Anthony Lintner, guitar maker
Twenty five years ago, I bought my first fretting saw from Luthiers Mercantile. It was made in Germany and had a straight handle on it, basically it was a gent's saw.
First thing I did to the saw was to take off the straight handle and make a nice handle for it from some wonderful Claro walnut that came from a Cottonwood Creek bottom wild grown walnut. I used it to cut fret slots in dulcimer and classical guitar fret boards. The saw served me well for several years until I made the mistake of cutting some brass with it.
Well, I never did get around to sharpening the thing.
The blade is .015 of an inch thick with the teeth set at .022-.023 of an inch. I think it has 22 teeth per inch. It is a great saw and I was very sad to see that the company that made it went out of business a few years after I bought it.
Then I bought a fret saw from StewMac, which turned out to be far less than stellar. The saw blade was exactly .022 inches wide, which meant that the teeth had no set to them making it almost impossible to cut a straight slot in an ebony fretboard. That saw got put in my carpenter's tool box for everyday job site work.
I limped along with the saw from Germany.
Soon, I purchased another fret saw from LMI and once again, no set to the teeth, the blade was .022 inches wide which made life difficult for cutting ebony.
At that point I decided to use the fingerboard fret slotting service that LMI offers, they slot the board and all I had to do was glue the fret board on and use the new fret saw to deepen the slots after I tapered the fret board to final dimensions.
I was never happy with the LMI fret saw even for deepening the fret slots, so one day I broke down and purchased yet another saw from StewMac, this time a Japanese style back saw. It works reasonably well for deepening the slots, though I have to be mindful to always clean sawdust from the teeth gullets with each slot and apply paraffin wax to the teeth to make the saw operate fairly well. I still use the fret slotting services at LMI.
I wish I had a better saw even for cleaning out the slots!
Over a year ago, Kieran, at overthewireless mentioned on his blog that he was working with the folks at Bad Axe Tool Works to make a high end fret saw.
That saw is now available to order. Yep, I will be putting down the $100 non-refundable down payment for a saw.
I am sure that the saw will be worth every penny!
The Squier Bullet Strat project is getting closer to how I wanted it to look like and play, but there’s a bit more work to be done. First up, the stock tuners had to and I wanted to try and get some decent locking tuners that didn’t break the bank. The whole point of this project was to take a cheap guitar, and increase its playability with a modest budget.
Scouring through eBay, there was a range of locking tuners at all different price points. I wanted to upgrade on a budget, but I didn’t want to risk going with a super-cheap no-name option and being let down. The established players were a bit too expensive for this build, so I wanted to find a good middle ground. Jinho was a brand that came up with options that were a nice middle ground for price, so I did a bit of reading up on them. Turns out that Jinho are an OEM option for a range of big-name guitar brands, and the feedback on their locking tuners was generally positive. I ordered a set of these, and some roller string-trees, since they were very cheap. They were less of a loss if they turned out to be rubbish.
To continue the black theme I ordered some black pickup covers to match the stock single coils to the IBZ/USA pickup, as well as some black pickguard screws. A lot of these things weren’t really necessary to the playability of the guitar, but I wanted to achieve a bit of a tuxedo look, and the overall cost wasn’t too much.
The Jinho locking tuners were the first item to arrive. Like most modern tuners, the shaft diameter is 10mm, and I’d need to enlarge the tuner holes in order to fit the new units. The safest way to open up the holes without chipping the wood is to use a hand-reamer, but I didn’t have one, so I decided to try and to it with a hand drill and a range of drill bits that would gradually bring the holes to the desired 10mm diameter.
Unfortunately, drilling the holes out gradually resulted in chipping, but thankfully most of the damage was covered up by the tuners themselves. Now that I think about it, masking off the areas may have reduced the chances of chipping, but it’s too late now. It’s not really the end of the world since it’s a cheap guitar.
The stock tuners use two screws to hold each tuner in place. These holes didn’t quite line up with the 45 degree angle mounting on the Jinho units, so I decided to fill the holes to tidy up the back of the headstock. I used maple toothpicks, trimmed to size, and a bit of superglue to stick them in. Trimmed to be flush with the headstock, the holes aren’t nearly as noticeable as they would be if left alone.
