Teisco Logo

My wife got me a reproduction Teisco Del Rey logo for my Teisco Del Rey “shark” K3-L” guitar! I’m so excited and it is going to look great, but it had one little problem. There was some rust on the top of the logo.

The eBay sellers (Banana Guitars from FL) have been fantastic with quick email communications and replacement.  Kudos to honest eBay merchants!  Here’s the blemish free reproduction logo!

I’m very excited about how cool it will look on the metallic green headstock!  More pictures to come…

Advertisements

Current Effects

Tonight I hooked up everything! Well, not everything, but I hooked up everything that I consider part of my current set up for playing the electric guitar.

I plugged my Warmoth project guitar into my

  • Boss TU-2 tuner
  • Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi (USA version)
  • Marshal Guv’nor Plus
  • Morley Wah
  • Electro Harmonix Stereo Pulsar
  • DOD FX75-B Stereo Flanger
  • OhNoHo Chuck Chuck Boom feedback loop modified to add a switchable effects loop
  • Digitech RP200 in the effects loop with a homemade Organ effect programed in
  • Ernie Ball volume pedal Jr.
  • Mod Tone Vintage Analog Delay
  • ElectroHarmonix Holy Grail Reverb
  • Boss DD-7 Digital Delay with homemade  tap tempo pedal
  • Morely ABY plugged into the F input and M input of my Frenzel Champ Super Sportster (which allows me to use either preamp or both) plugged into
  • my jury rigged 2×12 (some old Ampeg 12 inch drivers) closed back speaker cabinet made from an old Raven RP100 combo amp.
  • All effects powered by a VooDoo Pedal Power 2 Plus.
  • And finally, my homemade acoustic stompbox plugged into a junk Behringer Ultracoustic ACX1000 amp (literally, it was junk. I got for free because it was broken.)

The Frenzel also has a line out, so when I’m playing at home I run it into a mixer which goes into my computer.

The unfortunate thing is that I only had about 40 minutes before the kids had to go to bed. It took me almost 20 minutes to get it all up and running. So with my last 20 minutes I just played whatever I wanted. It didn’t sound great. And it didn’t even really count as music, but I tried everything out and tried to overlap a bunch of sounds using the 40 second looper on the Boss DD-7.  It was really fun!

And that’s my current set up. I have taken my 1×12 homemade speaker cabinet with the Celestion Vintage 30 out of the equation because I need to sand it all down and actually finish it. Right now it is unsanded raw wood and has been for at least six months. It sounds great, but I need to at least sand it down. I might get a splinter!

It also still needs some sort of grill in front of the driver so my kids don’t try to play with the cone again.

Tainted

I heard the following on the radio coming home last night.

I don’t think I’ll learn the jazz cover of this song, but it did remind me of this song and made me want to learn it in a different style.  Good ol’ Soft Cell!

But here’s how I’d probably play it.

And maybe someday I’ll do something like this.

Guitar Books

I finally got it! I finally got Guitar Player Repair Guide, 3rd Edition by Dan Erlewine (with the DVD) and it is a fantastic resource! I’ve been playing around with guitar set ups and guitar assembly, but this is going to make things even better. I will be better.

Ironically, I also got a 1984 D.I.Y. Guitar Repair book by Pieter J. Fillet for a couple of bucks just the other night. I’m looking forward to comparing this book to the Erlewine book and seeing how they differ and how the compliment each other. Add to that everything that is on the internet and the forums that have so many great people who are willing to share their expertise and I start to wonder why we aren’t all experts at caring for our instruments.

On top of those two, I was also given 500 Guitars, a definitive A-Z guide by Gavin Wilson. The pictures are beautiful and I’m enjoying reading about all the different guitars, but I have to admit I wish there were more pictures.  A fun book overall though!

Acoustic Stompbox

I saw a post about someone’s purchase of an acoustic stompbox. I’ve seen them online before and I’ve even seen one used by Chris Whitley (obviously before he passed away). He was playing the Zephyr Club in Salt Lake City, UT. He had an angled box and it looked like he just shoved a mic inside it. Then he started stomping on the box and it sounded magnificent.

Here’s Chris playing Little Torch (labeled “Firefighter” here). You can hear the acoustic stompbox as the steady thump through the entire song. Just a wonderful song!

