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Eastwood 1975 Morris the Cosy Mandolin shaped guitar

Guitarz - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 06:30
guitarz.blogspot.com:






I was drawn to the look of this Blueberry guitar when it was posted back in 2014, but I always thought that it was a bit too much, as a lot of the Blueberry is. A bit too ornate and flashy. The thought of a well proportioned mandolin shaped guitar has interested me since.

This Eastwood 1975 Morris the Cosy doesn't exactly fit the image I've had in mind, but it is certainly worth a gander. 

Modelled after a 1975 Morris Custom Mano Mania guitar best known as  one of the main guitars for Pete Cosy from Miles Davis' band, the Morris Cosy looks like a nice take on a semi-hollow 2 pickup design. It would be nice to see one in an non sunburst or even bare wood design to look like an old Gibson mandolin.

R.W. Haller


© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
Categories: General Interest

The Squier Bullet Strat project – part 2

Lone Phantom - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 15:00

The Squier Bullet Strat has been a rather surprising guitar. I had heard that the “COB” Chinese-made Bullets were quite the bargain find, but after cleaning it up, installing the Wilkinson bridge, the Hantug brass saddles and titanium spring claw, and stringing up the guitar, it has really surprised me. Not only does the neck feel great, but the guitar has a fantastic acoustic tone and resonance. The only real downfall was the tuning stability. The stock Bullet tuners are known to be a bit rubbish, and looking at the nut, it was obvious that the slots weren’t cut the cleanest.

Since I was on a roll I figured a trip to my local music store, Better Music, was in order. The plan was to pick up a new Graphtech Black TUSQ XL nut nut, and start collecting parts to transform the look of the guitar. In line with the black Wilkinson bridge, I wanted to change the rest of the hardware, controls and pickup covers to black. While getting the nut I grabbed a black jack plate, volume and tone knobs and pickup selector switch tip.

I also remembered that I had a DiMarzio made IBZ/USA hum-cancelling single coil pickup stashed away in my parts drawer. From what can be gathered on these old pickups, it’s based on the DiMarzio HS-2, which is a low-output single coil. I figured that while it was low output, the hum-cancelling part of the design would make it a good fit for the bridge for now, since most of my playing would be on the bridge pickup.

The new Graphtech nut had string slots that matched the existing nut, but the overall width was a little wider than the neck. I got started on filling the sides to bring it a little more in line with the neck width, but I was wishing I had pulled the stock nut before I got started on the filing. The Graphtech nut was a curved base, while the stock nut was a flat base. It was a bit late to take the nut back, so I figured I’d try and fit the nut, despite the nut shelf being flat. I filled in the shield with a bit of super glue and lined up the nut with the strings to get the placement right. Once the glue had set I was happy to find that the nut set nicely, and the action was all good. The edges sit a little over the edge of the nut, but not in a way that is a detriment to its playability.

One thing that s certain, if you have a guitar that has tuning stability issues you’d be hard pressed to go past upgrading the nut with a Graphtech TUSQ nut. When it comes to bang for buck this is one of the best things you could do to your guitar. This $12 upgrade got the guitar holding tune far better, even with the rubbish tuners and string trees still in play.

The problem with the stock tuners and trees is that the tuners have a lot of play in them, and when tuning the guitar you can hear pinging occasionally when the strings bind on the trees. However, even with these issues, the guitar stayed in tune pretty well. The downside of the sloppy tuners and binding trees, combined with the switch to black hardware will mean that I will upgrade the tuners with locking tuners and roller string trees.

I got onto installing the IBZ/USA pickup and swapping over the black hardware. I hadn’t really played the guitar plugged in yet. I was curious to see how the remaining stock Squier pickups would sound too. First up, the IBZ/USA single coil gave a fairly typical vintage Strat tone. The highs are slightly rolled off on the older hum-cancelling DiMarzio designs, but that traditional Strat “sound” is mostly there. The vintage output required me to push the dirt a bit harder to get the sounds I typically like, but that’s not too difficult to take care of. What was really surprising was the stock Squier pickups. The neck pickup with some dirt provides a really sweet lead tone that works well for heavy blues up to metal shredding. The split and middle pickup combos are pretty standard Strat fare, nothing brilliant, but plenty serviceable for those on a budget. Of course there is the hum expected from single coils, maybe a little more than what you’d get from better quality units, but again, if you’re on a budget they’ll do.

I want to get the bridge set up for whammy bar usage, so I’ll need to get the bridge mounting holes sorted next. This is a new level of work for me, so hopefully it’ll all come together nicely. This, alongside some decent locking tuners and better string trees should allow for the Bullet to handle a bit of whammy bar abuse,while still staying in tune for the most part.  Cheap guitars aren’t generally shielded very well either, so I may get onto sorting out this with some aluminium shielding tape while I’m at it.

