It’s been another amazing year for guitar music over here at GSI and as the year wraps up we’d like to take a moment to thank all of the amazing musicians who have lent us their time and talent to create the great videos we publish every week. We obviously couldn’t do any of it without them and we are extremely grateful for the music and for the friends we’ve made over the years in our quest to record every guitar we can get our hands on! So here, in more or less reverse order of appearance, are the artists who have shared their talent with us this year:
Duo Montes Kircher
Andrea de Vitis
Fabiano do Nascimento
Milena Petkovic and Branko Barnic
JohnPaul Trotter and Renee Henn
I’m currently in the throes of a good old-fashioned riggin’. You may not be able to tell much from the pic but this is kind of my dream rig. Lemme explain how it will work.
First up, the heart of my tone is the Marshall DSL50 JCM2000. I love these amps because they’re totally no-bullshit: they put out whatever you put into them, putting that legendary Marshall stamp upon it in the process while remaining very faithful to your playing dynamics and phrasing where some amps mush all that stuff together. I usually stick to the Lead channel (in its Classic mode instead of the higher-gain, scooped-mid ‘Ultra’ mode) with the gain control at around 6.
I sometimes use other pedals to get a little more grrr out of the DSL50 though. My favourite pedal for this is the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster, which can be set to give you a simple gain boost but can also perform some basic but very powerful tone-shaping tricks via a switch that boosts or cuts the treble. Hit the treble cut and you’ll get a slightly rounder, more vocal-sounding tone.
Other pedals in my signal chain include a Jim Dunlop Buddy Guy Crybaby Wah, a BOSS OC-2 Octave and a Jim Dunlop KFK Q-Zone. And I have a Line 6 Relay G30 wireless and a Planet Waves tuner.
But here’s where it gets complicated/fun: I’m sending the signal from the Marshall into the Mesa Cab Clone – a load box and speaker simulator – and then sending that sound into a trio of stereo Seymour Duncan pedals: the Catalina Dynamic Chorus, the Shape Shifter Stereo Tremolo, and the Andromeda Dynamic Delay. The output from the last of those pedals goes into the stereo inputs of the Seymour Duncan PowerStage 700 power amp, which then plugs into my Marshall cabinet’s left and right speaker inputs. I can then use the PowerStage’s three-band EQ to further shape the sound. This setup also allows me dial in exactly the perfect amount of power tube distortion at any volume, because I can set the amp volume wherever I like for the best tone for whatever musical situation I’m in, then use the PowerStage volume control to set the final level.
Another bonus of this setup is that the Cab Clone has a Thru output which means I can send a dry signal to another cabinet. Actually what I’d love to do if I had the cash is to get a pair of Marshall 2×12 (or 4×12) cabinets and have those be my left and right effect cabs powered by the PowerStage.
I love this nerdy stuff.
Olivia Chiang was back at GSI – she’s 17 now and has been coming in to shoot videos since she was 12, making her a very young old friend of ours by now. This time she played Andrew York’s Home on a 2014 Fritz Ober, La Despedida by Juan A Rodriguez on a 2017 Kenneth Brogger and the Gigue from Bach’s Lute Suite in E Minor on a 2017 Dominik Wurth ‘Torres’.
I like everything about this, but especially the way she lets the guitar sing.
Not to the final borders yet, but looking more like fiddles. A little spit on the end-grain of the spruce sure can make cutting easier. Plus, cutting spruce just smells like Christmas. Not sure what the maple smell reminds me of, but I like cutting the edges on the maple. Smooth and buttery.
Trying to snow outside my door now. Will warm up some nice drink and relax for the evening. Enjoy your holidays.
From new fretboard inlays to red pickguards, custom bridge pins, golden tuning pegs and more, here's how to make your guitar UNIQUE and give it your own touch...
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Scroll is based on the stern-piece of the Oseberg Viking Ship. Here's an earlier shot, during the varnishing.
As we say when we're being vocally emotional: I am not completely unhappy with it.
The body form is based on the Brothers Amati that I drew several years back, following Francois Denis' method, and the f-holes are del Gesu inspired.
My most recent, being a violin for about a week now, is based on a del Gesu, the 'Plowden'. The form comes from my tracing of a CT scan from the poster put out by Strad Magazine a few years back.
I'm not completely unhappy with this one, either. Both are still stretching and growing. Kinda fun to play them each day, note the changes.
