The Winter NAMM show is coming up tomorrow, and there have already been quite a few products released. For instance, JHS released an interesting new pedal yesterday called The Bonsai:
Following in the steps of the our Muffuletta (released 2015), the Bonsai utilizes a simple rotary knob to switch through nine classic, vintage, rare, or hard to find variations of the Screamer. Creating the Bonsai became an archeological dig of sorts that sent us deep into the history of this circuit by examining dozens of versions, variations and replications. At the end of it all, Josh chose nine of his personal and favorite units and we painstakingly replicated every nuance and aspect of each pedal. One of the most challenging parts of this project was accounting for component drift as many of these pedals were decades old and the internal components had strayed from their original values. Each pedal was individually replicated using our Audio Precision analyzer and various other methods that allowed us to perfectly replicate every aspect of the sound and feel of the unit. It’s important to know that the Bonsai is not a “box of mods,” it is exact replications of these nine units all house in one box! The Bonsai is exact replication, not emulation. When you choose a mode on the Bonsai rotary, you are actually activating components specific to each mode and playing the unit that Josh choose along with all the quirks, drift, vintage mojo, and individuality that a vintage pedal has.
The world doesn’t exactly need another Tube Screamer clone, but at least JHS took an interesting approach to it by cloning specific TS pedals and including 9 different TS variants in one pedal. Check out Josh from JHS talking about it and Andy from Reverb showing the different modes:
In the blazing Charvel video demo below, get an up close look at all of the all-new Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 models — powerful tone machines built for the harder side of rock.
The DK24 is offered in both hardtail and Floyd Rose options, along with a variety of body & wood fingerboard options, including quilt maple tops.
Each DK24 features a sleek Dinky™ body, bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement, hand-rubbed urethane gel back finish for sublime and speedy playability, 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, heel-mounted spoke wheel, Seymour Duncan® Full Shred bridge pickup and Seymour Duncan Jazz neck pickup.
Guitar maestro Jordan Ziff gave us a hand in introducing our newest Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 1 guitars by scoring and starring in our latest Charvel video below.
2018 sees new finishes, body and fingerboard wood options for our tried and true Pro-Mod axes and you can get a close look at the latest offerings as Ziff puts these guitars to work in a way only he can.
See the full lineup by CLICKING HERE.
Don't miss out!
This sale will continue until Tuesday, March 20, 2018!
Go to Guitars Currently Available to see the latest inventory!
Scott Landis, The Workshop Book, 1991
I am in the middle of making two classical guitars, one is a close copy of a 1926 Domingo Esteso, the other one a close copy of Andres Segovia's famous 1912 Manuel Ramirez guitar. The Esteso style has a 640mm string length on a body smaller than the Ramirez style, almost three quarters of an inch shorter, and the Ramirez is fairly textbook, meaning that from the outside it looks like a 1912 Ramirez guitar. The inside is braced a little differently than the original, but the "fan" pattern of bracing was in use in the Ramirez shop at the time.
In all of this chaos of scraping down bindings, glueing on fret boards, making bridges, etc., I realized that I needed to rehabilitate my chisel-tool rack. There were chisels and pliers on the floor of the studio because there was no place to put them, a problem that needed a remedy.
The original rack was patterned after a French tool rack that was popular a few years ago, it worked but my tool collection had grown. You can read about the old rack elsewhere in this blog.
My solution to the problem was to add an extra rack on the bottom of the backing board.
When Steel Panther axe man Satchel met up with Charvel for an exclusive video interview, he covered all things guitar including his early guitar roots, some of his favorite players growing up, and most importantly, how his new Charvel Signature Pro-Mod DK model came to be.
After an unsuccessful attempt at football, Satchel began playing guitar at the age of 10. Over the years, he found inspiration from a myriad of different guitarists and styles including David Gilmore and Buck Dharma. Satchel eventually landed at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, where he connected with his glam rock Steel Panther bandmates.
For Satchel, Charvel was always number one. “In the ‘80s, Charvel was it,” said Satchel. “All the cool guitar players were playing Charvel. It’s always been a goal of mine to have a Charvel model at some point and I think I’ve achieved that.”