Categories: General Interest

Music I’d Like To Hear #135


Mouthbow and Jew's harp players - Taiwan

Mouthbow and Jew’s harp players – Taiwan

Superb Bulgarian Vintage Orfeus Electric Guitar

Guitarz - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 06:02
guitarz.blogspot.com:








Luckily, I was able to save some pictures of this wonderful specimen before it was sold. This Orfeus checks a lot of boxes for me as it's odd, yellow, and has the kind of curves that could make a schoolboy blush.

R.W. Haller


© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
Categories: General Interest

The Peavey HP2 In The Flesh

I Heart Guitar - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 02:25

By far the most talked-about guitar at the Melbourne Guitar Show this past weekend was the Peavey HP2. If you haven’t heard yet, this marks Peavey’s return to USA-made electric guitars, and it’s very, very similar to the old Edward Van Halen Wolfgang models. Word has it that these are actually made using New Old Stock bodies that had been sitting around unpainted since Eddie departed, and that this first run has already been completely sold to dealers. 

If you’re in the USA, you can keep an eye on Guitar Center’s Peavey guitar inventory (including used Wolfgangs) here. If you’re here in Australia, Galactic Music is our Peavey distributor and you can find your nearest dealer here.

I checked the HP2 out up close and was instantly taken back to how great the Wolfgang was. There are a few subtle changes that separate this from the Wolfgang though. The pickups cosmetics are now standard zebra, instead of one zebra and one reverse zebra, and the pickups are tweaked a little to allow them to sound better in single coil mode than the originals did. The Peavey logo on the headstock is bigger, and there’s a range of new finishes including the beautiful Deep Ocean. It was hard to judge the sound on the crowded and very noisy show floor but initial impressions are that the tone is everything it should be, with maybe a little more detail in the high end. 

Obviously it goes without saying that EVH’s Wolfgang guitars are phenomenal quality, and the range hits a lot of different price points that Peavey isn’t hitting. I know a lot of completists who will want an HP2 to go alongside their army of Peavey Wolfgangs, EVH Wolfgangs and Striped Series, Ernie Ball Music Man Edward Van Halen guitars and various Kramers. 

The post The Peavey HP2 In The Flesh appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

MARTIN MONDAY: THE DRSG

The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:59

Always on the road? We have the perfect companion for you.

DRSG.png

The DRSG is a big sounding Dreadnought at an affordable price. The guitar features a Sitka spruce top, siris back and sides, a Richlite fingerboard and bridge, gloss body, hand rubbed neck finish, and Fishman Sonitone electronics. The guitar is strung with medium gauge SP Acoustic Martin Strings. We recommend this guitar for all playing levels. You can learn more about the DRSG here

You can purchase the DRSG at an authorized Martin dealer, by finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

Codtone Big Muff Civil War Era Clone

Guitar Tone Overload - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 21:13

Codtone is a very cool one man boutique manufacturer based out of northern New South Wales in Australia.

Not only does he craft killer pedals often based on well known circuits, he also offers something quite unique: custom etchings on his pedals.

I was after a compact Muff after selling my (too) large Big Muff Pi reissue so after trading some gear I custom ordered a Big Muff clone from Codtone. Here is a little demo of the beast which sports a Civil war era circuit and is etched with the coat of arms of my native region in France:

Categories: General Interest

How To Write A Press Release For Music Media

I Heart Guitar - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 18:56

I see a lot of press releases in the course of my day. A lot. Many of them are absolutely perfect. They’re usually written by professionals like Maric Media, ArrowAgency, Deathproof PR, Josh Vittek or any number of other folks whose job it is to get your band’s music in front of the right people, with the right accompanying information. 

Then I get press released written by the band themselves.

These are never good. 

If you don’t have the budget to enlist the services of a pro, you need to know how and why to write a press release. It seems like this is a big SEO topic because there are lots of articles about this online, but they all seem really generic and mostly seem to be rewrites of each other. Most don’t even have actual example. Pfft, that’s stupid. So here’s what I’m going to do. At the end of this article I’m going to give you an example of a press release, but before I do that I’m going to tell you why you’re writing a press release at all, and what not to do.

Why Are You Writing A Press Release?

You’re writing a press release because you want media to cover something. It could be: 

* A local gig.
* A tour.
* A new video on your YouTube channel (yes, it’s totally, very appropriate to send out a press release for this).
* An EP.
* An album.
* A new band member.
* An award you just won.
* An award you’re hoping to win.
* An opinion on some current news or music industry issue that you feel you can contribute to.

How Will Your Press Release Be Used?

Most media outlets will basically copy-and-paste your press release, tweak it for their audience, and hit ‘Publish.’ They don’t want to rewrite it from the very beginning, and they don’t want to spend 20 minutes editing it for you. It’s not that editors are lazy, it’s just that they have a lot of emails in their inbox vying for attention, and they’re more likely to run your unsolicted news item if they can do it efficiently then move on to the next article. 

