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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

77 strat

Here is an original 77 strat , natural with tremelo..
add some mojo (see previous pics..) and a hardtail bridge and your looking at pretty much what the next project will resemble without the glare...

Monday, December 29, 2008

MIM 7k rewound middle at $20 is the answer...??

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Coupling...

Two vintage sd-1's running at 8,52 and 8,9 will require 1 more pickup to finish the coupling.
The question is how much 60 cycle hum will come off these pups...and who cares? Not I, for one.
Just roll down the volume to 8 or similar.The real question is what to use in the middle.
The only pickup I have sitting around is an alnico 3 Eric Johnson, probably running around 6,5 at a guess.Possibly lower. So perhaps the hunt must begin for a more balanced single coil to sit inbetween these sds, or perhaps a complete overload of ceramic and overboard winding with a dimarzio dp110 in the bridge and the sd's running middle and neck. This would be very hot across the board and of course with the fs-1 running at 13,xx it would be around 25% hotter than your averable single coil.

I only wish I hadn't off loaded that pup to Brazil.
We shall see.
basically the body, scratchplate, pups (2 of 3), neck and machine heads, pots and various knobs including a 78 5 way switch are all awaiting the rebuild.Before I even start though I feel the top 4 frets will require redressing.
Perhaps even a refinish to black nitro....voted most wanted and best guitar of the last century, the black fender strat with maple I don't have a blackie, perhaps I should look into it..

Now theres a bit of luck....

stop! what goes there...
Advertised as two vintage dimarzio paf pickups...
By all accounts these are by the looks of things, two vintage dimarzio super distortion 1's...
With outputs of 8,5 and 8,9 they are indeed hot.One is a bridge and the other a neck, we shall see. They are very high pups due to the rather large magnet stuck on the base..
I reckon these will suit the heavy solid alder body of the hardtail and definitly remove some of the brightness of the maple neck.
With the tele with handwound scatterwounds and the ej/srv sami special I reckon its time to build a hot rodded 70's classic.
With a black scratchguard I'll probably use the cream covers anyway with cream knobs I sourced from another project.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dimarzio,seymour duncan..all in the wood..

so now with a new project for 2009 around the corner and the real fun starts..

There are literally hundreds af different strat combination pups on the market...

I've already got a set of custom shop eric johnsons which are nice, but were replaced by hand scatterwounds..but the ejs wouldn't cut the mustard of the latest creation...and thats were you have to do your research and know what sound your after...

a 6,5 lb lump of hardtail alder, one peice running a maple neck and your talking bright before you plug the power in...

the reason the 70s pups by dimarzio et al started to become horrendously overwound was that people didn't have the same crunch gains in the amps and the pups were too weak...

original ear splitting 50's pups are fine, but in my 70's beast I want a fatter punch .

Enter two pups immediatly..the DM Dp110 fs-1 (fs stands for fat strat)..used by greats like Gilmour, knopfler, Ramone and even The edge, the history of this pup is greatly missed by the masses.Introduced in 74 it became used as either a bridge (J ramone, Gilmour) or the neck (MK), not sure where the edge had his...

I actually had one in my univox mosrite copy and it was awesome..but sold it with the pup to Brazil..haven't heard anything since then..

So, thats on the shopping list...then, I think another vintage classic...the Dimarzio SDS 1 super distortion pup , also from the 70s

These aren't pushing out as much juice and they are a lot taller to fit in, so its a bit of a gamble..

but I reckon an sds and an fs 1 with possibly a standard 75 in the middle, this would give around 13 in the tail, 7 in the middle and 9 in the neck..

just have to get out and find them, but thats the charm of building the guitars from every nut n bolt...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I wish.....

20 years ago, about 20 years, maybe not even that long, 16 years ago I had a friend who worked in a guitar shop in Inverness. A guy walked in one day and sold him a matching numbers 62 fiesta red strat...I brought that same guitar over to Sweden to try and get around 1500 quid for it...nobody wanted was 100% original with a slight salmon pinking after all the years...
My mate sold it on for under know how it is..

