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Freeman Keller

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Everything posted by Freeman Keller

  1. My son thought he would like a double neck
  2. I've run a Paul Norman carbon fiber biscuit in my Duolian since 2009. Lighter than maple, intonation is fine for the combination slide/fretted play. Paul has sold a variety of compensated saddles for at least that long. My tricone has a normal Tee bridge, my spider has a spider bridge.
  3. The choice of strings for your resonator should depend on how you want to tune it, how you want to play it and its setup. I have three resonators, I typically tune them down to open D or G and I play a mixture of slide and fretted. I run the action just a touch higher than my other acoustics, but they still play reasonably easy. One of my guitars is a wooden tricone that I built, the others are an old spider and a metal bodied biscuit. Based on all of that, I normally string with mediums and usually bump the first string up to an 14 or so. I often run an unwound third - that gets rid of some of the slide rattle. The sets that you see called "resonator " are designed for spider bridge lap playing, usually in"high bass G". Don't put them on your tricone without really thinking about it. A few people run lighter gauge strings on resonators and tune them up to open A or E, but I caution you to be careful and have your guitar professionally set up (in particular pay attention to the break angle over the cones). It is also perfectly reasonable to set up a resonator with lighter gauge strings at concert and just play it like a guitar but I think you loose a lot of the beauty of what it really is.
  4. I need to chime in here too. The open note and the 12th fret harmonic will always be in tune by definition. Its the fretted 12th fret note and the harmonic that need to be in tune. And of course turning the truss rod isn't how you set the action. I lower the pickups as much as possible, do all the action settings in order (since they affect intonation), then once the action is perfect, set the intonation. After that is done bring the pickups up and balance them. I wrote this for another forum, it might be helpful as you are trying to learn how to do setups https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/
  5. I need to chime in on this. First, the idea of the flared slide is that it follows the radius of a fretboard which has a lot of radius to it. When you do slide barres you can get more even pressure on all of the strings. For most of us who play on acoustics with relatively flat fretboards a cylindrical slide works pretty well. If I was using a flared slide (which I don't) I would want the flare closest to my hand so I can control it over the first two strings while doing barres. When I pull down to use the tip of the slide for single string stuff I would want to use the straighter part. As others have said, there are many ways to play slide and if someone else puts it on the other way, whatever works. What might not work too well is the nut extender in Phil's post, They are designed to raise (and flatten) the strings on a round neck Spanish style guitar for lap style play. I guess it could be used Spanish style but I've never seen one that way. Most people who play slide include fretted notes, they would be very difficult to do with a nut extender. I happen to have one on my old round neck Dobro right now that I go back and forth between lap and Spanish style play. The capo thing seems like a complete waste but I've got to admit that I've never tried (or seen) one. If you are playing slide on an electric guitar you are probably tuning up to A or E, why would you want to capo above that? And I'll be very honest, a good slide player probably does not need excessively high action - I play slide on everything I own with nice reasonable low "fingerstyle" action. If you want to optimize a guitar for slide (my resonators are slightly higher than my acoustics or my electrics) then do so but there is no need to get carried away.
  6. Its not a M&T, its a bolted butt joint. You see them from time to time on ukuleles and its somewhat similar to Taylors NT joint except for the shims and bolt in the fretboard extension. If Bob is still around and has the neck off he can check the length by knowing that the insert is 1/2 inch long. If the neck is still on the guitar measure the length of the neck block, add 1/16 for the sides, 1/2 for the insert. He does not want the bolt to bottom out in the insert. Also, Bob, you should use Belleville washers under the bolt heads.
  7. I just worked on one. They should be SAE 1/4-20. The ones I use are 1-1/4 long but that might not be right for an A&L/Seagull.
