I kind-of been in a blogging mood lately, and I think I may write some posts about some of the previous guitars I’ve owned over the years. Anyway, I’ve had N4s on my brain for the past year so this seems appropriate.
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.
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
First, let’s agree that push/pull pots are amazing. In most cases, it’s the perfect way to add a convenient switch without drilling into the guitar or pickguard. These can be used for many useful things such as splitting pickups, series/parallel, phase, high/low-pass switches, etc. Continue reading Improving push/pull pots with Fender-style “bell” knobs
The following combination of strat mods is simple to install and greatly increases the tonal palette of the instrument IMO. This requires giving up the traditional 3rd position (middle pickup), but that’s a small price to pay.
- Tone knob assignment – Connect the first tone knob to the neck & middle pickups and dedicate the second one to the bridge pickup.
- Super switch – Replace the standard 5-way with a super switch or 2-pole 5-way w/ the following wiring: N, N+M, N+B, M+B, B This preserves all the “good” strat sounds and adds the “tele” middle sound.
- Strangle Switch (aka high-pass filter) – Basically just a .003 capacitor on a push pull potentiometer. This will cut out low-end frequencies and make the guitar sound so funky.
- Treble Bleed circut – Add a 560pf cap & 300k resistor to the volume pot to preserve tone while using the volume knob.
I’ve really been enjoying my fake Klein for the past year; it’s a solid guitar and incredibly comfortable to play. That said, I have this personality flaw where once I notice that something is less than ideal, it grates on me ….badly, until I fix it. Thus was the case with the bridge and factory frets.
First, Let’s replace the bridge
So the project is complete and now I’d like to walk through the following questions:
- How does the guitar play & sound?
- What was the cost?
- Where are the gaps?
- Are these Chinese kits worth the amount of work and hassle?
The guitar is almost finished. Continue reading Klein Copy: Part XI
Since I opened this kit, I’ve know that some fret work was going to be required. Historically this is an area I’ve avoided and sought professional help, but after spending some time on youtube, I decided I am capable of doing this. …….I just needed to acquire some tools first. The main videos I tried to model/emulate were this, this, and this. Most of the supplies came from Stewart MacDonald. I found a lesser expensive notched straight edge and fret rocker on Amazon, and the Meguiar’s polish and buffer wheel were from an auto parts store where I had a gift card.
The finish is now complete on the Klein. Ultimately, I’m happy with it, but in the grand scheme of things I’d rate it as a C- (or if you’re a Futurama fan a C minus-minus). Continue reading Klein Copy: Part IX
My replacement JCustom headpeice arrived on Thursday from the good folks at HeadlessUSA. They were incredibly helpful with the few questions I had, and for a couple of reasons I’d recommend buying from them via phone rather than ebay like I did. While I’m not crazy about the extra length this will add to the guitar, the quality easily makes up for it. So far it’s easily been worth the money.
The whole time I’ve been working on this guitar the question in the back of my mind has been: is this cheap thing going to actually sound, play, and function like a “real” guitar? I’m at a point where I can’t make any real progress for a week or two but I this afternoon I thought maybe I should mount the bridge and neck, string it up, and see what she’s like. So I did.
I did a little wet sanding on the satin clear coat this week. …..and sure enough I went right through some of the clear coat and white stain. I was really frustrated when it happened, but honestly it’s not too bad and I’ve decided not to sand any further and re-stain the area.
Now it’s a relic!
All of my hardware has arrived with the exception of the new pickguard. I took some time to make sure everything would install as expected. The main piece of the bridge fits in it’s route beautifully, but unfortunately once it’s fully assembled it overhangs on the top of the route.
……almost perfectly blocked tremolo by mistake.
The stain is complete and now begins the long process of the satin clear coat.
After several coats of stain the neck and body are turning out exactly how I had envisioned. Each coat of stain raises the grain so it’s a slow process of stain, lightly sand, stain, lightly sand, etc. I’ve done 5 or 6 coats now and I’m getting close to moving to the next step. Hopefully tomorrow night I can start on the satin clear coat. Continue reading Klein Copy: Part III
Opps. I forgot about the contour for the strap button! Luckily this one is quite simple compared to the last ones I did.
Continue reading Klein Copy: Part II
The kit with the hardware laid in place
A few months ago I discovered that Alibaba distributes guitar kits for many, many, many different types popular guitars. Of course these are all Chinese knock-offs of the real thing, but they only cost a fraction of the real thing. I was leaning towards getting a Less Paul kit, but a good friend talked me into getting a Klein instead (he got one as well). For example an authentic Klein (when the company was still in business) would sell for between $2-3K (in early 2000 dollars). Currently on ebay they sell for between $5-10k. I had the pleasure of playing two different Kleins while I was in college and they are simply amazing instruments; worth every penny. However, I’m not in a position to justify that kind of money for a guitar.
….but for $89
Continue reading Klein Copy: Part I
She’s a beauty
I’ve had my RMC3 for almost 15 years now and I still love it. This really is one of the best Wahs on the planet. I love how it comes w/ a bunch of “famous” wah settings e.g. Hendrix, Shaft, Cry Baby, etc. It sounds silly but several years ago I really had to cover Shaft on a gig. All I did was plug-in Geoffrey’s settings and low and behold it was perfect. Pretty cool. Continue reading New ROC-POT4 in My RMC 3
I should preface this post by stating that this is simply a list of the most influential guitarist in my journey as a guitarist. I’m not claiming this is the be-all-end-all or the best “of all time” top 10.
Favorite Album: Trio Volume 2
I first saw Tim play when I was a sophomore in high school and I’ll never forget that night. About a year later I bought his first CD, With the Distance, and it made such an impact on me that I traded ~80% of my CDs to start a jazz collection. Tim has an incredibly unique approach to the guitar. His bell-like tone mixed with long, complex phrases create an amazing sound that is a joy to listen to. He’s currently on staff at the Berklee College of Music and recently launched an on-line guitar lessons site. If you’ve never heard Tim play definitely look him up on youtube or grab one of his CDs.