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Freeman Keller

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Everything posted by Freeman Keller

  1. Probably the best kit electric guitar company right now is Precision out of Vancouver BC. I'm pretty sure they can put together an SG style guitar for you. One of the nice things is that they don't include a bunch of cheap hardware and electronics that you will just end up throwing away. There have been some recent build threads of Precision guitars at TDPRI in the Home Depot.
  2. You can fill the holes with dowels and small round pieces of wood - preferably ash. Since the finish is probably catalyzed poly something you can drop fill with CA, level and knock the gloss off. The drilling looks like it might have been a tune-o-matic bridge with a Bigsby - measure your hole locations and compare with the engineering drawings of various trems at StewMac or other suppliers. Putting a trem back on introduces its own problems You won't be able to hide it but you can make them look better.
  3. https://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/faq2.aspx I you happen to be buying a roasted neck from Warmoth heed their warnings about tuner holes. Also Ken Warmoth says he expects the end user of their necks to dress the frets altho he knows most people don't.
  4. The simple answer is that a lap steel is an electric guitar, it makes its sound by the strings moving thru a magnetic field. A "dobro" is an acoustic guitar, it makes its sound by the cone moving air. Various kinds of pickups can be added to a "dobro" to amplify it - some are more true to the cone sound.
  5. Since the definition of "luthier" varies my suggestion is to take the guitar and all of the information you can find about the sustainer (they had pretty good instructions when I installed mine) to the person who might do the work and get an estimate. Installing the sustainer will probably involve routing the body which might mean some finish touch up. You need room for both the PCB and the battery (and make the access to the battery easy). There is substantial wiring in addition to the pickups that you want changed. I made new pick guards and a back panel cover and had them engraved. You will need to do the usual setup work. As I said before it is not a trivial mod. Edit - I want to empathize that I installed a Sustainiac (tm) not a Fernandez Sustainer. I can only speak to the issues involved with that particular unit. They have pretty good information about their sustaier https://www.sustainiac.com/stpr-org.htm You are on your own with the Fernandez model.
  6. As I recall I charged the guy for ten hours of labor plus some parts. We made new front and back covers and some other stuff - he didn't blink when I handed the invoice. I had to route the guitar to fit the pcb and batteries, I believe Sustainiac makes some models for strats that fit in the trem cavity. And for what it is worth, I wouldn't trust GC to change my strings.
  7. Please understand that installing a Sustainiac is not a trivial modification. I put one in a flying vee for a guy - it was a major project. Would I trust Guitar Center to do this? Absolutely not.
  8. Hi Hilmarg. My current go to guitar is a western red cedar over cocobolo OM. Coco is an absolute stunning tonewood but its somewhat problematic to work with. It is related to rosewood and has that "rosewood" sound, whatever that means. I think the cedar top on mine has more to do with the voice than anything else.
  9. A million years ago when I did the great HCAG String Test I took two of my favorite (and very different guitars) and did what I suggest you do. I bought two sets of the same gauge uncoated string from the same manufacturer and put them on one guitar, played it and recorded it. Most of the recording was simple stuff - open strings, a few chords, a coupe of slides. I did the same with the second set of strings on the other guitar. I recorded them both, using the same recorder with the same settings. Then I switched them (same scale guitars) and did it again. Then I repeated with the same manufacturers coated string (actually I did several long play strings), recording the same notes and chords and slides. Then I did some others that were kind of rage back them, I ended up wit a boat load of little recordings and I posted the here, without identifying them. We had a fairly lively discussion, I came away with a better understanding of what I was hearing and what I liked. Based on that I have made decisions on what strings I like and more importantly, WHY. I have refined that procedure but I still use it. I now have some software that lets me look at the frequency spectrum of each of notes as I play them and I can compare one to another. Does what I THINK I hear match with the graphical information, can I correlate? Its a worthwhile thing to consider on your journey to understanding your guitar. ps - I need to clarify, all of these strings were the same gauge and had the same tension. I wanted to hear the difference in composition
  10. I will add one more thing to the above. If you want to experiment with string tension if you down tune one semi tone and capo at the first fret you will be approximately the same tension as a standard string set one size below what you on your guitar. If you tune down two semi tones and capo at 2 it will be approximately two standard sets below yours. If you tune up one semi tone (you won't be able to capo) you will be at the tension of a standard set one size above yours. Lets say you have a set of lights (12's) on your guitar. One step down and capoed at 1 will still be E standard tuning but the tension of a set of 11's. Two steps down, capoed at 2 will be the equivalent of 10's at E standard. Tuning up a half step will be roughly like 13's but the tuning will be E#. Its just a nice way experiment without buying a lot of strings
