Friday, October 29, 2010

New Find

Get a load of the really unique cigar box I bought from a lady in Louisana.  This is going to make a bitchin' guitar.  I'll post pics when I have it completed, but at present I'm working on another six-string.  Then, I'm going to be doing some graphics and pinstriping on a box for Chicago friend Tim . . . a Tiki theme . . . which is going to be a hoot.  Can't wait to receive the box from him.  Then it's on to the Oliva.

Wiring Diagram for 1 Pickup/1 Volume Pot

This is the diagram I use to wire the six-string guitars that can be seen on this blog.  However, the only difference is that I use a 250K Pot, because that is what is normally used on a single-coil pickup, which I use, while Humbuckers use the 500K Pot.  This is a very simple and effective way to wire for the use of only a volume control.  Gain, tone, etc. is controlled at my amp.

When soldering the ground wires to the back of the Pot, the best way to do this is to melt a small drop of solder on the iron and apply it to the Pot, then place the ground wires on the solder spot, heat the wires with the iron until the solder melts, remove the iron and wait for the wires to cool, and you have a solid connection.  Do not 'over heat' the Pot with the iron, as this may damage the Pot.

Thoughts To Get You Through A Crisis!

  • Indecision is the key to flexibility.
  • There is always one more S.O.B. than you counted on.
  • If you ever find something you like, buy a lifetime supply, 'cause they'll stop making it.
  • All things being equal, fat people use more soap.
  • You can't tell which way the train went, by looking at the tracks.
  • Be kind!  Everyone you meet is fighting a tough battle.
  • This is as bad as it can get, but don't bet on it.
  • The is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
  • By the time you can make ends meet, the ends have been moved.
  • Happiness is merely the remission of pain.
  • Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
  • Sometimes too much to drink is not enough.
  • The facts, though interesting, are irrelevant.
  • The world gets a little better every day, and worse in the evening . . . just watch the news.
  • The careful application of terror is also a form of communication.
  • Not one shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.
  • Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.
  • Things are more like they are today than they have ever been before.
  • The other line always moves faster, until you get into it.
  • Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
  • Everything should be made simple as possible, but no simpler.
  • Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
  • It's hard to be nostalgic, when you can't remember anything.
  • I have seen the truth, and it makes no sense.
  • To live forever, acquire a chronic disease and take care of it.
  • Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.
  • If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.
  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
  • One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.
  • The more you run over a dead cat the flatter it gets.
  • It takes a big dog to weigh a ton.
  • And, you don't screw around with a momma that can whoop ya . . . ask the guy in the photo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eliminating Feedback

No, this is not about shutting the door on comments for this blog.  As a matter of fact, I want to hear what you have to say, so, WRITE A COMMENT, DAMMIT!  And, also add your thoughts about anything to do with the CBG movement.

This is about amp feedback.  

There are many opinions about how to eliminate amp feedback from your cigar box guitar, but I gotta say that I have found the best and easiest method is to line the entire inside surface of the box you're using  to create your masterpiece with foil.

Now, some folks recommend copper foil tape (expensive) as the best and only real method.  Others say aluminum foil tape is the ticket (expensive, too).  Many also tell the story that the tape strips must be connected by the use of solder to be effective.  All this sounded like overkill to me, so, after experimenting a bit, I discovered there is an easier way, less expensive, but dangerous if you are not the sole proprietor of your kitchen.

Reynolds aluminum foil is the deal.  While your wife or significant other is away, sneak into the kitchen, grab the biggest roll of foil you can find, take off for the workshop, and you're ready to put the kibosh on amp feedback.

All you need in addition is a small jar of contact cement, scissors, mineral spirits (to clean the sticky crap off your fingers), a sharp knife to trim the foil to make it a real sanitary installation, and somewhere to hide the roll, when the kitchen help discovers it missing.

You're ready.  Rip off a strip wide enough to fit the inside of the box.  Coat the surface of the box to be covered with contact cement.  Lay the foil (shiny side up) on the  sticky surface, and smooth it out.  Cut the corners with the knife to facilitate a good fit, and finish smoothing the small areas.  Go all the way up the sides of the box with the foil as well, leaving a little foil to be rolled over onto the edge of the box (this ensures that the top and bottom of the box foil will make contact when the unit is put together.  Cut away foil from pickup, tone/volume controls, and output jack to prevent careless grounding.

That's it!  No numerous small strips of foil tape to screw around with.  No solder (you're not trying to create an electric conductor, only a shield to prevent signal feedback from the amp to the guitar).

This method may not be what the big boys use to shield an instrument, but it works for me.  And, just add a little clarity, I took my Strat apart to see what they do, and I was surprised to find the control cavity contained only a little piece of foil, apparently the solid body does a good job on its own to shield.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Creations

The attached photos are of the newest creations I've been working on for a couple weeks.

During one of the many excursions to the music store to lust over beautiful instruments, I saw a violin laying in a pile of crap.  It looked great to me, new, shiny, not a ding, so I asked the ol' gal who owns the place about it.  Her comment was, "It is a piece of Chinese shit, if you want it I'll sell it to you for $15."  So, 'Gitfiddle II' was in the works before the end of the day.

I ripped off the strings; fingerboard; cut the neck apart; modified what was left of the violin; built a neck of red oak; cut an opening in the back to install a pickup, and commenced to fit and glue the pieces together.  

