Jose Oribe, The Fine Guitar, 1985
I want everyone to know that I am not receiving any money from any of the glue manufacturers that I will talk about in this post. These are the glues I use when I make a classical guitar or on other shop projects.
Here are my go-to glues.
Titebond and Titebond II are PVA glues that I use for glueing the scarf joint on a guitar neck and the heel block to the neck shaft. Titebond sets quickly, has gap filling properties and when I do my part on making a good joint, the glue line is almost invisible. Fish and hide glues tend to absorb the water present in shellac and can become dark making the glue line more pronounced.
I also use Titebond to glue the joints for the tops and backs for the same reason. I don't want the glue line to stand out.
LMI yellow glue is pretty amazing in how quickly it sets, you can mill parts glued with this within 90 minutes after clamping. It dries very hard, almost as hard as hide glue, a big consideration for string instrument makers. It is believed that hard glue joints make the transmission of energy easier and quicker, this helps that instrument sound better.
The only drawback about the LMI glue is if the glue is too cold, it becomes chalky. I have found that if I use this glue when it is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity, it will leave a white residue in wood pores. That makes for more work especially when using this glue on walnut or East Indian rosewood, I spend more time washing out the glue than working on the guitar.
That said, it is great glue.
I can't say enough good things about fish glue. I usually purchase fish glue from Lee Valley which is a high quality glue that I like very much, however, the smallest bottle is 16oz. in size and it takes me almost two years to use an entire bottle. I bought this small bottle from LMI and wow! this stuff will glue your fingers together!
I use this high tack glue to glue on binding strips and sometimes, if I am not in a hurry, I use it to glue the braces onto guitar backs.
This is the stuff!
Granular hide glue is simply amazing! It has a much and sometimes more shear strength that "modern" glues and dries glass hard, again, that is better fro energy transference.
I use hide glue where it really matters in guitar making - glueing the braces onto the top and back, the linings to the sides and glueing the back onto the guitar.
Every wood worker should try hide glue at least once on a project. Just make sure you have a heat gun handy to warm up all the parts that will be glue together.
Adhesives are what you make of them, each has their advantages and disadvantages, you need to experiment to find what works best for you and your projects.
Now, turn off your computer and get out into the shop!
Glancing light is a great tool for violin making. With it, you can see how many (many, many) bumps one has on a surface, and it can even direct you towards how to remove them. As I stepped outside the other evening, near sunset, I noticed these autumn leaves on our carport floor. Note the shadows cast by these not-quite-flat leaves.
I decided to try my hand at making a Hardanger fiddle. With some online research over the years, a plan from the Guild of American Luthiers, and a photocopy of the English translation of Sverre Sandvik's "Vi byggjer hardingfele", I decided to plunge in. Since I expect I'll have enough problems with the basic mechanics, I decided to simplify some of the decorative details, such as the scroll. Instead of the traditional dragon, I wanted something like a canoe prow. To get things uniform, I followed the Lancet arc, here described in "By Hand & Eye" by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Toplin.
It's a decent book, with practical methods for creating shapes in spaces. My one quibble with the book is that the authors imply, maybe even state, they are not measuring when using a divider or a compass. While it's true they are not reading a number off a ruler or tape measure, and then not using written math to divide or multiply, a divider is a elegant and exacting way to lay out work. It is measuring, with extreme accuracy and precision -- assuming your divider or compass stays tight.
Their book is worth having.
You might have seen him playing alongside Kilter as his live guitarist, but now it’s time for Australia’s own Timi Temple – aka Timothy Lockwood – to unleash his own intoxicating music with the release of his psychedelic new single ‘Sands of Time.’ Timi’s a big gear nerd like the rest of us and when the idea of doing a post about his top five favourite pieces of gear came up, he came back with the completed list in, oh, like 20 seconds. So here it is! Take it away, Timi.
