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  1. Day 145: "Picking" up where I left off...

    by , November 9th, 2012 at 12:38 AM (The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin)
    One of my biggest obstacles over the past 20 years has been guitar picks!

    Picks felt foreign and unwieldy right from the get-go. I didn't feel as connected to the instrument and it was easier to lose track of my strings. So rather than work hard, develop skill and master the pick, I became steadfastly opposed to their existence. I would lobby about the unnecessariness of picks to anyone who would listen. In hindsight, this was an obvious self-defence mechanism. I was only fooling ...
    Guitar Gear
  2. wiring advice needed

    So, i want to get a Fernandes sustainer, but i still want to use my neck and bridge pickups.

    I was wondering if there was a way can wire the sustainer to the toggle switch so it will activate regardless of pickup position.

    Any help would be greatly appriciated^^
  3. Day 121b: <Tangent> Top 10 guitar terms that sound filthy to the uninitiated...

    by , October 15th, 2012 at 11:59 PM (The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin)
    #10... hammer-ons & pull-offs

    #9... bending above the nut

    #8... headstock

    #7... bolt-on

    #6... buckle rash

    #5... hot pickups

    #4... bone nut

    #3... single coil

    #2... brown sound

    #1... humbucker!

    Honourable mentions: G-string, F-hole and speed knobs.

    Feel free to add more in the comments section.

  4. Day 121: Life gets in the way sometimes...

    by , October 15th, 2012 at 11:30 PM (The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin)
    My hiatus is officially over and it's time for an update.

    Since my last post I:
    1. moved my family out of one house and into another,
    2. had a serious bout of bronchitis and pneumonia,
    3. was promoted at work,
    4. turned 40,
    5. lost over 25 pounds (including 1.5" from my neck, 2" from my chest and 4" off my waist),
    6. and suffered a ligament injury to the thumb on my fret hand, which still hasn't fully healed.

    Even if I had the time or inclination to play ...
  5. Day 27: Reflections on a clean axe...

    One of the easiest and most expensive ways to motivate yourself and practice more is (you guessed it!) buy a new guitar.

    Justifications for the investment:
    • you can't wait to pick it up and hold it
    • you want to play it non-stop
    • it's more comfortable/easier to play than your current guitar
    • it provides a better tonal range for expressing yourself musically
    • you haven't purchased a new guitar in almost 5 years
    • this is the Summer you turn 40
    • you recently received a
  6. Day 16: Just in case you're wondering...

    I am reading Gary Marcus' Guitar Zero. In fact, I finished it tonight.

    It's an excellent read for a middle-aged analyst and guitar enthusiast like myself. The book offers enormous insight into how we learn, how our brains re-wire themselves, how music affects us, music history, theories, studies, observations, anecdotes, opinions...

    I read a digital copy on my iPhone. This was also a new experience for me and, surprisingly, not unpleasant. I was a hardcover guy, now ...
  7. Day 13: My first "real" challenge...

    Ties and dots.


    Ties and dots.

    I get it. They're simple concepts, but this is the first music notation that made me roll my eyes and want to go to bed early.

    I've had minimal difficulty with whole, half, quarter and eighth notes writhing up, down and across the staff. It's cool. It's an alphabet. There's a natural flow and familiarity. These are notes/letters forming riff/words... but now I have to deal with these accents--these ties ...
  8. Day 10: Joy! (An Ode to...)

    I've definitely played more difficult songs than "Ode to Joy." I can't recall playing an entire song on just 2 strings. I can't recall playing an entire song with only 5 recycled, natural notes.

    So why am I grinning from ear to ear? Because I can read EEFGGFEDCCDEEDD | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC | DDECDFECDFEDCFG | EEFGGFEDCCDEDCC across a treble staff as fast as you can read it here.

    Sure, it's just "Ode to Joy." But playing it from sheet music at a decent ...
  9. Day 6: Insidious rationalization...

    I wanted to play the guitar tonight. So I did, but I didn't.

