Klein Copy: Part III

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”

Klein Copy: Part I

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”

New ROC-POT4 in My RMC 3

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”

My Top 10 Most Influential Guitarists

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.

tim-miller

Tim Miller

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.

Continue reading “My Top 10 Most Influential Guitarists”

Time to upgradde my desk

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I bought my last desk as a college student for $99 at Walmart. While it has served me extremely well, I’ve outgrown it in a lot of ways. I found it really frustrating looking for desks both on line and at retailers. There are so many out there and almost none of them do what I want. Especially not for what I’m willing to pay. Luckily a guy named Michael was nice enough to build exactly what I wanted from Ikea parts and post *all* the info on line. Not only did he build a micro-site located here about his project but he also answered several questions via email. He’s a very nice guy.

Continue reading “Time to upgradde my desk”

I ♥ Dimarzio Pickups

old-front
The stock setup has a multitude of settings. Each pickup is hum-cancelling and there’s a mini toggle to split the bridge and another one for the neck/middle. There’s also a push/pull tone knob that will add the bridge pickup in positions 1 & 2.

I’ve had my Tom Anderson Hollow Drop Top Classic for about eleven years now. It’s by far the best guitar I’ve ever owned. Over the past three years, I’ve found myself playing this guitar less and less as my tastes continue to evolve. In fact, my strat has been my main guitar for the past year and a half. Back when I purchased the Anderson I really gravitated to higher output pickups. Not so much any more. When I started playing teles back in 2004ish I realized that lower output pickups had a much sweeter & brighter sound. Conversely, hotter ones can sound harsh and darker. I’m not saying that all high output pickups are dark & harsh, but they certainly *can* be as is the case w/ the pickups in my Anderson. Continue reading “I ♥ Dimarzio Pickups”

Naylor Duel 60

After a four month wait I finally got my Naylor Duel 60 amp and 1×12 cab. ….It was worth the wait. The amp sounds incredible and is surprisingly versatile. It’s difficult to describe the sound, but overall it’s very smooth, thick, punchy, and responsive (how’s that for a generic tone description?). The drive channel is what put Naylor on the map as one of the first boutique amp companies in the early nineties. It’s a very Marshall’esq overdrive, but a lot fuller sounding. It’s hard to describe, so let’s just say it’s what I always wanted Marshalls to sound like. Continue reading “Naylor Duel 60”

Gotoh Tuners > Schaller Tuners

Over the years I’ve had several sets of both Gotoh & Schaller tuners. When I built my last strat I opted for a set of Schaller mini locking tuners. I went this route because this was the only locking set that Warmoth sold. In hind sight that was a dumb decision. This marks the last time I settle for hardware over convenience. The Schallers did work OK, but after a re-string they take FOREVER to settle in and hold tune. Not only that but they felt cheap and the gears didn’t feel very smooth. Even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with them I was planning to just tolerate them. That changed a few weeks ago when the high E string tuner on the developed a rough spot on the post. It basically sliced the string as it’s tuned to pitch. 100% useless; total garbage. I’ve never experienced anything like this before with a tuner. Continue reading “Gotoh Tuners > Schaller Tuners”

New Canare Cables

OMG! That wiring looks perfect.

I bought a bunch of Switchcraft plugs and Canare cables for my birthday this year. …..I know I’m a nerd. I used George L cables for a long time, but I didn’t care for the tone or the fail-rate. Everyone loves the simplicity of solderless cables, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea any more. For the first time my signal is 100% high-end cables w/ quality plugs – and it’s awesome. I also ordered right-angle power cables to help squeeze in more pedals. Those combined with angling the ‘L’ of the plugs down towards the floor, I was able to fit four pedals where previously it was three.

 

Tubescreamer Repair

A couple months ago I was rearranging some pedals on my baord and I noticed the patch cable kept falling out of the output jack on my favorite TS-9. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. It has been a few years since I’ve opened one of these and I had forgotten that the jacks are plastic. <sigh>

Yuck! Who’s idea was it to use plastic jacks?!

Continue reading “Tubescreamer Repair”

20 minutes with the Line 6 M9

My M9 arrived today (thanks Amazon) and I had a few minutes to mess with it tonight. First the layout of the unit is brilliant. The interface is very intuitive and easy to navigate. I didn’t have enough time to go though the massive set of sounds,  but i can already tell this is going to displace a significant portion of my pedal board. Bye bye TC Electronics pedals. :)

Soloing with Big Nasty

The Big Nasty

A few weeks ago in Cornerstone I was able to really lock-in w/ our drummer John Simon, or Big Nasty as we like to call him. listen to the clip below to see why we call him that. The mix was taken straight from the board and the sound quality isn’t great, but I think the playing is really good. This is my tele’s neck pickup through the J-Station w/ the LTD & Blues Breaker turned on.

 

Dimarzio Area 58s & 61

Thanks to Amazon and Fedex my pickups arrived on time today.  I decided on the Area 61 for the bridge and the Area 58 for the neck and middle slots. These are fully hum-canceling and have the standard six poles on top.

Looking at the bottom of the pickup reveals nine magnets in the pickup. I assume the extra three magnets are reverse wound to cancel the hum, but that’s only a speculation.
Continue reading “Dimarzio Area 58s & 61”

The fatback has arrived

The strat neck came in yesterday afternoon, and it looks great! I ended up going with a birdseye maple neck/fingerboard. It’s also a fatback cut, which is pretty thick but not too much. Other specs are stainless steel 6155 frets, abalone inlays, Schaller locking tuners, and a Tusk nut. Warmoth did a much better job with the frets on this one than my previous two; there isn’t a single high spot on the neck. The wood grain is also just what I wanted. My only complaint is the inlays don’t look as good as my other necks, but everything else makes up for it.


Unwinding pickups

A few weeks ago the bridge pickup in my Tele failed at a gig. I’ve heard this can happen, but I’ve never seen or experienced it first hand. After exploring several options for replacement/repair, I decided to snag another Dimarzio Twang King on ebay. It’s a great pickup and I got this one new for $50. I never did any shielding on this guitar so I took this opportunity to fix that. I opted to go the conductive paint route, instead of using copper foil. The paint is actually really expensive, about $15 for 1oz. Luckily, that amount was enough for two guitars. Anyway, I decided to salvage the magnets in the original pickup and I was amazed at how much wire is used. Here’s a picture in case anyone is curious about what the inside looks like.

Strat Project

Lately I’ve really had an itch for another strat. Since my last two Warmoth projects have turned out so well, I decided to go this route again. This time around I don’t have the time or the patience for the finishing process so I’m going to have Warmoth take care of that for me. I saw this Mary-Kay white, chambered swamp ash body and pulled the trigger. I’m going to go with the six screw Gotoh 510 solid steel bridge (pictured below). Right now the body is being routed for the bridge and H-S-S pickup configuration. I can’t wait for it to ship.