That box has been checked in 2018 with the introduction of his brand new Satchel Signature Charvel Pro-Mod DK model. The axe is a bright burst of fluorescent yellow finished off with a striking Bengal pattern that is matched only by the rockers personality. With two Fishman® Fluence Classic pickups and a Floyd Rose® 1000 series tremolo, the guitar is built with metal in mind.
“Fishman® pickups are the best pickups on the market as far as I’m concerned,” said Satchel. “They sound heavy metal. You can probably plug it in to your grandmother’s refrigerator and just turn the refrigerator up to 10, and it would sound like a modded Eddie Van Halen on Van Halen 1.”
Want more details about his new sig axe? Watch the full interview by hitting play on the video below.
Now back together, and back in the Middle School orchestra room:
I glued the pieces, those that made sense to look after, back together. Bushed the C and A pegholes, installed internal crossgrain cleats in the pegbox across the C and A peghole locations. Added a chunk of curly maple on the treble side, where it was missing and badly splintered. I didn't spend too much time with color-matching, it was a functional school repair that I probably underbid -- but, as in my previous post, the back and ribs were nicely done. Worth saving, I thought.
This viola should serve for several more years, barring too rough of use. Or dropping. Can't warranty against dropping.
|George Fullerton - Leo Fender - Freddie Travares - Bill Carson|
It was Fender's head of sales, Don Randall came up with the name; Stratocaster.
|1950 Fender Broadcaster|
Leo Fender had designed and produced the Fender Telecaster four years earlier. This was a “Spanish guitar” adaptation of the lap steel guitars that he and Doc Kauffman had developed as early as 1944. The original Telecaster/Broadcaster had a similar 3 section adjustable bridge saddle which were similar to some of the units used on Fender/K&F lap steel guitars.
The Stratocaster was a whole different guitar than the Telecaster. Perhaps the biggest difference is the two offset horns. Besides just looking plain cool, those horns actually gave the guitar some balance, and provided a great position for the strap button, not to mention easy access to the upper register.
|1953 Stratocaster Prototype|
The original 1953 design for the Stratocaster was quite different than the final product. Some say it looked more like a Telecaster. You can see it has metal knobs.
|1953 Strat Prototype|
The earliest prototype I can find is from 1953. It looks like the 1954 model, but has a much smaller route in the back to hold 3 tremolo springs, and the inertia block.
The designers wanted to create a more versatile instrument that had a different sound than the Telecaster. Instead of two pickups, this guitar would have to have three. And those pickups need to be different than the Telecaster pickups. And the body needed to be different.
Note also the center routing. This would later be changed to a slightly narrower channel between the pickups for placement of the wiring.
|George Fullerton and Freddie Travares|
Freddie Travares was the one that sketched out a new body design.
|Rex Gallion with a '54 Stratocaster|
|1954 Pre-production Stratocaster|
These sculptured curves known as the contoured body are perhaps my favourite part of the Stratocaster. In his later years, George Fullerton shows off his pre-production model.
|Fullerton's Pre-production Stratocaster|
The lower portion of the bout has a definitive bevel that makes for very comfortable arm placement. To do this in 1954, the wood was rift sawn. The blue lines in the photo indicate the saw markings.
|1954 Fender Stratocaster|
This beveled section of the guitars top section gives the Stratocaster a slight offset, since it effects its symmetrical shape.
|1954 Stratocaster Back Side with cover|
|1954 Fender Stratocaster|
|1954 Pick Guard and Pickups|
The creators of the guitar saw no need for a tone potentiometer for the bridge pickup. I suppose they figured players wanted to maintain the high end sound for lead work. The instrument had only a single volume control for all the pickups.
That volume knob is well placed for guitarists that use it for “swell” sounds, that can imitate a steel guitar or a trumpet.
|1954 Strat close-up|
|1954 Strat Pick Guard|
Because the first Stratocasters came with the 3-way switch, some guitarist would jam a piece of a matchstick in the selector to prevent the switch from springing back to the single coil mode. It would not be until 1977 when Fender adopted the 5-way switch as standard equipment.
The plastic switch tip on the '54 model was slightly longer than on models from 1956 and later.
|1954 Strat Pick Guard back side|
Expediency in manufacturing was a key feature of the Fender pickguard, pickups, and electronics. The first pick guards were made of a single piece of .060" thick ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) vinyl. Some sources say this was made of Bakelite.