What Bad Stuff Do You See, Peter?

I’ve seen some unmitigated horrors in press releases. For example: 

* Terrible grammar and spelling.
* Capitalising words that don’t need to be capitalised.
* Omitting the last names of the band members, as if you’re all friggin’ Madonna or something. 
* Trying too hard to write something evocative and flowery, when all the editor wants is the information. Don’t go overboard with “Since the dawn of time, humanity has sought the ultimate metal band, one that would rise forth from the flames and…” etc. It just doesn’t make for good media copy, which is what a press release is really for. 
* Using the press release to direct the editor to check out your information elsewhere (website, Facebook, Bandcamp, etc). Don’t do this. Just don’t. 

What Should A Press Release Include?

Relevant information, formatted so the press can release it. Easy. NEXT!

How Should A Press Release Be Sent?

You can use a mailing list client like Mailchimp to send out your press release, but I prefer just a straight text email. Here’s the thing: yes, you should send your press release as an attachment in Word or as a PDF. You should include some images (preferably your album cover if you have one, and a professional-looking live or promo shot). Include web resolution and print resolution (300dpi) versions, or link to a dropbox that contains these. But most importantly, include the entire press release in the body of the email. Remember, you want the editor to see your press release and decide to run it. This is much easier for them if it’s really, really easy to understand what it’s saying and to then copy and paste for further editing, formatting or to use as the basic for an original article. Again, editors aren’t lazy. They’re overworked and jacked up on coffee and probably underpaid and a little bit hangry, and they just want to get the article out there because that’s their job. 

So with that in mind, here’s an example of a press release. 

Guitarist Peter Hodgson Begins Recording Album

AUGUST 7, 2017: Australian guitarist Peter Hodgson has begun recording his debut instrumental album, Synesthesia, due for release in late 2017.

Synesthesia will include progressive rock/metal instrumental tracks that have been performed live with the Peter Hodgson Trio at the Melbourne Guitar Show and on TV’s Guitar Gods & Masterpieces, as well as other compositions.

“I’ve been sitting on these songs for a long time,” Peter says. “Some of them date back almost 20 years, but I’m always tweaking and changing them. I figure now is as good a time as any to give them a pat on the bum and send them out into the world.”

The album title is taken from a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Peter has written about Synesthesia for a number of publications including Guitar World, and how he uses it to influence his guitar playing and songwriting. 

About Peter Hodgson

Peter is known as senior contributor and columnist for Australian Guitar magazine, where his instructional column Soloing Strategies can be found. He is also a contributor to Guitar World and Mixdown, in addition to his role as metal columnist for Beat Magazine. And his I Heart Guitar blog [iheartguitarblog.com] has been one of the world’s most visited and highly regarded guitar news sites since 2008. 

Peter is an endorser of Seymour Duncan guitar pickups and pedals. He uses Kiesel guitars, Ernie Ball strings, Marshall amplifiers and IK Multimedia software.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact: 

Peter Hodgson
peter.j.hodgson@gmail.com

Web: iheartguitarblog.com
Twitter: @iheartguitar
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peterhodgsonguitar/
Instagram: @iheartguitarblog

The post How To Write A Press Release For Music Media appeared first on I Heart Guitar.

Categories: General Interest

What’s On The Bench – Filing Frets

In the photograph above are some of the tools I use when filing frets after they are installed on a dulcimer. On this dulcimer the ends of the frets have already been filed flush with the sides of the fingerboard. The next step is to assure there are no high or low frets as these … Continue reading "What’s On The Bench – Filing Frets"

The Guitars of Roger McGuinn

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 19:09
Roger McGuinn
Roger McGuinn was born in 1942 and grew up in the Chicagoarea. His parents were journalists. They loved to read and were devoted to literary charities, even going so far as to have a book published.

James Joseph McGuinn, his given name went to The Latin School of Chicago. He became bitten with the music bug after hearing Elvis Presley sing Heartbreak Hotel.  

He begged his parents for a guitar.

Other childhood influences include Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins and the Everly Brothers. 


Old Town School of Folk Music


In 1957 McGuinn enrolled in Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. It was there that he learned to play the five string banjo and got serious about playing guitar. By his graduation he was playing solo at various Chicagocoffeehouses.  




The Chad Mitchell Trio

His influences included several trio vocal groups including the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, a group which he would later become a member.
Bobby Darin

McGuinn got a job playing guitar and singing background in Bobby Darin’s band. This job lead to him relocating to California and the Los Angeles music scene. It was in Los Angeles that he met future members of the Byrds.




The Brill Building


In 1962 Darin hired McGuinn with the thought in mind that Darin wanted to add some folk music to his career. These were the years that Folk Music had significantly gained in popularity. By mid 1963, Darin’s health began to fail and he retired from singing. He opened a songwriting and publishing office in New York City’s Brill Building and hired Jim McGuinn. 

