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norm barrows

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About norm barrows

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  1. Not a build, just an upgrade. Locking nut on my 1998 Jackson Roswell... So i removed the old nut (white plastic as i recall - might even have been hollow, not solid). Got the new nut mounted. Started setting action, checking for buzz. Discovered intonation was off by almost a semitone. Nut mis-located? Adjusting the saddles wasn't enough. What's going on here? Check distances from the 12th fret - the nut's ok.... but the bridge off! 652 mm scale length with saddle all the way towards the nut. Should be ~648 with the saddle at the middle of its adjustment range, right? So i can't move the nut, its already in the correct position in relation to the 12th fret. i need to move the bridge closer to the neck or vica versa. So do i move the bridge (ugh!), sand the end of the heel, or sand the end of the neck pocket? The slightly misplaced bridge is a problem with this body, not the neck, so i'm thinking sand the pocket. What would you do?
  2. I was thinking rod stock. Probably only enough room for one 2x10 mm screw per side. That's the killer. And 1mm screws snap off. you only get the top 15mm of the neck to work with, and the sides of the neck are curved, and each side is only 13mm thick at the fretboard, and zero mm wide at the bottom of the truss rod. so you only have maybe 10mm of depth to work with at best, before your screw starts talking to the truss rod. and squeezing two screws into 15mm of space. the screws take up 4mm, leaving 4mm above and below, and 3mm between screws - IE VERY little material around them. perhaps a very small machine screw insert. but that adds more parts, more joints. more places for frictional losses at the molecular level. a screw and pin arrangement might work. but a pin is like a screw, and needs a hole, and you're back to "not enough wood for two holes" again. I have it! ARP grade hardware. 1mm x 10mm phillips head wood screws, ARP grade. Too bad they don't make one.
  3. Three or four coats of white lacquer, and the neck is ready for assembly! The lacquer was thinner, more like regular spray paint thickness. Drying times were an order of magnitude faster - 3 vs 30 hours. And coverage of oily tropical wood was not a problem. Being thinner, buildup and pinhole filling performance was not as good as enamel. But over-application and runs were no longer a problem.
  4. that would explain it. not really into grain fillers. texture is part of the wood experience. so when the topic starts to turn towards grain filling type techniques, i usually don't pay close attention.
  5. White lacquer to the rescue! I tried white lacquer over the white enamel. It seems to work. I got almost 100% hiding on the first coat. The second coat is just about dry now. And you have to look closely, and have to know where to look to see anything. So it looks like lacquer works on rosewood. Which means that in general, lacquer ought to work ok with exotic oily tropical woods. Is there someplace where all this is written down? or does every luthier start largely from scratch figuring all this stuff out for themselves? and thus the art never advances, cause you keep starting over.
  6. i can use spirits? i had no idea. water soluble often means not petro-chemical soluble, and vica versa. Hmm... that means i could do a true burst effect. Silver lacquer, and blue dye in thinner, instead of water. Water based doesn't blend smoothly. But i'd want use water for popping the grain, so they don't smear together. i don't believe i've heard of that one. well, perhaps something similar. I probably classified it as special effects i might try someday. I'm still trying to get the basics down.
  7. Yeah - now that's the kind of thing you need. Solid, lightweight, attaches at the sides, doesn't cover the middle, not prone to wear out quickly, works with a variety of hanging pegs. I'd say that fits the bill quite nicely. So - you're going to start making them and selling them for nohead guitars right? <g>. I'll take a dozen! <g>. But you still have to work out the attachment method. There's really only room for one screw per side - or two per side so small they might break.