So, the other day I'm in ebay and I come across a perfect 62 fiesta red strat...price? £57,000
Okay, this was a museum piece and in perfect nick...but anyway...
Then, I found this one...a refinish..a 62...and I'm tempted...the price is high, higher than I've ever paid for a G, but I still remember the last one I held...

x-mas round the corner..however...project 77 starts

well, I was looking at some rather expensive fender projects and then I found the fender hardtail that had been stripped from being a sunburst (thank god, looking at some of the 77's..)
What I was looking for was a heavy solid bodied fender hardtail and at 6lbs 5 this was the answer.
The decision making process of rosewood versus maple neck started straight away and despite nearly buying a rosewood (79 modified) the owner of the body mentioned he still had the neck.
I'm a bit strange here, as I'd rather a neck that was well worn in and played than lets say a fresh sprayed Eric Johnson finished neck (although they are nice but feel sticky)..So that was that...
As usual the question of originality comes to play, but for me its the playing of the guitars, not simply locking them away as an investment..By all accounts I will fit a set of Sliders scatterwounds alnico 2's...however, I'm also tempted to refit one of my favourite pups, the dimarzio fs-1. This was introduced in 74 and used by all types of players, from Johnny Ramone to Mark Knofler and Gilmour..Its a beast of a pup sticking out 13,4 dc resistence.
With a maple neck and that much weight it ay be the very thing to add some fatness...perhaps the eric johnson neck pup from the custom shop and finish off with a 71 in the middle...5 switch from a 78 telecaster and some new pots will do, the matching numbers thing doesn't phase me, as long as they work...
The natural finish may...may be refinned to a blackie...we shall see...can't wait though to see what can be found and of course to eventually plug n play...I reckon that neck may need a dressing though....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

next up...

Black or Zebra new or relic Bobbins (50mm)
Acid etched or new Nickel adjustable pole screws (south polarity) and slugs (north polarity)
PAF correct Anti Clockwise winding
Original spec 42 AWG enamel copper wire
AlNiCo 5 or 2 vintage correct M56 pattern Bar Magnets, All individually magnatized by me, using rare earth Neo-dymium Boride polarizing magnets to recreate 50 year old Alnico. Exacting, aged replication.
Wooden slug bobbin spacers (not plastic!)
Output wiring is 12" Shielded (ground) and black inner (active) 22 AWG celanese wrap and waxed braided, vintage pushback wiring or modern 4 wire black/white, red/green

Monday, November 17, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Its probably me..... are strange times indeed....feels like full circle.
Hotel I'm booked in is as much a 3 star as I'm a 3 star general...nevermind, first thing was to fix the wallsocket to wack in some juice to the top, then remove the top of the toilet to fix the system...only then could I finally lie down and...ok, the TV is so small that aint gonna work...
I needed a booking quickly and the address fitted the bill as did the price..5 minutes from palexpo and 5 minutes from the more than important meeting.

So. Geneva.Place of birth. Weird...very very strange feeling to arrive at an airport so familiar but only in another time scale where Dad would be waiting for me. He looked almost legendary tall back then and commanded my respect as all Dads should...(strive too anyway)..
This time I was standing alone almost waiting for him to walk up. He's past on now so that wasn't on the cards. Airport still the same. Details in the memory bank always surprises after 26 years, alcohol, drugs, concussions, motorcycle accidents, car crashes...and yet I still remembered those details from all those years ago..and it was strange..nothing to fill that void where he once stood..

So, threw the bags in the hotel once the bitsnbobs were fixed and headed out to go for a walk and do some recon for food. I only made it 100 meters up the road. I also realised that the hotel I was staying in was obvioulsy for those of us that have lived in Kortadala and not had a problem with "those" people...if you get what I'm sayin'..

I walked into a restaurant and had a spy.The woman behind the bar was complaining about the people traffic and explained that she would not serve me the "plat de jour"...she smelled the tourist, or so she thought...everybody seemed to have so much bling bling on them I wondered if 50 cents had finally left some kind of legacy...this seems to be the Swiss way, mucho bling, bracelets, rings, tacky shit if you ask me..I ordered a meal that I hadn't had for the same amount of years that I'd been travellin', "fillet de perche" covered in herbs and such.Amazing...once again the rather tedious story of Dad always buying it bla bla...but such was the case and he would be around in the short time I would be here as he was my only connection to the city of my birth.

Despite informing that I could indeed understand the lingo I still had the comedy set up of miss campervan blingbling asking the younger waitress to inform me of just about everything.
Early night, just can't understand why they dub...that I really don't miss....and so much as well! La Swede, douze points for not dubbing!!!!