  8. Thanks Neal I'll tell two little anedotes. Both concern a all mahogany 00 sized guitar that I built a few years ago. Shortly after I built it I took it to the Steel String Listening session at the Guild of American Lutherie conference. That kind of a cool concept - builders submit a guitar, they are tuned by the same helper, then the same player plays the same little ditty on each one. The builder stands up and talks about his/her guitar - materials, bracing, finish, building theory.... The guitar before mine was a beautiful modern fingerstyle guitar - it has about every buzz word in modern lutherie. It had a sound port and offset sound hole and double topped lattice braced with fan frets and a floating fretboard. Build from some mystery wood and carrying a price tag close to a new car. Mine was played next and I stood up, introduced myself and said "my guitar is the antithesis of the one you just heard. It is my tribute to the wonderful cheap guitars of the Depression era that I grew up listening to. It is simple mahogany, simple bracing and simple appointments. It would have sold for fifteen buck in 1930...." I sat down and the woman next to me whispered "I liked yours better" Second story. I took that same guitar to a jam following a house concert a couple of weeks ago. I got passed around, one guy was raving about how good it sounds (he normally plays a big blingy expensive Taylor dread). He asked if I would sell it, I said no. He asked if I would build one for him, I said maybe. This guy is an encyclopedia of knowledge about folk and root music - for years he has hosted a folk music show on our local public radio. Oh, and he is blind.
  9. Any of those are great guitars. But they are rather different guitars - three Martin dreads in very different woods, a couple of classic Gibbies and the little short scale Taylor. None of them would be my choice (I have an old D18 and an old D12-28 and never play them). However if you are going to play bluegrass those are the guitars to play. Preferably an old one.
  10. I got to fix a crap shooter's uke once a long time ago
  11. Thanks Dad, but if I wanted an SG (which I don't) I'd just make one.
  12. Yes, my first guitar, still have it and still play it. Did the sawn off neck reset a few years ago, took it on a road trip this summer. I've built two other 12 strings to try to resolve the things I don't like about the Martin. I play them a lot Probably off topic since they are all acoustics. As far as my electrics, I have the three that I need to cover all the bases and play all three of them.
  13. Two Martin dreadnaughts. A million years ago I thought I needed a Martin. Then I thought I needed a Martin 12 string. Then I discovered that I don't like dreadnaughts. They sit in the basement waiting for me to do something with them. Some day I will The cheap little plywood Yamie I play frequently. The bimmer I sold last year...
  14. Got a reply back from Neil Harpe (he was helpful when I built my long scale 12 string a few years back). He says it is a 1932 Oscar Schmidt model #5066-G, sold new for twenty bucks (notice that you can get a dozen of them for $90). When you think about a $20 guitar at the height of the Depression that would be a pretty high end instrument. Mine is in remarkably good condition for a 90 year old instrument. It needs a neck reset (which I can do but will put off for a while) and the bridge plate is pretty chewed up, action is a mile high but its a killer slide guitar.
  15. No idea about the poly spray or the acrylic - StewMac recommends 3 - 4 cans of lacquer to finish a guitar. I usually put 12 to 15 coats of clear on after doing whatever color I've applied. I doubt that my buddy did any "protective" finish after he dipped his. As far as masking the fretboard just tear off a piece of masking tape and stick it on one end. Then move down the f/b sticking it down at each fret - I use a little block of wood to press it against the fret. You want to keep the other end of the tape in the air so you can stretch it tight against the frets. With the one inch tape I use I have to put a piece in the center. I sometimes get a little bit of finish under the tape at a couple of frets - that scrapes back with a box cutter blade. I frankly don't know what to expect about soaking the guitar in water (but I also haven't watched your movie).