The 1954 pickguard, pickup covers, switch tips, and knobs have a tendency to crack over time. The knobs on the 1954 model were slightly shorter.
The electronics, including all three pickups, the three-way switch, the potentiometers, the 250k ohm capacitors, and all the wiring were assembled by Fender workers directly on the pick guard. A small sheet of aluminum was placed below the electronics for shielding.
|1954 Stratocaster routing|
Another feature that set the Stratocaster apart was its floating tremolo.
|Fender Stratocaster blue print|
He insisted that this feature was necessary to compete with guitars being manufactured by other companies.
|Impression of how a 1953 Strat |
may have looked with a roller bridge
The initial tremolo system used a stationary bridge with individual rollers for each string that went to a separate tailpiece. Bill Carson and Leo thought this sounded fine, but George Fullerton disagreed.
He even took the prototype and played it with his band. He said it sounded like an amplified banjo, and lacked sustain. So it was back to the drawing board.
|Patent for Guitar |
The new tremolo unit was actually based on a gram scale that Leo had in his office. The entire bridge assembly moved. much like the plate on the scale. The strings were fed through a solid steel inertia block that attached to the bottom of the bridge plate. This steel block aided with the sustain. And each string had individual adjustable saddles, that could be moved up and down, back and forth to give them the correct height and intonation.
|Patent for Guitar |
Vibrato Apparatus Fig 2
The bridge unit attached at the front of the body with six screws that were countersunk on each side, thus giving it a knife-like edge, allowing the bridge to rock up and down. The rear of the bridge was not anchored to further allow the up and down movement.
|Routing on '54 Strat for vibrato springs|
This gap was wide enough to allow the block to move forward and backward. A rectangular piece of ABS was screwed onto the back to cover the assembly. This was held in place by six wood screws. Six holes that were placed directly under the inertia block acted as slots to thread the strings into the guitar.
|Strat with five springs like the originals|
|Cover plate on |
back of a 1954 Strat
Then there are those players that do not use the tremolo at all; sometimes placing a piece of wood between the trem-block and the end of the cavity to prevent movement.
|1954 Hard-tail Fender Stratocaster|
That guitar had a stationary bridge, anchored by six screws, with the strings fed through the body attached to grommets in the back, just like on a Telecaster. Only a handful of these guitars were sold.
|Eldon Shamblin with 1954 |
Stratocaster, custom gold finish
Leo Fender used to give guitars to well known players that came by the Fullerton shop, to try out, and give him feedback on what they did or didn’t like. He did this with the Stratocaster. Many of those players were from Country Western bands in the California area. One result of these encounters was the recessed input jack on the guitars face.
The Stratocaster was the only guitar to be equipped with this feature. Although it was later copied by other manufacturers. The recessed input was meant for the cables with straight plugs.
|'54 Strat neck|
|'54 Strat neck|
The position markers found on the 1954 Stratocaster were made of dark, baked clay molded into 1/4" dots. Smaller clay dots were placed on the upper side of the neck. On the back of the neck you find what came to be known as the "skunk stripe", which was a strip of walnut wood, glued into the routed area covering that area of the neck where the truss rod was installed.
|Bigsby and Strat headstock|
The Fender six-on-a-side headstock was probably copied from Paul Bigsby's design. Bigsby and Fender knew each other. The Telecaster prototype had a three-on-a-side headstock design, while the production model did not.
In fact the Stratocaster headstock looked much more like Bigsby's design. Leo's design for the neck and headstock was based on ease of manufacturing. Keep it simple. The headstocks for the necks were cut using a template for the shape. Then another cut on the band saw removed the upper half of the wood on the headstock. A bevel was then created starting at the bridge saddle area.
|Straight vs Angled Headstock|
On guitars with the angle, the slope of the headstock aids to keep the strings aligned properly from the saddle to the post.
|'54 Strat - Kluson keys|
The metal tuning keys were made by Kluson and were similar to those found on the Telecaster. The 1954 model had one rounded string tree for the 1st and 2nd string.