McGuinn also found work as a studio guitarist and that same year was backing up Judy Collins and Simon & Garfunkel on their recordings.

The rumblings of Beatlemania and the British Invasion were about to take place. Within less than a year the Beatles American tour would commence. 

The Troubadour

McGuinn traveled back to Los Angelesand took a job at Doug Weston’s The Troubadour. Jim McGuinns act included folks songs that were played in a rock style. 

This caught the attention of Gene Clark. Clark befriended McGuinn and thus was formed the beginnings of the Byrds.

Eventually the duo found other like-mined folk/rock influenced member, Chris Hillman, David Crosby and Michael Clarke. The quintet began to perform at Los Angeles clubs. In January of 1965 they recorded the monster hit, Mr. Tambourine Man. 

The Byrds' version was much different than what the songs writer, Bob Dylan, had put down on vinyl.


Their version began with an amazing four bar guitar intro and outro that was played on a Rickenbacker 12 string guitar. This was a fairly recent instrument at the time and provided a very unusual sound. Part of that sound was dependent on the engineers use of compression technology. 

Members of the Byrds were dismayed by the fact that the only group member playing an instrument on the recording was McGuinn. 

This was typical of most major recording sessions. Studio time was expensive and record companies wanted ‘product’ out as soon as possible. And this track was being done at Columbia Studios.  


'65 McGuinn and producer Terry Melcher
Members of the Wrecking Crew, including Bill PIttman on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on bass, and Leon Russell on piano, backed up Roger McGuinn, who played his 12 string guitar on Mr. Tambourine Man. 

The other members of the Byrds sang back up.

Members of the Wrecking Crew were hired to play on the hit instead of The Byrds members. The Byrds did their own vocals with McGuinn singing lead. 


Rickenbacker 360/12 string
In McGuinn’s words, “The Rickenbacker 12 string by itself is kind of thuddy. It doesn’t ring. But if you add compression you get that longer sustain. I found this out by accident. 


Teletronix LA-2A Compressor
The engineer, Ray Gerhardt would use compression on everything to protect his equipment from loud rock and roll. Two Teletronix LA-2A tube based compressors and the guitar signal was sent directly to the board. 

"That is how I got my ‘jingle-jangle’ tone. I was able to sustain a note for three or four seconds.”


The Byrds Eight Miles High

This came in handy with the Byrds next hit, Eight Miles High. It was in this song that Jim McGuinn attempted to emulate John Coltrane’s disconnected jazz riffs. He didn’t think this could be accomplished without such sustain.




Rickenbacker 360/12
McGuinn goes on to say, “I practiced eight hours a day on that ‘Ric,’ which worked out well. Acoustic 12 strings have wide necks and thicker strings that were spaced farther apart and were hard to play. But the Ric’s slim neck and low action let me explore jazz and blues scaled….I incorporated more hammer-ons and pull-off into my solos. I also translated some of my banjo picking techniques to the 12 string. 

By combining a flat pick and metal finger picks…I discovered I could instantly switch from fast single-note runs to banjo rolls and get the best of both world."



The Byrds
As a group the Byrds lasted two years, but played and recorded with other members and other differing names. The actual band officially called it quits in 1973. McGuinn went on to maintain an electric guitar band until 1981 when he decided to be a solo artist.




Roger McGuinn 2014
When James Joseph McGuinn started with the Byrds, he used his given nickname ‘Jim.’ Sometime in the mid 1960’s he started exploring spirituality and became involved with the Subud Spiritual Association. In 1967 the groups leader suggested if he was going to vibrate with the universe, he should consider a new name. 

Jim sent in a list of ten names that had to do with airplanes and science fiction

As Roger was the one actual name and the 18th letter of the 
alphabet that air pilots use when talking on the radio, that was the name McGuinn chose. 


Camilla and Roger McGuinn


Since then Roger and his wife Camilla have become Christians.





370/12RM

McGuinn’s first Rickenbacker was a two pickup model 360-12 that had a beautiful blond finish. He was fascinated by the guitar George Harrison played in Hard Days Night. Harrison’s guitar was bound on the front and the back of the body. It was done in a yellow-to red sunburst finish that Rickenbacker calls Fireglo. 

McGuinn could not find a Rickenbacker 12 string that had the pointier cutaways and top trim. He purchased the only available model and used it through his Byrds career.

This guitar was stolen and when he replaced it with a similar instrument. He states that in later years it showed up at an auction and sold for $100,000.

JangleBox Compressor
As he states, much of his sound is based on compression, for years Roger McGuinn was unable to replicate that sound on a live stage. 

Paul Kanter of the Jefferson Airplane suggest using a Vox Treble Booster. This was one of the first generation sound enhancers. The unit was small and plugged into a guitars input. 


