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WRGKMC last won the day on April 16 2018

WRGKMC had the most liked content!

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  • Birthday 11/01/1957


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    Music, Recording, Electronics, Guitar Building


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    Electronic Tech, Musician, Luthier, Audio Engineer, Video Producer

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  1. Got this one on Friday so I had the whole weekend + to mess with it, both through and amp and recording. I really like what this one does. If I had to classify it, where it sits in the food chain, its got similarities to a Big Muff when it comes to the tightness and brightness of the distortion. I suspect that's because they both have 4 gain stages, but a big muff has two sets of identical diode clippers, one set on the second and one across the third stage. The first and 4th gain stages are input output buffers. The Vox has diode clippers across the first stage, and there is a second set after the second stage that grounds peaks above a certain level. Quite different then the Muff, and it also has different results when playing. The drive is tighter and chord clarity and evenness remains excellent even at the highest gain levels. I suspect the eveness comes from the High Fidelity op amps used. The Frequency response of the pedal is broad and flat, at least for what a guitar pickup puts out. Most drive pedals produce bumps in the frequency response so when you play a chord, some strings/notes will dominate and others will disappear. Extremely common effect with SS drive. Most drive pedals will therefore target certain frequencies using Tone caps and frequency roll off to enhance a targeted range of notes. Its different with this pedal. There's some roll off on the bottom end. If I were to guess it rolls notes off below 100 to 150Hz to get rid of mud tones. Above that the pedal produces a very flat drive tone all the way up to at least 10K or more, well above your normal guitar pickup ranges. The response is flattest with the tone set center and the top end above maybe 4.5K will boost or attenuate with its tone control. This was very noticeable running direct through a flat audio system recording. Through an amp, the amount of high frequency attenuation the tone provides is going to be based on the amp type you use. If you play through an amp that has a speaker with a roll off of 4K, the Vox pedals tone control will be above that range and have very little effect. I used it through my small Marshall combo and its tone taper was nearly identical to the Marshalls Treble control, attenuating frequencies above 4K. The result here is the pedal wont mute a bright amp unless you take the control down below 50%. In short the pedal is designed for British amps for British tones with minimal amp coloration. The sustain turned up was excellent too. I was able to regenerate secondary and harmonic notes as wall as get a guitars body resonance to self sustain at fairly low volumes. I mostly used my Semi hollow body Tele with Mini Humbuckers and find it to be an ideal match. I'm going to try a couple of others this week including Fender tele and Strats, High and low gain Humbuckers plus one with EMG's, Dimarziom and Seymour pups just to check its range. I didn't need to use a compressor with this pedal either. I actually tried this pedal in combination with a Tube Screamer, Sweet Honey, and 3 different compressors trying to find a good combination recording. When this Vox was placed before the TS or SH pedals there was a noticeable high end roll off when either were turned on. I tried them before the Vox and they did more to boost the mids. I suppose this might be an important combination when playing live and you want a tighter drive tone and boosted mids for certain songs. The compressors were surprising too. Tried an MXR and it was definitely too noisy. Same with the Hofner. The optical Comp was pretty good. Much less noise. I was able to record a song using it but it was a one trick pony combination, not very versatile. I then tried my Boss Compressor. it wasn't bad but simply more of the same. I then decided the Vox simply didn't need any compression to sound its best. Surprise, surprise. It does sound excellent in front of a compressor, echo and reverb. I recorded a couple of songs using the Vox and chorus only. It was dry as hell but not nearly as bad as some pedals. I then added Echo and reverb mixing and that's where my eyebrows went up. The sound was absolutely huge and transparent. If I can get past recording such dry rhythm parts this pedal might yield some excellent results. Oh I did put the pedal through a Aroma cab emulator pedal when recording. That pedal does what a regular amp cab does to attenuate the frequencies of guitar pedals and allows you to use any guitar pedals you want recording direct. Saves all kinds of time trying to emulate a miced amp in the box. The absolute best thing I like about it is being able to play entire chords and being able to hear all the notes sustain evenly without all that string beating and dissonance associated with odd harmonics. This pedal really does produce a very tube like drive. I'll need to cramp up my tube amps and see what it does in front of them. Its defiantly not bashful through a live amp. you know somethings happening when you turn this one on. String Harmonics are super easy as are pinch harmonics. ZZ Top stuff will be a cakewalk. Zipper tones from pick slides are excellent too, especially after using pedals that mute those tones. Definitely nails older Beatles drive tone up to including White album stuff. I need to try my Rickenbacker through it. No doubt I'll be able to pull off stuff right up through the Abbey Road recordings. There are some things it may not work as well on. American blues stuff may not sound the same. Its got a dense drive tone. It can be dialed back however, maybe not to clean tube tones but pretty close. I wouldn't mind having a second switch that cuts the drive pot level in half. It would easily take the place of a 2/3 channel amp where you could switch between clean, crunch and lead. I'd hate to mess the pedal up to do that. Maybe I could install a push/push pot or an external switch jack and get that extra option.
