>> Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hey all!
I haven't been on here in AWHILE, since I got my job back!  I've got some quick vid clips of a largely ignored device from the pedal effects family.  I have modded a Boss GE7 EQ with a Monte Allums mod kit.  I've found recently that an EQ can shape and change your tone like nothing else.  It can be used anywhere in your signal chain.  I'm using mine right after my guitar, to eliminate unwanted frequencies that "muddy" up my sound, (mainly 200hz).  You can also use these in effects loops, if your amp has one, and as a "clean boost" in front of your amp, to push your overdrive more.

A common problem with the Boss GE7 is noise, and large amounts of it.  It is very noticeable at 3.2k.  Mod kits replace cheaper components with quieter and more "stereo" sounding components.  On the subject of good inexpensive EQ's, you can also test drive the Danelectro "Fish and Chips".  For the money, these are good, quiet EQ's.

I'm really happy with the Monte Allums mod.  The instructions were good, the price was reasonable, and the end results were MAJOR!  Here's a link:        


Check out the before and after clips, and I'll hopefully be on here again soon to talk more about tone!


>> Monday, April 5, 2010

Ok, a little Chuck Berry for this post!  Many of us have had an introduction to the electric guitar, that included Chuck Berry riffs.  I, personally, still use bending and shuffle rhythms that can be traced back to this guy, (though I don't do it as well).  I'm not being an advocate of this guy's many well noted brushes with the law by posting him on here.  I do respect the fact that he is a true innovator with respect to electric guitar playing.  He had virtually no one to copy rock guitar from in the early '50's.  Nearly everyone copy's some rock guitar from him, whether they know it or not.  God invented all music, and imperfect people introduced it all to the world!

Now, back to guitar strings.  If you continue reading this, it will be because you might be interested in one, and possibly better, way to string your guitar.  It is better in my opinion, than just throwing the strings on and winding, because the purpose of the method is to keep your guitar in tune.  You can use this on acoustics and electrics.  If you've got a non-locking tremolo, and you use it, your guitar may still not stay in tune with this method.  I have a Strat that I rarely use the tremolo on because of this reason.  People that own guitars with Floyd Rose style locking tremolos and nuts, don't have to be as concerned with string installation methods.  If I had one of those, I'd still use this method, cause I'm like that!

My method is a slight modification of one I learned from others over the years, and it will have two options for you to choose from.  There isn't any method I can declare as The "Right" way, this is just A way, that keeps strings in tune, after they are "broke" in.  My guitars almost never go flat with this method, provided the strings are in good shape!  I borrowed a Tele from my friend Joel, to illustrate the method.  He was having trouble keeping it in tune, so I offered to use it, and re-string it to document what I do.

You can see in Figure 1 how the guitar was set up when I got it.  Again, there is nothing "wrong" with how this is strung, but I'm confident the method I'm going to talk about, helped this guitar stay in tune better.  I shouldn't take myself too serious though, because my friend broke a string on this shortly after I re-strung it!  I'm confident that this was due to re-stringing it, (with the same strings), and not my method!  :)  Joel and I were both well aware that re-stringing with the same strings made it highly likely that one could break, but they were relatively new, so we hoped for the best!  You can see that there aren't very many windings on the tuning pegs.  I believe in winding around the entire tuning peg, from top to bottom, for maximum grip.  You can also see that none of the windings is compressing the actual end of the string.  This would be the biggest key to my method.  Make sure your first turn around each peg is ABOVE the string end, and the hole in the tuning peg it runs through.  But Before we get to that point, let's get a basic amount of string cut off, so we can have less in our way to deal with.

