Grounded

This weekend I plugged my new SG in and got horrible buzzing noise. I could barely hear the guitar string underneath it. The tuner wouldn’t register anything. I tried plugging directly into my amp and the buzz got louder. I changed cables. No difference. I flipped between the different pick up settings. The bridge pick up didn’t have a lot of buzz, but it was very quiet. Then I selected both pick ups and the buzz came back really strong. Then I selected the neck pick up and the buzz got even louder.

I’ve had this guitar just over a week and it has a sudden grounding issue?  I opened up the back to see if anything was touching. I found the cap between the neck volume and tone controls appeared to be soldered to the middle post and the body of the tone control. This didn’t match up with any of the diagrams I was looking at online. But I wasn’t sure. It was obvious this had been this way from the beginning.

62SGrewiring

Since I had just bought it, I took it back to my local guitar shop and explained what was going on. Unfortunately I had to go back to work, so they worked on it without me getting to see what they were doing. I picked it up on my way home, plugged it in, and no buzz. I then went to the extreme test by turning the gain up all the way on my amp and switching between the two pick ups. The bridge pick up was still quiet. Beautifully quiet. Wonderfully quiet. The neck pick up had a buzz. Not nearly as pronounced as before and the strings were nice and loud, but compared to the bridge pick up there was a buzz. I touched the strings and the buzz was quieter. I still had the back plate off so I touched the neck pick up volume and tone knobs. The buzz went away almost entirely.

I returned the amp to my usual gain and volume settings. The buzz was not noticeable. Anyone got any ideas? Why would there still be some apparent grounding issues with one pick up, but not the other? I may take it back again, but I’d really like to figure this out (with the internet’s (your) help, you know). Thanks in advance!

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guitar strap height

I’ve been wearing my guitars higher and higher. But a few weeks ago at work I finally played my old Epiphone SG using my shortest strap. My shoulder got sore and my arm got tired holding up my fretting hand. Maybe its just because I hadn’t been playing for a while, but I was a bit surprised. I’ve enjoyed playing my Epiphone Crestwood and knock off strats with that very same strap.

Since playing that guitar at work, I’ve gotten my 62 SG Jr. I haven’t tried it with my shortest strap that I used at work all those weeks ago, but I am really enjoying where it falls on my body with my widest strap. I still have it set as high as it can go, but it isn’t nearly as high as my other strap. This feels comfortable. It doesn’t slide down too fast with the heavier headstock (not a balanced guitar). And most importantly, I like where my arms and hands go when I play. It just feels like it is in the right place.

62 SG Jr strap height

So, I’m curious. What kind of strap do you use and how do you wear your guitars?

62 Gibson SG Jr repaired

I’m sure I’ll be learning more about the history of this guitar in the future. I should be getting the contact info for the guy who did the work from the seller soon. But right now, here’s what it looks like.

My understanding is that this 1962 Gibson SG Jr was refinished and then “relic’d.” Normally I don’t like pre-worn or relic’d guitars. I like my guitars to earn their battle scars (just keep them playable folks!). However, this guitar has already earned its battle scars. To the point of ruin. Fixing the battle scars was necessary to bring back its glory. Covering them up would be like trying to hide what it really is. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I am more interested in learning the truth behind people and stuff rather than seeing the facade we put up and hide behind so well.

I really like the worn look on this guitar. It has history. It has depth. And most importantly, it is sturdy enough with all the repairs, but I also don’t walk around scared to touch it, let alone use it.

Thinning the Herd

Or “How I got a 62 Gibson SG Jr”

My local guitar shop has been restoring a battered vintage guitar every couple of months for a while now. I really enjoy seeing what they are able to do with old strats and jags and teles and les pauls that have been re-routed, re-wired, re-painted, etc. so many times it is hard to figure out what the guitar was originally.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been privy to some of the latest projects due to a busy work schedule, so I’ve just enjoyed stopping in the shop to find finished rebuilds of guitars I could never afford…even in their broken state. Until now. A 1962 Gibson SG Jr had been re-routed for two humbuckers instead of the usual P-90 in the bridge position. The finish had been redone beyond recognition. The holes for the extra knobs for the new neck pick up had resulted in a big hole where the controls were supposed to go. The neck joint had broken and was repaired at least once. You get the point. But the neck was fantastic and it really is a cool piece of history, so as with all the other projects, my local guitar shop decided to breath new life into this guitar. But the vintage value was gone and it was really all about just getting it to play well. A true “player’s guitar.”