1981 IBANEZ ARTIST 2630
This guitar is just brilliant ~ I remember being a super poor uni student just getting into jazz and I needed a ‘jazz box’ style guitar ~ unfortunately after trying a Gibson 175 for a while my shoulders and neck started to cramp up (being 5’6) so I settled to find a 335 type. I couldn’t afford a Gibson so started looking for alternatives and found this gem… and I couldn’t afford this one either haha ~ I begged the guy who owned it, but he didn’t budge, deflated I left but this is where persistence pays… I made offers to the seller for months (probably about 6 months) and finally he obliged, on the promise that I send him a picture of my first gig with the guitar and that I continue to love it… well that was easy peasy! I got the guitar for a steal and to this day it remains one of my most prized possessions!
1981 ROLAND BOLT 60
A different story, this amp was a hand me down from Dad, it’s the amp I learnt to play guitar on. It never sounded good for some reason, and neither of us could suss it out, so, to storage it went and I started my love affair with different amps… I went through a Mesa Lonestar, a Fender Twin, a MI AUDIO Revelation, and finally a Jackson Ampworks Britain 3. None of the amps were giving me that satisfied feeling, I was still searching and it wasn’t till I had to repair the Britain that I decided to take the Bolt60 in for a service as well… I got both back and out of curiosity tried the Bolt60… it was perfect! I think it’s got to do with the peculiar half tube half solid state make up of the amp… it takes pedals so well, but also has 0 breakup as loud as you push it. Not sterile though… I just love it!!
PAUL COCHRANE TIM PEDAL
This pedal has my name on it. It’s automatically going to be favoured haha, but in all seriousness, if all the amps I owned morphed into a pedal (with my name on it) this would be it! It is absolutely organic and it’s my Swiss army knife of drives and lead sounds. I even leave this pedal on all the time at some gigs and just roll back on the volume knob to clean up. This is my desert island pedal. Did I mention it’s my favourite colour blue too?!?
1971 IBANEZ LAWSUIT 4001
Alright, in truth, I’ve totally got the love bug for the early Ibanez lawsuit model stuff, after buying the 2630 mentioned above, I spiraled into a frenzy, and for good reason too! These guitars and basses are just the holy grail for playing feel ~ and damnit I just realised I forgot to mention, I actually replace the pickups in all these Ibanez guitars with a local Sydney guy called Rob from Sliders Pickups.
Anyway, this guitar I actually got from an old collector out west in Mt Druitt, he had carpal tunnel or something so couldn’t play anymore but loved the stuff ~ I messaged him querying the 4001 and he told me to come around and play for him… That same weekend I was supporting ICEHOUSE who happened to be one of his favourite bands, so I got him free tickets and he sold me the bass, AGAIN on the premise I use the bass at the Icehouse gig hahaha, another easy win!
CUSTOM TONES LLC ETHOS OVERDRIVE
Okay so this little guy is kind of a two in one whammy ~ This pedal has a speaker out emulator and such a sweet preamp section, it’s saved me on at least a dozen gigs where backline amps have failed… I just go DI to desk and the tone and feel is sick! A trick to going direct like this is to have a single foldback dedicated to just being your ‘amp’ you stick it behind you and crank it and boom, it feels normal again… no one likes having their guitar amp shoot them in the face (sorry audience haha) having it behind you just feels natural. I think this pedal is based off the elusive Dumble amps, I haven’t tried a steel string singer, but I watched Robben Ford play in Sydney one night and I got to talk to him afterwards and this is the pedal he used into two fender twins… Good enough for Robben good enough for TIMI haha
SUPER SPECIAL MENTION
Goes to my persian rug that I took all these photos on… $10 from Bunnings and I got a sausage sizzle while I was there too… massive win.
And my two guitar straps which were hand craved by my uncle in Thailand for me!
If you know me, you probably know that I love both vintage and modern guitar designs pretty much equally. Some days I love nothing more than playing my 50s-style Les Paul Traditional or my ’62 Reissue Strat. Other days I’m all about my headless Kiesel Vader or my Roadflare Red Ibanez RG550. Well Gibson have gone and combined two of my loves in the one guitar: a Les Paul Axcess with Floyd Rose and – gasp! – neon finishes! It’s available in Neon Green, Neon Yellow, Neon Blue, Neon Orange and Neon Pink. Personally my pick of the bunch is the Neon Green. Look at that thing.