Meeting done and dusted I went for a walk.Despite the boy at reception looking like his kin had once come from dafur he was surprised when I informed him that I would be walking the 3,5 km into Geneve..He seemed very impressed...youth of today I suppose..

Walking down the street and a lot came back from the brain foundations to the front of the forehead, as well as some querys...u know, the usual..for a start, I nearly stepped in dogshit...fuck me, must one mine sweep in Switzerland!?! Of course, the land of banks, chocolate and nose in the air is as everywhere else except for Sweden, only human in the fact that picking up dogshit isn't a hobby as it is in Sweden...although, having to minesweep and dodge reminds me of the days in Scotland, full time occupation walking down the high art of the century...

Geneva in my opinion, is keep it simple and laymans terms as I'm not bright enough to come up with a fancy pants word...Geneva is a contradition. Thats it. The whole shebang is one huge things get tricky, a contradiction of what?..well, its a contradiction of a stereotype ideology that I feel we have about this rather interesting " neutral " caymans situated in the middle of Europe..
You kinda get the idea is that everybody is kinda well off, have nice watches and eat fondu keep everything clean and structured...anal in a way ..Riches anal with nice banks and watches...
But the reality is very different...There is a horrible gap between the non contradictional stereotype and humans that are living the poor, the tramps, homeless, gypys all hang around and bring back memoirs of Cluj Napoka in Romania as opposed to Geneva..No shit, wheres the horse and hat...sharpen the Knives...then you start noticing how many non caucation people are walking, this is turning Tarantino and the speech about Moors fucking and interbreeding so much the Italians go dark from fair...The Swiss are dark, almost Romani style...and the housing surround the centre looks ....well, looks out of place...

Now then , its late, I'm hitting the sack so I'll continue another day....

going once, going twice...gone

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The sights, sounds and memoirs of travel...

Not sure why but I've become a wee bit scared when it comes to climbing into civil aircraft.
So having flights included in my position as International sales aint so easy....and the fact that I don't really enjoy the drink doesn't really help...
Add to this that due to the economy once buys economy, you just know your gonna be sitting either behind on the 737 or infront of the Fokker, of the engines...even an Ipod with bose headphones struggles to get around the roar....

So the day starts with the bus trip from home and once again I hit the jackpot and got on the så kallad "cat piss" bus.There is a bus 60 that stinks of cat piss.I thought I was dreamin until others who take the same bus also asked the question.Its fucking gross....and then we have Mr pissypants tramp who sits on the same bus.So for the price of a cup of tea and a slice a cake, you get the human and animal stench for 10 minutes.....

Moving on you then get to your seat on the plane, mind the economy seat, and when they start raising the revs on the jet engines you get a tremendous stench of aviation gas...ever had that smell hit your nostrils? Always makes me wonder if it is indeed a good thing...They must have an overspill valve...or ???

Upon arriving to Amsterdam I did have a laugh when watching the aircraft cleaners truck turn out to do a quick 25 minute turnaround on the city hopper..No joke, but the first person out was chinese, followed by a black fella with rasta, followed by an indian woman and finally a Persian looking person.Perhaps this will feature in one of Obamas many new books as a cover about providing the American dream?
Talking of which, Mr Bush has really ensured my fear of anybody that remotely looks suspicious at an airport.Today I had to go through three x-ray machines and watched as people had to hand over expensive lotions and creams as it was over 100mg or you think they have worked out that 100mg/ml couldn't blow a plane out of the sky?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SAMI...Going thru changes..

Sami Mk1.
She has also gone thru some changes and is still being modified.
Read earlier and you'll see the difference...
White relic pickguard, bakelite pup covers over hand scatterwound srv overwound 59 pups..
No counter wound mid pup, all straight wound and the sound and clarity of the pups is just amazing.
On the way and for pics soon coming is possibly a new rosewood neck as opposed to Pau ferro SRV signature, Bakelite 50s tone and volumes,and some details to finish.
Still at the top nect to the Les Paul Custom which I've posted pics of before on the blog

Dist heavy The Paul..

