Friday, September 27, 2013

Little Blue Strat, Part 3

Part 1:

Part 2:

So here I am putting the guitar together.

I was using full sized pots so I had to shave a little wood from the inside cavity.  You can see where I have the tape marking where I should cut. 

Here I placed the pickguard where it should be, and have taped it down.  I did that so it wouldn't move when I was drilling the holes.

Here's the back.  I am drilling holes for the backplate.

The neck fit perfectly on this body.  A lot of you might be asking why I am using a Squier neck on a good body with good electronics?  Well, of my four Strats, this is the best neck of all of them.  It's straight with no dips.  It has no fret problems.  It's smooth, and thin.  The other three Strats I have had all have weird neck problems.  This one is the most comfortable and easy to play out of all of them.  In fact, I will say that it is, hands down, the best Squier neck I've ever seen.

Here you can see the tremolo put on it.  Again, this one when one pretty easy.  I was really worried about getting it perfect, but it proved to be no problem.  Some guitars are pains to work on, some make it seem easy. 

Here's a better shot of the body.  I really dig the look.

And here's a shot of my messy desk, and the Little Blue Strat all strung up.  Also, I really dig the strap.  Lili got it for me for my birthday.  The guitar is fun to play, and feels really comfortable.  I always wanted one in sonic blue, and now I have it.  So I feel pretty good.  Now I just have to wait until no one is home so I can crank my amp. 

Little Blue Strat, Part 2

For part 1:

My next part of the project was wax pot the pickups.  It helps protect them, as well as subduing microphonic feedback. 

So I have my trusty pan of wax.  25% beeswax and 75% paraffin wax.

As you can see it is in a double boiler.  You don't want the wax directly on the stove.  If it gets too hot, and catches fire then you're in trouble.

This is a Dimarzio Blue Velvet neck pickup.  I really like them.  Too bad they did away with them, and started a new line call the True Velvet. 

Here you can see the wax melting slowly but surely.

You can see just a little bit of unmelted wax left in the pot.  This is when I like to get it off the stove.  To wax pot pickups, you want the wax thin enough to penetrate the pickup, but not so hot that it destroys the pickup.  So you have to hit the temperature of the wax just right.  Not too hot, not too cool.

Here I am adding the Dimarzio Blue Velvet and a Schaller Golden 50 to the wax.  It helps to move the pickup around a bit to let the air out.  If the air is coming out, then that means the wax is penetrating.  I also have a Fender Texas Special that is going into the middle slot, but they are already wax potted really good. 

Here's what they look like after wax potting.  I like to wipe the wax off the top so that it's not globbed up on there.

Here's the electronics all put together in the pickguard. 

Next I did something I had never done before.  After I had put the guitar together I tested it.  It was extremely, overly bright.  I thought maybe the pots where 500K instead of 250K ohms.  But they were as they were marked, 250K ohms.  So I checked the net on what to do to tame the brightness.  I could replace the pots, but I found an easier solution.  Radio shack has 47K ohm resistors.  I could drop them in, and they would reduce the pots' value down to 203K ohms.  So I put them in.

I gotta say, it worked.  It tamed the brightness just a hair.  They are still bright, but not ear splittingly so.  I was happy that a 5 pack only cost $1.49.  That was much cheaper than trying to replace all the pots. 

Stay tuned to part 3, where I will put the guitar together.

Little Blue Strat, Part 1

Well, I decided to make use of some guitar parts I had lying around, and put together a guitar.  It's one of those typical Stratocaster projects.  So I won't go over every little detail on this guitar.  I will highlight what makes this one different from others.

Here's the body.  A sonic blue Strat body.

These are my magic ingredients.  Basically I am making a type of shielding paint.  I use the acetone to thin out the liquid tape, and then load it up with graphite.  It will shield the body from unwanted signals.  To make it this way is much cheaper than buying the same stuff from Stew-Mac.

Here I am taping off the body.  This stuff if messy, and I suggest you wear gloves when dealing with it.

See, it is pretty nasty.  I think I thinned it down too much.  But it evaporates really quickly.

Here's the first coat.

And the second.

And the back.  I couldn't forget that. 