McGuinn took the booster apart and installed in internally in his Rickenbacker. He states he tried other compression units, but could not get his sound until the Jangle-Box was invented.


Rickenbacker 370/12RM
McGuinn states that he has since he currently has a built-in compression unit onboard his triple pickup Rickenbacker 370-12RM that was designed by engineer, Bob Desiderio. As an aside he states that John Hall, the owner of Rickenbacker, allowed 1000 370-12RM models to be built and will not produce anymore to preserve their value.





Roland JC 120 Jazz Chorus

McGuinn currently uses the Jangle Box and a Roland JC120 amplifier to achieve his sound. 







Rickenbacker 360/12

McGuinn does his own string changes and set up on his guitars. Changing strings on a Rickenbacker 12 can be an all day task. McGuinn has produced a video to show how he changes strings and also how he makes neck adjustments.


Martin D12-42RM
Besides the Rickenbacker 370-12RM, McGuinn has other guitars he carries with him on tour.  The Martin Guitar Company has produced and provided two Roger McGuinn models. The first is a D12-42/RM 12 string guitar. This is an exquisite 42 model Martin with all the bells and whistles. Alas, it is no longer in production.


Martin also came out with a very unique model for McGuinn called the HD-7. This is a historic dreadnought style 45 Martin that has 7 strings. The unusual thing about this instrument is that an octave ‘G’ string is added to give the sound of a 12 string guitar, but the ease and convenience of a 6 string guitar.  

Roger frequently utilized single string runs to get his sound and this guitar does the trick.  It too is no longer in production, but is still available through some major music stores.

He was using a Fender Mastertone banjothat was given to him by Fender guitars when they were about to be acquired by CBS. He traded it to a friend for an old banjothat was made using Vega and Ode banjo parts.





During his days with Sweethearts of the Rodeo, he used a Gretsch Country Gentleman. He did not think the Rickenbacker 12 would fit into Country Music.


He states that he owns two Rickenbacker ‘Light Show’ guitars, but no longer takes them on the road. He owns a number of Rickenbacker guitars. He also owns a Martin 00-21.


Now in his 70’s, McGuinn only tours to theaters and performing arts centers stating they are well equipped facilities. He travels with his wife and enjoys getting in touch with fans all over the country.


The Rock Bottom Remainders
Roger is also part of a novelty band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. This is a group of writers, who would like to be musician and musicians and all are having a great time. 

The band was established by writer, producer and literary agent Kathi Kamen Goldmark.  

Over the years the Remainder has included among its members Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Cynthia Heimel, Sam Barry, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Maya Angelou and Al Kooper.
 

Click on the links below the pictures for the sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications




Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up August 4th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 15:07
Improve Your Guitar Skills with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast So August is here and the weather is really unusual in Northern California. It is a day reminiscent of geese and Leo Kottke’s comments on his own vocal skills.We are ramping up for IGC 2017 and now registration is […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

Number one with a bullet. The Squier Bullet Strat project

Lone Phantom - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 19:00

It’s been a while since I had a project on the go, budgets have been a bit tighter, and life a bit more hectic. One thing I’ve wanted for a while is an actual “stratty” Strat, and whilst I have built a couple of Statocaster type guitars (see my Charvel San Dimas style build project and my Strat build project), they are far more hot-rodded than traditional. I’ve been wanting something far closer to the Stratocaster blueprint, with the three single coil pickup setup.

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing in Cash Converters during my lunch break, and on the wall was a filthy looking black Squier Bullet Strat. I had read that some years were sought after for their great necks and general build quality that was above their price point, and with a few modifications they could be transformed into killer guitars.

I quickly looked up the serial number, and sure enough, this was a 2008 “COB” Chinese made Bullet, which are known to be pretty good. The neck looked straight, and the fretwork was pretty reasonable so I went ahead and bought it. Knowing that I already had a few parts at home that would be perfect for this guitar, I could get started straight away with the transformation.

The Squier Bullet Strat come with a basswood body, maple neck with rosewood fretboard, and vintage six screw tremolo bridge with more modern design saddles. The neck width at the nut is 42mm, and fretboard radius is 9.5 inches. The frets are a fairly common medium jumbo fretwire, the nut is plastic, and tuners are very basic and average performing sealed die-cast, vintage style units. The bodies on Bullet Strats are a quarter inch thinner than a traditional Stratocaster body.

First up for the transformation was removing the rusty strings and giving the guitar a good scrub down. I made up a bowl of warm soapy water, using dishwashing liquid, and began scrubbing the plastic and painted parts with a microfibre cloth. I hit the fretboard with Dunlop Fingerboard Deep Conditioner and removed all the grime, and got the rosewood looking bright and vibrant again. Once the guitar was cleaned up it was apparent that this guitar was almost like new. There were barely and scuffs or dings to be found, and this made me very happy.