I put the Jinho tuners into the newly enlarged holes, and lined them up against a straight-edge so I could mark the spots to drill for the screws that hold the tuner in place. To drill the pilot holes the correct length I placed the screws to be used against the drill bit, and marked the correct depth with a piece of tape. By doing this you don’t risk drilling too far, through the headstock. Once the holes were drilled I installed the screws and tightened up the retaining nuts.
Once the guitar was strung up and strings stretched sufficiently I went about testing the guitar. I was pleased to find that the guitar stayed in tune pretty well, even with some whammy bar work. The string trees were causing some string binding issues, as was evident by the pinging noise on some strings when tuning. The roller trees were on their way, so it would be interesting to see if they improved the issue.
The next batch of parts to arrive were the black pickup covers and pickguard screws. I mistakenly figured that the Squier pickups would have had the same pole-piece spacing to save costs, so I only measured one pickup and ordered the covers in the same spacing. The cover fit the middle pickup, but the neck was off. I ended up widening the holes by scraping around them with a Stanley knife until I could fit the cover over the pickup. The modification wasn’t too noticeable since the pickup bobbin was black. The guitar was pretty much coming together visually now, with it’s black and white theme.
The string trees finally arrived, and unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with them. They were supposed to be black, and they were closer to the nickel colour of the stock string trees than black. The heads of the screws snapped off during installation, so I had to use the stock string tree screws. To top if off, the tolerances on the rollers were a bit sloppy, so it feels like there is still a little bit of string binding going on. My first pick for trees was the Graphtech Black TUSQ XL Sleek String Trees, so I think I may order some of these soon.
With the installation of these parts the guitar is not only starting to play better, but come together in a visual way too. I want to continue replacing any screws on the pickguard to black to finish the look there, and most likely switch out the string trees for part that not only look the part more so, but perform better too.
I took the Bullet out for it’s first gig during this time, and whilst it performed admirably, the IBZ/USA single coil in the bridge wasn’t quite pushing as hard as I would have preferred. I’m looking at a couple of pickups that may give me the bigger, fatter sound that would be comparable to my humbucker equipped guitars, but still retain a single coil vibe. The Bullet may be a cheap guitar, but it plays so well, so it’s worth considering throwing some nice pickups in. This project has definitely been a lot of fun, and has demonstrated that a cheap, budget guitar can be a great player with a little work and a small budget.
Angel Vivaldi has unveiled the music video for his single “Dopamine,” and it features the New Jersey guitar virtuoso whipping up an instrumental storm with his new Charvel Custom Shop 7-string.
The song also features a killer solo by another guitar maestro as Oli Herbert of All That Remains makes a guest appearance.
The track will appear on Vivaldi’s upcoming album Synapse, due out Oct. 6, and you can get it plus an additional single by placing your pre-order here.
Total Guitar Calls the Joe Duplantier Pro-Mod ‘One of the Most Exciting Mid-Priced Electrics of the Year’
In the July issue of UK’s Total Guitar magazine, editor Jonathan Horsley reviewed the Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH.
Duplantier has described his original signature model as a “killing machine with class,” and the new, moderately priced addition incorporates similar elements. Featuring a single-cutaway mahogany body stacked with a set of super-hot custom-wound Duncan Designed HB-103 humbucking pickups, the new Pro-Mod version is primed for battle.
“Duplantier’s tone balances low-end power with a harmonic brilliance, typified by his trademark pick scrapes and natural harmonics, and those sorts of metal pyrotechnics are mother’s milk to his Signature Model,” wrote Horsley. “Played clean the Pro-Mod is persuasive with lots of gutsy Americana twang from the bridge pickup, with warmer woodier cream in the neck – perfect for creepy intros or blues, while cranking up the gain sees the Duplantier in its element.”
His final verdict?
“Its wholly shreddable playability and monstrous tone make it one of the most exciting mid-priced electrics of the year,” concludes Horsley.
Purchase the latest issue of Total Guitar here to get more terrific product reviews!
7. Another G but, like, higher up on the neck
1. F# That’s right, F#.
Is your mind blown by my controversial choice for #1? Did I shake up your buttoned-down, F-natural-lovin’ little narrow-minded world? Well suck it, monkeys. That’s how we roll here at I Heart Guitar.
The post The Top 10 Best Musical Notes In The History Of The Universe, Ever appeared first on I Heart Guitar.
