This guitar has spent many years serving its owner, Sean Flinn (of Sean Flinn and the Royal We) onstage as an American Standard, with a 6 saddle bridge, black pearloid pickguard, schaller style tuners, and stock pickups. But over time he wanted to go with a more traditional look and feel, while fattening up the bridge pickup. And with his busy touring schedule, we had a limited time to get it together.
Even very nice guitars, brand new from the factory, can need some tweaks and adjustments. Unless you’ve worked directly with your luthier on a custom-made guitar where everything is to your preferences, most factory setups are a one-size-fits-all middle ground. By the time the guitar travels from wherever it was made to your climate, the neck may have shifted, or the body taken on or lost moisture, and adjustments to the action can be in order. This beautiful lefty Martin had action a little on the high side. More importantly, there were some barely perceptible buzzes coming from a few frets and strings, but also some kind of sympathetic buzz coming from the tuners. Some people might not notice them, but those kinds of little rattles can be the most annoying to players when the guitar is miked in the studio and they really come out through headphones. They can also be among the toughest to track down. Continue reading
I’ve been really enjoying the new line of L.R. Baggs acoustic pickups. Starting with the introduction of the M1 soundhole pickup, they’ve been changing the expectations for acoustic imaging and fidelity from a pickup. It’s always been a struggle getting accurate amplified acoustic sound, and while there are some tried and true solutions, some of the new products on the market are really changing the game for the working musician. Continue reading
Vintage Danelectro and Silvertone guitars have gotten a lot more popular in recent years as players have discovered their unique tones. These were always budget guitars, but as necessity is often the mother of invention, the original designers created some great sounds on the cheap. Thankfully for budget-minded guitarists, prices on these spare-parts beauties haven’t climbed as much as their vintage contemporaries, so you can still get into all the trashy grind and round cleans of those lipstick pickups without breaking the bank. Continue reading
Callaham Guitars has recently added some cool upgrade options for Bigsby vibratos that fix some long-criticized design features on the Bigsby. The accessories are functional and add Callaham’s signature precision machining and premium materials. I’m installing the upgraded string shaft and front roller on a B-5 vibrato tailpiece. I’m also installing the upgraded Bigsby on a Suhr tele, which requires modifying the Wilkinson bridge to accept behind-the-bridge stringing. Callaham offers a beautiful bridge upgrade for teles that does the same thing, but modding the Wilkinson only takes about an hour, making it a little more affordable than the completely custom-machined Callaham.
The first step is swapping the string roller. Just loosen the set screw and the roller pin taps out easily.
This is a job I’m glad to have finished– my customer dropped the guitar off six months ago! It’s a cool old Ibanez Musician, but had a number of issues. Lots of uneven frets, a collapsing bridge, and a set of pickups that just wasn’t doing it for the owner.
The owner wanted to try something unconventional and was craving something that would give him decent humbucker sounds but also something brighter and more Fender-esque, and inquired about the Nordstrand NDC pickups. I’d never heard them, but after a phone conversation with Nordstrand we decided it would be cool to try them, and ordered a set. A series of personnel changes at the company led to several delays, but I used the time to get other parts on order and draw up a circuit that would allow the pickup coils to be wired in both series and parallel, with individual coil taps as well. Continue reading
This gretsch was in the shop for a setup and small finish chip repair, but no mention was made of the damaged jack area! With a show the same day, an extensive woodworking repair wasn’t an option.
The thin hollowbody side was crushed, with chips of wood missing, and the old jack holding on by wood fibers that wanted to give way, causing a bigger problem.
The solution: pull together as much of the old wood as possible and reinforce with an external jack plate. Continue reading
I got an email from a friend recently asking this common question, and when I’d replied he suggested I re-post the info here, so here you go!
Q: My friend found this quote online and asked about it: “I have been using Dean Markley strings for over 20 years now. I’ve gone through all the popular brands like DR, Rotosound, GHS and Fender. I started with the Superwound series. I played those for years. I thought those strings were the best until I tried the Blue Steel series. I was completely blow away by these strings. They were very consistent from box to box. They kept their brightness and tone for a much longer period than the other brands. The thing I really like about them is their feel. Very soft. Other strings use a thicker core and that tended to be hard on my hands since I play so much and the fact that I play a lot of slap bass. Another benefit of these strings is that they come back great when you boil them. Well, I should say that I use to boil them, now I just run them through the dish washer. I have many vintage Fender Jazz basses and it is important to me to have a consistent feel from bass to bass. That is why I don’t mix and match. The only strings I use are Blue Steel – Light Gauge. Remember to only take one string off at a time when you change your strings. If you take them all off at once or if you put on a different gauge set of strings, the neck will check and throw off your action. Find the set of strings you like and stick with them. Your bass will be glad.”
Is that right? You should take the strings off one at a time — the above quote is from Anthony Vitti – Berklee Bass Guru – so I don’t doubt him but have never heard that before…. Continue reading
We’re primarily a music repair shop in Portland at 1115 SE Morrison St. housing an alliance of 4 businesses —
Soursound custom amps and repair for amps, effects, and audio
Sumo custom cabs, cab repair, and pedal boards
Synapse Audio Systems recording gear, vintage and modern synths, hifi, solid state, effects
Sick String guitar repair
Scroll down for our latest blog entry, check out our individual pages for different areas of the shop, or click below to learn a bit more about us! Continue reading