One of the parts I had left over from my white Stratocaster build was a black Wilkinson six screw vintage-style tremolo bridge.  The stock Squier unit has a small and thin sustain block, and the screw-in whammy bar is a bit average too. I figured the Wilkinson bridge would be perfect for this guitar, since it has a full-size sustain block, a far nicer push-in whammy bar, and slightly wider 2-1/8″ spaced saddles.  The only tricky part to installing the Wilkison is it’s 2-1/8″ screw spacing – the standard bridge is a 2-1/16″ screw spacing. When I built the white Stratocaster I discovered that the middle four holes of the Wilkinson would line up with the holes on a body with 2-1/16″ spaced holes, so at least only the outer two holes would need to be filled and re-drilled.

Another thing I had left over from the white Stratocaster build was some Hantug Custom Guitars black brass 2-1/8″ solid saddles. These would be the perfect tonal upgrade to the vintage-style saddles on the Wilkinson bridge. To top off the bridge related upgrades was a Hantug solid milled titanium spring claw, and some Raw Vintage tremolo springs. The stock springs are extremely tight, and the looser feeling Raw Vintage springs would provide a slinkier feel when bending strings and using the whammy bar.


I got on to installing the Hantug saddles on the Wilkinson bridge, and then removing the stock unit. I figured I’d install the bridge using the middle four screws for now and get around to filling and re-drilling the outer holes later. This would be required to get the best tuning stability when using the whammy bar.

Next up was removing the stock spring claw and installing the Hantug claw and Raw Vintage springs. When I pulled the claw out I discovered that the previous owner had stripped one of the holes in the body, and rather than filling the hole, they just drilled a new hole. The angle was a bit off, but I figured I’d leave it as is and see how things worked. I also put some foam under the springs to reduce the sympathetic reverberations that can occur with Strat and Floyd Rose type bridges that use tremolo springs.

I strung up the guitar and set the saddles up to match the radius of the fretboard, and did a basic setup. The guitar’s acoustic tone was surprisingly quite good, the body resonated nicely, and the guitar sounded bigger than one would expect from a cheap, thinner than standard strat body made from basswood. As expected, there was one downside to how the guitar played, and that was the tuning stability. The combination of the cheap, badly cut plastic nut, average string trees, and slipping tuners made it a bit hard for the strings to hold their tune after a few string bends.

So at the end of stage one of the Squier Bullet Strat project, the basic bones of the guitar appear to be sound, and the first upgrades have resulted in a great tone. Next up will be trying to get the guitar holding tune, and altering the look of the guitar. Hopefully this project will prove that it is possible to create a fantastic playing and sounding guitar on a very small budget.

Categories: General Interest

MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS

The Martin Guitar Blog - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 05:00

A special one-night only event of The Avett Brother's documentary will be released on September 12th.

May It Last.jpg

The documentary from Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio follows the Avett Brothers as they undergo marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and challenges of the music business. It follows the Martin Ambassadors over two years and is set against the backdrop of the Avett Brother's album, True Sadness. "May It Last" has already been recognized by the 2017 SXSW Film Festival.

You can watch a trailer for "May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers" here.

Martin Ambassador Seth Avett's Martin guitar of choice is the D-35 Seth AvettYou can purchase the   D-35 Seth Avett at an  authorized Martin dealer , by finding a  certified online Martin dealer , or exploring the  buy from factory program .

 

Categories: Manufacturers

More Adventures In Dulcimer Making

Yes, another thrill-packed day in the adventurous life of a dulcimer maker. Not long ago I wrote about my reasons for no longer taking advance orders for dulcimers.  One reason I did not mention in that post was that sometimes things … Continue reading

MARTIN MONDAY: THE GPCRSG

The Martin Guitar Blog - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 06:53

Looking for a great cutaway guitar to take on the road with you? Meet the GPCRSG!

GPCRSG.png

The cutaway Grand Performance guitar is crafted with a Sitka spruce top and mutenye back and sides. It produces a beautiful even tone with good bass response and clear mids and trebles. The GPCRSG also features a Richlite fingerboard and bridge, high performance taper neck and Fishman® Sonitone electronics to make this guitar ready to go.

You can learn even more about the GPCRSG here.

You can purchase the GPCRSG at an authorized Martin dealer, by finding a certified online Martin dealer, or exploring the buy from factory program.

Categories: Manufacturers

Hantug Custom Guitars sustain block upgrades for Ibanez Edge Pro – review

Lone Phantom - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 23:45

I’ve documented a range of sustain block upgrades over the years, and they really are a great way to improve the tone of a non-hardtail bridge equipped guitar. Brass is the common upgrade for double locking bridges, and titanium is another popular option. I’ve reviewed a range of brass options from several manufacturers, and a few titanium options previously, made by Hantug Custom Guitars. Hantug have been kind enough to provide me with a couple more sustain block upgrades to review, this time a brass and titanium sustain block for the Ibanez Edge Pro bridge.

