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About Flamesong

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    Filmmaking, philosophy, piano
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  1. Having explored Leo Lospennato's site, I ended up ordering one of his books and will order the other next month so the free magazine downloads have paid off for him, I hope.
  2. Thank you very much for the advice. I've been away for Christmas and New Year and quite eager to get back to my guitar. I take on board what you said and as I mentioned, I have the offcuts from when I cut out the body so I can use them to act both as a firm clamping buffer and platform for the router. I have the right kind of bit which I used the first time but as it is the most critical bit of the whole body (in my inexperienced eyes), I am probably a little hyper-nervous about it. And thanks for the magazine links, they will no doubt be invaluable. I just noticed the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain pictured in issue 1. One of my favourite ever moments was seeing them live - the front row was occupied by a young ukulele players club, all under about 15. When UOGB played Smells Like Teen Spirit, the young kids were all headbanging - I loved it.
  3. I am reaching the final stages of my guitar body and everything was looking pretty good. My neck pocket is so comfortable that it almost squeaks - it holds the weight of the neck on its own. Unfortunately, I have just discovered that it is about 3mm too shallow and given the shape of the body, there isn't much of a platform to rest the router on. I kept the offcuts to hold the body on my Workmate when I did the pickup routing but I routed the neck pocket when the body was just a short plank of wood. Actually, I wouldn't mind any neck pocket routing tips because this is the single greatest anxiety I have had about guitar making as it is so critical to get it right; particularly the flat neck contact.
  4. For me, and my opinion of the Stratocaster as a design classic, unfortunately, its Achilles heel is the floating bridge. The negligible benefit, for somebody like me who finds the tremolo bar gets in the way more than it gets used, is far outweighed by the way it makes tuning so unstable. Tune one string up or down by a semitone and the rest are out by 1/5th of a semitone. I'm not claiming that as a scientific fact but just a beermat guess - if the tension on the floating bridge on one string is increased by X, it must compensate the tension on the other strings by X/5-ish, surely. Anyway, that's a rudimentary arithmetical way to explain the observation that when I'm tuning a string on my Strats or Strat copies, the process was not as simple as it is on any of my acoustic guitars until I decided to dispense with the tremolo, put full tension on the spring claw and tighten the screws down as far as they would go with the result that the bridge no longer floated. It's still possible to dive-bomb (which is all I ever did anyway) but the tuning is so much less hassle. My first self-designed body tries to make use of the best bits of a Strat using a Strat scratch plate but trimming the fat somewhat and a hardtail. Actually, returning to the original topic, it did concern me that there are design elements which may be original and might get copied. Maybe my concerns are premature as it isn't finished yet and when it is, it might not be as well behaved as I hoped.
  5. I'm late coming to the field of guitar making (as I am to this thread), although I first dreamed of making guitars and used to sketch out ideas when I was about 13 which is 44 years ago. My thoughts will probably be regarded as slightly off-topic by some but unless somebody is either trying to gain from passing their work off as the genuine article or, for whatever reason, feels the need to prove that they can replicate the genuine article, I don't really understand why they make replicas. For me, I want to express my creativity in my work. So far, due to resource restrictions, I have only made a kit guitar and I am in the process of making a body I have designed with a pre-made neck - but I hope that at some point, I will design and make all the bodies and necks. When I was looking into how to get my own logo on the headstock, almost all the guides and materials I could find seemed to be oriented towards applying fake Fender logos. I was bewildered. Genuine Fender waterslide logos are for sale on eBay (along with countless fakes). How often does a Fender owner need to renovate their headstock to such a degree that they need to replace the logo? Having said all that, I nominated the Stratodaster as a design classic a few years ago when I took a course which concerned the process of prototyping and iterating design as a general practice, i.e.not related to guitars, per se. When I recently put pencil to paper to design a new body, I started by inserting construction points which denoted essential or desirable features such as access to high frets, thigh rest, strap pins, etc. and when I connected the dots, it was almost impossible not to draw a Strat. I had to really distort my ideas to come up with anything which wasn't Strat, Les Paul, skeletal or 'spaceship' shaped. I think that this is borne out with all the Strat like but not precisely Strat shaped guitars. My feeling, as far as Fender and Gibson are concerned is that maybe having done some market research they discovered that the fake market probably drives the sales of the genuine articles in that replicas allow an entry into the market for those with limited resources and the authentic guitars are aspirational and lead to future sales. Having not been able to afford anything other than copies in my youth (I owned a Daion Stratocaster copy and Marlin Sidewinder), I'll never forget the feeling I got many years later when I got my first Fender Stratocaster (which had a bit of a back story). I have prints of paintings by Picasso and Géricault on my wall. Nobody thinks that they are genuine and their ubiquity is part of the mythos of the original. Without the copies, Fender might not have the status it has. How an innovator approaches the matter of copyright might be a different matter, though. If somebody takes a design which somebody crafts with care and then starts churning them out cheaply, that must hurt but the evidence for legal action will hopefully be clear.
  6. Giving it a go

    Looks superb. I'm a bit envious of all the space and gear that you (and most other people) have. This is my kitchen.
  7. Tone pot capacitors

    Hi, Thanks for the reply. I'm pretty sure that the circuitry is okay, I checked it quite thoroughly whilst trying to sort out the push-pull bridge on switch problem which I mentioned in another thread. I did get a bit confused about the values of the different capacitors I have but I measured the ones I used and they were 22nF. As you say, there isn't much to get wrong but I will check everything out again when I next take it apart in a few days.
  8. Tone pot capacitors