Our friends at Richlite recently visited the Martin Guitar factory to see how Richlite is used in the crafting of our guitars.
Richlite has made its way into the instrument industry for a variety of reasons. The most predominant reason is that companies are searching for an eco-friendly alternative to the endangered wood species known as ebony. Black Diamond Richlite has become the perfect alternative because not only is it FSC and Greenguard certified but it is also has the durability and consistency of the material that has caught guitar companies attention. The best part is that it performs just as well (acoustically) as natural ebony wood.
You can watch Richlite's manufacturer spotlight on Martin Guitar here.
This afternoon a replacement waterstone came in the mail and I took it out for a spin.
I find honing an edge to be a relaxing experience and a form of active meditation. These days I do most of my honing freehand so there are no jigs and gizmos to deal with. I like waterstones because I get a lot of tactile feedback on what is going on between the steel and the stone.
I like feeling two surfaces gradually becoming a single, sharp edge.
A blade becomes sharper and I become more relaxed.
Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 was so revolutionary that its notes are still reverberating today. On that day, Jimi changed so much about what we believed a musician could do and the sounds a guitar could make (whether blasting out ear-shattering feedback or shrieking its last breaths as it smashes against the stage floor in a hail of flames and parts). Fender has now released a limited edition Stratocaster in tribute to that iconic performance and the instrument that met its firey death on that stage. Here’s the press release.
FENDER® RELEASES LIMITED EDITION JIMI HENDRIX‘S MONTEREY STRATOCASTER® IN HONOR OF MONTEREY INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL’S 50th ANNIVERSARY
2017 Artist Signature Series Model Pays Homage to Hendrix’s Breakout Performance,
Painted Stratocaster Famously Burned During The Storied Musical Gathering
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (August 15, 2017) – Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the launch of its newest addition to the Artist Signature Series: the Jimi Hendrix™ Monterey Stratocaster®; it honors the late and great rock icon, whose persona and legacy is not only synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster, but also rock ‘n’ roll at large. Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm with his incredible 1967 Monterey Pop Festival performance, which he concluded with the sacrificial burning of his now-iconic, hand-painted Stratocaster. First revealed at Summer NAMM 2017 in Nashville, Tenn., and available only for the remainder of this year, the new limited edition Jimi Hendrix™ Monterey Stratocaster® celebrates the 50th anniversary of this milestone in music history.
“Jimi created something amazing, embodied in Monterey with his now legendary hand-painted Fender Stratocaster,” said Janie Hendrix, CEO/President, Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC. “In many ways, it was a representation of who he was. We wanted Jimi enthusiasts from all walks of life to be able to enjoy the magic of his art in this form. Making it beautiful and attainable is a wonderful way to celebrate the anniversary of an incredible moment in time.”
Jimi Hendrix wholly embraced the Fender Stratocaster as his preferred instrument. Like no artist before or since, his imagination and unparalleled skill as a guitarist created seemingly infinite possibilities for the Stratocaster. Successive generations of musicians have recognized this unique bond between artist and instrument. Iconic performances at the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock have inspired generations of guitarists everywhere to embrace the Stratocaster more than ever.
The Jimi Hendrix™ Monterey Stratocaster®, priced at $899.99, captures all of the energy of his unforgettable set-ending finale at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. An homage to the spectacular performance that quite literally burned its way into our pop culture conscience, the Jimi Hendrixä Monterey Stratocaster™ faithfully replicates his hand-painted psychedelic artwork on the body of the guitar. A trio of vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups give this ‘60s-style, Fiesta Red Strat® its classic Fender sound. Bell-like and articulate, it has plenty of singing sustain for soloing. The “C”-shaped maple neck bears a vintage-style 7.25”-radius pau ferro fingerboard with 21 vintage-sized frets for a playing feel just like the original. The six-screw synchronized tremolo is perfect for unleashing dive-bombs and other sonic expressions. Fully authorized, the Stratocaster features an exclusive etched Authentic Hendrix™ neck plate.
“It’s an honor to celebrate such an iconic musical moment and Jimi Hendrix’s legacy on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival,” said Justin Norvell, SVP, Fender Products. “The Stratocaster was at the heart of countless, iconic Hendrix performances, but Monterey marked his arrival in the United States as a musical force – and Fender is proud to have been a part of that moment. The fiery culmination of Hendrix’s set went down as one of the most-iconic images of the 20th century. Although little of the guitar remained afterward, a detailed examination of photos and video from the performance helped us develop our version of the original guitar, down to the detailed nail-polish artistry.”