  11. There are three things that influence string selection 1 - compostion, the type of material the string is made out of. Industry names are Phosphor Bronze, 80/20 (which is a composition ratio) and lots of other things. The two biggies are PB and 80/20. The have a slight but detectable difference in sound that can be used to taylor the voice of your guitar - many people think PB are more "mellow" while 80/20 are "bright" (be warned that opinions vary and even manufacturers don't agree). Get a set of each, try them out, make up your own mind 3 - I put this second tho its really third - coatings. Some strings are coated with a variety of materials or processes to make the, last longer. Some people feel that coating change the sound. Like everything else in life, coatings are a compromise. After you have decided which composition you like you should try the same composition in a coated or long life string to see what you think. 2 - Gauge. Here is the biggie and the answer to your question. There are three things that affect the linear tension in a string - its length, the frequency its tune to, and its size. On a given guitar the length is set and assuming we are tuning to standard concert pitch then the note frequencies are also fixed. As we go up in string size (this is actually pretty complex math) the tension increases. Both you as the player and the guitar feel the tension in the string. The higher the tension the harder a string is to fret or bend, usually we feel the guitar is harder to play. Higher tension pulls more relief into the neck and loads the bridge more. The guitar senses that as more energy inputted to the bridge resulting in more sound energy. As you reduce tension the string gets floppier, relief backs off, the guitar might get "muddy" sounding or buzzy. Once again, a compromise - enough energy to sound good, light enough tension to play easily. To much tension, however, will slowly or rapidly damage a guitar. OK, every commercial guitar maker designs their guitar for a certain amount of tension and they optimize construction and bracing for a certain set of strings (by the way, sets of strings are designed to have approximately the same tension in each string). Almost every guitar on the marked is designed, braced, and optimized for either commercial "light" gauge (0.012 to 0.053 or 54) or "medium" gauge (0.013 to 0.056). Lights pull about 165 total pounds, mediums about 180. Super lights (11's) are down around 145 or 150. Most of the time you will see the mediums on large bodied guitars like dreads and jumbos played hard with a flat pick. On modern smaller guitars OM and down) you almost always lights. If your guitar is designed to be plugged in (and you come from an electric background) you might drop down one more string gauge for ease of play. It doesn't hurt your guitar one bit to run lighter strings or less tension - you like the sound, go for it. You might have to tweak the action, follow the link I gave you in your other thread. The one thing you simply do not want to do is go above mediums - they do make heavies, they are designed for other guitars and other tunings. ps - its funny how are ears work, we are less sensitive to loudness (which is why decimals are logarithmic) and we have a hard time sensing small changes in volume. I've hear a lot of people say "I put 10's on my acoustic guitar and its just as loud". It really isn't
  12. This might help. Look at post #5. Then look at the others to see how I measure stuff https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/ The important thing is that I evaluate the entire guitar before I touch anything. The minute you start screwing with something you affect everything else (relief is the best example). I'm going in for knee surgery tomorrow and probably won't feel like guitar discussions for a few days. Good luck
  13. That is helpful. Lets start with the neck angle. There are two ways to measure it - the easiest and most accurate is to lay a 24 inch straight edge on the fretboard so it is resting on the first and whatever high fret it wants to rest on, probably 14 in your case and see where the end is. The ideal situation is for it to be right on top of the bridge (not saddle). A guitar that is seriously dehydrated might be above the bridge, if the end of the ruler is much below the top of the bridge it needs a neck reset. Why is this? The bridge and saddle act as a little lever to rock the top - the taller the lever the more energy is transmitted from the string into top action. It is a compromise but most guitar geometry is designed such that the strings should be about 1/2 inch off the top (sorry, I mostly work in decimal inches) which means that with a typical bridge of 3/8 the saddle will stick out about 1/8 inch. This is a compromise but it works and if you measure most new guitars that is about where you will find the bridge and saddle. There is another test for neck angle, this is a little more practical because it takes YOU the player into consideration. It says IF you have about 1/8 inch of saddle sticking out of the slot AND you have acceptable action (thats the "you" in the picture) THEN you have a good neck angle. From what you have said and the picture of your saddle I think your guitar fails the test, but I wanted to see the straightedge test to be sure. What about the hump? Darn neare every guitar has one. The way the strings pull relief into the neck and the way the fretboard extension is glued down almost promises a hump. Guitars like Taylors can shim the extension to eliminate the hump. Ideally there will be none but falloff is much better than a fretboard extension that curves up (the ski jump). If the hump really bothers a player I can pull the frets and remove most of it, however most players never notice and the nice thing about fall off is that it will never buzz. What about Howard's suggestion of shaving the bridge? A typical bridge is 3/8 thick with the saddle slot going down 1/4 inch into it. If the saddle sticks out by 1/8 then two thirds are imbedded in the slot. Assuming the saddle fits snuggly in the slot that is considered pretty strong even looking at the rotational torque. There is