Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vintage Vice

Check out what I scored at the flea market this past weekend.

An ol' boy from Loosyana was peddling all sorts of interesting stuff, and in the mix was this nifty vintage wood stand up bench vice, complete with large clamp, hand turned wood screw with forged metal handle and turned wood anchor nut.

I asked, "What do you want for the old wood vice?"  When he looked at me kinda odd and said, "Will you give me five bucks for it?", I damn near threw my shoulder out of it's joint getting the money out of my pocket.

I've been looking for one of these for months, but the unavailability and big prices had me almost to the point of building my own -- with commercial metal screw and anchor nut -- which didn't ring my bell real good.

At any rate, it's gonna make for a great way to hold guitar bodies and necks, when I want to do a little shaping and carving.  I have to create a lower adjustment arm and position the anchor nut to the bench, but that's no sweat.  An hour's work and I'll have this thing cleaned up and working just fine.

Can't wait to see what treasure I find next month.   ;-)

'Hog Snout'

Paul Smith, who lives in Worcester, England, is pretty happy with the guitar pickups I've created for him, which is the root of a couple of videos he's created for his FaceBook page.

Paul calls himself Boss Hog or some similar moniker, so I decided to fix him up with a pickup that might reflect his true self.

He saw the skull pup I created for Carlton Gill-Blyth, and he thought something like the hog would work just right for him.

It's a hand wound magnetic pup shaped and painted in the form of an intense 'bush hog' with volume control and output jack installed, so Paul won't need to do anything but install it and rip out some cool blues on a three-string guitar.

If you cannot live without a custom made guitar pickup for that favorite ax, let me know, and I'll create something special for you.  If you wonder if they're cool and do the job, just ask Carl or Paul.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The 'ElectraGlide' lap steel guitar is a done deal.  It fits nicely into the vintage violin case, which my Irish friend Carlton Gill-Blyth supplied.  Thank you Scott Moodie for the idea!

So, what's it all about?

It started out as three large chunks of basswood laminated together, from which the body of the guitar could be shaped.  It had to be designed just right to fit the violin case, but I didn't want it to be just a wedge with strings.  So, after noodling a few ideas around in my head, I settled on an 'arrow' shape to fit the case snugly with rounded tail and softly pointed headstock.  the pattern I drew looked good, but was boring like many of the commercial lap steels I've seen.  So, along came the side fins to give it the style I hadn't seen anywhere. Voila, I was happy, and I had created the design I thought would be different, while being functional as well.


The 30-inch-long body is two inches thick with scarf-shaped headstock.  It's cut from one piece of wood to maintain strength and integrity.  Since it's set up to be right-hand play, I gently sloped the body on the player side down 3/4" for comfort, while all other edges are rounded for overall contour.

The Headstock is covered with laminated Spanish cedar for a nice natural wood grain transition into the specially shaped rosewood fretboard.  The nut leading the fretboard is hand shaped from a stick of Corian counter top material.  All hardware is chrome plated or stainless, from the open gear tuners to hand seated frets and position markers to the humbucker magnetic pickup, shortened tele volume and tone control panel, drawer pull hand rest over the strings, through-body bridge, and output jack cover on the back side.  And, on either side of the body, I installed Harley fender emblems, ala, the name 'ElectraGlide'.  Scale length is 24 inches (that's the distance from the nut to the bridge) thanks to the calculator provided by StewMac.

I chose a transparent green for the body color, which works very nicely with the plum colored velvet material used to line and cushion the inside of the case.  I didn't like it much, after the first application, but that was easily overcome with the use of strategically applied walnut stain to soften and deepen the color and to give it an antique appearance.

That's about all there is to say, other than it sounds good, and as soon as I learn how to play it, I think it will sound great!

The bottom is unobstructed with the exception of tuners at the nose, and string ferrules at the tail.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

'Stompin' Hog' Does The Boogie!

This is my friend Paul Smith, aka 'Stompin' Hog', laying down some cool blues with the magnetic pickup I created for him recently. 

If you like what you hear, you too can be the possessor of a TotalRojo guitar pickup.
3-string is $25; 4-string is $35, volume pot & jack add $15; postage at direct cost.  Drop me a message and I'll get to work on a custom, hand-wound pup for you.