The Hives Go Right Ahead

My 4 year old regularly asks for this song. He even claps out the rhythm when he asks for it.

I do prefer the live performance, but the album version is really good too. In fact, for anyone who hasn’t heard the new Hives album, Lex Hives, please listen to it right away. Then buy it.

I’m a big Hives fan. Even have a signed drum head after a friend told them about my broken back. And I caught a drum stick at one of their concerts a few years ago.

However, my son has not only been asking for the song anytime the stereo is on, he has also been asking for the Breakfast Club to get back together to play it. So for fun, I decided to learn the song. But I couldn’t find any tabs or youtube lessons. So I attempted to learn it by ear.

You need to remember that I am not very good at playing the guitar. In fact, I’m even worse at figuring out stuff by ear. But it is the Hives. And my son doesn’t mind hearing the song over and over and over again!

The basic parts are: EDCA, which transitions with EDCE to DACE, which goes into ACDF. This repeats and then ends on the ACDF with a pause before the final EDCA


Tuning Machines again

I am trying to finish my Squier strat projects, but I need tuners for one. I had ordered some through my local guitar shop, but they got the wrong ones shipped to them. So we started digging through their tuning machines. Wow! There were a lot of different ones. We finally found five 2 post Fender brand tuning machines and one no name 2 post tuning machine.
I took them home, but the Fender brand posts did not line up with the post holes in the Squier headstock.

As you can see the concept is there, but the execution is just off. I’m not really in the mood to drill new holes since the no name did fit. I’m betting the Allparts ones I originally ordered will fit as well. So back to ordering and the usual wait that any project has.

Funny Thing Happened on the Way

A funny thing happened on the way to purchasing my Digitech Jamman Solo. I bought one online. But then the sale was cancelled. I have the email to prove it. So I went to my local guitar shop and they honored the price I had gotten online. I brought back my new pedal and made a footswitch for it. Then I got a new Digitech Jamman Solo in the mail from the online retailer who had cancelled my original purchase.

Unfortunately they didn’t let me keep it for free. But I did return it at their expense and had the charges for the pedal reversed.

Bass Headstock Reshaped

Yes, the title is in the past tense. I finished reshaping my friend’s bass headstock. What do you think?

It looks a little squat and I think I might go back and reshape it to the flatter 51 Precision bass headstock I originally had in mind. But then there wouldn’t be room for the military insignia the bass’s owner wants to put in the place of the Johnson logo. I’m going to give it back to him to play with for a while and when he’s ready, I’ll paint the face black and put on the military insignia he wants.

When I finished I put the tuners back on and found that I didn’t have enough space to cover the corner of the tuner. That explains the horn at the top of the headstock that I cut off.

This project has certainly re-instilled my love of files. It can be slow work, but unlike power tools, it is hard to mess things up in an instant. I fairly quickly filed the corner off and I think it looks pretty good.

Footswitch Extention

Finally sat down and put together all the parts I had assembled for my Digitech Jamman Solo footswitch ( DIY FS3X 3 button footswitch). Not only did I put it together, but it worked first time!

I used a $3 case, 3 $1.75 push button switches, 2 free diodes, free wire from an old broken amp, and a stereo 1/4 inch plug I had from an old project. I don’t know how long it will last because it is certainly not as sturdy as a digitech footswitch, but  it also was not $40. Even if I had purchased everything at radioshack to make this from scratch, I’d still be around $10 or $15.

I did have to bend the prong for the sleeve on my stereo jack. And I did have to figure out which direction the diodes go (thank you internet!). And I don’t like how big the enclosure is.

But more importantly it works and really makes the pedal easier to use! Especially with my back brace making it very difficult to bend down to push buttons. I do wish there were a footswitch for saving loops, but that is a minor complaint. I’m sure I’ll have more to share as I play with it!

EDIT: Here are the diagrams I got from elsewhere on the internet. You have to have the diodes for the Digitech footswitch.

FS3Xwiring1_22 FS3X-copy-schematic (1)


Should guitar equipment be versatile or should it do one thing really well?