Stratocasters, or any Fender guitar with Ybarra pickups are special. Other workers that installed the electronics signed their name or initials to indicate their job was done. Commonly on these older Fender Stratocasters you will find the name Mary (Mary Lemus) or Gloria (Gloria Fuentes).
|1955 black Strat owned|
by Howard Reed
It wasn't until 1956 that Fender produced Stratocaster bodies painted with colours based on Dupont automobile paint. Aside from Shamlin's gold strat, this 1955 black Stratocaster was custom built for Howard Reed, who was the guitarist for Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. The original 1954 Fender Stratocaster used Canary Yellow, and an amber paint called Dark Salem to create the two-tone sunburst finish. It was sprayed with a nitrocellulose lacquer.
|1954 Stratocaster body made of ash|
|Leo with Alvino Rey|
Dick Dale approached Leo Fender, and in a bold move said, “I’m Dick Dale, I’m a surfer and a guitar player, and I need a decent instrument.” Leo handed him a 1954 Stratocaster and asked him to play something. Mr. Fender had a laugh when Dale flipped it over and played the guitar. Dick was left-handed, but learned to play guitars strung for right handed players.
|Dick Dale with gold Stratocaster|
However the Stratocaster that Dick Dale is most associated with, is nicknamed, The Beast. It was not created until 1960, and was a gift from Leo Fender.
Dale removed the tone potentiometers from his guitars, and put metal caps in their place. He left the 250 ohm volume potentiometer and the 3-way pickup selector switch. Dale also has a mini-toggle switch that turns the middle pickup on.
The other player associated with the 1954 Stratocaster was Country and Western Swing music guitarist, Eldon Shamblin.
|Eldon Shamblin, later in life, |
with his original 1954 Stratocaster
|Shamlin's guitar and |
Leo gave Eldon Shamblin one of the first Fender Stratocasters It is dated 05/04/1954. It is unique because it was the only guitar that year to have a gold finish. Shamblin also used a 1953 Fender Bandmaster with a single 15” speaker when playing with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.
Throughout the years the Fender Stratocaster has undergone many changes, however the original 1954 model is the archetype model that many other electric guitars are based on, including those designed by many other companies. When the Fender Stratocaster was finally offered for sale, the retail price was $249.99 for the tremolo model, and $229.99 for the hard-tail version.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only) 2018
Ever wondered what is the ideal fingernail length to play guitar? I got it figured out right here...
The post Guitar Nails -Trim the Perfect FINGERNAILS for Playing Guitar – How To Clip appeared first on .
Jackson and Charvel are excited to share the news that Joe Williams has been promoted from an apprentice to Custom Shop Master Builder.
“Given his diverse talents as a builder, outstanding work ethic and enthusiasm, Joe Williams is an invaluable asset to the Custom Shop,” said Jackson/Charvel Vice President of Category Management Jon Romanowski. “As a player and true fan of hard rock and heavy metal himself, Williams also brings a unique perspective and key insight into the exacting needs of modern guitarists. We couldn’t be happier to have his firepower in the shop as we continue to build upon our storied Jackson and Charvel brands.”
Williams has trained over the last decade under the expert wing of Master Builder Mike Shannon, earning the prestigious guru’s full endorsement and stamp of approval.
“Joe is probably one of the most valuable people in the building, one of very few people who can do every process — from the mill all the way to final assembly and figuring out some of the most difficult wiring issues that we have,” said Shannon.
Williams has contributed to many high-profile Custom Shop projects, including management of the relic process, assembly and setup for the Randy Rhoads Tribute Concorde Replica models, and initial conception and design of the B7 and B8 models.
He also built the first Jackson “multi-scale” instrument. In what he good-naturedly referred to as “a beast of a build,” he created an eight-string Soloist model with an innovative 27.75”-25” scale length and asymmetrical five-piece neck.
Williams’ passion for tinkering with guitars dates back to his teens when he first started out playing the instrument. Assuming it was only a phase, his parents got him an inexpensive Squier® beginner instrument. An enterprising teen, Williams quickly taught himself to modify and improve his $100 guitar to sound and feel like his friend’s high-performance Charvel.
