Friday, 31 August 2007

The Tele Build - Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts detailing the building of the above guitar. The build started after hearing my brother talking about the specs of his ideal Telecaster style guitar, so being the nut (pun only half intended) that I am, I volunteered to do the build.

Click on the read more link below to see the first installment in this series

Spec and Parts:

  • Solid Maple (bolt on) neck and Ash body
  • Telecaster style hardware all round for the body
  • Schaller staggered locking tuners for the neck
  • Dual Humbuckers - Prs Dragon in the neck, Bareknuckle Abraxas in the bridge
A full set of Telecaster style guitar templates were purchased from Guitar Building Templates in order to make the build as accurate as possible.

So the build began:

First step was to prepare the ash body blank, after hours of going over the surfaces with a plane the blank was finally at the point where the body shape could be rough cut. The shape was drawn out on the body blank using the Tele template and then rough cut with a jigsaw.

The rough cut almost finished:

After the rough cut had been completed it was time to bring it to its final shape. The aformentioned Telecaster body template was stuck to the body using doublesided tape and a router with a bearing guide bit used to do the dirty work. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the initial passes, however once the shape had been routed deep enough the template was removed, and the bearing bit lowered so that the ready cut wood itself was used as a guide.

Here you can see the body half hewn from the rough cut:

The end result, a telecaster shaped piece of wood, just waiting to be turned into a guitar!

More coming in the next part.


Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Where do all the picks go?

I'm sure it happens to all of us, objects such as pens can seem to magically disappear over time with no explanation. The same thing appears to happen with plectrums!

A few times a year I'll end up ordering a bulk load of plectrums, anything from 50-100 at once. Within two to three months they will all be gone. Where they go I can't say, however after some quick googling on the subject, here are a few of the explanations I've found:

  1. They slip through cracks in the space-time continuum and migrate to the planet of Plectropia, where they live happy and fulfilled lives, growing vegetables and raising families of little plectrums.
  2. Its those damn gnomes and fairies - Well known for stealing stuff, they're collecting our picks for profit. Curse their magic hearts.
  3. Down the soundholes of our instruments, hungry for nourishment the acoustics and thinline guitars of the world are to blame!
  4. The last theory, and by far the least popular. Its our fault, we just manage to lose them all over the place. Rubbish eh?

Whatever the truth - all I know is I'm going to be waiting in a ghillie suit with a suitably large bore rifle and a supply of coffee, keeping the plectrums in my sights tonight. No more will I allow them to be taken by beings from beyond.


Making em

Building these things is a subject i've been highly interested in for years, and my forays into the field have so far been fairly limited. However, I have built a few things here and there and i'll be adding them to this blog as soon as I find the time to do a write up on them.

Watch this space.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Uncomfortable? Fret not!

Ergonomics are so important to guitarists; the shape of a guitar neck, placement of knobs, tuners etc. However in some areas, such as the body of the guitar we can seem to be fairly blind, many people are happy to sacrifice comfort for a particular look, design or sound.

Some however, are not - Over at Building the Ergonomic Guitar Robert Irizarry regularly updates his blog with news on all aspects of ergonomics relating to guitars, and has set about on a quest to build the perfect ergonomic guitar for maximum comfort. Well worth a read.


Style and the Blues face

I've often found that whenever a new technique is learnt it creates a change in the style of play. I have a tendency to stand there and bang out random solos for a good half hour before playing something meaningful every time I pick up the guitar. I guess I could rationalise it as a warm up, but then again I've yet to see a legitimate warm up technique that usually degenerates into a race to see if I can play fast enough to stop time - a la Petrucci (He controls the rate at which the world turns with his preamp, true story).

In any case, it's during these "warm ups" that I'll try and implement anything new I've learnt by weaving it into the solo. I often find that to accommodate whatever it is I'm trying to play I'll end up completely changing style. I stand there ready to launch into an epic Gilmour-esque solo and come out with something decidedly country or reggae, and just end up looking a bit stupid due to the necessary Gary Moore blues face that accompanies it.

Don't laugh, it's a disability.


Monday, 27 August 2007

Line 6 teams up with Bogner?!

Bogner, a name that conjures up images of top of the range boutique valve amps, the sort of stuff you'd have to sell your home, car and possibly even the house cat to be able to buy. Valve amp purists everywhere swear by the name, and they are in many peoples eyes the "holy grail" of tone. So it's not exactly the sort of name you'd expect to appear on a digital amp eh?

Believe it!

Be it heresy or not, it seems that Reinhold Bogner is teaming up with Line 6, the people who made digital modelling mainstream to bring us the new Line 6 Spidervalve series of amps.

Digital tech has come a long way since the beginning, nowadays you can get some pretty convincing valve amp sounds out of a modelling amp, however there is always that extra something missing, those dynamics and that warmth that it seems valve amps are still, for the moment, the sole possessor's of.

So in answer to this problem? Line 6 are making their new amps... valve amps! Partially anyway. The info given is that the front end of the amp will be all Line 6 Tech, and the subsequent preamp and poweramp full valve. It's an interesting concept, and while it may seem somewhat self defeating at first, the idea of bringing the tonal versatility of digital modelling some extra life is always welcome.

Not being a big fan of digital amps I remain skeptical. I'll be sticking with my Engl head for the moment thanks!


Plucked into existence

Welcome to the newly formed blog. The intention is to fill this space with all things including and relating to guitars, and hell, even "lesser" stringed instruments...

With a sufficient amount of time hiding under my desk as a consequence of the previous comment having passed - more to come!