  2. Here's a video that does a pretty good job showing off the tone possibilities. As with any pedal, feel is just as big a factor when it comes to finding good tone. One pedal can sound great but makes your strings feel like you're flying a dead stick. Others can feel fantastic but you hear a recording of it, and it sounds like trash. This video has the guitar sounding fairly bright, sounds like a Fender guitar to me. The drive is medium, clarity very transparent and an edge to the top end. Might make this one excellent for blues stuff. I read articles where the entire chords and overtones remain intact vs some drive pedals where you can barely get two notes to sound without all kinds of string beating. This video makes me suspect this pedal can be stacked with others and even retain its sparkle with a compressor in front of it. Ideally for live stuff I run a compressor, 1~3 drive pedals of different types, Chorus, Echo, and use whatever reverb the amp has built in. This one in combination with either a Tube screamer Sweet Honey, and a Marshall Governor is likely to be a good lineup. I use the Marshall tones allot for leads, I like Vox tones for chord jangle and Blues. A tube screamer gives me Fenderish driven tones and the Sweet Honey more modern overdriven tube tones. I have a number of different compressors I can try too. The Edwards Marshall, one of my favorites because if the tone control, Boss, MXR, Rolland, Ross, Mooer, Hofner, a couple of generics like Joyo, and a couple I built from kits including a nice optical compressor. Each do different things when pushing drive pedals. Lately I been hooked on using the Hofner. I'm pretty amazed at what it does for the cost. Its what I'd call a classic type of compressor that produces the kind of squeeze you've heard a million times on different records. Feels excellent playing too. You can definitely produce violin tones and it does darken the tone as you dial back the volume much like a Gibson guitar's volume does. I'm figuring, between the Vox bright edge and the Hofner's roll off of those same frequencies, I might have the perfect match. You got of kind of figure that both being British/Europe voiced pedals (even though Hofner is German made its commonly classified as having a British invasion tone. The Marshall pedal is British voiced too, go figure. Maybe I should focus on a solid American tone pedal board next, but I already have that covered by a bunch of stuff I have including my 60's Blackface Bassman amp. https://youtu.be/_iKJa-ENS_A
  3. Here's one you don't see every day. Bought one for $50 in mint condition in the box and I'm waiting on delivery this week. I bought my first used electric guitar back in 1969 when I was 12 years old. It was an Italian made Vox Apollo V266 guitar which had built in active electronics including a Treble/Bass booster, E Tuner (E pitched note that played through the amp you tuned up to) and it had a built in distortion. I haven't come across a distortion with that same flavor since owning that guitar 50 years ago so I'm hoping this pedal at least comes close to it. Vox does make another V810 Valve tone overdrive pedal which looks identical. Several reviews say the V810 is a better pedal but I've never put allot of trust in forum reviews where there are only a few of them out there and many of those seem to have been written by amateurs. The production on these pedals were very short and given they typically sell for around $100 they cant be all that bad. The V810 has a circuit design similar to a TS 808 Tube Screamer but with different voicing and different op amps. Both pedals use Texas Instruments RC4558 op amps which are smooth sounding, high quality low cost op amps typically used in Hi Fi gear. Some mentioned modding the pedals and using the JRC4558 op amps used in Tube Screamers which makes no sense. If you want a Tube Screamer pedal there are no shortage of those available, just buy one and keep the Vox as an alternate option. I did listen to some clips of them being used. They were so poorly done you couldn't tell much from them except for the one that used an LP. The player was able to Nail a Jimi Page sound so I suspect the pedal is voice similar to a Tone bender. I'd be happy with that. I'm not a huge fan of how fuzz pedals feel playing but I do like their tone. If I can get a fuzz tone from a distortion pedal it might fill some gaps in my tone collection. I've also heard this pedal works best when run with other drive pedals thus the name Distortion "Booster" may be the key to its tone. I have a bunch of lower gain drive pedals that qualify for that. We'll see soon enough.
  4. Mouser has always been one of the biggest on line parts dealers, but proper use of the search engine on that site is essential to purchasing the right parts. You have to know something about the construction of parts like caps just to weed through the many thousands of different types and narrow your search down to the few that will work. As far as the part you listed, its not a DC power supply cap. Power supply caps are polarized electrolytic caps. It looks to me like its an AC grounding cap. Caps with that value and type are usually used in single ended class A amps as a grounding cap. They are often nick named death caps but they actually do just the opposite in preventing current flow when you touch the chassis so they should be named safety caps. Given the age of that cap model, its unlikely to be bad unless its seen some physical damage. It isn't likelt to fix a hum issue with a ground loop or some other form of shielding either, but I'd at least need to know what kind of amp you're dealing with. So long as the outlet polarity is correct they shouldn't see much current flow and typically last the lifespan of the amp. The only time I've ever had to remove them is when replacing the cable with a grounded plug. Even then I may keep it and simply wire the cap in series with the ground plug. In any case, most new meters can measure capacitors these days. I bought one recently for $12 that can not only test normal voltage current and resistance but capacitance, frequencies, temp and even has a built in transistor tester. Of course a capacitance meter can only test its ability to pass AC and read its value. It cant tell you if the cap is leaky or arcing under high voltage conditions. Still its far better then using an Ouija board or blind guessing on what parts are needing replacement.