And if you want to see an example live in action, go to the 1:34 mark in the next video.

I did a little searching online and started to see that I could make some sort of DIY acoustic stompbox on my own if I had a piezo pickup. I’ve been looking at ways to amplify and record my acoustic guitars (classical, steel string, national steel, parlor, etc.) and to have the ability to record other instruments (violins, etc.). I’ve seen some cheap piezo pickups in the five dollar range during my search, but then I came across this website that described making an acoustic stompbox out of an old speaker. And more importantly, I have all the required parts as scrap out on my workbench.

I got plywood, an old jack, and an 8 ohm speaker from an old broken handheld radio. Unlike the instructions, my little speaker doesn’t have any screw holes, so I used hot glue to attach it to the wood. Then I hot glued the wedge piece to put the whole thing at an angle and provide clearance for the speaker. Next I wired the well marked positive wire from the speaker to the tip of the jack and the negative wire to the sleeve of the jack.

Well, that didn’t work. But when I plugged it in and touched the back of the paper cone on the little speaker, I heard noise through my amp. So I tore the speaker off (the hot glue actually broke free pretty easily…wouldn’t have worked for long). After some trial and error, I ended up using some old screws to hold it in place.

That kind of worked, but the speaker would catch on the ridges of the screw threads and make more of a popping sound than an actual thumping stomp sound.  After some more thought, I got some old rubberbands from when my daughter was really little. Two loops and they became a cushion for the speaker.

It isn’t the loud thump I was hoping for, but it is certainly making noise.

In my search for examples of acoustic stompboxes I came across this performance of Come Together. Great slide guitar and he uses an acoustic stompbox!

Amp Handle

I finally got the t-nuts I needed to move the amp handle from the shell of a trashed Fender Stage Lead II to the side of my jury rigged 2×12 speaker cabinet.

My goal for this 2×12 speaker cabinet is to be able to have it sit on its bottom (horizontal) or its side (vertical) depending on how much space I want it to take up. With a second handle, I can now carry it in a vertical or horizontal position.

I also added rubber feet to the bottom and side. Whoever originally owned the Raven RG100 that became my 2×12 speaker cabinet had put some Ernie Ball removable wheels on it, but they had removed the rubber feet to put the removable wheel sockets into the amp. I know this because I did a very similar thing to my Peavey TNT 130 bass amp. Before the Raven was trashed, someone had removed all the wheel hardware.

The main problem I had was finding rubber feet that would allow enough clearance so I could stack this speaker cabinet on top of another one and still clear the handle on the other amp/cabinet. With shipping and tax, it was going to cost me $10 to get 4 rubber feet. I think I’ve mentioned before that my goal with this speaker box is to put as little money into it as possible, which means using what I’ve already got.  So I took the 1/4 inch rubber feet and then added another 1/4 inch of washers left over from the kids’ swing set…and it works!

Everything went back together just fine. One of these days I’ll spray paint the bare plywood black, as well as the formerly chrome handle side mounts. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll someday figure out how to remove the Raven logo and put something of my own in it’s place!

Organ and Guitar…Again!

My local radio station played James Howard’s “House of the Rising Sun” the other morning while I was on my way into work. He did a great job! What really caught my attention was the basic arrangement of the organ with his guitar on top. I couldn’t find a youtube video of it, but his website has a sample of it. And his myspace page has the whole song!

Here’s his rendition of Amazing Grace that is very similar.

I know, I know. I seem to post a lot about organ sounds. Perhaps I should just learn to play one and not keep fixating on the Electro Harmonix POG2 effects pedal.

But I won’t. I’m not even learning to play the guitar very well, let alone the organ.

Headstock Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I often think about what guitars look like and what I like from all the different guitars out there. I’ve always wondered what parts of the headstock are really necessary. There are lots of odd headstocks (just look at most metal guitars) out there.

However most headstocks fall into 3×3 Gibson or 6 inline Fender.

The 4×2 from Musicman was really one of the first headstocks that showed me it could be different.

But I thought it was too small. My Teisco Del Rey K-3L headstock looks very cool in my opinion.

And I remember a series of articles in Vintage Guitar Magazine on British made guitars that had very elongated headstocks. Before that I saw a guy play one at a show. It was just him, his odd guitar, a vintage portable turntable with built in speaker, and a record of noise.  He plugged right into the turntable and sang very odd lyrics that matched his odd guitar. It was great!