The test guitar for this review is my 2003 Ibanez RG 450 LTD, which features a basswood body, and maple neck with rosewood fretboard. As with most Ibanez bridges, the stock sustain block is made out of some sort of pot metal alloy. I compared this against the brass and titanium options from Hantug.

As with all other parts created by Hantug, the brass and titanium sustain blocks are high quality units. Hantug have done a fantastic job of machining these blocks to match the dimensions of the stock unit. The Edge Pro has cutaways in the sustain block to allow for the string ball-end holders, and Hantug have designed their blocks with two options: deep grooves for those who prefer to use the ball-end holders; and a non-deep groove option for those who prefer to lock their strings in the traditional way

The blocks are nicely machined, particularly the titanium unit with it’s etched logo, and it’s almost a shame that the block is hidden away in the guitar’s body. The only downside in the design is that the spring retainer bar is the same configuration as the stock one, and that it can hold a maximum of three springs while still having two bolts holding the bar. The Hantug Edge/Lo Pro Edge blocks allow up to five springs while still allowing both bolts to hold the retainer bar.

First cab off the rank is the brass unit, and as expected from this metal, it provides a warmer and louder tone that sustains more than the stock unit. There’s a thicker low end, and the mids are pushed more into the mix. I find that the clarity is enhanced over the stock block, and there’s a greater ability to coax harmonics out of the guitar. Comparing recorded waveforms, it’s clear that the brass block compresses the sound,which gives the perception of greater volume, and enhances the sustain.

Next up is the titanium block. Titanium provides a brighter tone that has a higher level of clarity over the stock and brass units. String seperation is amazing on chords, and the harmonic quality is pushed even higher. Titanium is bright without being too shrill, and the volume pretty much matches the brass unit. Sustain is similar to the brass, so it’s a boost over the stock unit.

Overall the Hantug Edge Pro sustain block upgrades are a fantastic option for guitars loaded with this bridge. Both brass and titanium blocks offer an excellent upgrade over the stock Edge Pro sustain block. When it comes to picking one it’s more down to tonal preference and available budget, since titanium parts are generally more expensive. The Hantug blocks are beautifully machined, and also priced well against the competition. If you are looking to push your Edge Pro equipped Ibanez guitar’s tone into new territory then definitely check out the Hantug upgrade options.

Categories: General Interest

Emerald Guitars

The Unique Guitar Blog - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 16:45
Alistair Hay

Alistair Hay grew up in the Irish seaside town of Creeslough, located in North West Donegal in Ireland. His father ran the family farm. His father was quite a craftsman and made whateve was needed by the family or at the farm. His father eventually took a job with an engineering firm as a designer and moved the family to East Donegal.




East Donegal Today
When the firm he had joined began to fail.  Mr. Hay set up his own business building products made from fiberglass that included boats, children's play equipment, and go karts.

As Alistair grew up, he went to work with at his fathers business where he learned about composites and fiberglass. This peaked Alistair’s interest in engineer and designing products mad
Royal & Prior - Athlone Tech

Alistair went on to attend Royal and Prior College, and the from compounds. Upon graduating he went on to attend Athlone Institute of Technology to study Polymer Engineering.

Seebold Sports Formula One Racing
After graduating, Alistair Hay had an opportunity to take a job with Seebold Sports, a company that builds fiberglass bodies, motors, and parts for racing boats. The owner of the company, Bill Seebold, became his mentor.

He encouraged him to follow his own path and find a career based on what he knew and enjoyed. Hay chose to work with carbon fiber; a subject of which he has amassed tremendous knowledge.

Steve Vai with Custom Emerald Ultra
In 1994, while still working at Seebold, Hay had an idea to build guitars from composite material. But he had no knowledge of luthiery. Hay played guitar and was fascinated by guitar players, especially Steve Vai. But had no knowledge of guitar construction.

Hay learned to build guitars by reverse engineering his own guitar. He made many mistakes during his learning curve. He developed a friendship with a skilled luthier that offered him instructions that became a tremendous help.

The First Emerald Guitar
 to leave the factory
By 1998 Alistair Hay was confident enough to start Emerald Guitars and offer his instruments for sale. He admits it was trial and error, and continual improvement until 2001. The first Emerald Guitars were offered to the public in 1999.

During those early years, Emerald Guitars had partnered with Parker Guitars in a deal to use their fret boards. This was a great partnership until Ken Parker and his partner sold Parker Guitars to the musical instrument conglomerate US Music.

Richie Sambora with
Emerald 
The sale created a real problem for Hay and Emerald Guitars, since US Music quit sending fret boards to Hays’ company. In 2008 Emerald Guitars was unable to fulfill any orders and had to shut down operations.