    Fret Job

    Cool.... I love seeing ingenuity at work like that. I have a set of fret benders I made using an oddball set of crimpers used for making Twisted pair connectors. I don't do any networking any more so no need for 2 sets of those pliers so I converted one into a unique set of fret benders. I'll need to take a photo to show you. They are great for putting a little extra bend on the fret ends when needed.

    Fret Job

    Thanks. The frets are feeling fantastic since I've had some playing time on it. Once I did some micro tweaking on the intonation, relief and string height, plus a little more leveling and polishing its tuning is solid and the string flex is ideal. I'm a huge string bender and the high frets help to produce an almost slide guitar fluidity. Chords feel great too. There is no friction from the fretboard when changing positions or bending strings, just the strings and frets making contact. Vibratos are exceptionally comfortable too. You know for awhile there I thought I was loosing my edge as a player. I was having to use incredible amounts of power to bend strings and keep even pressure on the strings. It not only slowed me down but it caused issues with joint inflammation. After the new frets its like my hands are back to doing the things they used to effortlessly and for much longer durations. If anything its put callouses back on my finger tips. I was down to my last to pieces of fret wire. Two 3" pieces is a couple of frets short for doing an entire neck. I bought a pound of same Type #150 at Stuart McDonalds with a $10 discount so I got it for $49 with shipping. They again, list at being the widest and tallest. Unfortunately they must have changed the listing since I bought it last time. The new stuff has a .053" crown height and the old stuff has a .057" crown, yet they are both listed as #150. I'm tempted to send it back for a refund but the tang diameter is wider which is something I've really needed with the fret saw I use. The width of the saw was equal to the old fret tangs so there wasn't allot of pressure from the nibs holding them in. I glue my frets in so its wasn't that big a deal but I've had a couple necks develop with too much relief and too much reliance on the truss to keep them straight. With fatter tangs the frets will expand the slots more and require less truss pressure to keep the neck straight which leads to better tone and fewer tuning issues. A steel rid is highly susceptible to temp changes and your tuning can drift allot more compared to a neck where the wood takes most of the string stress. I'm likely going to re-fret my Steinberger this weekend for these reasons. I'm having to crank the truss much too tight and Its likely due to the slots being too wide for the tangs, plus those frets have seen 10 years of hard playing so its due for being put back in shape. . s far as the finish goes, I been buffing on it every so often since I reassembled it. The speckles are beginning to disappear and its taking on a high gloss. I didn't expect this Lacquer bought at Home depot to be so hard. The last stuff I bought was really easy to buff out, but I did get it to go on smoother so maybe that was part of it. Most factory guitars use Nitrocellulose Lacquer. They add polymers to make it harder. This hardware store stuff seems to be even harder then that. Unfortunately the label doesn't list the proprietary ingredients. This is my favorite guitar so I hate having it down but I may have to eventually do it again. i'll wait till the fall when we have cool weather (which is often between 50 and 70 in the winter months here) The last 3 guitars I built I used Tung Oil as a finish. Tung oil itself is a slower drying oil finish. The companies like Minwax add varnish to increase gloss, speed drying times and get it to spread evenly. Varnish has been used on Violins forever and is supposed to have good musical tone. You can wipe Tung oil on to get a thin unfinished look. I typically use sponge brushes for applying it and I'm able to get a thick high gloss layer on a guitar body using quick single passes. You have to watch out because sponge brushes can produce bubbles which dry and look bad. It does go on smooth when you load the brush up. Better then a normal brush too, no brush lines. Sponge brushes seem to work best plus they only cost pennies so you can use a new one for each coat. The instruments look nearly as good as lacquer and in fact wind up being more durable. The stuff doesn't chip or crack like lacquer does when you bang the body. Here's some examples of Tung oil finishes. It does add a slightly yellow tint to whatever its applied to but that can make many woods look even better. I've used it over lacquer too and it doesn't seem to cause any issues.