I love the lessons by this guy. Anyway, a friend of mine has a Mesa Boogie Mark V amp (even offered to sell me his old Mark IV.. oh money, why aren’t you free?!?). What an amazing amp! There is so much put in there. I am just amazed by the versatility. And when I think of guitars I want, I think of the Parker Fly with its odd shape, piezo pick up, humbuckers with coil splitting, etc. I think of my Warmoth project guitar with the P-Rails that give me a bunch of different combinations of pick up configurations. Very versatile!

But I also think of my Wolverine project guitar which is about as standard strat as you can get. Or my Teisco Del Rey with its very dirty, lo fi sound. These do their thing very well.

And what about pedals? Don’t even get me started on pedals and versatility.

So what do you think? Should gear be versatile or should it be really good at one thing? Can versatile gear still be good? Is it all or nothing?

Black Squier Strat Project part 4?

I finally finished wiring up the kill switch for my black squier strat project. But the tuners I ordered haven’t arrived yet, so I borrowed one from the blue squier strat project that is now all finished (except set up) to see if I wired it correctly.

I didn’t.

The kill switch is wired the opposite of what it should be. So now, a simple strum could flip the switch and “kill” the sound. So I have to open it back up and re-solder the kill switch. It should just require reversing the wires on the two posts. Good thing I tested it with one string before I had to take all 6 off. I’m sure that if I knew how to read a schematic and properly use a volt/ohm meter I could’ve tested everything before I put it together. But I don’t and I didn’t.

In case you’re wondering, this guitar has a master volume that is a push pull pot for splitting the humbucker in the bridge position. The two tone knobs are for the neck and middle pick ups respectively. There’s the kill switch that came with the pick guard. And finally a standard 5 way selector switch.

Friend’s new tuners

My friend has broken and replaced two tuning machines on his entry level Fender acoustic guitar. He asked one of our local guitar shops how much to upgrade all the tuners and they told him with labor and parts he might as well get a new guitar…and for what they would charge him, they were right.

I on the other hand do not charge labor. And I have tuners he can buy off me for cheap on an old knock off Les Paul that refuses to stay in tune because the neck pocket is not solid.

The old tuning machines were much smaller than the new ones so I got to use the reamer I purchased a while ago. It is so much nicer having the right tool at home rather than having to go visit my local guitar shops and rely on the generosity. Plus, it worked like a charm and in under an hour I was done.

Too Many Projects

I have too many unfinished projects laying around. I need to get some done and I need to play the guitar. So many of the projects I’ve got going are almost done I just need the discipline and time to get them completed. But I’m not playing because I keep doing things for all these little projects.

Of course I’ll be documenting it all here, but right now I just want to play. So goodnight and perhaps I’ll post soon about all the projects I’ve finished and perhaps I’ll just keep playing the guitar and post later.

I hope you all go do whatever it is that you love to do!

Carbon Fiber Pickguard

When my wife’s cousin was a teenager he got an old Squier strat. He played it and he enjoyed it, but what he really wanted to do was customize it. He comes from a family of customizers. His Dad has a hot rod shop and nothing stays stock in that household!

So he got some scrap carbon fiber from an old race car body and made a pick guard and rear guard. He then took scrap aircraft aluminum from one of his Dad’s projects and made knobs. Finally he painted the body metallic silver. He then assembled it with hex head bolts. It was a great little guitar and he played it for a while longer.

But once the project was done, he just wasn’t as into playing it. When a family friend offered to sell it (and he needed money for a motorcycle he was rebuilding), he sold it. The family friend played in his local church and loved gear. He put a beautiful vintage (probably a reissue) Fender neck (maybe a 57 or 62 reissue?) and redid all the electronics with Fender Custom Shop Texas Specials. That little Squier went from being a cool customized guitar to a real player!

Then the family friend passed away and the guitar returned to the cousin and his family. But once again he is ready to sell it. The only problem is, it has something rattling in the back of the guitar. So they brought it to me!

Have you ever seen a bridge block that cracks and crumbles like this?  Apparently the family friend replaced everything but the bridge. With five springs on the bridge, it just couldn’t survive and began to crumble.

Thankfully I had an extra block from another project and was able to replace it! I strung it back up and everything is back in tip top shape!