There are a few little differences with this build and the previous Gitfiddle.  For example, I left the tailstock as it was originally, flexible, and replaced the original tuning pegs with modified guitar pegs to make tuning it less difficult.  And, the attachment of the headstock to the neck, and the neck to the body was a little less problematic, in that I didn't mess around with recessing anything.  I modified the original bridge to accommodate the lower action of the four guitar strings.  After all this, I tuned it to DGbd tuning, and fired it up.  It sounds great acoustically, as one would expect, because of the original construction, and through my amp it is awesome.  Sure it's no Strad, but it plays Chinese real good.

Next in line out of the workshop came 'Ol' Smokey'.  It is a twin to 'Big Red', the six-string I dubbed to be 'Almostafender', because it has a Fender Squier neck.  The box is a Tatuaje cigar box just like the red.  Everything is exactly the same.  I just wanted a black twin to the red one.

This week I finished 'The Spider' .  It is one of my favorites, not because it is such an unusual build, but because it incorporates the two hobbies I find most pleasureful . . . pinstriping and cigar box guitar building.  I sprayed a Tatuaje box a deep royal blue and added process blue and dark magenta freehand pinstriping to set it off from anything else I've done.  Added a silver black widow spider to give it a little character, and I'm happy, until I take a look at the back.  It just didn't light up my board, until I added the 'real' spider with exposed bones and a human skull.  Now, it's a real spider guitar, and it really sounds good, too.  I'm happy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Busy Makin' Guitars

It's been very busy for me the last couple weeks, so I've not had much time to post messages here.  Between helping my friend with his school photo and sports photography business, and building guitars in the spare moments, there's been no time for writin'.  I'll be posting photos soon of several guitars I've been busy creating.  To tease a little, there'll be a 'Gitfiddle II', a black twin to the 'Almostafenderplank', and 'The Spider', which incorporates my other hobby, pinstriping.  I think you'll like what you see.

Guitars for GIs

A Chicago woman I know recently came up with a fantastic idea, which calls for any of us who build cigar box guitars to share the experience with service men or women, who may be in a war zone or stateside.

She is attempting to acquire names and mailing addresses for GIs, which she will share.

I like the idea and I hope to be able to make contact with a serviceman/woman who wants to learn to play, and I will provide the CBG.  It's the least I can do to show my appreciation for the sacrifice they are making to protect me in a world filled with radicals who are persistent in their violent mission to destroy our country.

This guitar is the creation of a fellow who calls himself
TinyGuitars (his moniker on CigarBoxNation),
and he plans to share it with a GI.

If you know of someone who is serving our country, or who is recuperating from war-related injuries, and you feel they may find some enjoyment from a little instrument, which produces big sound, please share your thoughts with me, and I'll take it from there.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Could I Be A 'Redneck'?

We've enjoyed Redneck jokes for years.  It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country, and God.

If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half-dozen or so Rednecks to back me up.  Tire irons, squirrel guns, and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of.  I hope I'm one of those.

You might be a Redneck, if:
  • You've never protested about seeing the Ten Commandments posted in public places.
  • You still say 'Christmas', instead of 'Winter Festival'.
  • You bow your head, when someone prays.
  • You stand and place your hand over your heart, when the National Anthem is played.
  • You treat Armed Forces Veterans with respect.
  • You've never burned an American Flag, and never intend to.
  • You know what you believe, and you're not afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.
  • You respect your elders, and raised your kids to do the same.
  • You'd give your last dollar to a friend.
God Bless The USA!

Snip, Snip, Snip!

A height-challenged, cigar box guitar playing, Texan was complaining to his buddy Bubba that his testicles ached somethin' awful every time he took the stage to play.

As he was always whining about his problem, Bubba finally suggested he go to a doctor to learn what could be done to relieve the problem.  The little guy took the advice and went to the sawbones for help.

The doctor told him to drop his drawers, and that he would take a look.  The dwarf dropped his pants.  The Doc lifted him onto the examining table and commenced to examine the little guy.

The doctor placed one finger under his left testicle and told the dwarf to turn his head to the side and cough -- the usual method for determining a hernia -- "A,ha", said the Doc.  Same thing for the right nut.  "A,ha", said the Doc, again, as he reached for the surgical scissors.  Snip, snip, snip on the left side, and snip, snip, snip on the right side.

By this time, the little guy's eyes were buggin' out like a stomped-on-frog, and he was terrified to look down, but he noted with amazement that the snipping wasn't painful.

The sawbones told the dwarf to pull his pants up, and to tell him if it still hurt.

The dwarf was overwhelmed with joy as he pranced around the doctor's office, discovering that his testicles were no longer aching.  "Geez, what did you do, Doc?", he asked.

The Doc replied, "I cut two inches off the tops of your cowboy boots."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some Days Are A Bummer!

Yesterday my wife asked why I didn't do something useful with my time, instead of spending every waking moment in the workshop messing with cigar box guitars.

She suggested that I go to the senior center and hang out with the guys.  So, off I went, and when I got home last night I told her that I had joined a parachute club.

She said, "Are you out of your mind?  You're almost 70 years old and you're going to start jumping out of airplanes?"

I proudly showed her that I even got a membership card.

She said to me, "You dummy, where are your glasses!  This is a membership to a prostitute club, not a parachute club!"

I'm in trouble again and I don't know what to do!

I signed up for three jumps a week!

Life as a senior citizen is not getting any easier.