Blue and Black Strat Projects

Now that I’ve got the pick up covers back to white, I can put everything together!

And one of my local guitar shops had an old used black-white-black three ply SSH strat pick guard. They gave it to me for such a low price that I bought all black pick guard screws for attaching it to my black Squier project guitar! Now I just have to widen the humbucker hole a few milimeters so the Select designed by EMG pickup will fit.

Mugen Hoso

With a beat up old Fender strat, a borrowed Music Man 212HD amp, and a well loved red sparkly drum kit, the two men that are Mugen Hoso put on a great reminder of what rock and roll is all about at Le Voyeur in Olympia, WA last night. I was happy to be part of it!

The crowd started off quiet, but the infectious grin of the guitarist/singer quickly had everyone clapping and singing along.  I think this picture was the only time he stood still the entire show! The drummer was great to watch as he kept up with the guitarist.

I was on the side of the room trying to not get bumped into while my back brace maintained my impeccably good posture! I couldn’t bounce around to the show like I wanted too, but I could clap and I could yell along with the choruses!

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the show. Le Voyeur is a small venue and according to their Facebook page, Mugen Hoso will be playing here again in September. They’ll also be on most of the west coast for the next month, so if you can see them, please do!

The guitarist was using a Fulltone OCD that was on most of the show and a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet that he would use for different parts of different songs. It looked like he was plugged into the first channel on the amp, so no reverb or tremolo effects. And he had a Boss tuner in the chain too. Every time he tuned up he would really stretch his strings, so they must have been new. When they first plugged in he spent an exceptionally short period of time to dial in his sound through a foreign amp. If only we could all dial in our sound so quickly! Not to mention then put on a fantastic show!

Most of their set was in Japanese, so I’ll leave you with something more traditional.

Pick Up Covers

I finally got around to cleaning the sparkly black paint off the pick up covers for my blue Squier project. I started to get it off with just a rag and some elbow grease, but finally got out some steel wool. It took off the paint pretty well, but still took some elbow grease. Here I am 2/3rd of the way through!

Once I’ve got these in good shape I’ll just have to put everything back together!

Step by Step

No, this isn’t a reference to the New Kids on the Block. I got a new guitar book at the local Goodwill called “Step-by-step…Rock Guitar” by Happy and Artie Traum. I’ve been trying to go through my beginner guitar books to review existing skills and pick up skills and knowledge I have missed through my haphazard learning methods.

This book actually looks pretty good. It starts with the basics and builds on each skill set. It uses songs as examples and seems to be a good blend of theory and technique. We’ll see how it goes!

Oh, and this is for those of you who came to this blog post for the NKOTB reference, here you go! You know who you are…

Back Breaking

For the past four weeks I have been in a back brace. A plastic, metal, neoprene, and velcro contraption that restricts my movements, removes all pressure on my lower back, and keeps my pain level tolerable while I heal. I’ve been trying to ignore the drastic changes this has had on my and my family’s life when updating this blog, but today I am slipping.

Just so you know, while playing with my kids I tripped backwards and landed poorly, which resulted with an anterior fracture to my L1 vertebrae. This is a mild back break. No surgery. No nerve or spinal chord damage. I will heal and with the help of physical therapy I will be good as new by sometime next year…as if it never happened.

But it did happen. And I have had to rely more on others than I have in a long time. My kids untie my shoes for me. Coworkers pick up my pen when I drop it. My wife puts on my socks and shoes. I’m not supposed to lift anything over 20 pounds. The list goes on.

And I haven’t posted about it here. I have struggled with how to approach this change to life in general, let alone on my pseudo anonymous guitar blog. I continue to tinker with guitar projects (as you have seen). I read and think about guitars. I make lists of stuff to do and buy. I play a little bit, but the metal bars on my brace make holding a guitar awkward to say the least. Plus, if buckle rash is bad (which I think it is)…brace rash on the back of a guitar just seems pathetic.