  7. In reference to the other band, you should stop trying to impress other musicians with your skills. That goes for members in your own band. I realize you may need to feel motivated to play your best but all you're doing is burdening your own lack of enthusiasm on others. Adult musicians aren't there to make you feel good. If you want a pat on the back get that from your parents wife or friends outside the band. This is not to say as you don't care about the other players in the band or receive care from them. Just grow up and realize the people you work with are just co workers doing their jobs. Its fine to shoot the breeze and have a good time when life is good. The thing that destroys most bands are musicians so self centered, they think the world revolves around them. They force the rest of the players to spend excessive amounts of time being their keeper or shrink, or mentor or any other roles besides what they should be, a fellow musician. You'll find most professional bands aren't about having fun. If you want to have fun, quit the band and spend your time in the audience instead of on stage. Being in a band is about running a small business and carrying your share of the work load. Once you grow up and get past being a child and having everyone reinforce your ego telling you how great you are, you discover the job of a performing musicians isn't any different then any other job. Its up to you in what you make of it. I still remember when I was a kid and the worm turned for me and I realized performing wasn't what I expected. I saw ahead of me a lonely existence playing one dump after another and the main job was to make the audience forget about their problems for one night while they visited a fantasy world filled with music. I suppose the one thing that drives the nail in is the end of the night. It doesn't matter how many people clapped or enjoyed your playing, or got up and danced. When it came to packing up, there wasn't a single one of them going to help you pack your gear up. You become cynical and begin to question why you're even playing in a band and contemplate quitting or checking to see if its any better in another band. That's the time you need to question the real reason you play music. Superficial reasons drop away as you question what is this thing we call music. In the end you need to find a solid reason for continuing or you may as well be doing something that at least earns you allot of cash to lay back on. I been there too. I took music and electronics in school and made electronics my paying profession. You want to talk about extremes, Playing out nights or weekends then going to work with geeks and facing business owners every day is probably the biggest letdown you can face. All the typical reasons kids begin to play music fail because of their shallowness as well. If you play to impress the family, there is a point where you should realize they will support anything you do so long as its what you want to do. The music itself has practically nothing to do with that. Many players do it to attract girl friends. That's the biggest fail of all. As soon as you get that girl friend or wife, they do a 180 on you. They may be open minded but they don't want their man strutting on stage attracting other women so they work their head games trying to make you quit. If you have kids then its even worse because you have to bring home the bacon and the pay for most musicians is crap. I know musicians who played because it gave them access to drugs and booze. My life is littered with the graves of musicians I've known. Very few from my HS days made it and the few who did were either lucky or smarter then the rest and quit that lifestyle. Even fewer were the ones who actually became famous. Its amazing how its usually the players you think have the least likely chance of succeeding actually do. I guess I either had a compassionate heart or I was able to predict that could happen when I was really young because I mentored and remained friends with many others blew off as being lame musicians. Its a good feeling when a world class performer tells you, you were are great inspiration to them being a success in the business. As far as my music goes I've never felt like I needed to abandon it once I found a good reason for playing. Mentoring others took the leading role in who I am working with others. The foundation for that is a matter of posterity and passing down what I've been and done to friends and family. I have several artists in the family who will be receiving nice inheritances some day. Not just gear but all the music I've written and recorded would be quite pointless if it was only made for playing out in front of people who could quite honestly care less. It even makes less sense if you aren't earning money for all the hard work involved. Creating something you can leave behind for others is a pretty decent reason of creating some quality work and its one of the more bullet proof foundation for creating music there is. Famous musicians do this for their fans all the time, but you have to question who those songs famous songs were written for. Girlfriends? Kids?, God? Or just a paycheck and heard by people who could care less.
  8. I recently bought a large headstock neck to replace the neck on my 80's Standard Strat. It had a nice yellowed finish and had an excellent fret job using the frets which are much thinner then your normal modern style Strat frets. Excellent price paid for it too, $35 completely flawless from what I could see. only thing that wasn't good was the plastic nut which I still need to update but I just got in a batch so that's no big deal. Sound wise I went from using a standard neck with the smaller headstock to the larger. I cant say there was a huge difference in tone, but the tone was a bit broader. It had better lows and more spank on top. I actually did a recording of it here. The articulate tones I get from that guitar come from the modded phase switches and TX special pups in that guitar. I use on that guitar.
