never took the time to write about it. I recently switched my saddles again and I figured now would be a good time to document this.

My tele started with a standard Gotoh tele bridge with modern “strat” style saddles. These bridges are excellent and it served me well for ~10 years. …until I played a Suhr tele w/ the Wilkinson (by Gotoh) WT3 bridge and it spoiled me. …a lot.

Continue reading “Tele Hardware Update”

Warmoth “N4” Part VI

At this point the build is turning out great, but I did hit a few snags on the electronics.

Look at this progress!

I wasn’t able to install the L500XL at first because the pickup ring was intended for a Lesson Paul. The team at Wilde pickups promptly sent me the ring I needed at no cost. ….but seriously who wants to wait for USPS to take a test drive?

I went ahead and attached the Duncan ’59 straight into the jack with alligator clips, cranked up my amp ……..and Continue reading “Warmoth “N4” Part VI”

Warmoth “N4” Part IV

As I’m trying to stay true to a lot of the elements that made the N4 a great guitar, I did a bit of research on how the finishes were done. On the Washburn forums there are several threads that detail how the finish is done. Then I found this post on the stephen’s extended cutaway facebook page which details how the original batch was done. Essentially they used two coats of tung oil and used steel wool between coats. I planned on doing two coats like this and then for the final coat I was going to warm the oil and melt some beeswax in it. This would make the finish more durable and still stay true to the original design. I also decided to apply the oil with a fine grain sandpaper to get an even smoother surface.

The final prepping before applying the oil.

Continue reading “Warmoth “N4” Part IV”

Warmoth N4 Inspired Project

For a the past year or two, I’ve been wanting a nice shredder guitar. Two of my favorites on the market right now are the Washburn N4 and Guthrie Govan Charvel. If money wasn’t an object, I’d likely just purchase several of each. …but …..yeah, not going to happen. Since my last attempt to merge the characteristics of two guitars worked really well (strat & jaguar), I thought I might get exactly what I want by trying to merge these two.

Continue reading “Warmoth N4 Inspired Project”

The N4 Kit

A couple weeks ago I placed a thread on The Gear Page about how the luthier I hired to build a guitar for me basically stole my money and wasted a lot of my time. This resulted in me connecting with someone else who ordered an N4 neck & body from the same guy. He did eventually receive his order, but it was a painful process. This nice gentlemen was looking to get out of this project and sold it to me for almost nothing. I’m really looking forward to getting started on this one as there’s a lot to be done.

Continue reading “The N4 Kit”

Do you know John Klein from Pennsylvanian?

tl;dr Please, please, please, use caution when dealing with this guy. My 10 month stint dealing with him was quiet painful. He lied (a lot), stole from me, and then disappeared. The police know him by name and are actively looking for him. His parents are disappointed in him and say he’s “having problems”. If you are considering working with or interacting with this person, please use caution and protect yourself. Do not make the mistake I made by trusting him.

This is John Klein

Continue reading “Do you know John Klein from Pennsylvanian?”