I used a  measurement of 5 inches, from the corresponding tuning peg, for each string on this Telecaster.  As you can see in figure 2, I pulled each string taught next to each tuning peg, and I started with the low E string.  I then measured each string out from the middle of the CORRESPONDING TUNING PEG and cut it off 5 inches from there, but adding ABOUT a half inch as I trimmed each string, from low E to high E.  In simpler terms, Low E = 5", A = 5.5", D = 6", G = 6.5", B = 7", High E = 7.5".  THIS IS APPROXIMATE!  A Gibson style headstock will be different than a Fender style.  For better accuracy, base your string to string length difference on actually measuring between tuning pegs on YOUR guitar, and make your compensation accordingly.  (If your tuning pegs are closer to 1.5" apart, like on a Gibson, this method for a Fender, with 1" from tuning peg to tuning peg, may need to be adjusted).  The amount of string needed will increase from low E to high E, because the strings get thinner.  Make sure that each string is without slack, and that the opposite ball end is seated deep into each string holder in the bridge.  If the bridge end of a string gets caught somewhere and is not seated where it should be, you will end up with too much string.  This is not catastrophic, but can be annoying.  The 5 inch measurement worked great for this telecaster and I think you will be fine with about any make using it, but you may need a little less on some guitars.  Most guitar scale length differences will translate roughly to maybe one more, or maybe one less winding on each tuning peg.  It should not be an issue to trim down to 5 inches on most guitars, but if you've never pre-trimmed your strings this way on YOUR guitar, unwind your old low E string, and practice this using 5 inches, and see how it works.  I don't personally like to wind over existing winding again, so I never want too much string.  Finally, you will see that this is easier than words can explain.  Be careful, but don't be afraid to do it!

The next step can be seen in figure 3 below.

Push about a half to 3/4's of an inch through the tuning peg hole.  (See figure 3 above).  Be aware of the proper winding direction, and put the string through the hole the correct way.  If you draw a blank on the proper direction, just surf the net for a detailed picture for your guitar style.  You should see something isn't right quickly, so this isn't really any big deal!  You just don't want to put a permanent bend in the string the wrong way if you can help it.

 The next step in the method can be seen in figure 4 above.  I'm bending the string end clockwise, in relation to the peg, (with my thumb), while holding the low E string stable with my index finger.  The bend in the string end needs to be severe.  A right angle bend is perfect.  Your forming a rough looking "S" with the bend.  Don't actually bend the main part of each string.  This will be what winds around the peg, and you will want to keep that smooth.

Sorry about the slight blur in figures 5 and 6 above!  These pictures still show one of the most important keys to the whole method.  I've begun to wind the string, and you can see that the first winding is ABOVE the string end.  I want to stress again, that this is key to the whole method!  THE FIRST WINDING ON EACH TUNING PEG MUST BE ABOVE THE STRING END!  This is also the point where you have two options to choose from!
The first option, (I will call this option 1), is that your SECOND and all ensuing turns around the tuning peg, will go under the string end, as can be seen in figure 6a below.  Notice, on this Strat, that this option creates a clamping force on the string end to hold it firmly in place.

The second option, (I will call this option 2), which I used on Joel's Tele, is to continue winding above the string end.  This option begins to pin the string end against the peg with each turn, and creates a multiple wrap of windings on top of it to hold it firmly in place.  (See Figures 7 and 8 below) .
 In both options, wind downward making sure each winding lays neatly under the one above it.  You can see some distortion of the string, on the peg of the Option 2 examples, because this was a re-wind.  New strings will look much neater than this example!  Both options create a clamping force that will prevent the string end from slipping back through the tuning peg hole
That is really all there is to it. I hope I've explained it clearly.  Here are what your finished results will look like with Option 1.  (See figure 9a below).  Notice how the string ends are under clamping force up high on the tuning peg.

Here are what your results will look like with Option 2.  (See figure 9 below).  Notice how the string end is wrapped and pinned all the way down the tuning peg.
Finally, when your tuning up, I would suggest starting with the low E string side and increase tension on the A string next and so on.  Don't start with the high E side and expect the thinner strings to handle the initial tension of tuning and pulling your guitar neck into place!
Thank you Joel for the use of your fine looking Telecaster!  All apologies, as usual, for any grammatical or punctuation errors!  I'm certain that there are more experienced folks out there with better string installation methods.  Let me know, I love to learn too!  We'll be getting into more elaborate subjects as the blog continues.  If anyone needs a clarification, or has a question on anything not covered here, shoot me a comment, and I'll respond as soon as I can.  Thanks for checking out my blog!

God Bless,



Simple, for the beginner, Muti- part discussion on guitar strings, part 1.

>> Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ok, let's talk about guitar strings,  I just felt the need to start things off with some footage of a couple of my personal guitar heroes.  The first guy was Phil Keaggy on guitar with Glass Harp in his younger days, (for those who don't know).  Anyone who really cares about the people out there who play guitar, knows about or should know about this guy.  He is a world class talent in many genres of music and a super nice, humble guy.  The second vid clip is a band I enjoy called The Elms.  Their lead guitarist is Thomas Daugherty.  I'm a big fan of that Marshall+Gibson sound, and Thomas does it very, very well.  Anyway, this will be a multi-part discussion on guitar strings.  The first thing to cover, would be discussing what is available.  I've played Dean Markley, Ernie Ball, GHS, Martin, D'Addario and Elixir.  Those are the company's I can remember anyway:)  I've played all the nickel and phosphor bronze strings and I suppose strings that were cheaper made than that.  One thing I haven't played, which sounds intriguing is stainless steel.  Sweat and oil from your hands are probably the biggest combo that slowly wears out guitar strings.  Stainless sounds intriguing because I know that metal to be a corrosion fighter, and corrosion comes from your hands. Anybody played these?  Most of these company's make acoustic, electric and even bass guitar strings.  I think that is a pretty decent cross-section of string company's that I've played, but I've got to tell you, this doesn't even scratch the surface of what is out there!  I just went to a website that listed 35 different string manufacturers that they carry!  Since there is such a huge variety out there, I find it pointless to focus on a company name and give an opinion based on that.  These company's are constantly innovating to compete with others, so even if I've played them, I haven't really played them all.  My advise is to try different brands, and find something you really like, but find a gauge, (thickness), that suits you, and don't change that!  Some people claim they get better tone out of certain strings.  What's your experience?  They say tone, (subtle differences in sound and sound quality), is different with not only different company brand's, but in the gauge, (thickness), of strings.  My experience has been that I can perceive very subtle differences in tone  from string company to string company of the same gauge, but I see more of this and more overall differences in strings of a different gauge.  That brings us to my final point in this part of string discussion. String gauge, in my opinion is very important.  Changing string gauge will often make it necessary for you to set up your guitar again, to accommodate changes that a different tension creates.  Gauge affects tone and sustain, (how long a string rings out). Thicker strings usually produce a little more sustain.  Gauge affects action, (how much pressure it takes to fret a string).  High action on guitars, is the equivalent of running in thick sand!  It will slow your finger movements.  Gauge also effects how wide your strings vibrate outward from the center at rest, when you play them.  I've noticed thinner strings will vibrate wider than heavier gauge strings.  If you strum a chord hard, they will actually vibrate out of tune in some cases.  There are benefits to going heavier and going thinner.  A guitar will have a lighter action and be easier to play with thinner strings.  Bending is easier because of this too.  I like the lighter strings that are easier to play, but I won't go thinner than the "light" category, which typically, with most brands, means the high E string is .010.  My style on acoustic is heavier chord strumming, so I'll tolerate a little heavier string on my acoustic, because I want the whole chord to stay in tune when strummed hard. This also means I can strum harder, and therefore, get more volume.  To wrap things up, here is what I like.  As I said, I like "light" gauge strings for their ease of playing. I've really enjoyed using D'Addario Nickel Round Wounds. http://www.daddario.com/DaddarioHome.Page?ActiveID=1740  I love their String Color Code System.  Each string has a color coded end that makes it a little quicker and easier to identify the string for installation.  They look cool on a stop tailpiece too!  That said, probably the best strings for me are the Elixir Polywebs.   http://www.elixirstrings.com/  Elixer makes strings with a coating that makes them resist the effects of corrosion from you hands.  I talked about this earlier, and I'm the definition of sweaty handed when I play!  These strings are a little more expensive than some others, but they last way longer than any others I've used, so that makes it worth it.  Many stores offer the two for one deal on strings anymore, so that helps too.  I paid basically $11.00 a set with that deal the last time I bought some.  Anybody discovered great strings that everyone should try?  Let me know!  Here's a video on how they make strings.  Coming soon:  Installing and taking care of strings.
I hope this helps someone!  Thanks for reading,


First, a little about me..............

>> Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Well, here it is, my first post on my blog/website.  I really don't know how to do this well, but I'm diving in anyway!  A little about me, relative to guitar stuff:  I can't remember never being interested in music.  I heard my mom's classic country, "Gospel" and 50's rock and roll around the house when I was growing up.  I know quite a few old lyrics from Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Elvis Presley and Buck Owens because of this.  My sister's Statler Brothers and Oak Ridge Boys albums had the same result.  When I got a little older I discovered Oldies.  I really liked listening to Chuck Berry, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, Carl Perkins, etc.  I used to "tape" shows like Solid Gold Saturday Night off the radio.  Some where around High School, I literally decided I was going to learn to play guitar.  This made Chuck, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys and Carl more valuable then just for listening to.  I've always played along with recorded music.  Playing by ear, and sort of teaching yourself, is pretty rewarding when you can play along with something and sound reasonably ok.  I have to say, not having any proper training is not something I would recommend, but I've managed without it and applied myself to learning most of the proper things eventually.  I had an advantage, I suppose to some degree, because I was taught and played trombone in junior high and high school.  This resulted in at least some basic understanding of music.  Guitar developed through high school.  I was a reasonably successful athlete in cross country and track.  This was definitely the focus of my extra curricular activities.  Cross country was a passion, and I worked hard at it, trying to get the most out of marginal ability.  A friendship came out of Cross country with a guy named Chad.  Chad had a nice guitar and Crate amp, and we got together and he showed me a basic power chord configuration.  I remember playing one of my first chords with his instruction, and his amp on high gain.  I must have had a wild look on my face when I heard that chord, because he was laughing and said something like "you like that sound don't you"!  Needless to say I did, and it inspired me to keep playing and learn the best I could.  Thanks Chad!  I hung out some with another guitar playing friend Tim, around my college days.  He was learning properly and he showed me a lot of blues type things.  Tim was into Clapton and others at the time, and motivated me to listen to other guitar players and pick up some things from them.  He helped me strive to be more technically accurate, because he was becoming just that.  We got together again recently after many years and jammed a little.  He has become one fine guitar player.  Thanks Tim!  From the early 90's until the first part of this decade, I've played more sometimes and less sometimes.  I obviously listened to a lot of music too.  I'd have to say in the past ten years, guitar/music has taken up a much larger part of my time and even bigger interest.  I discovered CCM during this period and forever established a couple of guitar hero's in my life.  Phil Keaggy and Bob Hartman from Petra have been heavy influences to things I try to play.  You'd probably never perceive much of them in anything I play, but that has more to do with my lack of ability then the desire to play like them!  I play consistently every week in my church praise team.  I've been in and out of bands, picked up the bass, and acoustic guitars.  I've learned about the physical structure of guitars, I've learned a lot about tubes and tube amps, effects and many more details I'll hopefully be talking about in the future.  I've also done some considerable live sound engineering thanks to a couple of bands my friend Mike has been involved in.

Ok, I'm winding down on the background info finally!  It's time for my websight disclaimer.  I don't want to pretend to know everything about anything I'm going to talk about.  I've got some experiences and personal opinions that I'm going to share knowing full well that there are going to be people reading this, (I hope), that have other opinions, and more experience to draw from than me.  Hey, I have friends who are more qualified to talk on here than me!  I'm more than ok with that.  In fact, I'm looking forward to comments and further developments of discussions based upon this.  That means I will learn more, and so will the followers of this blog/website.  I'll screen comments, but as long as the comments are stated in a civil manner, (including language), and not comments meant to refute everything I'm trying to say, they are welcome!  I'm also not opposed to admitting I'm wrong if need be.  I'd like to explain some things in simple terms for some people out there who are beginners, or are new to a particular subject.  Maybe I can network with some experts in a particular field and invite them on here to share their knowledge too!  (That may take a while)!  I don't want to let this become like some well known forums where everyone comes in with their comments to try and make themselves look smarter than everyone else!  Let's share knowledge and opinions, not egos.  Another thing I must say is that I am a Christian.  Bluntly, that makes me who I am.  I'm someone with direction and a certain peace, because of salvation through Jesus Christ, even in a messed up world.  I'm not ashamed of it.  Try me!  Even briefly right here on this blog!  I will always welcome personal one on one discussion about "spiritual" matters.  I believe your eternity is way more important than guitar stuff.  That said, I'm not here to preach on this particular blog/website.  I want to stay mainly on topic.  Brief comments are more than welcome here but I may ask you to join me at another address to further our discussion on a topic so important.  Don't hesitate to ask for one moment.  I have, you see, more opinions on this than anything else in my life!  Of course my opinions are based on what He said in His Word!  One more thing.  I am a fledgling maker of pedalboards, (for effects pedals).  This site will hopefully be a place to go for information and purchase of these.  There will be no hard sell focus on sales here, but there will be opportunities for those who are interested.  I'm also hopefully going to be experimenting with 1x12 extension cabinets soon with the hopes of selling those someday too.  Lastly, I'm hoping Allparts guitar parts will be available here too for those who are interested.  Thanks, stay tuned for the first discussion!            


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