Five months later I am adding some more pictures of my brother Dave’s trip to AZ in December 2015.
We visited the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale and it was a cool place to spend a day. We could have spent 2 days as it closed on us before we saw everything.
The accordion display
Dave doing his best sneer and the Evis suit.
Dave rockin the see me feel me room
Dave standing in for the tour guide
The white Tank mountains and the waterfall pool
Dave and the saguaro
Close to the waterfall
At the pool
Waterfall pool II
Dave and I
Fun days on Dave’s vacation
Time to upgrade the Ibby. Full hollow body laminated maple with 2 lackluster stock pickups.
I bought this a few years ago on sale at Guitar Center. I played the 3 they had in stock and this one was the best of the lot. Solid axe really, good neck , fair tuners, finish was flawless. Here is how it looked new.
I got a couple of GFS “Retrotron Liverpool” humbuckers for $80 at Guitar Fetish , along with 2 gold switch tips and a Chet style tremolo arm from Amplified Parts for
1st step is to strip it out.
Here are some workbench pix.
Lots of soldering and I also decided to use the old switch as a neck pickup coil split, and drill for a selector switch in a more appropriate spot, the upper bout where they BELONG!!
TADA… the final project. It has much more definition in the pickups and that certain twinge of bayou that a good hollow body should.
Recorded on the Gretsch Rancher, Wednesday morning 3/5/2014, 5:30 am, 1st take. Mixed and mastered 3/19/2015.
Here is an mp3 quick listen
Sugar Magnolia Mp3
And here is a full blown 28 bit High Fidelity wave. Right click to save.
The Black Crowes in Tempe 11-20-13
The Marquee Theater , it was my first time there. Interesting place. After getting by the gestapo security it was a good venue for the Crowes. The show was 1 of the best Black Crowes shows of the 3 I have been to. Their 2 year hiatus must have been good for em. I truthfully haven’t been a huge fan of the last few studio albums, 1 or 2 memorable songs on each since “Lions”. But Live they are still EXCEPTIONAL.
These guys roll their own and no show is the same so I have lucked out the last 2 times getting a dose of my favorites tunes and some pleasant surprises. The sound was good and the house was pretty enthusiastic. I worked my way to Rich’s side of the stage and got so his amps were louder than the house mix. Sweet. Here is the setlist:
Good Morning Captain
Goodbye Daughters of the Revoulition
By Your side
Oh! Sweet Nuthin
Thorn In My Pride
Hard to Handle> Hush> HTH
She Talks to Angels ( Sorta Acoustic, Rich rocks.)
Dixie is the 1st time played on the 2013 tour.
If you get a chance, go see em.
The Black Crowes are:
Rich Robinson Guitar, vocals
Chris Robinson Vocals, guitar, Harmonica
Sven Pipien Bass, backing vocals
Jackie Greene Guitars, Backing Vocals
Steve Gorman Drums
Adam MacDougall Keyboard
The 2013 tour has the Crowes hitting on all 8 cylinders and they seem to be having fun playing.
Here are some examples from their show ,( I may be pushing my luck posting these but enjoy them while you can)
This one is Oh! Sweet Nuthin, a Lou Reed/ Velvet Underground tune, a nice detour for the Crowes Sung by Rich Robinson ( its 9 minutes long)
Oh Sweet Nutthin
This next one is Wiser Time it’s 20 minutes, a great jam with touches of Jerry in it ( you deadheads will know what I mean)
They are good rockin!
Bee Bop a Lula I got a Gretsch guitar.
Here’s what it looked like when I got it.
So I spent a day practicing my scroll saw and beveling skills. I made 2 book matched pearl pickguards and believe me, they were VERY labor intensive.
Here is the result.
It is not perfect but it is hand made and 1 of a kind.
A week or so ago I picked up an Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar from a classified ad. It was a package deal from a guy selling his sons abandoned rock dreams. I got a 10 watt Crate amp, a guitar stand, leather strap, brand new braided cord and the guitar for $100. It is a 2008 LP Jr and came with thick brown/black sunburst finish. I did not even plug it in, I just took it apart.