  16. I'm guessing 1920 to 30. It was not one of their cheaper models - the pearloid fretboard and gold rosette tell me it was somewhat up market. I've got some research to do. Sure fun to play
  17. Neal wil appreciate this. We were away from the house last weekend and when we returned there was a message on my machine. "Hi Freeman, you probably don't remember me but I met you 40 or so years ago when we were in a professional society. I'm retired, do a little wood working and built a couple of guitars. A mutual friend thought I should show them to you...." I actually remembered his name, gave a call and invited him to stop by. He arrived with three cases, a very nice classical guitar that he had built, a very nice baritone ukulele, and a funky old clapboard case with some stickers on it. I admired the classical and uke, then he said "have you ever heard of Stella guitars?" "oh my god yes, I said, I love the old Stellas and have built a copy of one of their 12 strings". I opened the case and inside was a sweet little parlor guitar with the faint "Stella" logo. He said "I'm cleaning out a bunch of stuff and would you like it?". I said "of course, what do you want for it?". He said "(our friend) suggested that you might set up my classical so it is a little easier to play, if you would do that the Stella is yours". So, I am in the process of doing a setup on his classical guitar. Here is MY new old guitar Ladder braced, of course, unknown wood but the top and back are each one piece. Mother of toilet seat fret board, some cool engraving. Interesting gold sparkle rosette and purfling. Remarkably good shape, it needs a reset eventually but a little setup right now and its very playable. Seemed appropriate that the first thing I played on it was the wonderful Jay Unger theme from the Civil War series, Ashokan Fairwell. Then a little Betty and Dupree, Freight Train, some MJH. My kind of guitar.
  18. I didn't do this, a friend brought me a guitar that he had "painted" and asked me to route for the bridge and do the wiring. As far as finishing a fretboard, I wouldn't personally do it (I don't like maple boards). It seems like a far better plan would be to buy a kit guitar (or body and neck) with a screw on neck, do whatever you want to the body and leave the f/b in peace. Ironic thing about that guitar - after we got it all put together it was stolen. The owner brought me two more Jagstang's to have fitted with bridges and I didn't think they were nearly as good as the original one
  19. Just another funky old guitar that wandered in to the shop when I wasn't looking. Buddy just bought an L5 (a real one) and asked me to get a couple of his other guitars ready to sell so he can finance he old Gibbie. Thread drift, sorry.
  20. I don't know. I was picking up another guitar that needed work at the music store and an old friend was standing there with a fender case. He asked if I would take a look at this guitar - he has been trying to hunt down a buzz that he thinks is coming from the nut. I commented on 5 springs on the trem - he says he never uses it but did say that he had to run the action pretty high. I haven't had time to do anything with it (and he is leaving for Scotland so he is in no hurry) but I thought about this thread and snapped a picture. However just to confirm what the saddles are made out of I'll put a magnet on them tomorrow - titanium is not magnetic. I just read back what I just wrote and I'm not sure it makes any sense. Sort of like that new fender guitar....
  21. Is it a bit ironic that I have a Fender Ultra on my work bench right now? Only problem is that it is a 1990 version
  22. There are two ways to change the color of a piece of wood - you can apply a stain which is absorbed into the wood and actually colors the fiber or you can apply a tinted finish over the surface which sits on top of the wood. Both methods are valid but give different results. With the first you normally dissolve or dilute a dye in alcohol or water and wipe or spray it onto the wood. Stains will be absorbed at different rates by cross grain that end grain - that is why it is often used to pop the beautiful flame on maple tops (think PRS and old LP's). It can be hard to control and can look blotchy. Many top finishes will "pull back" the stain into the finish and that can further muddy the color. When I stain wood I almost always apply a sealing coat before starting my final top coats. Since I use lacquer that sealer is almost always vinyl modified lacquer, sometimes shellac. You should use something compatible with your finish. The other option is to put dye into your top finish, usually just a small amount to make it semi transparent - you want to still see the wood thru the finish. I frequently add a couple of drops of red or amber or brown dye to my lacquer before I shoot it. One problem with tinted finishes on necks it the finish will wear thru with years of play and is almost impossible to touch up. I have no experience with "tung oil" other than to use it on furniture. In fact there are lots of different substances called "tung oil" so I won't comment on it. I have used