And if you’re going to use the standard Fender headstock, do something cool to it like this:

I even have a Firebird 6 inline headstock on my Warmoth strat.

I remember seeing a video of the Collective Soul’s guitarist and he had some eye catching headstock on it.

When I saw the Parker Fly headstock, I knew it could be different, but still to my tastes.

I just worried about how structurally sound any of my ideas were. Well, not the ideas themselves. Most of my ideas are not very structurally sound. But if I actually cut out some of the middle of a standard Fender headstock, could it still hold up to the pressure and tension of the strings?

Apparently!  Thanks to Guitarz for showing me the light!

Spectrum 2 project

I made my way into my local guitar shop yesterday to check out the Teisco Del Rey Spectrum 2 that I saw Friday night through the shop window during a band’s Arts Walk performance.

Body shape is great.

Neck feels good.

Luckily I brought my Teisco Del Rey “Shark” K3-L to refresh my ears as to what I like so much about these old Japanese guitars. I plugged in the Shark first. All three pick ups have such unique tones. And the switches allow for multiple variations. It was a great reminder why I just can’t get rid of this guitar!

Then I plugged in the Spectrum. As I had already discovered, I like the feel of the neck contour a lot better, but the tone of the “famous” Spectrum pick ups just wasn’t there! I tried every configuration available. There is a rhythm and a solo switch at the top. I really only got sounds I liked from the rhythm selection. The neck pick up seemed the muddiest. It didn’t matter what I did with the tone knob or the volume knob. The bridge pick up was better to my ears, but still very weak. And there was a big volume difference between the two pick ups. And when I played with them together, it was louder, but not my favorite sound. Not horrible, but not as inspiring and fun as the tones coming from the Shark. The Spectrum also had a buzz like it wasn’t grounded right.

When I unplugged it, it still sounded “tinny” or almost hollow-body-esque. I think that may be from the vibrato tailpiece.

And just to make sure I wasn’t missing something with the tone, I plugged the Shark back in to confirm. It was confirmed.

I went back to the Spectrum. It does play better. The neck isn’t as good as some, but it blows the neck on the Shark out of the water. And the body is much more comfortable. It is so small and thin. At it’s widest part, it is still less than 13 inches wide. And the width of the body doesn’t exceed 1 1/3 inches.  But it doesn’t have the sharp edges like the Shark that dig in after playing for a little while. It reminded me of my Epiphone Crestwood ET-275. But the contours felt better. It’s like a Jaguar/Jazzmaster mix, but half the size and weight.  And the blue color is awesome! As in one of my favorite colors of all time. Weird. I know.

So I asked the owner of the shop what he was asking. It was in the range I expected, but higher than I’m willing to pay. He didn’t want to come down and said he may sell it on eBay for more. I just couldn’t justify the purchase. If I bought it, I’d want to keep it all original (weird, I know). I wouldn’t want to change anything even though it isn’t in mint condition shape. Call me sentimental, but it would fall into the same category as my Epiphone Crestwood. I just won’t modify that guitar. Perhaps if the pick ups sounded better, I’d be really tempted, but I’m not.

I gazed lovingly at the Spectrum 2 and even rubbed the upper horn. I then looked over at the shop owner and asked if I could stop by sometime to measure all the dimensions for a future guitar body project. He laughed, “Of course you can, but why don’t you just take it home to do that and bring it back when you’re done.” I was shocked and amazed. I’m thanked him numerous times and now have it in my house. I’ve traced it once and measured out all the curves, routing, etc. that I can without taking it apart. I’ll do it one more time so I have two pictures to compare.

Then I’ll take it all to KC’s work where his coworker is going to program everything into their CNC! I don’t know how long it will take, but when this all over, I may just be making quite a few imitation Spectrum 2’s! The nicest thing about this guitar body in comparison to the Epiphone Crestwood and the Rickenbacker 480 I’ve been dreaming of recreating is that this body uses the very standard strat style bolt on neck pocket. It isn’t exactly the same dimensions as a strat, but there is enough space for the neck pocket to be made the right size. Then I can use aftermarket strat necks for these bodies! Yes, I’m saying bodies. I will make more than one…just over time.