    I wanted to play the guitar tonight, but I didn't want to practice fretboard fundamentals or learn foundational music theory. I told myself to play the guitar because practice is just practice and it's not really playing. I convinced myself to play/not play.

    This is perhaps the most insidious trap in adult learning: rationalizing procrastination. In effect, I played myself.

    All I've ever wanted to ...
  10. Day 4: Thumbs up for thumbs down...

    Previously, I expressed concern over the inconsistency of thumb placement by my fret hand. Eerily, my pre-recorded guitar teacher addressed the issue tonight.

    What's scarier is his advice made instant sense and had an immediate impact (paraphrasing): don't worry about your thumb, worry about your wrist--keep your wrist down and your thumb will fall into place.

    The prescribed wrist-down technique has also improved my fingertip angles. As well, it helps keep my fret ...
  11. Day 1 - Lesson 1...

    Noble me, I literally started from scratch. I did not fast forward through the pre-lessons like "the parts of the guitar" or "the names of the strings." In recognition of this miracle, I may change my handle to Saint David.

    Early comments about Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar program:
    • Outstanding production value
    • Nice balance between high-level concepts and low-level details
    • Steve Krenz is a genuinely nice guy and his voice is well suited for instruction
    • Appreciate
  12. Day 1 - Taking inventory...

    Acoustic guitar? Check!
    Chromatic tuner? Check!
    Picks of various shapes and sizes? Check!
    DVD-based guitar learning program? Check!

    Some backstory: last year I received Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar as a gift. It's a high-end product in this saturated market and emphasizes music theory as much as technique. Plus, L&MG was already an established thing before Gibson funded some reshoots and attached their brand to it. Vote of confidence, right?
  13. Yamaha shredder to hardtail dee-construction

    by , January 24th, 2012 at 09:18 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    I got bored with the Floyd on my Yamaha...and the guitar needs a complete work-over I ordered a Gibson-style wraparound-bridge and I'll do the Davette thing on the out the Floyd, carve a large opening in its place and glue in a big block of new wood...plane it nice and install a fixed bridge. Sand down and slightly V-shapify the neck, re-shape the headstock, sand and re-finish the entire body. Actually cover the front entirely with aluminum.

    Heres' what happens: ...
  14. Jig Saw Circel Jig

    I bought my bar jig at the Home Despot for jig saws. The mechanism for attaching the bar to the saw is really lousy, the vibrations from the saw and cutting would cause it to move. Really useless. So I drilled a hole in the bar and used the plastic handle as a stop for the saw. I put the step drill in the stop bar where I drilled the pivot hole to highlight the hole and to illustrate how the jig works.

  15. AX84 Cab and Tweed 5E3 Build

    Around Christmas, 2011 I decided that I wanted to build an amp. Originally I planned to heavily mod a Valve Jr that I traded a couple of pedals for...After doing a lot of reading, I decided to go with a PCB from I'll build a head, and I need a speaker cabinet too. So I ordered up a Jensen Jet Falcon, 12-inch and a bunch of T-Nuts (part# S-HTN1032) from Antique Electric Supply (AES).

    I decided to use ...
    Music , Guitar Gear
  16. An appreciation of the Hair Metal Years

    Lately Iíve been reminiscing a lot about my musical influences. It started a few months back when I started searching for a new Tube amp. Iíve always been a Fender guy, more out of habit than anything else, my first decent amp was a Fender Princeton stereo chorus and for the last 12 years or so Iíve been playing a HRDlx. I love Fender cleans but a part of me always felt that I was missing out nice dirty tones. Distortion pedals with a Fender amp never quite did it for me - but I got by.
  17. YouTube demo

    by , April 6th, 2011 at 04:41 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    It's Ok, not a bad player at all, but even though only slightly, still the neck heaviness bothers me.

    Furthermore, it still needs a little fret work, at the minumum a re-crown as after leveling some spots are far too wide.

