Sunday, July 31, 2011

Neck Bolt Insert - Retrofit

This is an upgrade for bolt on necks. You will need minimal skills and some patience. What is this upgrade? The idea is to create a efficient body / neck interface that will maximize sustain and enhance tone. Many will argue over whether sustain is increased but will decrease bolt hole ovalization or stressing the neck material itself. Tone is a subjective parameter.
The modification is relatively simple, remove your strings, remove the neck and bolts. The stock bolts are wood screws that stress the wood due to the broad conventional radial vectors they employ. The retrofit requires that you install bolt inserts into the screw holes. Next you will need the proper machine screws. You will need 10/24 stainless steel screws (use your old wood screws to match length). All of this can be purchased locally or use the links at the bottom of this article.

Tools required:
I use soap to lubricate the insert threads that tap the wood.

Once you remove all the old parts do the following.
Lube the insert (bar of soap applied to threads) and carefully install the piece into the neck with an Hex key (beware of chipping)
Install the machine screws (hand tighten -over tightening is bad).

In some cases you might need to slight increase the diameter of the existing hole on the neck. Beware to not ream the hole to a size too big.

**Always use similar materials to avoid Galvanic corrosian.
Links for supplies:

Keep your old hardware - never know when you might need it!
I'll leave the debate about built in necks vs. bolt on for later.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Leslie West returns to rock following partial leg amputation

It's no secret that Diabetes sucks. We all have friends who suffer from this dreaded disease. Well, your friend Leslie West who whether you realize it or not - Has seriously affected the way you play your guitar. Leslie was in the band Mountain; they had a hit called Mississippi Queen, a rancorous tune with huge hooks, that sprung them to the top of the bill board. With this success Mountain toured the world and guess who got a break in to the industry by opening the show for Mountain? ZZ Top, that's right Reverend Billy G and his partners might not be giving us Sharp Dressed men the songs we now have and love. Why, because it all starts somewhere and we all must pay homage to those who pave the way for all musicians.

Leslie will make his first public appearance at the Rock and Roll fantasy camp in New York. If you have never heard Leslie West - Look him up on Youtube. You will be a better player for it! If you have never heard of the Rock and Roll fantasy camps - Click here!!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Imelda May and Darrell Higham - Rockabilly live stream!

It is rare to find talented, genuine, and nice people!

Buy Imelda May's Music!

Watch live streaming video from imeldamay at

Guitar Cheese Cake Photo's

Cars, Guitars, and Women!

If you look very closely you will find some guitars in these photo's. Be careful not to strain your eye's.

Yeah, it's a male chauvinistic post but we all have our challenging moments. LOL

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse RIP

Amy Winehouse died of an overdose. Many saw it coming for years, including her parents but addiction is insidious, horrible and patient. Those who think they can control it are no longer among us. If you are in the grips of addiction - Seek help! For those who experienced schadenfreude at Amy's expense - shame on you, not Amy.

The world lost a young talented woman, daughter and musician. Rest in Peace Amy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gibson Les Paul Frets - I prefer the following.....

Let me start this off like this: I do not like frets that fail to span the width of the fret board.

So this places me at odd's with a lot of guitars manufactured by Gibson. I can replace frets well regardless of the length but for a few reasons, which I will outline, I prefer the longer frets.

Why does size matter in this case?

Eh hem, wood shrinks and expands. This process is all encompassing and you can take your pick - humidity, temperature, time, wood preparation blah blah blah... So if the guitar you own has a contracting or expanding surface, the frets can be adjusted easier. If the guitar fret board contracts you can file off the excess. If the fret board surface expands the fret could be removed and replaced with a new wire. Oh, and frets don't chip or break as easy as plastic binding fret nibs.

With the "nibs," a gap is created between the fret board and the binding. I've often filled the gaps for customers so their string doesn't snag in the gap. Replacing the fret is much more laborious.

I don't like the binding "frets" !
I prefer fret ends that extend to the edge of the fret board. See photo below.
Regardless of the system you choose, your frets will wear out if you play the instrument enough. On a high note; some of the less expensive Gibson Les Paul specials have the frets I like and honestly these guitar play well and deserve your attention. So, before you take your hard earned cash and buy a fancy Les Paul Traditional, Traditional Pro, Standard, Standard Pro, SG, et al, you might be better served with a Les Paul Special and spend the money you save on a nice amplifier or effect pedal.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR NASTY NIB GAPS! (getting your string caught is a show stopper nobody wants!!!!)