  9. I probably wouldn't put allot of trust in documentation either. Amp makes in the 70's were notorious for over rating amps that couldn't put out 1/4 the wattage many makers sold them for. If it is 160W then I suspect its a bass amp. Compared to an American made Tube amp made at that time its may be more like 50W. Still Italy did make some really cool stuff back then. All the Vox stuff was being made in Italy during the 70's and the company may be a copy cat builder that competed with the stuff Vox was building (or vice versa) If its a good amp, that's all that matters in the end. like anything that old I'd check to see if it has the original power caps. If it does you want to replace those immediately. beyond that you simply take things one at a time. If the pots are scratchy give them a shot of Potentiometer cleaner. You want to be sure the cleaner is for potentiometers and has the lubricants to clean and quite pots. Regular contact cleaner is mostly denatured alcohol and has no lubricants. Its designed for switches and electrical sockets. Used on a Potiometer it will make the pot scratchiness really bad.
  10. $799 might be wishful thinking. you can buy allot of amp with that kind of money. you may find someone who specifically wants that amp but their production was so short its unlikely many people know about them. In nutshell, You can find the Audio Guild website here with models listed. http://magnatoneamps.com/audioguild.html And - http://www.seanodonnell.com/versatone/ The one thing the amp does have going for it is the Tremolo design. The Magnetone amp Tremolo was a coveted sound players loved and Bonham was supposedly the one who held those patents and incorporated the design into the audio Guild amps. The other thing is this amp should produce about 24 watts using those 4 power tubes. allot of guitarists want tube amps in that wattage range so they can driven tones at lower volumes. This amp even lets you combine the two channels which could lead to some interesting mods too. I'm not sure what the difference between the 120 the OP has and the 213 Posted but the amps used an 8" speaker for the highs and a 12" speaker for the lows. I'm not sure if they used a crossover or whether they had separate amps driving them. The Untraflex Balance knob likely varies the output between the 8" and 12" speakers which is pretty cool. I could see this being a good amp for a Jazz guitarist or maybe an acoustic guitar. From what I read it produces mostly clean Fender-like tones. Crossovers aren't so hot for rock amps however. Allot of power is consumed in the crossover process and the fact each speaker is only allowed to reproduce certain frequencies chokes and amp from sounding good when overdriven. It might be ideal for someone who gets his drive using an amp modeling multi effects pedal. you could run the amp clean, balance your highs and lows with that Ultraflex gimmick and the channel combining switch then simply get your drive and effects from the pedal. Might even be an excellent amp for recording if the amp has low background noise levels. Otherwise, changing out caps and tubes might be needed on an amp that old just to get it running decent.
  11. Wow, You got lucky there. I'm a big believer in trusting your instincts when you have a premonition like that. I have 4 different ways I can drive to work and its the times I fail to listen to that inner voice telling be to take the other way I get stuck in a traffic jam for miles. If I had a studio in a earthquake zone I'd do some serious work on designing things so my gear wouldn't be damaged easily. I'd have most of the gear installed in cabs, boxes or shelving reinforced with solid materials so they could survive a roof collapse. Of course fire which can occur too. Crush and fire proofing to any degree is expensive. I'm sure you thought those options through living in that area. The material items can all be replaced. Loss of the music recorded would scare me the most. I'd definitely be backing my recordings up to the cloud and have a heavy duty safe where I can store my backup drives full of music recorded. I must have 20 of them now from all the years or recording digital. I'd need another 20 to store all the analog music I've recorded and needs to be digitized.
  12. I have over 30 guitars and storing them in cases isn't practical. I wouldn't use one on a stage or where there is any traffic of people walking by and risk having someone bump into them. I wouldn't take more then 2 guitars to a gig in the first place. The stand works fine in a studio however if you have the floor space. I do use one wall in there to hang guitars as well but you can only have so many hung before running out of wall space. I suppose the best option might be the kind of extended hangers you see in guitar stores where the guitars are hung sideways from the wall.
  13. WRGKMC