In true tradition, Fender’s Artist Signature Series models honor popular and iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists. A showpiece for any music-lover’s collection, the limited-edition Jimi Hendrixä Monterey Stratocasterâ not only preserves the memory of one of the most visually and sonically spectacular performances in all of rock history, but it also allows fans worldwide to have a true Jimi Hendrix experience with detailed artistry and craftsmanship – all at an accessible price point.
For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.
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JIMI HENDRIXTM MONTEREY STRATOCASTER® – $899.99
It’s been 50 years since Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm with his incredible Monterey Pop Festival performance, which he concluded with the sacrificial burning of his now-iconic hand-painted Stratocaster. Destroyed during the fiery culmination of his set, this one-of-a-kind guitar survived only in photos and film. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this milestone in music history, Fender created the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster. A trio of vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups give this Strat® its classic Fender sound. Bell-like and articulate, it has plenty of singing sustain for soloing. The “C”-shaped maple neck bears a vintage-style 7.25”-radius pau ferro fingerboard with 21 vintage-sized frets for a playing feel just like the original. The six-screw synchronized tremolo is perfect for unleashing dive-bombs and other sonic expression. An homage to Hendrix’s spectacular Strat, right down to the hand-painted nail-polish artwork that burned its way into our memories, the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster also features an exclusive etched Hendrix neck plate.
ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:
Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel®, follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest quality instruments and musical solutions across genres. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of music through electric and acoustic guitars, amplifiers, pro audio, accessories and digital products that inspire and enable musical expression at every stage, from beginners to history-making legends.
ABOUT AUTHENTIC HENDRIX, LLC:
Founded by Jimi Hendrix’s father, James “Al” Hendrix, and owned and operated by his personally chosen members of the family; Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. and its wholly owned subsidiary Authentic Hendrix, LLC, manage the globally recognized Jimi Hendrix copyrights and trademarks. Their administration of the exclusive right to Jimi Hendrix’s music and lyrics, plus an extensive photo archive, helps create a legacy of products that mirror Jimi’s own creative vision. Visit us online at http://www.jimihendrix.com
Martin Titanium Core strings deliver the ultimate player’s experience with patented technology from Martin!
With Titanium Core strings, you will find the most superior intonation and tuning stability of any string you’ve ever played. And, titanium is naturally more flexible than steel, but just as strong, so the strings are easier to press down thus reducing finger fatigue. Even more amazing, the combination of titanium and pure nickel used in our Titanium Core strings provides natural corrosion resistance, meaning they will last a really, really long time under normal circumstances! Find a dealer stocking Titanium strings here. Or get even more information on Titanium Core strings in our product spotlight here.
Vernon Reid is one of my favourite guitarists, and a damn nice guy as well. He’s been playing PRS Guitars for a few years now and has solidified his partnership with the company via a new limited edition signature model, the S2 VR Vela. I love so many things about this guitar, from the Floyd Rose to the pickguard to the choice of colours. And I can’t wait to hear it in action on Living Colour’s new record, Shade, out next month. Here’s the press release.
(STEVENSVILLE, MD) August 8, 2017 – PRS Guitars is pleased to announce a new limited edition model in the S2 series of US made electric guitars: The S2 VR Vela. Developed with Living Colour founder, Vernon Reid, the VR Vela is a commanding instrument with a cult personality and tons of tonal textures.
Initially attracted by the Vela’s offset body shape, Vernon took the S2 Vela to another level through a unique set of appointments. Loaded with two HFS pickups, the S2 VR Vela has an aggressive sound with clear highs and strong mids and bass. The Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo adds new sonic options for players and provides the confidence to dive bomb without going out of tune. The S2 VR Vela also features a “V-shape” neck that feels full and strong in your hand and a unique pickguard designed by Vernon himself.
“I love the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it sounds. I think it’s really meant for the player that is prepared to go all different kinds of places. It’s the kind of instrument that invites people to experiment and just have a good time. Whatever kind of music you want to play…whatever you want to plug the guitar into.” Vernon Reid
There is no limit to the number of S2 VR Vela guitars that will be made, but the order window is open from August 8 – September 30, 2017 only through authorized PRS Dealers.