The bodies are Mahogany with a 2-piece Maple top, with a Mahogany neck and Richlite fingerboard. The neck is a Slim C-Shape, and the pickups are a 496R neck humbucker and a 498T in the bridge position, with push-pull pots for coil splitting.
Pics below, more info here.
The post New Gibson Neon Les Pauls Are The First Good Thing To Come Out Of 2017 appeared first on I Heart Guitar.
It’s about time! Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner has been flying the flag for the mighty Flying V for years now, and his customs with the oversized pickguard are some of the coolest Gibsons ever. Now there’s an Epiphone version with Floyd Rose, EMG 66 and 57 pickups and that distinctive pickguard.
More info here.
This is a roundup of a few things I’ve been enjoying this month:
1. Doom Side of the Moon – This is a side project from Sword guitarist Kyle Schutt. As its name suggests, this is a tribute to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s a fairly faithful interpretation, while adding in some of the “Doom” elements that Sword is known for. I’m enjoying this one more than I thought I would.
2. Elixir OPTIWEB Electric Guitar Strings – I’ve tried several versions of Elixir strings in the past, and none of them have stuck. I’ve been playing Ernie Ball Slinkys for over 20 years, so I’m very familiar with those, and the Elixir coated strings have felt too different to change. However, I recently had a chance to try out some of their new OPTIWEB coated strings, and I’ve actually been enjoying playing these. These feel much more like the Slinkys and had a brighter tone than other coated strings when first used. Additionally, they’ve so far remained a bit brighter than the Slinkys I put on my other guitar at the same time. It remains to be seen how much longer they’ll last than the Slinkys, which will be the real test of whether these are worth the price premium.
3. Milligan Vaughan Project – This is a collaboration between Austin veterans Malford Milligan and Tyrone Vaughan. They recently released their debut album, MVP, and I’ve been enjoying it. There’s nothing particularly new about the album, but it combines some really nice guitar work with Milligan’s distinctive vocals making for an enjoyable album.
4. Analogman Beano Boost – A friend of mine picked up a Beano Boost about a year ago and he’s been encouraging me to pick one up ever since. I finally picked one up not too long ago, and it’s really added an extra dimension to my amp. It’s based on the Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster with a few added tonal options. It can get quite fuzzy with the boost rolled up, but it doesn’t get muddy like every fuzz pedal I’ve tried. It works best into an amp that’s already breaking up at least a little.
5. That Pedal Show – This has been one of my favorite YouTube channels lately. Dan and Mick play off each other really well and have different enough styles that you can get a pretty good feel for the pedals that they test. New episodes come out every Friday, and there’s a nice backlog to keep you entertained while waiting for new episodes.
A highlight in the listening category was going to a show about a month ago to hear one of absolute favorite singer/songwriters, Kim Richey. I’ve been a big fan of hers for about 20 years and she rarely comes this far north (she is based in Nashville these days) and it was also an opportunity to check out a concert venue up in Plymouth called The Spire. More on that in a minute.
Kim’s music is fairly traditional country if you had to put a label on it, I guess. But since I bought her first album back in the 1990s I’ve always been struck by how well she crafts her songs, both lyrically and musically. They have a wonderful quality of seeming like a really, really song that you swear you’ve heard before….even if you haven’t! Plus she has a great voice, beautiful to listen to but with no affectations, just a natural, clean and clear resonance that is so delightful. Unfortunately, she is much less known in this area than she is elsewhere and the crowd was quite small, although everyone there seemed to be rabid fans (well, maybe not my wife, but hey, I don’t care for the Broadway show tunes she likes so she’s entitled, ha!).