Not finished but plugged into a distortion box and just such a huge sound from original ink stamped Dirty Fingers.
Body is a solid slab of Walnut with a fast fast ebony neck with small frets.
TonePros supply bridge and Gotoh a light weight tailpeice.
The original The Paul Truss rod cover is on the way with an original Rythm/Treble cover as opposed to the 59 cream copy that fits just now.
Tuners are original 70's Grovers which hold their own.
I cannot overemphasize just how powerful a sound a matched set of Dirty Fingers can give you with or without extra distortion.
The Gibson The Paul was only made between 78 and 82 and was considered a cheap mans Les Paul. However, they have now become a well known workhorse that players rarely let go.
They did come with Dirty Fingers as standard but this was very rare, and a set of T top standard pups was the norm.
Not sure if you play her or she plays you...

Fender telecaster , aka Recycler

I had to buy a hand chisel to fit the 82 maple neck into the body which I bought from somewhere in Canada.Took 2 months to get here and the neck pocket had to be opened up.
The pups are hand scatterwound and made down under by a genius who gets an amazing sound from hand made pick ups. The saddles are graphtechs and you do hear the difference. It started as a top loader 83 style but I put the strings through the body.You also hear the difference.
The electrics are from a 78 and the tuners and neckplate are original 83.
Once again a fantastic sound and feel from a warn down gallagher style neck. Only Maple neck in the collection but one of the best sounding rods. Mr Horsepower sticker says it all....
If you look at the grain you'll notice the previous owner sanded down to satin finish from a crimson colour...perhaps a hint of its past.

Gibson 61 Melody Maker DD Minihumbucker Conversion

One of my favorite projects. So light its a joke, a slim 61 style MM body in mahogany.

The necks were fixed ala 59 Les Paul and the feel and texture of the 61 Rosewood neck is just like the cliché, "butter".

The mini humbucker conversion includes the pickguard and 70s buckers which add a completely different sound to the original single pups.

The tuners are original 61 and are actually okay for keeping in tune.

1 skin, 2 skin, 3 skin, 4.........

Well looking back and there has been a few projects happening without the finished products being I felt it was time to get some before and after .
We've had the Gibson Les Paul custom from the early 70s turn into a wonderful beast.
Then of course my forever changing Strat with an Eric Johnson Signature 57 body and SRV neck has changed again and is still going through its changes as I write..
The Gibson pete townsend signature remains in her case...
Then the fun began with a 61 melody maker project, now one of my favorites and at the same time the most difficult project, an unknown fender body to fit an 82 fender tele neck...
The two most recent , well, The Heritage arrived today and a Gibson 78 The Paul with Dirty Fingers gets stuck through a Rocktron distortion box for maximum effect..
More pics and info to follow..

The Heritage H140CMV project

New Project just arrived at the postoffice.Having once again payed too much in customs and tax I took the Heritage out of her case and had a look at a great piece of luthier work.Beautiful nitro maple carved top on a mahogany base with a one peice mahogany neck.
This project has an interesting history as shes never been finished but isn't a factory second.Apparently she is a factory give away as the person painting the carved top managed to get some nitro on the rosewood fretboard on the sides.
So there are several holes that need to be made for the pup rings, the rear cavity cover , the truss rod cover holes,the tuner holes and of course the inserts for the bridge and tailpeice need to be fitted.
Last but not least the nut, made of bone of course, hasn't been cut and that work will be done by a luthier in town.I'm led to believe there is a very good Polish cahp who is good with his guitars.

At the same time The Heritage arrived I also recieved the very rare but useful split coil tap option dirty fingers pickups. They are Zebras and probably taken out of an 80's es variation which offered split coil. They have three magnets and come unpotted with a 16 plus ohm reading on the bucker and 8 ohms resistence on a single. Amusing to think they fitted these into Jazz spec guitars..I have three sets now as I feel they are the best pup Gibson ever made.
These are not only patent stamped but ink stamped and come from the infamous "Shaw" era..
This guy was head of developments at Gibson and decided he'd make exact copies of the infamous Seth Lover Patent applied for pickups as used on the 59 Les Pauls and others. They fetch a higher price.Not sure the Dirty Fingers get his ink stamp as they are at least twice as powerful as the 7,5 ohms the normal pafs resist.

Well, its Zebra Dirtys for The Heritage as this isn't just an H140CM, but an H140CMV. If you look at the pic again you'll notice three holes inline in the carved top which are made for a variphase system designed by H&D at Heritage. These will be filled by micro switches and will give the option of phasing, coil tapping and all the other goodies available with 4 conductor wiring.