To explore the S2 Series and to see the new S2 VR Vela, please visit www.prsguitars.com.
About PRS Guitars:
Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a leading manufacturer of high quality instruments in Stevensville, Maryland and has provided some of the world’s most renowned musicians with instruments since 1985. The PRS team of highly skilled craftspeople design and build a wide variety of musical instruments and gear for worldwide distribution, including electric, acoustic, and bass guitars as well as boutique-style guitar amplifiers. The PRS SE line of products complements the Maryland-made PRS line by offering highly approachable and more affordable electric, acoustic, and bass guitars. Carlos Santana, Neal Schon, John McLaughlin, John Mayer, Linkin Park, Orianthi, Blake Shelton, Mark Tremonti, Zach Myers of Shinedown, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, David Grissom, Martin Simpson, Tony McManus, and Derek Trucks are among the artists currently playing PRS instruments and/or amplifiers.
PRS Guitars Info: www.prsguitars.com
The Squier Bullet Strat project has been coming along nicely. With the aid of the Wilkinson bridge’s full size sustain block, Hantug Custom Guitars brass saddles and titanium spring claw, the guitar sounds great unplugged. The DiMarzio made IBZ/USA stacked single coil, in conjunction with the stock Squier pickups are sounding pretty sweet, and the upgrade to the Graphtech Black TUSQ XL nut means the guitar is staying in tune better than it previously did. The next step was to get the bridge mounted properly on all six screws, and shield the pickup and control cavity.
Filling and drilling holes to mount a vintage-style 6 screw Strat bridge is a bit of a daunting piece of DIY work, even when there’s only two of the six holes that need to be taken care of. The holes need to be lined up perfectly, and drilled perfectly level, a job best done with a bench drill. I don’t have one of these, but I decided to give it a go with my hand drill, using a clever trick to try and get the hole drilled as accurately as possible. But first off, the original outer holes needed to be filled.
To take care of the holes I picked up a dowel joining kit, as well as some wood glue from my local hardware store. I measured the existing hole depth using a bamboo skewer, marking the depth on the side of the skewer. I then lined up the guide on the dowel kit drill bit to ensure I didn’t drill too far. I then drilled out the holes, ready for the dowels to be inserted.
After cleaning out the holes I placed a bit of wood glue into holes, followed by the dowels. Once the glue started to set I realised that I stupidly forgot to trim the dowels to suit the hole depth, making my life a lot harder than I really needed to. Upon the glue setting, I had to cut the dowels close to body level, taking care not to accidentally mess the body up. I then taped of the body around the dowels and started sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper, until the dowels were level with the body. A Dremel would have been super handy to take care of cutting and sanding the dowels, but unfortunately I didn’t have one on hand.
I got onto shielding the pickup and control cavities while I had the pickguard off. I used aluminium foil tape to take care of the shielding duties since it’s easy to cut to size and apply, and you don’t have wait anything to dry, as you would if you applied shielding paint. I also put some tape on the pickguard so I could minimise any interference.
Once all of this was done I was ready to properly install the bridge. I put the bridge back in place, using the four inside screws to line it up. I then carefully marked where the new holes were to be drilled with a small tipped hole punch. I removed the bridge and got ready to drill the starter holes for the screws.
I wanted to see if I could find a way to accurately drill the holes with a hand drill since I didn’t have a drill press on hand. A quick google search found a good hack to getting a hole drilled as straight as possible, by using a CD or DVD. Basically You sit the disk on the surface to be drilled, data side down, and use the reflection to line the drill bit up. Since I was drilling into fairly soft timber, and the Strat bridge uses wood screws, I just drilled starter holes, and then used my electric screwdriver to drive the screws in. I brought the strings back to tune and stretched them again, and was pleasantly surprised by how well the guitar stayed in tune after a bit of work on the whammy bar. Even with the stock tuners, the guitar was capable of staying in relative tune.
It was great to see that I could install the bridge properly with only the most basic of hand tools, and a bit of clever life-hacking. The shielding will help with noise-related issues, and is a cheap upgrade that anyone can do at home. The next upgrades will be replacing the nasty stock tuners with some better quality units, string trees, and finishing off the white to black transformation.