    Remains to be seen if it after that 'wakes up' better in upper registers, now it doesn't really sing and have a great sustain to speak of in the upmost registers. Same thing that's noticeable on my ...
  18. Rest of the photos

    by , April 2nd, 2011 at 11:59 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

  19. Done

    by , April 2nd, 2011 at 11:13 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    OK here's the first pic from the's all done now:

    S*tty finishing job, but what can I say, I'm really impatient :-)
  20. Backside

    by , April 1st, 2011 at 08:38 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    It's about done. Just the electrics to add for now, once the lacquer dries some.

    The lacquer is far from great, I really should do a whole lot more sanding and whatnot, but I'm just tired with it so I think I'll finish the build for now. It's just cosmetic anyway now, and looks good from a few metres anyway.

    If it turns out to be a great player and I'll spend much time on it, I can always strip the parts and give it a better finish then.
  21. Short video of the guitar with the strings on for the 1st time

    by , March 26th, 2011 at 05:51 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    Lots of issues to deal with still. LOTS. Not to mention the neck still being hugely thick, there's a gazillion little details to worry about, fret ends etc. and there's a couple of high frets as well still. Can't seem to get them properly seated, I'll have to remove and make sure there's nothing in the groove, probably there is something.

    Then it's a lot of sanding and such as well, the saddle and whatnot. Drilling some holes for controls etc. etc... ...
  22. Final shape ready

    by , March 23rd, 2011 at 11:22 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    Ready for fine sanding and such...lots and lots of sanding to do now. The neck has a shape as well but it's too thick as of now.

    Curious thing BTW...I have all the parts like pickups in a box, and the box weigh just about the same as the guitar with just the wood parts. This is going to be a rather light one!

    Can't tell from the photo but the top is slightly ...
  23. Testing parts placement

    by , March 19th, 2011 at 01:58 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    The shape is still rough; there will be a deeper/rounder cut at the back and of course every edge will be trimmed nice, the body is about 1/4 too big almost everywhere right now, quite rough sawn as it is. I wanted to leave plenty of wood for sanding it down nice.

    Ditched the tu-tone color scheme; took a while to get the mid section colored the same as the ...
  24. Another angle

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 02:17 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    OK, here's the whole thing from another angle.

    Clearly shown the body wood and the overlaying veneer...there will be another veneer for the back, but not with maple showing, all intact from the back. I'll contour the edges some and they will be black, thinking of some kind of sunburst. Although white binding would be super cool too..only, that might be a bit much to try to learn how to do.

    The body wood also has all cavities done, plus most of the wire ...
  25. First test assembly...birch on birch and center maple

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 02:05 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    I'm going to leave it 2-tone all the much like it is now.
  26. Headstock designing

    by , March 16th, 2011 at 02:01 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
  27. Bigger area test 'markered'

    by , March 15th, 2011 at 12:19 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Here's a guitar-size slab of veneer done with the markers:

  28. Coloring test with Magic Marker. See other thread...

    by , March 14th, 2011 at 10:39 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
  29. Overall view

    by , March 13th, 2011 at 07:37 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    Alright; seems I've settled with the star shape. Here's the fretboard glued in place and radiused and the neck part laid over the bottom veneer with the shape marking. Also the headstock shape now visible; the same knife shape repeats in the body.

    The body will be built much like an acoustic, but with ~1" thick maple sides and the neck-thru, but anyway ...
  30. Radius gauge

    by , March 13th, 2011 at 04:54 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    While the glue is still drying, I made this radius sanding tool to keep me busy. I screwed a slab of metal onto a chunk of acrylic or similar quite hard/resilient plastic of some sort (used to be a MinuteMaid chopping board) , dipped it in boiling water and used screws and a few washers to force it into a nice curve; it was easy to adjust it by turning the screws in various locations. ...
  31. TheFret(board) in place!

    by , March 12th, 2011 at 09:39 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Alright, now making good progress!

  32. Designed a shape for 'wings'

    by , March 1st, 2011 at 09:05 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Here's how I thought I'd shape the 'wings'.