So I gathered up all the project guitars and amps I could bear to part with and traded them in for the SG! Don’t worry, I still have my Wolverine guitar, my Warmoth project guitar, my 74 Epiphone Crestwood, and a few others (it is still a herd).

And even though the herd has been thinned, it feels like a better quality herd with more depth and substance to it. I enjoy playing all the guitars and I am getting a better understanding of the differences and nuances of each surviving member.

Pics to come in the next few days!

Budget Guitars

One of my local guitar shops has two surprisingly good budget guitars.

SquierCVTeleCustom

The first is the Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Custom (with 3 tone sunburst). I’ve been eyeing it for a long time. That neck is just a pleasure to play. The body is nice and small. Even without the comfort contours of the strat, it just feels great. It has a whole lot going for it.

EpiSGPro

The second is the new Epiphone “SG” Pro G-400. Of all the Epiphone SG knock offs I’ve tried (including the “1965 Maestro” that I own), the new SG Pro feels more like the 61 Reissue Gibson SG (that has been on my wish list forever) than any other. The neck is much thinner. The horns are carved with more extreme angles like the Gibson. It has the push/pull volume knobs for getting single coils from the humbuckers. But the key is the feel. It just feels great. If you threw on the “maestro” vibrato tailpiece that I have on my “1965,” I’d be in the market for selling off some guitars and getting it.

But instead, I am not getting anything. I mean, where will it stop? I’d also like a good Gibson ES-335 knock off. And don’t forget my continual lust for a Parker Fly. It just doesn’t stop. So I am not getting these fantastic budget guitars. And I’m not getting any high end expensive guitars. I am playing the guitars I have. I am finishing the projects I’ve got. And I’m getting better.

But if you’re in the Great Northwest and need a great budget guitar, please feel free to pick these up and let me know what you think (and maybe borrow them every once in a while!).

12-12-12

I know it is a month old, but while watching this on the dvr I keep wanting to play the guitar. At least, that’s what I felt while Bruce Springsteen was playing. When Roger Waters got up there, I felt the urge even stronger.

Adam Sandler was cool because when his guitar didn’t work, he just performed without it. I liked that. He was able to just roll with what was going on. But it didn’t distract me from wanting to play the guitar. Bon Jovi has some great songs, but I should’ve gotten off my couch.

Then Eric Clapton got on stage and I wanted to watch. I wanted to watch his hands. I wanted to hear him play. I wanted to absorb what he was doing and playing.

After that I just made my way through the rest of the performances. They were fun to watch, but it took me a couple days to get through them all.

And, as always, Pinball Wizard got me to actually play the guitar.

Exploring the POG2

After some quality time with my POG2 I’m starting to narrow down the settings I like. So far the top picks from the 3 pages of suggested settings are:

  1. Cello
  2. Cathedral Organ
  3. Bass Guitar
  4. B3 Organ
  5. String Bass

The cello setting seems to work the best for what I like to play. It works like the swells I’ve tried to create with a volume pedal and delay, but it makes it much easier and sounds better an octave lower. The “string bass” does the same thing, but it doesn’t sound as good through my guitar amp. The “cello” still gives me the low end I’m looking for, but without the fuzz that the double active string bass and dub bass settings create.

I like the B3 Organ, but the Cathedral Organ has better low end. Again, I’m still liking the low end from this pedal as long as it is balanced and not overwhelmed by the fuzzy double octave.

The bass settings don’t sound as good as a real bass, but they work. I think this is another reason I like the cello so much. It is its own sound.

I’m sure I’ll have more ideas and thoughts on this pedal. But for now, this is as far as I’ve gotten. I’m really enjoying it, but need to play with it some more!