One full day of sanding revealed a 16 layer pancake body of mohogany and alder wood. The alder top was nicely grained but thin. the edges were particularly rough so careful sanding was needed.
Day 2, I wet wiped and tack clothed then applied a coat of prestain conditioner, 1 coat of natural stain, and 3 coats of lemon yellow concentrated stain color from StewMac’s. Day 3, I wasn’t happy with the pancaked laminate sides so I masked and painted a binding strip around the sides, followed by another coat of lemon yellow stain.
Day 4, Sanding and buffing, 400, 600, 800 grit sanding and 1200,2000 grit polish pads. Buffing with a cotton wheel in a hand drill. Next I installed a pickup left over from another LesPaul project, a “Hot Bridge Classic Humbucker” circa 2009 which is hot it ohmed out at 14.6 . I also switched the tone cap for a .022uf orange drop.
Assembly came next. Gold Grovers from prior LP project, brass screws from Home Depot, and an adjustable brige from StewMac. I had to drill tuner holes to 10 mm for Grovers. The bridge was tricky because of the new height. I had to countersink the studs slightly to get the action down to my preference and still allow for height adjustment. I strung and unstrung the the bridge three times before I had it right, lowering stud holes each time. Strung up, tuned, and intonation set this is a fine guitar. I think it might benifit from a .045 uf tone cap but that will be later. Played through the 50 watt 2×12 Vox it has a good spread of tone throughout the volume and tone pots. The pup is has a great overdrive with good definition of string notes, while rolling off to a nice rich clean and full sound.
In 2-3 weeks, once the finish has cured completely, I will wet sand and apply either a nitro clear or oil rub to the body to make it gloss out.
Okay here is a red Strat, a Squire 2007-8 E-Bay prize I got for $150 brand new.
It has a nice maple neck, with a 9.5 radius. This is not my preference on neck curves, I prefer a 14 radius but the 9.5 is pretty standard for a Strat. I have replaced the pickups with Lace Golds, awesome improvement. I also rewired the tone pots to affect the bridge pickup, ala Eric Johnson. Standard strats have the tone pots trimming the neck and middle, EJ has the tone trimming bridge and neck and leaving middle unaffected.
Standard Strat Wiring
Eric’s Strat Wiring
I also replaced the pickguard with a nice pearl one and cut the whammy bar down about 1 3/4″
Pickups and guard, shortened whammy.
I have a number of guitars and a few of them are red.
Left to right: Epi Mahogany L P, Gibson S G Melody Maker, Carvin DC4, Epi Hummingbird Artist, Squire Strat.
Two of them, the SG and the DC4 have floating Trems. The SG sports a Wilkenson and the DC4 has a Floyd Rose.
Both work good and remain in tune even when I abuse them with dives and pulls.
The SG was purchased used sometime around 1973-74 and I modified it around 1997. I probably ruined the collector value of this rare 1967 guitar, however it now has a beautiful tone and great playability. I installed 2 single coil and 1 humbucker pickups with independant switching. I replaced all the potentiometers and capacitors and wiring. The master volume has an “off” detent to silence the output.
The DC4 is a really nice guitar too. It was custom built to my specs and the only 1 like it in the world. It features a mahogany body and neck with a 1/4″ maple carved and crimson stainded cap, the fretboard is birdseye maple. I am a huge fan of maple fretboards. The tone pots have push/pull switches for coil tapping. I added a few mods to the Floyd trem. An Eddie Van “D Tuna” for drop D tunining on the 6th string.
DC4 with D-Tuna
I also added a big block sustain block to the Floyd along with a “Tremelo Black Box” trem stabilizer, from “www.FU-Tone.com”( A great place for all things trem.)
Black Box stabilizer with Big sustain block.
Both guitars feature Sperzel Locking Tuners, My absolute favorite machine heads.