    Fret Job

    The last coats were an overspray of the frets and that's where I had issues. I suspect it was some crazy glue around the frets that caused the rejection of the lacquer. I'm not too worried about it however. I did allot of buffing last night and its actually better then I had originally thought. I think I can salvage the finish as is. There's a few dimples here and there but no big deal. This is the second re-fret on this neck and keeping a factory clean look isn't easy on a neck that sees the kind of hours this one's seen. I did get the nut on, strung up and playable last night. Those high frets feel fantastic. I was having issue bending strings before changing them and now its effortless. I did get the new nut on and strung up too. The only thing I still need to do is re-shim the neck angle. As the Frets wore I was having to adjust the TOM bridge too close to the body so I tilted the neck up in order to adjust the bridge higher. With the new frets I have to adjust the bridge too high now. My bridge pickup is fully extended and its still not close enough to the strings. I used epoxy putty in the neck pocket as a shim. It transfers vibrations extremely well and can be it applied with a putty knife and molded into a wedge shape which contacts the entire neck heel. Lowering the neck angle it is a matter of using an abrasive Dremil tip and sanding it down. I brought it down a little yesterday. If I take just as much off again it should be perfect. I simply put a capo on after loosening the strings. The capo holds the strings on the tuners while I unbolt the neck from the body. Here's a few pics of the results. You can see a few dimples in the lacquer here. I should be able to buff those out. My hands were getting too raw to do any more of that last night. This pic shows you how tall those frets are. You don't even touch the fretboard when playing. There are some traces of lacquer on the frets still but I did allot more cleanup after taking these pics. I'll likely use the Dremil with a felt wheel and buffing compound to take care of the rest. cant see the body finish too good here but its not too bad. I need to get some coarser grit Emory paper to get rid of the speckle then buff it smooth. I have enough lacquer on there where I can loose quite a bit and still come out OK without having to spray it again. I'd need to get it flawlessly smooth before applying any more lacquer anyway so its the best option at this point besides starting over. No guarantee the next attempt would be better with the kind of humidity we been having either. The back should be fine after some major buffing and polishing too
  14. WRGKMC