    I did a bit of online reading before buying the tone pot capacitors to customise the kit I was putting together and the concensus seemed to be that 22nF was the capacitance of choice and that there was little advantage between one type and another so I ordered some 22nF of the type some call 'orange drop'; maybe 4mm in diameter. I must admit that when they arrived, I was a bit surprised at how small they were (the loaded pickguard which came with the kit had capacitors about 10mm in diameter) but I was reassured by what I read online that size was not an issue. Having virtually finished (I have to adjust the nut and I'm just waiting for some files to arrive), I have discovered that the tone pots don't seem to affect the tone at all. Am I missing something? If so, could somebody please recommend a type and value?
  9. Oak for body

    8.7kg of oak just arrived. It looks nice and feels solid. I'm wondering how to really bring the grain out. I tried a technique on the kit guitar I customised which is ash but it didn't come out as well as I hoped. I'm hoping to pickup some wood to practice on tonight.
  10. Oak for body

    I'm all to aware of the dangers that tools pose. In June, whilst doing something completely unrelated, I put a chisel through the index and middle fingers of my left hand completely severing the flexor tendons in both of them and detaching the tendon from the distal of my index finger. That detached again three weeks after the initial surgery so I had to have another operation. I can no longer straighten my index finger nor fully bend it and my middle finger only gets about 30º movement in the middle distal joint. I'm right handed so it is quite annoying when people say that I was lucky it was my left hand. Anyway, I am just about managing to play most chords again but struggle some like open Dm and G7 which require my index finger to play the top E string and barre chords are a bit muffled but I have made a lot of progress in the past month. I tend to play open inversions (they may not even be real chords) higher up the neck so I am at least able to play most of my own creations. And I've never been particularly good at playing lead so now I have a good excuse not to bother anymore. But yes, I will practice on bits of waste wood. I just got notice that the oak is arriving today so I am more than a little excited to get a feel of it.
  11. Oak for body

    I'm still getting my head around my first customised kit build. I wouldn't know where to begin on that topic but it has nothing to do with oak or even the guitar body so unless I feel like public self-disembowelment at some point in another thread, I'll say no more about it. As for the oak body, I ordered the pictured lump and it should arrive next week. I am still working on the design but it has gone from scribble to pencil drafts 1 & 2 to an Illustrator document. I'm fairly confident in the concept but I have absolutely no experience with a router (not the networking pronunciation). I'm going to spend the next couple of days making templates and maybe, by the time the wood arrives, I will have mustered the bottle to give it shape.
  12. Oak for body

    Sustain, at least, is something that can be measured. A plectrum attached to a mechanical device (to remove human error) and a VU meter ought to be all that is required to make a rudimentary but objective measurement. I spent a little of the last day trying to find a definitive answer to the best wood for sustain argument but even Wikipedia wimped out by saying, extremely vaguely, that it depended on the wood. Elsewhere, however, reading between the rhetoric, I think that I am not far wrong with my hardness theory. By the way, I'm not really concerned about sustain - its enhancement would add little to my playing style, it was merely a factor which was repeatedly mentioned whilst trying to discover why oak is frowned upon as a guitar tone wood and in those articles which I found that analysed different woods tonally, oak is not even mentioned.
  13. Oak for body

    Oakay! I'm almost convinced to buy the lump in question. My next thought was about knots. Aesthetically, I like the character that knots give wood but I was concerned about using knotty wood for guitars until I did a Google image search. This is the piece I am thinking about buying.
  14. Push-pull bridge switch problem

    I found the problem. Basically, the pickups I bought did not have the wiring colours of the diagram I was following (black and white were reversed) which I discovered too late. I corrected this with the installation of the mini-toggle switches but I completely forgot about it as far as the push pull switch was concerned. Every diagram I looked at said to connect it to the white pickup wire but in my case, it should have been black. I put it back together and it works fine. I'm still a bit overwhelmed with the options I now have but time to play.
  15. Oak for body

    I generally agree, though I have no expertise as far as guitar making is concerned, I'm generally recalling what I learned in physics and as an aircraft mechanic. Sometimes it helps to look at extreme examples, softer materials are used to dampen so clearly harder materials have the opposite effect. Some of the densest materials are soft (e.g. lead) or even liquid (e.g. mercury) but they are clearly not going to provide much sustain as they will absorb the vibration. I read one comment somewhere (not here, I don't think) that the overall density of the guitar body was the key factor and that drilling holes in the scratchplate would have a negative impact on sustain. I couldn't find the energy to sign up to the forum just to weigh in (NPI) but the scratchplate isn't in what I think of as the vibrational circuit and unless it is loose ought not have any effect in my perception but I'm happy to be corrected. Talking of which, I have an aluminium scratchplate on the guitar I just put together and I noticed by accident (I had some echo on my amp and I heard the effect a second or so later) that it picks up impact noise from my plectrum. I tested another guitar and it did not happen. At first, it concerned me but after playing around for a while, I got to like the idea that I could make percussive noises and thought about adding a kind of mini washboard or engrave some parallel lines that I could scratch. Anyway, as far as the wood is concerned, a major factor for me is cost and one of my favourite sayings is 'necessity is the mother of invention'. I mean, some people make guitars out of shovels and cardboard.