little chance of the bridge cracking. Lets say we shave 1/8 off the bridge, now the saddle is half in and half out and we start to approach the possibility of cracking. A good way to prevent that is to route the slot deeper - I can promise that you don't have the tools to do that. The other reason to not shave a bridge is very simple - when you finally get around to resetting the neck (which was the issue in the first place) you will have to replace the bridge or the saddle will be way too high. Why not do it right in the first place. I'll add that if a guitar crosses my workbench and I can tell that the bridge has been shaved I simply don't work on it. Its not worth the risk. A couple of other observations from the numbers you've given me. My normal step by step procedure for doing a setup is (1) humidity and neck angle, (2) relief, (3) nut slots, (4) 12th fret action. You said the relief is slightly less than 1 mm, that is about 40 thousands of an inch. I consider 10 thou the upper limit of allowable relief, you are four times that. Relief is adjusted by tightening the truss rod, you have loosened it. We haven't worried about nut slots, if the guitar has survived all these years they are probably OK. The 12th fret action you given (2mm (0.078) high E and 3.5mm( 0.135) low E) are way too high in my book, particularly when I look at your saddle. Lets see the straightedge test when you get it.
  14. Lets put this in a different perspective. Anytime I approach a new guitar, whether its on my bench for some work or if I was considering buying it, I automatically check two things. I want to know if it is properly humidified - that is very simple, are fret ends sharp, is the natural doming of the top still there. Two minutes to evaluate, its either OK or not. Then I check the neck angle. I just automatically do this on every guitar. Lay the straightedge on the fretboard, look at the end - bingo, its OK or not. There is another test for neck angle which yours seems to fail, but the old straightedge never lies. If the guitar passes those two tests, then I go on to evaluate setup or anything else. If it isn't properly hydrated and/or if the neck angle isn't acceptable then everything else stops until they are fixed. Before doing ANY work on it I measure EVERYTHING and write it all down. If you don't know where you are starting how can you know where to go? Old yamahas have a reputation for neck angle issues and they have a reputation for being hard to fix. I've done it to mine, but I've turned down several opportunities to do it for others. Personally I would not consider buying an old yamaha with a marginal neck, or if I did I wound want the price to be so low that if I failed to fix it it wouldn't matter. So, take the measurements, post them here, lets see what you've got.
  15. OK, you really didn't do what I asked, did you? I wanted to see where the straight edge hits the bridge, I want to know what the relief is and I want to know what the action at the 12th fret is. Very simple measurements that will tell me everything about your guitar. The hump at the 14th fret is normal and is OK, its called fall away and is much more desirable than a ski jump. Unless you play your acoustics above the 14th fret don't worry about it. Shaving down a bridge is the very last resort when you decide that you can't do a reset - it dramatically weakens the saddle in the bridge slot and is more or less irreversible. I'll check back in a day or two, meanwhile enjoy your guitar.
  16. I haven't been here in ages, happened to wander by and saw this. Before you go any farther, B, please measure everything and post the numbers. I want to know where the fret plane hits the bridge, exactly how much saddle is sticking out (a picture would help), exactly what the relief and 12 fret action measures. I'll check back.
  17. For what it is worth, the official depth of a fender pocket is 5/8 (0.625) with a flat bottom. Fender necks are 1 inch thick (neck plus fretboard) at the center line, typical total overstand at the center (neck plus fretboard) is 3/8. Here is a good look at the standards https://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/faq2.aspx
  18. I can't resist jumping in here. There are two parts of a guitar's neck geometry - the angle of the neck relative to the body and the amount is stands proud of the body (called "overstand" from the bowed instrument world). The actual amount of either one doesn't matter - it is the combination that does. Fender guitars are designed to have no neck angle (zero is an angle) and neck pocket is nominally 5/8 (0.625) deep. In theory any neck that meets fender standards will screw into this pocket and give acceptable action. The sometimes don't. (Actually they often don't). You often see some sort of foreign material in the neck pocket to change the angle or raise the neck relative to the body - picks, match book covers, whatever. Fender even made an adjustable angle neck on a few guitars. StewMac sell little laser cut shims marked with the amount of angle (recommended) My rule of thumb when I build or set up a guitar is that I want the fret plane just hitting the tops of the saddles at their very lowest adjustment. That (usually) will give enough adjustment to set an acceptable action (and thus intonation) and still have a little room to change it as required. How you get there doesn't matter. However a shim does have one big advantage over lowering the pocket - it is completely reversable. If I was going to lower the pocket I would first measure how much it needed to be lower. Assuming I wanted to keep the bottom flat (ie keep the angle at zero) I would use a router or a chisel depending on how much wood needed to be removed. If necessary I would sand to make it perfectly flat on the bottom. I wrote a little thread about how I approach setting up a guitar for a different forum. One of my cardinal rules is to measure everything before I do anything. You might want to read the second posting https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/