So I encourage you to enjoy your life and whatever aspects of guitar are in it. Whether that is playing and building and modding and jamming or just listening or even seeing. Life is good. This could have been much worse. This could have been permanent and it could have been a truly drastic lifestyle change. But I will get better. Even as I struggle with how to deal with the current inconveniences and the guilt I feel for all the slack my wife and kids have to pull, I am getting a little better everyday.

I don’t know if I will address or include these changes in future blog entries. I don’t know if I will even mention it again. But today I am. Today I appreciate what I’ve got, what has been given to me by friends, family, and strangers, and what I will get back. Thank you.

Import Parts

I’m reassembling two Squier strats with parts from a bunch of friends and different projects. My goal of course is to end up with two guitars from all the parts rather than just a pile of parts. But they also need to be playable and sound decent.

The set of single coil pick ups I have are from an 2000 Squier strat that the original owner painted all black. The pick ups and pick guard are now some sort of black sparkle. I’ve decided to move those over to the blue bodied Squier strat body with the white pick guard I have from the white/gold David Gilmour style strat project I did for a friend. I’ve also decided to take the black Select pickups (designed by EMG) that I got with another pick guard (that doesn’t fit any Squier strat, so it will be replaced) on the black Squier strat body. If I had more money for this project I would use all black hardware for this second guitar, but I will get pretty close with what I’ve got!

However, the white pick up covers I was going to use don’t fit the pickups I’ve got. I stopped by my local guitar shop and none of the pickup covers they have fit the pickups I’ve got. The poles are off. So I’m going to have to try to clean off the black paint from the pick up covers that came with the pick ups. Wish me luck…pictures to follow.

Tool Kit

When I first started to fence competitively, I quickly learned the importance of having a tool kit for those emergency equipment failures. Nothing life threatening, but knowing how to fix stuff in between bouts and having the tools to do it made things better!

After reading Naal’s Guitar Player Emergency Kit blog entry on Alban Arthuan, I started to think about what I currently have in my emergency guitar kit. I am not as prepared as I’d like to be. I think I’ve blogged about this before, but rather than list what I think would go in my kit, what is in yours?

Shopping Online

I don’t normally shop online. I research. I drool. I look, but I don’t normally buy. I like to try things out and give the business to my local guitar shops.  Of course, it hasn’t been that much business (other than taking broken gear off their hands and a few miscellaneous parts) lately. But now I’m looking for an inexpensive HSS strat style pickguard before I try to cut up, sorry, “modify” one I already own. Plus, if I’m going to buy one, I’d like to get black. That way I have a black pickguard with black Select pickups (designed by EMG) on a black Squier strat with a rosewood fingerboard. Perhaps I’ll even paint the face of the headstock black!

Or maybe I’ll sand it all down and paint the entire thing mat black. That would be cool. Like a stealth plane or something!

Anyway, I found some very inexpensive black/white/black 3 ply pickguards on Amazon and from Guitar Fetish. I am confirming whether the humbucker I have will fit, but should be finishing this project soon!

Mini-pedalboard for Bass

it was done!

I finished putting my black Russian Big Muff back together after adding true bypass and a power supply plug. I then sanded down a piece of junk plywood, drilled a few holes, and secured my pedals to the board with some zip ties.

My signal would now go: bass to Sabine ST-1000 chromatic tuner to Danelectro Surf & Turf Compressor to black Russian Big Muff to Peavey TNT 130 bass amp. I left plenty of room for a handle and more pedals on the piece of junk plywood (mainly the broken Danelectro Chorus I hope to repair). Or I may cut it down a bit and leave it as is. Once I’ve settled on a final size I’ll put on some rubber feet I had originally purchased for a different product that ended up being too small.

Of course this all depends on my diy power supply daisy chain working for all three pedals…which it doesn’t. I can power each pedal individually with my power supply. I can power just the tuner with the daisy chain. But I can’t power all three. I think I reversed the positive and negative leads somewhere. I wish I knew more about electronics and how all this stuff works. I’ve been doing more of a connect the dots approach without actually knowing or understanding what and how it works underneath.

I’ll keep you posted.

And if any of you out there are any good with electronics and want to help me out, drop me a email. I would be grateful!