Kim is not a fancy guitar player, just a solid strummer on her well-worn Gibson J-50, a vintage example that suits her style perfectly. Another highlight was her lead guitar player (on a Telecaster) who I did not know but he put on an absolute clinic in how to back up and enhance a single acoustic guitarist/singer without getting in the way. They played some tunes from her many albums but also a couple selections from an upcoming release on Yep Roc Records (where many of Nashville’s finest songwriter reside these days) and they sounded great. The best she saved for last, her most famous and well-loved tunes, “These Words We Said”, “Every River” and “Straight As The Crow Flies.” She still sounds great on those tunes, which were on her first and second records. She was also very gracious and funny between songs although I sensed she was a bit disappointed with the turn out. But being the seasoned pro she is, she didn’t put in any less effort and the crowd loved her for it. There is a reason she won a Grammy and was nominated for another.
The venue was fantastic! It is an old church, which is now owned by the town of Plymouth and run as a non-profit. They have been open only a couple years but already have a very impressive history with concerts by such artists as Shawn Colvin, Tom Rush, Peter Wolf, and many many others in the folk, country, jazz and rock world. The quite large stage is in the area of the old church where the altar must have been, with excellent lighting and a great sound system. Behind the stage are two huge stainedglass windows. About half the space has the old church pews (padded, thank goodness!), which are numbered for reserve seating. There is seating about 200 I would guess. In the back is a large open area with a small bar serving beer and wine and a few high top tables, no chairs but a couple benches. This encourages listeners to mingle before the shows and during intermissions and we found everyone to be friendly and musically astute. The mostly volunteer staff were great too. I am watching their schedule and will surely go back soon. The ticket cost was very reasonable too. We are fortunate to have The Spire nearly!
On a more personal level, I had a really fun evening last week playing with a friend and former student who still plays guitar but in the last few years has really fallen in love with the stand-up bass. It was sooooo great to hear him play with a lot of the songs I’ve been doing for the last few years by people like Steve Earle, Shawn Mullins, Tom Waits, Keb’ Mo’, John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Harry Manx, Taj Mahal, Chris Smither, others… The next time we get together – soon, I hope – we will try some of the new songs I’ve learned recently by Iron & Wine and especially Mandolin Orange, who he recommended to me a about a year ago. I was definitely “late to the parade” on them, they are great and worth checking out if you haven’t heard them.
He is in a couple bands around here who are on something of a hiatus right now for various reasons so I want to keep this going. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a stand-up bass and an acoustic guitar. Not that I don’t appreciate a good electric bass player but the combo of those two instruments is much more organic and natural, which is something I’ve been striving for these days.
Where this will go I really have no idea. Work is tough to get around here even in tourist season and in the winter it is almost impossible. Also I must factor in the reality that people who go out to bars around here would much rather hear “Margaritaville” and “Sweet Caroline” than some obscure (but good, damn it!) songs by the artists I mentioned above. So it always has been on Cape Cod, and so it most likely always will be. Been there, done that. Really, really don’t want to do it again. But we’ll see.
In any case, my long-term gig at the wonderful Daily Brew café continues every Sunday morning. Today I played inside after a great summer season outside on the back deck. In the words of Jon Snow, winter is coming. But even though I must now pay closer attention to volume and dynamics in that small room I still love it and appreciate the fact that I know I have a good reason to keep practicing and learn new tunes. I’m hoping that I can get my bass player buddy involved before too long. That would be even more fun!
And speaking of practicing it is about time to drag out and dust off my folder of, gulp, Christmas songs. I always wait too long to refresh my musical memory of those things and there always seem to be a few bumps in the road when I try them again after ignoring them for the last 10 months. But I have a nice arrangement of “Carol of the Bells” that I’ve been meaning to learn, and I need a better arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Holiday season will be here before we know it. Or so the little man on my shoulder keeps whispering in my ear.
Peace & good music,
In the past few days I started learning an old song from my youth, “More Today Than Yesterday” by The Spiral Starecase [correct spelling – they did named themselves after a Hitchcock film but corrupted the orthography]. There was a video available of the group playing the piece, so I watched the guitar player/singer’s hands on the fret board to make learning it easier. The opening chords were from exercise number two from the Mickey Baker book, “A Modern Method in How to Play Jazz and Hot Guitar. Pat Lipton, the singer/guitarist/composer was alternating between G Major 7 and G 6 much of the time, as per the dictates of Mickey Baker’s lesson. It turns out that Mr. Lipton had learned a new chord but couldn’t find a pop song that used it, so he wrote one himself.
