musical instrument

The Green

Alright, so it’s been 9 months since my last post. Quick update with some photos of the Green tele I made for my friend. DSC_8323DSC_8325DSC_8339

Really happy with how this turned out.

Pickups are: Bridge – Irongear Hot Slag & Neck – Irongear Rolling Mill. Both great pickups, and the coil split (or tap?) means you can turn them into single coils. The Hot Slag pickup as a single coil sounds great. A really sharp, aggressive single coil sound. In full humbucker mode it is a powerful pickup. Highly recommend.

I have parted ways with this guitar now. It was a great feeling giving this to a close friend. He really loves it, and I really miss it! He lives abroad so I haven’t seen it since.

Anyway, it has a new home now. One day I’ll see it again.

The Latest part 3

I’ve put together a video of applying the stain onto the back and front of the guitar and applying the logo onto the headstock via water transfer.

Yes, essentially it is watching paint dry for the first half but I’ve added some music courtesy of BearWolves to liven it up a little.

If I make more videos in the future I promise they will be more interesting.

For those interested, here you go:

 

 

The Latest part 2

This guitar was built as a gift for a close friend. It was kept a surprise, he had no idea I was even putting another guitar together and I deliberately didn’t post about it on here to keep it away from finding anything out.

It is really fun trying to design a guitar for someone else; to think about their style of playing, the music they listen to and what they might be inspired to write on it. It got me thinking that a standard T-type guitar just wouldn’t cut it. I had to dual humbucker this guitar to give it the muscles to create some hard hitting riffs. This was going to be a rock beast straight from the get go.

Step 1: route out a socket large enough for a humbucker in the bridge position. Exhibit A:

20150919_125637Not my neatest job. This blog is just as much about highlighting my mistakes and learning as it is about detailing and showcasing my projects. I hope people learn from these small mistakes that have big consequences.

I didn’t actually have the humbucker I was planning to install at the time of this routing job, which meant I didn’t have the reference point for whether the hole was big enough and whether the position was perfect. I didn’t pay attention to this and just ploughed on with the project which it turns out didn’t harm anything, it just meant that after I had dyed it, lacquered it up and finished it, I then realised I had to go back to do some more routing! A potentially messy job but I’m glad to say it didn’t actually affect anything. So the take-away message: plan this all in advance! Get all your bits, measurements and hardware jobs ready first.

Back to the project:

So I had the dual humbucker sockets ready. I sanded it down and as the body was bought pretty much complete, I just had to dye it. I knew there was only one colour for this. A badass green to match the badass tone this beast would give.

Stain 1

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Stain 1 – back

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Stain 2

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The colour got more and more intense with each stain. It was perfect, exactly what I wanted. Once each stain dried the colour faded quite a lot. These photos are immediately after the dye was applied. You can see some darker patches. I put this down to the basswood’s qualities but a light sanding with steel wool between the stains really helped even things out.

More to come in the next post!

 

 

The latest

My posts have been few and far between in the last few months, apologies for that!

I’ll be adding some pictures and videos of my latest project. One that, I must say, is my favourite finish so far (From one I have finished – see the previous post for an awesome custom finish Nick of Stormbeard Arts did for my old grey tele).

So, it starts with gathering all the parts!

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Pretty much all from ebay.

I had a vision in mind for this one, so the body needed a lot of work to match it up. I knew I wanted dual humbuckers in this so the bridge had to be routed and the body sanded before applying any hardware or finish.

It was really hard finding a humbucker sized bridge that wasn’t through-body stringing. I do not have the tools or skills yet to drill perfect holes for through-body stringing. Obviously, as the picture shows, I found one eventually.

More coming up shortly, stay tuned – it will be worth the wait!

 

 

 

The Grand Unveiling

Here’s what arrived for me in the post courtesy of Stormbeard Arts

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The artwork on the box was an awesome touch to build the excitement. When I opened it, it was securely wrapped up with bubble wrap and in this cool flag.

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I had no idea what to expect. I gave full creative control to Stormbeard Arts, not giving any suggestions or ideas about how I wanted it to look. His artwork is so awesome that I trusted him to do his thing.

He really delivered, and then some.

I started the assembly and wired it up that night. I installed a Seymour Duncan little 59 for Tele to give a bit of diversity to my tele collection. I’ll add a video soon.

It wasn’t long until it had its first photoshoot

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What a journey this guitar has made! From a natural finish, all chipped and scratched with bits of lacquer missing to a grey beast and then to this masterpiece.

Needless to say, I love it.

Thank you Stormbeard Arts

 

The Grey Transformation

I’m very excited about this post. I’ve wanted a custom painted/artwork guitar for a while. When I was 18 I tried painting a strat copy guitar in a similar style to Eric Clapton’s SG from Cream. That was my first experience of customising a guitar. Now, it has been done properly and professionally.

A few posts before this one you will find “the Grey”. A beast of a tele that looked badass and has had on-stage experience. It was a trustworthy axe until the white one came along which, quite frankly, I preferred. They grey has a cool story behind it. Check out the 2 part post about it further down my blog.

Here it is, stripped back of all the electronics and hardware on the body.

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It was posted back to me in a box that looks like this:

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I was super excited to open it. It was all I thought about while staring at the clock at work, waiting to come home and check it out.