I also just shipped off a fiddle, constucted here, that is a Christmas present, so I won't spill the beans yet.
And an eastern European white viola that I had been varnishing and set-up went out the door to a very happy customer. She actually got it before it was really ready, having had a bad accident with her then-current viola, and needed an instrument for a few holiday concerts. But she liked it enough as-was to buy it. Just did the final intial adjustments this week, after the concerts.
High-quality guitars are more likely to last longer than poor ones but it doesn’t mean they don’t require any maintenance or care. Guitars consist of various metal components that are susceptible to corrosion hence should be taken care of properly. Regular cleaning and proper maintenance is essential to keep any product in its best condition. Guitarists should learn how to keep the sensitive parts of the instrument clean and protected from corrosion. It is necessary because rusted and damaged guitar cannot produce rich and loud sounds. The parts like tuning keys, strings, pickups and knobs play the most important role in generating clean sounds hence their consistent maintenance is much necessary.
Guitar corrosion doesn’t only destroy the sounds but also makes it uncomfortable for guitarists to play the instrument. Certain materials like steel and iron are prone to corrosion and in this article; we’ll tell you how to keep the metal parts of guitars clean and rust-free.
What is Corrosion
Corrosion is basically a deterioration of metal due to environmental factors. It occurs when a chemical reaction takes place between metal and its surrounding environment. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the presence of moisture, metallic surface and electron acceptor, an oxidizing agent. When corrosion takes place, a reactive metal surface converts into a more stable form. The most common form of corrosion is called rust.
All metal surfaces are prone to corrosion. Some materials such as pure iron corrode quickly whereas some corrode slowly e.g. stainless steel. Corrosion damages the surfaces badly and causes various negative effects. If a guitar is rusted, it won’t be able to produce as rich sounds as it was used to before corrosion. You have to prevent guitar string rust in order to enjoy loud and high-quality sounds. Even a minor corrosion requires proper repairs otherwise it may spread further and destroy the product entirely. Fortunately, corrosion is preventable with proper maintenance and consistent cleaning.
There are different types of metals in the world used by builders and product manufacturers. Each type has its own electrochemical properties that identify the intensity and speed of corrosion it is susceptible to. In the chart above, you can see different types of metals and their details regarding corrosion and preventive measurements.
In this table, the column of galvanic activity is referring to the chemical activity of the relative metal. When two metals are put together in a liquid solution, galvanic corrosion takes place. The more the galvanic activity there will be, the faster galvanic corrosion will occur. Other than that, you can also see some preventive measures in the third column for each metal type to keep it in its best condition and enjoy higher performance.
Materials of Guitar Can Be Corrode
Like many other things, metal is also used in the manufacturing of guitars. There are various parts of guitars that are made up of different types of metal and can corrode over time if not cleaned consistently. In this section, we will tell you which materials are used in the making of guitars and can corrode easily.
Electric and Bass Guitars: When it comes to the manufacturing of electric and bass guitars, different types of materials can be used to prepare the effective strings. If we take the popular choice of professional guitarists and bassists, the nickel plated steel is considered to be the best option for string making. This material provides well-balanced, warm and rich tones. In other metals, pure nickel and stainless steel are also used to make the strings of electric and bass guitars for warmer and brighter tones. You will also find some guitars with strings made from copper-plated steel, titanium and chrome.
Acoustic (Steel String): The strings of acoustic guitars are usually made up of bronze and phosphor bronze materials. Bronze strings are not 100% bronze made as they also include 20% zinc in the making. Unfortunately, these 80/20 bronze strings are not long-lasting but offer bright and crispy tones. While on the other hand, the phosphorus bronze strings are quite durable but offer less brighter tones than the former one. This material significantly helps in preventing guitar string corrosion hence widely preferred by acoustic guitarists. There are also some acoustic guitars with compound strings that include both, metal and nylon strings. They are perfect for soft playing styles.
Classical (Nylon String): The classical guitars usually come with nylon strings that provide an ideal balance between warm and bright tones. Nylon strings offer solid projection and come in two types: Black nylon and clear nylon. The black nylon is a little warmer than clear nylon. The bass strings of the classical guitar are usually made up of 80/20 bronze material that provides brighter tones and perfect projection. There are also some made up of silver plated copper, a material that offers warmer tones.