Looking back, I think I could have added more coats.  It's hard to know how well it works since there is no before and after testing of the sound.  Again, I suggest for you to be careful.  It is pretty nasty stuff, and you don't want to get it anywhere you shouldn't.

Part 2 will focus on the electronics.


Adrian: Amatuer Craftsman, The Bathroom Cabinet, Part 5

It turns out that I am not an amateur craftsman right now.  I am in fact, an unhappy camper.  I have put in all this work on the bathroom cabinet right?

Here's the picture of it:

Well it was decided by someone in the household, who will remain nameless, that it looked too rustic, and should not be put up on the wall in the bathroom.  That's great.  I could have been told 15 hours of hard labor ago!  Really, I go through all this effort to cut and measure the wood, paint it, then have Lili paint it, and then, after it's complete, I'm told, "It doesn't match the rest of the house.  It looks too rustic."

Well, that was the point.  It was supposed to look rustic.  I was supposed to look old timey with pretty flowers.  It was supposed to be bigger than the cabinets you could buy from Home Depot, and actually made with real wood instead of particle board and cardboard.

So I don't know what I'm going to do with it.  I know of two places that it might go (in other people's homes.)  But for now I am going to put in a crappy Home Depot cookie cutter cabinet in the bathroom.

Things Todd Said

Over a decade ago I worked with a guy named Todd.  I hadn't given it much thought until I was going through some of my old stuff the other day.  Todd would usually bust out with this crazy things at work at least once a day.  He was pretty out there, but the drugs he took didn't help either.  As I was saying, I found an old book that I used to write the things he said in.  I thought, "I have to share this wisdom on my blog."

Todd came up to me and said, "I have rage against the candy machine!!!"  It seems it took his money and didn't give him his Skittles. 

There was one time that this guy, who was a total tool, was talking to a few of the employees.  He was a bit of a douchebag.  So when the guy walked off, Todd started doing an impression of him.

"Ya know, I had a few days off, thought I'd come down here, spend some time at the beach.  That sort of thing. 

As I write it, it doesn't sound that funny.  But Todd did a great impersonation of the guy. 

One time, Todd came up to me, and said, "Dude that sounds like carbonated ass!"  We worked in a musical instrument shop, and the playing was usually bad.  This time is was extra bad, and yeah, it did sound like carbonated ass.

PSYCHO SLURPEE!!!  Okay I have no idea what that means.  I can't remember the story behind it.  Although I wish I could.

There was going to be a staff meeting that night, so all employees had to attend.  Todd said to me,

"Ya know, every day is an adventure.  For instance I got a ride up here for the meeting, however, I neglected to get one home.

Todd walked in kind of angry one day, and just yelled out into the store, "There's a seven foot tall schizophrenic living in my house!!!"  It seems that Todd's roommate was in fact seven foot tall, and he was a schizophrenic.  I really had no idea how to respond to that.

My real regret is that I missed writing things down a lot of the things he said. I didn't get some of his really good stuff written down.  Namely, I started my book of his sayings not long before I was fired from there, so it was pretty short.  Also, we only worked three days together, and on opposite shifts at that.  And once I no longer worked there, I moved away, and never saw Todd again.  I hope he is doing okay after all these years.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adrian Guy, Superstar

I have been debating on whether I should tell this story publicly or not.  It's another one of my great practical jokes that kind of went too far.  As funny as it is, I really don't want anyone to pull this stunt.  But I will leave that judgment with the readers.  So please laugh, but don't do this.  You could find yourself in trouble.

It all started when I went to see my Doctor.  It was a usual checkup sort of thing.  However, I had an idea brewing for some time.  The Doctor's office sees sick people, but what if they saw a really, mentally sick person?

So I walk into the office all nice and normal.  The receptionist asks my name, and I answer with a straight face, "Jesus Christ."

She said, "Huh?"

I then said, "Jesus Christ?  You may have heard of me?  You know, your Lord and Savior?"

She then said, "No really, what is your name?"

Which I replied, "You know it might be listed under Jesus of Nazareth?  How about Son of God?"

She started to mumble, and then just got confused.

That's when I said, "You know sometimes they get it mixed up with my Mother, Mary.  Try Mary of Nazareth."

At this point I just kept the B.S. going.  "Sometimes they get my chart mixed up with my Stepdad, Joseph.  Try Joseph of Nazareth."