This made me think of a Randy Bachman story, about his lessons with Jazz guitar legend Lenny Breau. During One lesson, Breau taught Bachman an ending formula. The next week Bachman came in to his lesson exclaiming, “You know that ending you taught me last week? I used as an intro in my latest song.” At which point Breau said, “You can’t do that man, everyone’s going to think the song is over before it begins!” The song was “She’s Come Undone, written in 1969, about a girl who dropped lsd and was never the same. It was an appropriate observation, for a good Mormon boy like Bachman.
This makes me very happy, to think about, creative spirits who expand their knowledge base and use it to write pop songs. In doing so the vocabulary of the idiom grows, and we all become a little bit richer. Any idiom that stops growing and changing risks becoming stale. I think now of George Harrison as I listen to some old Beatle songs and marvel at his guitar parts, which are sometimes inflected withjazz or country styles and the appropriate mannerisms.
Here I sit as a classical guitarist pondering these things. When one of my dear friends was studying viola in Paris in the early 1980’s, he once did a gig with a pick-up orchestra for a pop singer. Word of this got back to his viola teacher, who threatened to ban my friend from his studio because this association with popular music would ruin his good name. The alignment of music with the class structure was so strong at that time that I wonder how much I missed during my own time in France. In Toronto’s current economic climate, many freelance violinists work regularly with mariachi bands to supplement incomes.
Necessity has broadened our horizons…
Nasrudin was dining with the sultan, who leaned over to ask him about the stew. “I thought it was quite good your majesty,” said Nasrudin smiling.
The Sultan replied, “I thought is was terrible.”
“Quite right, your Majesty, it was horrid,” said Nasrudin.
The Sultan frowned, “did you not say it was quite good a moment ago?”
“Ahh, eerrm, yes,” said Nasrudin, “but I serve the Sultan, not the Stew.”
Aloha! To close off this series of uke books for music from the 1990s, I’ll admit that not ALL great music comes from the 90s and we should never limit ourselves to just one decade. Even if it IS the greatest decade of music, it in no way discounts great music that came before or after it.
So, with this being said, we can expand our view a bit to something the 1990s had a lot of and incorporate music from other decades to fit the theme.
I’m speaking of acoustic rock.
Acoustic Rock (an Ukulele Chord Songbook) comes with 60 songs, written in my favorite fake-book style with chord boxes at the beginning of the song and then just chord names on top of the words where changes happen. To me, this is the least distracting way to learn music, even if you’re just focusing solely on strumming along (all the other books in this review series also feature musical notation so you can transcribe the melodies if you wanted). I LIKE strumming along to music. I like singing along as I strum. Because of this, I really like books like this.
It’s also not a giant book. 60 songs is a lot, but because it’s not the size as a standard music book (not to mention the saved space by not including musical notation), the book is more than manageable, able to be thrown in a gig bag and brought along with you wherever you go to play.
Those 60 songs cover way more than just the 1990s, too. In addition to 90s offerings (“3 AM,” “Iris,” “Wonderwall,” “Torn,” “Tears in Heaven,” etc) there are songs from before (“American Pie,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and more) and after (“21 Guns”). The real meat of the book is from 1999 and before, though, with all sorts of classics at your fingertips.
The reason I find this book so compelling is that acoustic rock is usually anthemic in some regard. When most people think anthemic songs, they think about the songs that are loud and electric – the ones that have tons of oomph behind the choruses. But I think there’s a very strong case for quieter songs because these are the ones that we sing along with in the car and feel more of a connection to (which makes singing it all the more meaningful).
Overall, this is a super valuable addition to your collection of music books because you can keep pulling from it for different moods, eras, and purposes. It’s got a lot to offer an ukulele player, so check it out and see what you think!
Until next time!