How to Prevent Guitar Corrosion
As we have already mentioned, guitars are prone to corrosion because there are many parts in it made up of different types of metal. No matter how expensive a guitar is or how well it is made, it is always susceptible to corrosion if not kept well cleaned or maintained properly. From strings to tuning pegs and pickups to knobs, all metal made parts of guitars can get rusted when exposed to environmental surroundings. But, don’t worry here are some effective ways to prevent guitar corrosion.#Step 1: Protecting Your Strings
Keep your hands clean before playing: the simplest and cheapest way of preventing guitar strings from corrosion is to play them with clean hands. The naturally accumulated oil and dirt on your hands stick to the strings and lead them to corrode eventually. Sweaty hands also increase the chances of string corrosion. You must wash your hands with soap even if they are looking completely clean. Play strings with properly washed and well dried hands to avoid corrosion. Make this your habit and you will notice that strings remain spotless for longer duration and don’t require frequent cleaning.
Wipe the strings with a clean, lint-free cloth after you play: although you can replace the rusted strings with fresh ones, why not save some money by adopting some good guitar maintenance habits? Always clean the strings with a soft piece of cloth after playing. Even if your hands were well washed and dried, a little amount of sweat must have been released during the session. Clean that residue left by your hands on the strings properly. Cover the strings from both sides with a folded piece of cloth and wipe them gently to clean the sweat and dirt.
Using rubbing alcohol to wipe the strings: Cleaning guitar strings before and after playing it is a good habit but you also need to carry out proper cleaning procedure weekly to prevent corrosion. With a dry piece of cloth, you can only clean dirt and sweat but not stubborn rust marks. If you don’t know how to clean rusty guitar strings, here is the simple way to do it at home. Take some alcohol or string cleaning solution in a bowl and damp a soft piece of cloth with it. Wring it well and then start wiping the rust marks with dampened cloth.
Changing the new corrosion-resistant strings: Another way to prevent guitar strings corrosion is to replace the ordinary strings with corrosion resistant guitar strings. For acoustic guitars, you can get phosphorus bronze made strings that do not get rusted so quickly. For electric guitars, you can use stainless steels that do corrode but very slowly. These types of metals are not immune to corrosion but provide extended usage than ordinary strings.Comparing to corrosion resistant strings, bronze and steel made strings get rusted very quickly and require heavy maintenance.#Step 2: Avoiding Corrosion around the Hardware
Turn the knobs on an electric guitar regularly: Knobs are used to control volume and tones. They are made up of metal hence vulnerable to corrosion. The easiest way to protect them from getting rusted is to turn them every time you play the guitar. Knobs are more likely to corrode when stay in one position and hardly turned ever. You might have realized that the knobs of a guitar you play more often turn so easily whereas the guitar you don’t play much has jammed knobs. Turning knobs more frequently doesn’t let them jam and keeps you updated about their condition.
Using a cotton swab to clean around the pickups on an electric guitar: pickups are most crucial to clean as this is the area where you pick tones. Pickups are magnets that capture the vibration produce with strings. The edges of pickups store dirt and are very difficult to clean. You cannot clean them with a piece of cloth but only with a tiny cotton swab. The best way to keep pickups clean is to remove the dust with cotton swabs weekly. Don’t leave them unclean for longer duration as more dirt will be extremely difficult to remove. Also avoid using any type of solution near pickups as it will lead to corrosion.
Oil the tuning pegs: tuning pegs also known as tuning keys play an important role in the overall performance of a guitar. To prevent their corrosion, you must oil them once in 3 to 4 months. Tuning pegs are made up of steel and get rusted if not lubricated consistently. You may find an oil or lubricant from a guitar store to grease the tuning pegs. Buy an oil bottle with a nozzle that allows the lubricant to come out in drops and prevents the excessive oiling.
Polishing the frets with steel wool: to polish the frets, first you have to remove all the strings. Next, place the painters tape on each side of all frets. Now, use steel wool to gently rub each fret on the fingerboard. To pick up the residue of steel wool, use magnet that will attract every metal particle. Make sure you don’t buff too harshly or more than few seconds as excessive buffing will lead to an unwanted changed in the shape of frets. Polishing of frets is only required twice a year.#Step 3: Storing the Guitar
Keep the guitar in its case in break time: we have mentioned it before that when metal is exposed to environmental surroundings in the presence of moisture, corrosion takes place. This is the reason; you should keep your guitar in its case when not using it. Leaving it open allows dust particles and moisture in the air to rest on the guitar, resulting in faster corrosion. Every time after using the guitar, clean it and put it in its case to prevent from all sorts of damages.