The parts ready to be fitted are all TonePros nickel plated with a Gotoh Lightweight tailpeice which will help the sustain.maybe some graphtechs will slot into the Nashville bridge at a later date.

Exciting project regardless...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Ever felt you simply need a real timeout?

Not as I’m burned out, not at all, just need a holiday in the sun, as the Pistols sang about…

Basically going back to scotland is going home and not a holiday, same with having the kids down for the summer, however pleasant, it aint no holiday..
And as usual, despite trying to cut out the cancer we call coaching a rugby team and getting involved, all the weekends that have been available are now long gone as we once again look forwards into an eco challenged winter, rain, snow, hurricanes? who knows, one things for sure though, it's gonna get dark early and thats half the depression...

Dissing the challenges of another Scandinavian winter and darkness there are positives as there hobbies keep me going..hopefully after a whole year away from the gym I can start motivating myself back to hitting the stats, it’s the first time the lard has laid a pirelli and I’m stressing out ‘cos of it..

The world in general is meant to be going through a depression and we’re all to tighten our belts and stuff dosh in the matress as the establishment is helping the established banks get out of the trenches, or graves, they dug themselves..worrying indeed when I read my own bank “could be “ the worst hit as they bought into a failed project…wait and see. As Sweden went through 10 years of deflation I feel our boat will not be a rocked as many other nations..
We shall see…

There has been a swing in the hobbies dept. I just shipped my Spondon racing chassis to California, the engine went last year to Germany. Seems like the coffin lid finally closes on what was a fantastic experience. However, one cannot have that kind of equipment lying around doing nothing and I'm sure she'll end up in a better enviroment.
Mechanics wise I still have the 2004 gasgas supermotard to build up. Engine is currently stripped, cleaned and awaiting all the necessary parts to rebuild for season 2009.Awesome bike that may also be sold but I’ll have to wait and see when she fires up for the first time…

Guitars wise I’m currently working on the hardest project to date. Having purchased a question mark body for a fender telecaster from canada I soon discovered that despite the cheap costs it was definitly not going to let my 82 fender neck just drop in....
So it was down to Jarnia to buy a knife shaped like a chisel ( looking like a pikey they thought I was gonna rob the place…shifty character..)and start removing alder in quantities…this would also include the pickguard that would require custom chopping as opposed to custom shopping..

Once I finally got the holes in the body to align with the neck it was time to fit one of two bridges.I tried the 83 top loader bridge and strung her up…the strings were tight against the neck..remove strings…shim the bridge…string up....slight difference, not enough...remove strings...remove neck...shim neck...string up...too much...remove strings...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Ok…check truss rod and curvature of neck….adjust truss rod, bolt up to body with shim…string up….
Remove strings….remove bolts…change truss rod setting…bolt up…restring…..
At this point patience is a virtue…
All of a sudden, we had a green light for string clearance ….maybe too much string height but at this point anything was a blessing….

Just the beginning….the neck requires a tiny adjustment that will require larger bores for the 4 bolts to have some give, the bridge shim will have to be reworked slightly and in fact some graphtech saddles are on the way to have a strung thru body scenario in place..

Updates to follow….

Monday, September 8, 2008

as promised and despite missing Presence...

Question: Are you a tube?
Answer: No, I'm solid State , mate

The guy had this up for 1500 kronks..before I'd stepped into his flat he's dropped the guts by 600 whilst handing me the presence pot and cap in my hand saying he'd removed it as he didnt use it anyway...
900 kronks and what a presence she is, without presence...


...and yet again, tacky shit and I love it, soon to be joined by a pig that you sit in the fridge and it grunts when you open the door...sheer class behind glass...
This should be an icon for my bank.
45 minutes to wait for Övriga bla bla for 1 minutes service...
..and you'll notice of course that as the Good Ship Recession comes over the horizon we get offered more and more credit everyday..
why is it when we actually need money when its not a recession, they blame the recessions for not giving it too us?

talkin av the Dead Kennedys and Holiday in Cambodia

Seems ironic one can go in the local expensive and child labour enducing shop to buy tacky shit..

I call him Chrome Dome...Nobody seems to have a made a remark that we deface somebodies spiritual icon , paint it pink and chrome its head...Strange World indeed...god only knows what they'd do to our baby jesus, virgin mary et al. No characateur would do this justice, even in Denmark...where something is rotten in the state of..

Saturday, September 6, 2008