I've received some excellent feed back regarding how to span the gap between the frets and the binding nibs on Gibson Les Paul necks. There are two methods that I've used; one is an inexpensive solution, the second remedy is more expensive but also better.
  • Method 1 - I take a 600 grit sand paper and sand some stock from a white piece of plastic or spare piece of binding (binding stock link). I take the plastic chad/plastic dust and mix it with thick cyanacrylate cement (Stew-Mac link). Next, I carefully apply the mixture with a toothpick or similar object. I've found that you can carefully manipulate the cement but start by applying conservative portions. Take your time and DO NOT RUSH THE JOB. I let the patch set for 24 hours. Clean up the ends with fine grade fretting files.
  • Method 2 - Follow the same instructions above but use 3M Light cure (instead of plastic chad) composites. You will also need a VERY HIGH INTENSITY visable blue light to cure the adhesive. This is the same tools and supplies Dentists use. Each gap can be filled and cured in about 10 seconds. This is super high tech and probably not a inexpensive alternative. However, it works GREAT!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Michihiro Matsuda - Extraordinary Luthier!

Michihiro Matsuda If you are looking for a one of a kind instrument where the design parameters exceed the functional requirements - Look no further.

Frank Ford describes Michihiro's magic as "melting wood," the production appears seamless yet do not let your eye's deceive you, the beauty does not end with a simple visual perseption, your ears will tell you that this century instrument contains infinite sounds and tones.

Enjoy the video!

Link to pictures here

Gallery link here.

Guitar link here!

Michihiro's bio click here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Protect your Guitar while Soldering

A momentary lapse of conscience whilst soldering could lead to catastrophic surface damage on your instrument or the customers instrument.

But a quick and easy solution is often the best. Make a template that will surround the cavity where you are working on the guitar - it's usually on the back side of the instrument and this area is usually covered with a plastic guard. I use the pick guard as a template. If you are doing soldering in other area's you will need to become creative and take measurements in order to replicate a negative image of the surface you are working with.

In the photo, I used simple card board to prevent the soldering iron from burning the guitar if I happen to get sloppy or I am unusually distracted. I hold the cardboard on with duct tape, gaffers tape or blue masking tape. Regardless of what tape you apply, pre-test (in an innocuous place) it to be certain you can removed when the project is completed.

I use scrap card board boxes which have large sides. I cut the boxes into rectangular pieces for easy storage and use them when a project requires soldering. Any burn marks on a vintage instrument will be painful to you and your customer - Be safe not sorry!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taylor guitar Service Event - Palo Alto

Great opportunity to have your guitar looked at by a factory representative. While you are there you might want to buy a new guitar!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mint Condition! Michael Schenker Limited Edition!!

Available 07/04/2011

This is your chance to own a part of history.

I am showing this guitar for a collector who is thinning the herd.

Don't miss this opportunity to own a monster Axe that is # 2 in a series with #1 going to Michael Schenker himself!!!!!!

Mint Condition! Michael Schenker Limited Edition!! This is # 2/100!! 3300.00 OBO
Original owner.

Michael Schenker Signature Black and White Finish
Made in the USA
7 ply Body and Head Binding
Pearl Block inlays
Nickel Hardware
Neck - Dean USA Michael Schenker Lights Out
Bridge - Dean USA Michael Schenker Lights Out
100 limited edition USA models will be signed and numbered by Michael himself.
Black/White Hardshell Case
COA Signed by Dean Zelinsky

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jeff Beck's Birthday - Happy Birthday Guvnor!

That's right buster! June 24 is Jeff's birthday. Jeff is simply amazing and he already has his next tour listed on his web page or you can click here to view the page.

"At the time and for many months after that, I began to think of Jeff as probably being the finest player I'd ever seen. And I've been around. I still think that way. If I really sit down and mull it over." Eric Clapton

An interesting fact about the Governor - The well known Fender Esquire that Beck played with the Yardbirds was later traded to pickup guru Seymour Duncan. Jeff swapped Seymour for two Fender Telecasters because he didn't really like the old Esquire.