Pedal Repair

I mentioned a while ago that my first gen BBE Green Screamer was acting up. And when I got an Electro Harmonix LPB-1 Boost I took the BBE Green Screamer off my board. The BBE Green Screamer has been sitting on my shelf of stuff to fix for a while and I finally sat down to figure out what was wrong with it.

I plugged it into my guitar and amp and got nothing. No power. The 9V DC power plug wasn’t working. I then put a 9V battery in and the blue light came on and off when I hit the footswitch. Good sign. I then hooked up my guitar and then plugged into my amp. Nothing. I turned the pedal off. Beautiful noise. I turned it back on. Nothing.

I’m no expert, but something was wrong.

So what do you do with a malfunctioning effect pedal? You go to the internet.

Gear Drone provides a nice overview of what to do.

geofex has a nice break down of all the different things that can go wrong and how to fix it. It isn’t complete, but it is helpful.

I started with looking the pedal up online and found a schematic on DIY guitarist…too bad I don’t know what I’m doing otherwise I’m sure this would be very helpful. Next I used the tapping approach. I used a wooden chopstick to poke stuff while everything was plugged in. Nothing.

I then tried resoldering every joint that didn’t look shiney. There were a lot of them.

What I should’ve done was us my volt/ohm/whatever meter to see where the current did and didn’t go (again, this is where the schematic above would be helpful if I knew what I was doing). But I got lucky. Turns out I have a faulty footswitch. The two lugs for connecting the output from the circuit board to the output jack did not connect when the footswitch was turned on. This would explain why nothing comes out when the pedal is engaged. The input and the led indicator light lugs on the footswitch did work.

InsideGreenScreamer

Thankfully I had a 3PDT footswitch lying around from a past project I didn’t finish. I tested the replacement first and all 9 lugs worked appropriately when switched on and off. So I took pictures of the inside of the pedal before I made any changes…which is good because when I got the old footswitch out, I couldn’t remember exactly which wire went where. I was able to reference the original picture.

Replacement3PDT

It isn’t as pretty as it was before, but it now works! And the power issue is magically gone too…or it could be my awesome fixing skills. Probably magic. Woohoo for magic!

And sometime in the future, I’ll try fixing the old switch following this instructables.

So I put it all back together and it still works. I really like the combination of my Boss SD-2 Dual Overdrive and Electro Harmonix LPB-1 boost, but now I want to get this thing back on my board. It has a different flavor than the current two pedals and I am very curious how it interacts with the LPB-1 boost. But that is for a different blog entry.

Guitar picks

guitar picks

I bought a sapphire blue V-pick Lite Tradition at the last Seattle Tacoma Guitar Show and have really liked it. But as all things tend to go with guitar gear, I was on the lookout for a new one. So when I lost my V-pick on a particularly cold bike ride into work I was sad to see it go but not overly upset because now I could get a new one. However, work and life has been busy and I like to carry a pick in my pocket (you know, for when I get invited up on stage at work…uh, never mind), so I just grabbed a little purple Delrin Dunlop pick from a bag of random picks I got from my dad. It was very thick for me at 2.0 mm, but my lost V-pick was thicker than the rounded triangle 1.0 mm Clayton acetal picks I used for years, so I figured it was fine. I guessed I was just leaning more and more toward thicker picks over time. Jazz guitar here I come!

At first playing a different pick rejuvenated my playing a bit because I was having to relearn how to play with the different pick. Just a slight difference in my playing, but still required some adjustments. That is fun when the adjustments are pretty easy and I am successful at making them. But the more I played, the more I wished I had my lost V-pick. I liked the firmness of the new one, but it was too small and the tip wasn’t sharp enough. Plus the plastic was slippery. I dropped it all the time and hit strings with my fingers when only the pick should be touching. The pick would slide deeper into my grip making it even harder to use.

Then I found my V-pick! It had fallen into my wallet when I had stuffed all my gear into my bike saddle bag. That evening I pulled down all my guitars and played them with both the temporary Dunlop pick and the long lost V-pick. I really like the shape of the V-pick. It isn’t as big as the rounded triangle Clayton, but it is bigger than the small Dunlop or a traditional pick. And the V-pick isn’t slippery which I still find hard to believe. After I used a Clayton for a while, it would rub and wear smooth. I could quickly exceed the cost of the V-pick with replacement Claytons.

Is the V-pick the end all, be all guitar pick for me? No. But this little event reminded me how much I do enjoy it and it can make a difference. So what pick do you use? Do you not care? Do you consciously change it up on a regular basis so you never get stuck without “the one”? Or do you have one for each style? What do you use? And maybe, just maybe, I’ll still get one of those quarter guitar picks.

quarter-guitar-pick

Starcaster tryout pt 2

The burst Fender Starcaster my local guitar shop got in a few weeks ago sold quickly…and not to me. But they got a new one!

back by popular demand

Of course I played it. I had to see if my concerns with the first one I tried were still true. Overall they are. Even though I love the headstock shape, the standard Fender neck shape/profile is still there. That’s great for anyone who loves the standard Fender neck profile, but not what I’m looking for in a brand new guitar. Used…that is a different story.

However, I did notice that I liked the burst paint job on this one better. It took me a while to figure out what the difference was. The first one I looked at wasn’t bad. Neither of them have that cheap “spray paint can” look. But this new one was actually attractive to me. What was the difference?  It was the amount of grain in the wood. The more grain that comes through the burst and I like it more.

I did not know that about myself. I think I like the multidimensional feel of a burst guitar that also has highly figured wood grain. And were not just talking about beautiful curled maple Les Paul or PRS tops. Nor just flame maple strats. I mean, just look at this guitar from www.nationwideguitars.com.

1977 Fender Starcaster 008 copy

No, I’m also just talking about the lines in the basic laminate Fender Starcaster. However, this is an example of one with no wood grain and I’m not a big fan.

aged_cherry_burstIt just feels very one dimensional. But the new one at my local guitar shop at least had some wood grain coming through the aged cherry burst finish. I still think I’d like a natural finish best, but I wouldn’t be upset if I got a nicely figured or at least wood grained burst. Funny how we can always learn more about ourselves.