  19. No, I will stop by from time to time and if I can contribute something, I will.
  20. Ordinarily I wouldn't be saying anything here but an interesting coincidence has just happened. A couple of you might remember me, I was somewhat active 10 or 12 years ago. Built a couple of guitars, fixed a few more, contributed some bad music, talked a lot. Helped old Krash with the Annex. The forum changed, maybe I changed - it didn't suit my needs and I moved on. I kept a book mark and once in a while I would pop in, look at the titles and dates and one post wonders and shake my head and go back to where I've been hiding. The other day I got a PM. Normally I wouldn't have noticed, at least for a few months, but they send an e-mail notification when you get a PM. It was from an old friend from the old days, he (or more correctly, his daughter) had been the recipient of one of our capers. Does anyone remember capers? We had a few and they were one of the things about this forum that made me proud. I simply cannot imagine another internet discussion group coming together the way we did back then. Anyway, he wondered if I still had a link to the original story - I don't and it probably wouldn't work if I did. I still have a text file that I used to compose my part of the saga - I sent him that and a few pictures. I did a quick search to see if I could find it - I frankly don't remember the title - anyway it comes up empty. I'll log out and shut down, but I thought the timing was interesting and it did remind me of happy days here and some wonderful people that I have met and known.
  21. Its been my humble experience that a guitar does not "swell up" unless maybe you have extremely high humidity. I build guitars with a 25 foot spherical radius in the top which means that if I lay a straight edge across the lower bout behind the bridge I typically have around 1/8 gap at both sides at the edge. You maybe have a bit more than that but that is to be expected with a 12 string - they do have half again the tension on the top (depending on your strings and tuning) but it should be braced for that. It is worth while talking about strings and tuning, lets see if the OP comes back and tells what he is running. I might even check back to see....
  22. Since I'm on one of my rare visits I'll just say that the sun went down a long time ago, but is shining in other places. We had a great thing here once and I know a few folks are trying to keep it alive, but the glory that was Harmony Central is long gone,
  23. I don't come around much anymore but I have to chime in. The dome in your top is perfectly normal and is desirable. It is built into the guitar with the shape of the braces. A spherical dome is much stronger and stiffer than a flat plate. Over the life of the guitar the dome may increase slightly, that also is normal. If it becomes too much (along with some other changes in geometry) it will be time for a neck reset. I'm assuming that you have measured the neck angle and that it is OK. One thing that you should be very aware of is that if your guitar dries out, becomes dehydrate, the dome will flatten out and eventually the top may become concave. The action will get low and buzzy, the top may actually split. I use the fact that the top of a guitar has its dome shape as one indicator that it is properly humidified. One last comment, the "bridge doctor" will (usually) reduce the dome but it introduces its own set of problems. If anyone is considering using one please contact me and I'll try to talk you out of it. Now back under my rock.
  24. Katopp, I'm not really around. Once in a while I look in to see if anything has changed here and I might even comment if I get the urge, but mostly I don't have a presence on this forum. I did do the saw off the neck and convert to bolt on on my personal Yamaha and that made it very playable again. Its not for the faint of heart. Sometimes forumite CTGull swears that he can get Yamaha necks off and I think one of the keys to this is angling the hole for the steam tube to better hit the very small void in the dovetail - I tried to steam mine off and it would move but its possible that I just didn't hit the sweet spot. I've turned down work on several Yamahas - it just isn't worth my time - but I keep thinking that if I ever see one at a yard sale I might just try another reset. I won't shave a bridge, just one of those things I don't believe in doing. As far as the conversion, I did do a thread here and altho I bookmarked it good old HC gives me an error message when I try to access it. It wouldn't matter anyhow, the photo links are all broke. I do have the photos somewhere and I could recreate the thread but honestly, why go thru the trouble. The last three or four times I've posted anything here it has pretty much been a waste of time. Too bad, this was fun once a long time ago and I miss a lot of the old folks and our discussions. But like the necks on old guitars, things change.
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