The receptionist was completely confused at this point, so at that point I slowed it down a bit.

"Okay, are you sure you have nothing for Jesus Christ?  You know, I died for you sins?  They nailed me to a tree, stuck me in a cave, and I came back three days later?"

At this point the waiting room had gone eerily silent.  And very, very tense.  People were starring without trying to stare.  The receptionist couldn't speak, and was starting to panic.  You know when something bad happens and people are supposed to choose fight or flight?  Well, right before that some people will freeze up, and that's what she did.  She totally froze up.

I didn't want her to scream, panic, or call the cops so I broke the silence.

"Just kidding.  I'm Adrian, your 2:30."

This huge sigh of relief came over her face.  One of the people in the waiting room also let out a big sigh and said, "I thought you were an escaped mental patient." 

When I sat down in the waiting room this 300 pound, beast of a woman said in the most redneck accent, "You're mean." 

You could really see the mouse was not turning the wheel in her head that fast.  So I said, "Nah, I'm fun."

"You're fun?"  Again in a weird Plant City redneck accent. 

"Oh yeah, I'm a barrel of monkeys." 

I then had to confess to my Doctor that I was harassing his staff with a good natured joke.  It didn't seem to bother him.  I think he was alright with it.

I do want to let it be known that the next time I was in the office I brought the receptionist flowers and an apology.  I wanted to let her know it was all in good fun.

So I don't know if it was my best practical joke I ever pulled, but it's definitely in my top five.  Again, I don't recommend anyone pulling this on their Doctor's office unless you want the loony wagon called on you.  Unless of course you are Tom Green.  I think Tom Green could get away with it. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

If you are not having fun here, you're doing something wrong

As a musician I love music.  There are so many kinds, and so many different things to say in music, it amazes me.  Sometimes, I think my brain is a human jukebox.  I really liked it when I was trucking and could listen to Sirius radio.  There was endless music of all kinds and from many different decades. 

I had always liked 60's music, whether it be a lot of the standards or the deep cuts.  However, I was listening to a song that I had heard a zillion times before, and something hit me.  I was listening to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals.

(Note:  There are many versions, but The Animals version was the one I was listening to.)  I know all the lyrics.  I've always sung along to the radio.  However, something struck me funny this time.

In the end, he says not to come down to New Orleans, and spend his life in sheer misery.  I got to thinking....  So (in the song) you are in a brothel and you are having a bad time?  Seriously?  You are in a brothel, and in sheer misery?  I got to thinking, if you are not having fun here, you're doing something wrong.

But, I decided to do a little fact checking.  And for that I would like to post a reference.

It seems the song has gone through hundreds of changes over the years.  It was originally supposed to be from the prostitute's point of view.  And she's not having a good time.  Here are the lyrics before they were changed to the man's point of view.

There is a house in New Orleans,
They call the Rising Sun.
It's been the ruin of many a poor girl,
And me, oh God are one.
If I had listened like momma said
I would not be here today.
But being so young, and foolish too,
That a gambler lead me astray.
Come tell my baby sisters,
Don't do what I have done.
Please shun that house in New Orleans,
They call the Rising Sun.
I'm going back to New Orleans,
My race is almost run.
I'm going back to New Orleans,
Beneath the Rising Sun

So now it starts to make a little more sense.  I guess being a prostitute in a depression era New Orleans' brothel could be thought of as "sheer misery." 

I guess I'm glad I had my weird thought.  And I am also glad I did a little fact checking.  Now I know a little something I didn't know before.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Adrian: Amatuer Craftsman, The Bathroom Cabinet, Part 4

So here's the great news.  The cabinet is finished.  Lili (not her real name) finished up the details on the vines and flowers that adorn the cabinet.  We then applied a layer of wipe on poly to seal the paint. 

Here's the photos:

So now that the cabinet is ready it's time to hang it up right?  Well, not exactly.  You see, it has been decided that the bathroom needs to be painted, and it wouldn't make any sense to hang this up, and then paint.  So, we will wait until the bathroom is painted, and then we will hang the cabinet up. 

Well, that also means good news in that, I get another blog or two out of this project.  Stay tuned.  More will be coming.