Steve Vai  with Emerald Ultra LP Cover




As stated, Hay states he was always fascinated by guitars and guitar music. He found inspiration from listening to an album by Steve Vai. And later Hay built 3 guitars for Vai.





Wang Leehom & Alistair Hay
with Tay Kewei's Emerald Guitar

In 2008, while traveling, Hay met a singer from Singapore named Tay Kewei. She was in a band with guitarist Wang Leehom, who is very popular in his country. Kewei was looking for a new guitar, so Hay built one for her with a unique body and headstock that resemble dragons.

Hay with a custom guitar
This creation inspired Hay to start building guitars again, and restart Emerald Guitars.

It was almost four years before Hay was able to redesign his molds to include a carbon fiber fretboard. By doing this, the company is no longer dependent on outsourcing. Since resuming production in 2012, Emerald Guitars has come with with quite a line up.  Their guitars are well made and by no means inexpensive. However they are built for a lifetime.

The Opus line is the most available. These guitars only come with a black finish. They come in a full line up of guitars, ukes, and a bass. There are options that can be added if desired.

Opus 7


The Opus 7 is a parlour sized instrument with a 24" scale. The overall length is 30", so it makes a great travel guitar.  The Opus 20 has similar accoutrements to the 7 model, but is a full sized guitar, with a 25 1/2" scale, and a 40" overall length.





Opus 20



The Opus 20 is offered for right or left handed players. Both instruments come with a gig bag, and pickups can be added at an additional cost.






Opus Chimaera
The Opus Chimaera is a double neck 6 and 12 string instrument. Both necks have a 25 1/2" scale, and the instrument weighs less than a Fender Stratocaster; only 6.3 lbs (3 kg).

Emerald Synergy Opus 7 and Synergy Opus 20 Harp Guitars
Emerald Guitar's forte is their harp guitars. Not a lot of companies specialize in harp guitars. For their Opus line, Emerald offers two instruments. The Snyergy Opus X7 pairs a 24" scale guitar neck with six bass strings that jut out of the upper bout and are attached to the top of the instrument. The overall length is 37 1/2". A few years ago, one of these instruments was being offered as a test guitar to anyone who signed up and agreed to pay $45 to keep it for a week and then ship it to the next person that wanted to try it out.. This guitar is acoustic, but a pickup can be added.

The Synergy Opus X20 is a full sized harp guitar, with a 25 1/2" scale on the guitar neck. It too has six bass strings, and a pickup system is an upgrade-able option. Both harp guitar come with a gig bag.

Balor Bass Opus
For bass players, Emerald offers the Balor Bass Opus. This is a five string, 34" scale acoustic bass guitar that can be upgraded to add a pickup. It comes with a padded gig bag, and Gotoh GB707 bass machine tuners.

Emerald keeps limited stock on hand for all their instruments, so check this link to the companies web site to see what is on hand.



Emerald Artisan Chimaera
in Wooded Bubinga

Emerald Guitars also offers their Artisan Line, which are custom, made-to-order hand built instruments. These include the L.R. Baggs Element active pickup system in the cost



The instruments are offered in your choice of these colours; black, blue, green, red, and amber. The guitars are sized much like the Opus series, X7, X20, the Chimaera six/12, and both Synergy series harp models.

Emerald Amicus Artisan models
Added is the Amicus Artisan model, which is a 12 string guitar, with a short 18" scale length. It is meant to be tuned down one whole step from standard E tuning. All Artisan models come with a deluxe padded gig bag.



Custom Shop X20 Woody Cocobolo


And if you want more, Emerald Guitars can create the guitar of your dreams through their custom shop.







Alistair with custom creation



If you want to, Alistair Hay will personally design and build and Emerald Guitar to your specifications.







Emerald custom made "Cello" Guitar

Such was the case with this custom guitar that he built for someone that wanted a nylon string guitar that resembled a cello. Click on the line below the picture to learn about this amazing creation.


Click on the links below the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for more information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)






Categories: General Interest

Totally Guitars Weekly Wrap Up July 28th, 2017

On The Beat with Totally Guitars - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:42
Learn To Play Your Favorite Song with the online guitars lessons from Totally Guitars! Totally Guitars News Podcast So it has been about 3 months since my last lesson, until today that is. I certainly did not think that was going to be the case going into the Hogan’s summer of surgeries. I hope everybody […]
Categories: Learning and Lessons

That Just Happened Interviews Jake E Lee

Charvel Guitars - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 12:07

That Just Happened caught up with Red Dragon Cartel guitarist Jake E Lee at Obscenic Arts Recording Studio in Pennsylvania where he’s been working on the band’s sophomore album, Patina.

In an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview, Lee dives into his “Guitar-senal,” which includes his signature Charvel guitar, and how his goal is to make music that he wants to hear and to “stir things up a bit.”

Watch the clip below …

Categories: Manufacturers

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