    Fret Job

    I finally got around to replacing the frets on one of my hollow body Tele builds this weekend and it seems I had nothing but one problem after another. This is a Pick from back when I first assembled it, before I had completed the body finish where the bridge pickup is. I had no problems pulling the old frets. They were pretty thin and I like using higher super jumbo for a scalloped neck feel. I had held off this job for a couple of weeks till a new brass replacement nut showed up. I knew I'd need to replace that as well plus I planed on refinishing the fretboard and over spraying the body in the same process. This went well enough removing the body hardware, sanding the fretboard. Normally I'd install the frets then apply the lacquer on the neck. I thought I'd try something different and give the fretboard a cost or two of lacquer to prevent the maple from getting stained from all the fretwork. I got all the frets in properly except two which weren't cooperating. I had to find my fret saw and cut the slots deeper and that took care of that. I Beveled the fret ends and rounded the ends off. Then used a 12" radius beam to level all the frets then crowned the frets that needed it followed by ultra fine sanding and polishing with 00000 steel wool. When I got done with the frets I could look don the neck and see a perfect level without high spots. Used a rocker too and couldn't find any high spots. Of course stringing it up is the ultimate test. All of that went find and then begins the nightmare. I began with the body and left the electronics in the hollow cavity. I simply dropped them inside then sealed the openings with duct tape. That worked out fine. I did some light sanding where I had Knicks and figured an over sprat would fix the rest up. What started off being a simple overspray wound up being a project from hell. It was a reminder of how much I hate refinishing. I did the back and sides first because the original finish was thin and I wanted to do the back with it laying horizontal so I could apply it thicker for a high gloss look and prevent drips and runs. No problems there, that worked great. Did the second coat about 11AM and I started having the lacquer turn white. That happens when the humidity is too high. I should have quit at that point but I figured I was half done and wanted to get the front done. ideally it would have been best to do the front horizontal as well but I couldn't with the back just having been sprayed. Even though it had dried its was still too soft to be rested on anything without sticking of scaring. So I got a coat hanger out of the closet and hung the body to do the front. I applied 4 or 5 lighter coats and it wound up having a speckled grain instead of a smooth glass like finish. I knew I'd be having to sand and buff that to get it looking good. What started off as a simple overspray was quickly becoming a nightmare from hell. I spent a good two hours trying to buff that body smooth. Even used steel wool and it didn't do much. I'll need to try sanding it next. I'm not overly worried about how it looks, I play that guitar a lot and expect it to see allot of wear and tear, but If I cant get it better then it is I may wind up having to strip it with paint remover and start over completely. Second nightmare. When installing frets I use a rig I made myself consisting of a large wood clamp. I use a short piece of radius block as a cowl glued to one jaw and a piece of foam glued to the other so it doesn't damage the back of the neck. Its big and bulky but it works for pressing the frets in. I curve the frets with a smaller radius so the ends seem more pressure then glue them in one at a time using CA gel. Its slow and uncomfortable but I can get all the frets set in an hour. A drill press or a set of those plyer type fret cowls would be far better for doing frets but I don't do the work for pay and cant justify the cost of those for doing maybe a fret job once a year. Anyway The clamp left some marks of the freshly lacquered neck so I had to buff those scratches out before applying lacquer over the frets. Somewhere in the process I must have gotten some oil, silicone, or polish on the lacquer because when I over sprayed the lacquer wither withdrew from some of the frets (or got wicked under them) and looks awful. I can just see myself now trying to sand between the frets in the direction of the wood grain. This is where I should have trusted my instincts. I was going to sand the neck, install the frets then Tung Oil the fret board. I used that method on a refinish job I did for my buddy and it produced an incredible vintage neck look and far more durable then lacquer is. Now I have to decide if I can get that lacquer looking smooth. I may wind up having to use a scraper followed by sand paper, steel wool then buffing compound. It will be slow going and really tough to get looking good but I really like this particular neck, even though I have a half dozen others I could slap on there in seconds. At least I know what I'll be doing for the rest of the week. My hands are still pretty raw from all the buffing I did yesterday. I'm less concerned about the body then I am with the neck. If the neck doesn't feel and play well then its not going to matter how the instrument sounds. Anyway, I may wind up stripping the whole thing and starting over. If I do use lacquer I'll wait till fall when the temps are below 90 and humidity below 80% which is what we been having lately. I think its recommended humidity be below 30% max and temps of 80 or less for ideal results. I thought I could sneak by starting early but no soap. Maybe If I used a Pro spray gun connected to my compressor then thinned out the mixture using thinner and dryers but that gets expensive quick and again, I don't do this work enough to justify the costs. I hate doing finishing work to begin with. Anything else when it comes to building I don't mind. finishing is an art and you need to do it all the time using the right tools to do it well and I simply haven't got the patience,
  15. Like any man made material, way you tell if its a problem is by looking it up the Material Safety Data Sheets. The foam noodles are made or Polyethylene the same as the guitar stand stuff so your worries about it harming a finish are unfounded. Polyethylene is one of the most common and safest plastic available used to make everything from Water bottles to shopping bags. I did some research on it and its one of the lest chemically volatile plastics out there. Other then the density and amount of air in the foam there isn't any difference chemically. Guitar stand stuff does use what's called a Closed cell Foam. They use a soft outside layer over the foam to make it grip finished surfaces better. Its all 100% Polyethylene on both so I don't see anything chemically that's going to affect a guitar finish. BUT, having owned a pool for 25 years I do know what can happen to those foam tubes over time when left in the sunlight. It takes awhile but UV rays eventually turn the foam into a powder which sheds from the outside. I know the foam becomes rougher to the touch once this begins to happen so it may "Possibly" become more abrasive to lacquer as the foam deteriorates. It wouldn't be any different with the original foam however if left in the sun. My studio has no windows for sunlight so its not even an issue. It is a harder foam however so its probably not going to grip the finish as well as the original softer foam does.
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