TruOil which is a gun stock finish and is popular with amateur guitar finishers, however I have not applied it over stain nor have I tried to tint in so, again, no comments. TruOil seems to have a faint amber cast - it does not dry crystal clear. (BTW people get the best results with TruOil by applying many very thin coats (2 dozen or more) and letting it cure thoroughly (30 - 60 days) before final buffing. The last comment I'll make is that the cardinal rule of any finishing project is to practice on scrap. I doubt that you have any scrap birds eye maple around but maybe your custom neck builder can supply some cutoffs. I'm purposely not giving you any direct instructions because I have no experience with your products - all the more reason to practice on scrap. There are pretty good finishing sub forums at a couple of the lutherie forums, probably the one that would help you the most is at TDPRI https://www.tdpri.com/forums/finely-finished.47/
  23. I don't know all the details, but the original acoustasonic was basically a semi hollow tele with a piezo bridge that attempted to make an "acoustic" sound. They didn't go over very well. The new one, introduced maybe a year ago has some sort of on board modeling hardware that is supposed to create all kinds of acoustic guitar sounds - one switch position is supposed to sound like a sitka and brazilian dread, another is a "Fender Electric Fat/Semi clean" sound, whatever that is. I was mildly curious when this guitar was released so I asked my local Fender shop when they would get one in. They said that for 2 grand they would special order one if someone wanted it but there was no way they were going to hang one on the wall. As Howard says, its a long way from being an acoustic. Sorry Rob is having problems with his, hope he gets it sorted out.
  24. I'm not going to get drawn into the cheap/expensive guitar debate - I like them both. However I'll make some general observations - I can buy a pretty darn good guitar, either acoustic or electric, for less money that I can buy the materials to build one. - I have been quite impressed by a number of PacRim guitars that I've played or worked on lately. An absolute stunning Eastman acoustic, a couple of Epis that are light years ahead of the Gibson's they emulate, a very nice Blueridge. If I was in the market for a factory guitar I would sure be looking overseas. - I have been singularly unimpressed by some of the domestic guitars I've worked on lately - including Gibsons from both before and after the shakeup. - Its kind of interesting that right now some very expensive guitars are being built with laminates. Double sides and backs are increasingly common and double tops (with nomex or other space age materials) are common in high end classicals. - one of my favorite acoustic guitars is a tribute to the cheap mahogany Depression era guitars. I passed it around at a jam the other night - one guy was so impressed he wanted to buy it (I said no) then he asked about commissioning one (I said maybe). FWIW, he is blind - AJ, please do a separate thread when you get your double neck. There happens to be a guy scratch building one right now at TPDRI that you might be interested in. I've only worked on one but it was truly the guitar from hell. Oh, and it was also cheap...
  25. Norman is a Canadian guitar manufacturer - if that is the guitar you truly want then wait until you are back in Canada. For one thing, buying it new in the US means you are paying the import duty imposed on goods brought into the US. There are a number of other good Canadian manufactures - Godin, Seagull, Art & Lutherie - all making good quality guitars and often using sustainable tonewoods. As far as I can tell from the specs, the B50 is a solid spruce top (said to be "pressure tested" whatever that means. The body is laminated maple - looks nice, probably not much influence on the tone. It is a dreadnaught which is not my favorite size, but certainly if thats what you want then go for it. However that also means that there are just a bunch of dreadnaughts in that price range with solid spruce tops and laminated b&s so you've got lots of options. Remember a minor thing if you buy a guitar in the US and want to take it back to Canada - all rosewoods have moved in to CITES restricted category - you can't legally bring it across the boarder. Ebony is fine, so are the composites, I would think twice about rose right now. A quick search finds a couple of them for sale right now at $275 and 500. As always I recommend seeing, checking and playing any used guitar before buying. I don't know about Norman but some of the other Canadian brands listed above use bolted neck joints which have a tendency to come loose - they act like they have a bad neck angle but its relatively easy to fix. I've done a lot of ski trips to Canada over the years and two of the huts had Seagulls as the hut guitar. Both were pretty beat, but seemed to be surviving OK - a wood heated back country ski hut has to be about the worst environment for a guitar. Good luck, let us know what you decide.
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