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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….