    It's shaped so that the neck will sit the same as in strat both sitting and standing, i.e. the strap buttons are in the same positions over the fretboard & as far back.
    It looks smaller than it is because at this point the neck is way wider than it'll be when done...same size as a strat, really.
  33. Truss rod installation

    by , February 25th, 2011 at 06:22 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Got the old Dremel out and now the truss rod is installed nice and tight.

    There sure isn't much wood left under the truss adjust opening, and it was VERY hard to drill the hole from the said opening to the actual truss cavity, so that the 'bridge' of wood under the saddle holds the rod end securely yet the adjustment screw has just enough room to squeeze thru under the saddle and be, well, adjustable.

    I had pre-cut the rod slot with a large machine, just used the dremel ...
  34. Yet more progress

    by , February 23rd, 2011 at 11:18 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Got the neck rough shaped, still far too wide (as wide as headstock) but much closer to how it's gonna be.

    Also got the truss rod channel routed. The measurements turned out OK and it's so designed that when you lay it on the floor etc. the body will rest flat on the floor and the headstock will also just touch the floor but not bend the neck at all like on Gibsons etc. which are tilted also at the body/neck joint.

    Also pictured the Grovers I bought for it as well as ...
  35. Using Major Pentatonic Shapes

    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    I brought this over from my thread regarding my new jamming project I am involved in.

    In that project, I am called to play fills and leads over a variety of songs, a lot of which are not blues or blues rock songs in minor keys. Thus, I can't just camp out on the minor pentatonic shapes. Having to learn new things.

    One technique I have been trying is using the pentatonic
  36. Some progress

    by , February 9th, 2011 at 12:33 PM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Got the truss rod in the mail along with a bridge - I'll use a black tele-type bridge sans the 'edges' and w/bucker hole. Here's what's I've been up to with the woods:

    Working with like 1/3 inch safety margin so far, so as to not make mistakes...will have plenty of wood to work with for a while still.

    Also, been pondering about making it sort of ...
  37. So Many Tele Choices...

    by , February 4th, 2011 at 04:33 PM (What's Up, Blawg? (by Tig))
    Final Tele search entry:
    The winning guitar for my Tele quest is the Hell Guitars "No. 2".
    More here.

    News Flash:

    I've zeroed in on a possible Tele to save up for. While I could go with a nice Squier Classic Vibe Custom, I'm considering something special yet still affordable for under $800 from Logan Custom Guitars...

    Butterscotch ...

    Updated May 29th, 2011 at 12:22 AM by Tig

    Tags: telecaster Add / Edit Tags
  38. Some photos

    by , February 4th, 2011 at 06:05 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)

    This is a crude drawing of how I'm thinking of making the guitar. I'll try to leave the maple wide at the actual body part to house all hardware well and support mics and all. Just add flanges on either side. The green dotted line means I'll have the body cavity open from the back rather than front (if I can use a router carefully enough) for easy access to swap mics and such. ...
  39. Pre-cutting wood

    by , February 4th, 2011 at 01:48 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    I've now raw-cut the maple, and I'm going to make the neck with two pieces, the main part will be a neck-thru single maple slab, quartersawn, near the very center of the tree, so the growth circles will nearly match the shape of the neck. I will make the headstock from the same wood but I've cut a slab that I'll set to the neck at roughly 10-15% angle so that the join will take place under the 2nd fret approximately - from there on the grain of wood will then be lateral to the headstock.
  40. The Making of: weird guitar project...that could backfire too...

    by , February 4th, 2011 at 01:45 AM (Dee's guitar-making/modding projects blog)
    Moving this to blogs...never written one but might be better this way, especially when I get photos.

    I had this big log of maple in the basement, been drying there for at least 7-8 years now. It's about 3-4 inches thick and 1,5 foot wide, long as an electric guitar (over a yard). It's curved and twisted a little over the years as it's dried, and I'm hoping it won't 'live' no more.

    I'm going to build me an electric guitar of _some_ sort, perhaps out of that block. It ...