Monitor the humidity where the guitar is stored: the ideal humidity at which a guitar can be stored safely ranges from 45 to 55 percent. If the humidity level is higher, corrosion will take places faster. Make sure you store your guitar in a room that has normal humidity and for that reason, you can also use dehumidifier. Place the moisture absorbent packets in the guitar case and protect your instrument from getting rusted.
Store your guitar in a climate-controlled room for long-term storage: moisture absorbent packets are only effective when you are storing your guitar for a shorter period in a highly humid environment. If you need to store the guitar for longer duration, prefer climate controlled room. For an extended storage, avoid an overly dry or excessively humid place. You can also lend your guitar to someone to play it regularly while you are unable to do it yourself. It will keep the guitar in use so corrosion threat will be levied.
Like every other metal product, guitars are also prone to corrosion. Guitars are made up by assembling several metal made parts such as tuning pegs, strings and pickups. With regular cleaning and proper maintenance, you can prevent guitar corrosion and enjoy its rich sounds for longer period of time. Following the 3 methods of cleaning and maintenance we have mentioned in this article, you will be able to fight corrosion and use your guitar for an extended time without replacing its parts.
I've made a few violins, that work to some degree, so I know at least a couple ways to build one. But violin-making is like so many other intellectual activities: the more we learn, the more we realize how little we actually do know. We start to get a glimpse of possibly what might be out there to be discovered.
When I write 'we', I certainly mean 'I', but maybe also 'you'.
When I first read of Brian Derber's new book on violin-making, I said to myself that I did not need another expensive violin book, that what I needed to do was to just keep cutting wood. If I had extra money, buy more wood. Or maybe a new tool.
I made the mistake of looking on the web-page for the book. It has a couple sample pages. I made the further mistake of looking at those sample pages. From them, I learned a way of looking at the fluting in f-holes that I thought was just spectacular. It made sense.
Within a couple days, I contacted Brian Derber via e-mail to order the book.
It's good. I have not read all of it. It is huge. But I have read the sections pertinent to the viola and hardanger fiddle I had already started making. In the spirit of an adventure -- not to mention I paid for the book, so I'm going to use it! -- I altered the way I am doing the rough arching (photo above) to follow the process in the book. Not a conversion necessarily, but an experiment, a playing with a new-to-me method.
In any book, there is a chain of knowledge. In 'how-to' books it might go something like this: From what the author thought, to what the author wrote, to what was finally printed, to what the reader read, to what the reader understood, to what the reader could convert into a physical object. We do what we can and adjust from there.
So I have the new book. I am also continuing to cut wood. Learning. It's fun.
If you are interested in the book, you can find the link here -- The Manual of Violin Making, by Brian Derber.
If the link does not work, you can find Brian at the
- New World School of Violin Making
- 6970 Red Lake Dr.
- Presque Isle, WI 54557
There's nothing to beat the experience of attending a workshop, seeing the work being done in person, getting feedback, and so on. I've attended the Southern California Violin Makers Workshop several times, and can recommend it. I also attended the now-defunct violin-making workshop that was held at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California, lead by Boyd Poulsen. There are other good workshops out there. You can go to one.
Brian's book is really good supplement to that experience. Good text, plenty of photos. And if you can't attend a workshop, but are determined to build fiddles, it would be useful.
In other exciting news, my car's odometer rolled over 100,000 miles last night on the way back from Scottish Country Dance. It's been a good car, a 2010 Kia Soul that I bought new in 2009, and I hope to be driving it for several more years.
Combining the current craft-beer renaissance with good cars and good information on violin-making, I conclude that we live in the best of times.
In looking for a guitar that could shred while still having a softer side, our Style 2 ended up with a 5 out of 5 in “Best for Shred,” with Music Radar noting that it had the most bang for your buck.
“The Charvel with its gorgeously-sculpted heel and body, and discreet input jack, is incredible,” said Music Radar. “It makes playing easy, but for our money – and yours – that pickup configuration, gives it the edge, with heaps of pro-quality tone on tap.”
If you want to know more about the “Best for Shred” Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH HT CLICK HERE.
Making sure you do this little trick every time you tune - will keep your guitar tuned for much longer. Check it out:
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Bar Room Blues is an exclusive series of video guitar lessons by Steve “Red” Lasner covering classic blues songs from historically great guitarists like B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy, and many others. A new lesson will be released each week, so be sure to subscribe and check back often! Also, if you want more…