And here is a little teaser of the final product:

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More to come!

 

Homemade guitar Live

Sorry it has been a bit quiet here. There are more updates coming soon.

For now, I am unashamedly plugging my band – we played a gig last week and I had to use my homemade guitar as my White Tele packed up – I will try and do a how-to-wiring guide for it in the coming weeks.

Anyway, the guitar sounded great. I was going through a great amp to be fair, but it sounded awesome. May be using this one live more often!

Take a look:

 

 

 

The White One – repositioning the bridge

It’s been a few weeks since my last post.

I’m posting about this white guitar I put together as I also had a similar problem as with “the grey”, where the bridge wasn’t placed accurately enough. I chose to re-adjust this one rather than the grey as it was more of a problem on this guitar – playing it was actually pretty difficult.

I was given the body pretty much as it is in the first picture below (minus a few coats of paint) and bought another cheap neck from ebay for less than £30. Here are some pictures of it before I show the bridge re-positioning

I think the body came with a white primer coat already on it, so I just bought some white spray paint and kept it that colour. I initially wanted a white pickguaurd but changed my mind when I saw this tortoise shell one.

To date, this is still my favourite guitar I have done. I love the look and it is getting some scratches and signs of being used which I think makes it look cooler. No where near a relic look yet. I do want it to get there but I don’t want to cheat and relic it myself with some sand paper. I will let the aging process take its natural course.

Anyway, you can see the problem with the guitar in the photos above. The bridge is too far to one side. This is because there were already marks for the bridge and rather than do the wise thing and double check they are accurate, I took the lazy route and chanced it. Well, I’ve learnt the lesson. The low E string was at such an angle that at around the 12th fret it was almost off the neck. I actually left it like this for about a year because I have been too scared to move the bridge and just adapted my playing!

20151115_140456In this photo above you can see the tools I used.

1) I unscrewed the bridge.

2) using a Stanley knife I shaved off the wooden skewers so they fit in the screw holes

3) I marked the depth of the hole on the skewer with the Stanley knife but just slicing a little cut into it, this way I could easily break off the skewer once I had placed it in the screw hole

4) Once narrow enough to fit tight, I dipped the skewer in wood glue and placed the skewer in the hole, then broke it off.

5) This was quite messy but doesn’t matter, because when it dries you can easily sand it down flat.

6) I followed this process with all three.

For smaller holes you can use standard tooth picks dipped in wood glue to fill them, but I needed something thicker for this.

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Once this was completed, I measured out where the new position should be. I had to use the router to make the pickup cavity larger as I had to move the bridge and pickup forward a few mms. I therefore had to detach the pickup and solder it back in place after. This gave me the opportunity to make better connections as my soldering is improving.

So, here is a (very blurry) picture of the result:

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If anyone is interested, the pickups are Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders and they are awesome.

So there you have it. I hope anyone with a similar problem reads this and sees how easy it is to fix. The moral of this story is always take time to do it right the first time. Don’t make shortcuts or pick the lazy option!

I will find some footage of me using it to show you how it sounds.

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Grey – part 2: Assembly

In my last entry about this grey Telecaster I explained how the choice of colour was a very laid back decision – the primer/base coat was grey and we liked it. Telecasters are awesome because they are simple machines, and the colour selection process was much the same!

This will be quite a brief post, just about the assembly process. Unfortunately, last year when I was putting this guitar together, I did not document it too well. But as you will see, I need to return to it for some minor adjustments which I will document with better detail for this blog.

Anyway, here we go:

First things first…get yourself one of these:

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Any large toolbox will do. This is assuming, of course, that you do not already have a workshop or shed just for these projects, and need a small space to keep everything. I definitely fall into that category!

Here is an update with all the hardware (minus pickups) screwed on.

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The neck was another £20-30 ebay buy. It still holds up great today. Such a bargain! They do need a bit of tidying up to start with e.g. filing down some sharp fret edges, but only minor adjustments!

The picture above shows the slight problem though. You can see that the bridge plate is at a very slight angle! Now, the intonation is fine and the bridge is in an accurate enough location, but that angle presents a slight problem that I only noticed when I put the humbucker in (a single-coil-sized humbucker).

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Very sorry for the blurry picture. I will take a better when for a final blog entry on this guitar.

You can sort of see in the pictures, though, that one of the rails on the humbucker does not sit underneath the 6th string. I think that this is the reason why the 6th string sounds a little quieter than the others. This is a problem for my rhythm work, as hard-rock style riffs often rely on the heaviness of the 6th string.

I have two options:

i. raise the bridge pickup by only tightening the screw under the 6th string. This might affect the tone of the guitar, however. Or,

ii. re-position the bridge (the solution I know is the right one). I can just fill in the screw-holes with toothpicks and wood glue, then drill new ones. This is a relatively easy procedure and the more I am typing, the more I think I will do this.

Maybe I will tackle it next weekend. Depends on the weather!

As things stand now though, the guitar does play well (aside from the ever-so-slight volume dip in the 6th string). It was my main guitar for a while last year when I was in a band. I’ve gigged with it only a couple times, but it was my main rehearsal guitar.

I will put a short video demo of this guitar when I’m done with it.