He later leveraged those skills with a paying gig at a vintage guitar shop, where he repaired and set up used guitars. Upon joining Jackson in 2005, he continued developing his skills in final assembly, handling wiring and setup work. His attention to detail caught Shannon’s, and Williams was subsequently given sole responsibility for custom assembly work.
During the last 10 years, Williams attended school to learn CNC programming and Manufacturing Technology, while also training aside Shannon in the Custom Shop, slowly working his way backward through the production process—from final assembly to buffing and polishing to mill work.
“Working as Mike Shannon’s apprentice for nearly a decade has pushed my skills to a level I didn’t know they could reach,” said Williams. “When I started in Jackson, Mike opened my eyes to a lot of things in the overall aspect of the guitars we make. I was a savvy tech and assembler, but Mike didn’t hesitate to challenge me for the better. Matching the quality and craftsmanship of someone with over 30 years of experience and immense talents is a challenge. In addition to learning to make an instrument to his standards, I’ve also been able to apply my insight as a player.
“The road to the position of Master Builder has been long but rewarding, and I’m both honored and humbled,” he continued. “The path doesn’t end here though. I look forward to carrying on the tradition of what has made Jackson and Charvel great — pushing the limits of quality, innovation and playability.”
Contact a global authorized Jackson/Charvel Custom Shop dealer today to get in line for an early work from this rising star.
I was having so much fun looking through Brian Derber's new Violin Making book, trying familiar things in different ways, that I forgot I was making a Hardanger fiddle and not a regular violin. I woke up one morning on the weekend, suddenly thinking about those different, overlapping Hardanger f-holes, how high they were, when, dang! I have been arching the middle section as normal. I quickly laid out the ff's and determined that I had, for me, gone too far. Maybe someone who had made Hardangers before could see there was enough wood left, maybe not. For me, I needed a fresh start.
So, I joined another set of spruce halves on Monday. On Tuesday, flattened the inner surface, then traced the outline, sawed it out, cleaned it up a bit and took down the edges, leaving the piece nice and fat in the center.
The new top is at top in this photo, the previous version below, with typical f-holes drawn in place. I can salvage that top for a new fiddle. The overhang is still a little wide, and if I'm careful with the corner blocks, using the same mould, I should be in good shape, even a little ahead on that one.
Wednesday, I pondered over the Hardanger holes, using a few resources I've gathered up. Not much really on the placement of the holes themselves, so I did the best I could, closed my eyes, and plunged a few holes.
Today, Thursday, I started cutting wood around the arc of the stems. Trying to follow Salve Håkedal's nicely illustrated tutorial.
We have photos of an absolutely stunning guitar on its way to us from Italin luthier Luigi Locatto – a classical guitar in spruce and CSA rosewood with absolutely stunning inlay work that should be shipping to us very soon!
[See image gallery at www.guitarsalon.com]
This Summer CSU Summer Arts will once again take place in Granada, Spain, in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Granada Guitar Festival and Antonio Marin Montero guitar building competition, and you can take part! Summer Arts is a three-week program of master classes and guitar instruction conducted by some amazing player/teachers, including Pepe Romero, LAGQ, Vicente Coves, Scott Morris, Kai Narezo (me!) and more. Also, Summer Arts is open to just about anyone – not only CSU students or California residents.
There is a substantial amount of financial aid available, too, and the best way to find out how much aid you might get is to apply. Granada is a stunning and inspiring environment in which to study guitar, and you can’t do much better than spending three weeks with the likes of Pepe Romero and LAGQ and surrounded by other talented students who are all there to learn live, eat and drink guitar. GSI is proud to be a sponsor of the CSU Summer Arts in Granada and the Granada Guitar Festival and we hope to hear about some of your adventures in Spain! Application is now open so click over here to apply.
Here’s more of Peter Fletcher, this time playing the Gavotte from Bach’s Lute Suite #3 on a beautiful 1995 Hermann Hauser III (EX Jonathan Kellerman), Miguel Llobet’s Testament D’Amelia on a new Jose Ramirez Guitarra Del Tiempo, Isaac Albeniz’ Asturias on a 2013 Woonsun Lee, and Asturias and Segovia’s Oración on a 2006 Rafael Moreno Rodriguez ‘Negra’ (another example of great guitars being capable of handling classical or flamenco).