  8. It keeps looking more and more like an assault rifle! The new control panel has been drilled and fitted - but has yet to be wired. The body has been drilled for the new pickup position, and new screws and spacers have been selected to place the pickup at the correct height in relation to the saddles. A string spacing guide makes a nice thin straight edge to place between the saddles and 24th fret to check pickup clearance when the strings are not on. And the counterweight fell off! It was only a matter of time before i laid it down on the weight and broke the glue joint. So i replaced the 11.5 oz quartz stone counterweight with an 11 oz block of pressure treated 2x4. I mounted it to the back of the bar, so the guitar would tend to lean back, not forward. The heavy trem and otherwise light weight of these minimalist nohead designs tends to make them a bit "front heavy". so now i have a shoulder stock and some selector switches - give me full auto fire! <g>. a grenade launcher is next! <g>. but seriously, the new counterweight goes to the paint shop - maybe the bar too. it was unfinished where the rock was glued on. mount the pickcup, and wire up the new controls.. and after two cancelled orders, gold strap locks finally arrived today. so it will get those as well. I'm thinking of moving the jack from above the leg bar to below the control panel, you'd be less likely to step on the cable there, but the cable might drag more on the guitar. God is in the details!
  9. Shoot - it already swivels on the screws, i can't get the dang thing to torque down. trying to keep it clean - i usually swear like a drunken sailor As long as it doesn't rattle or move on its own, its ok.. Right now, you can tilt it back and forth about 5mm - not bad, but not rock solid. a little CA glue behind it might fix that - and still not be too hard to take apart again if need be. Ease of disassembly is very big in my hot rod designs ( i guess you could say i've done 3 custom cars). . if you're talking about some sort of hanging strap with a metal eyelet, attached to the end of the neck, and flopping around - intuition says "low impact - but probably a bad idea". The leather is the spring (not much of one <g>), and the eyelet is the dampening mass. In fact leather might be worse than spring steel. one of the builds on my list is a guitar with foam nut and bridge. like the foam they pack nice pickups and tuners in. the really dense stuff. see how bad it gets. yet another experiment. Think rigid - regular lattice structure - like glass - it has a very regular lattice structure. or carbon or diamonds (same basic stuff). Non rigid stuff will absorb vibrations - think rubber or foam. I'm thinking you want a rigid connection from nut to saddle. the stiffer the better, the fewer places for movement or frictional loss, the better (nut, saddles, bridge, trem, tailpiece). and probably the fewer joints the better (neck thru design).. and you want a LOW MASS connection. less inertia to get vibrating. and a low mass neck - again for the inertia advantage. which means some sort of neck profile that uses as little material as possible - IE a hard V or perhaps even more radical, like the wood spine of the x-1.5. That was the wood spine and shim-able fretboard experimental build i did. so light - solid - stiff. IE CNC machined as a single piece from from a block of kevlar or something. i know, kevlar is a carbon weave fiber - not a billet! would be nice if you could "mill it like a billit" <g> `and low mass connection means no more material than needed for a body - IE a les paul type log. any extra body for ergonomics or aesthetics should be rigid and low mass.... i wonder how rigid balsa is. now this is just from a "preserve vibration" point of view - all other considerations aside. that might work. replace the metal hanger with a simple leather strap. low mass. low impact on vibrations, no eye hole to wear out, no eyelet required. - bracket vs strap. eye of the beholder. i may be a bracket person myself. straps say "jury rigged" to me. bending modulus of perhaps - what does a guitar weigh? eight pounds? i think that can be achieved in most metals. bending modulus of wood is measured in millions of pounds per square inch. so in essence, a few tongue depressors is strong enough. so metal is no challenge. I suspect its even possible to build an all balsa wood guitar.
  10. So how long do you think, from the time you start cutting, till the inlay is all done? looks like quite a few man-hours there - even with skills, a good battle plan, a recovery method, AND the Gods of Guitar Finishing on your side! <g>.
  11. I've found i can sand back colored lacquer to accentuate wood grain, similar to using a dark dye to "pop the grain". I assume that one could then dye the sanded-back part with no problem? or would lacquer having been sanded off seal it somehow? The plan is to paint the cowboys guitar with brush on metallic silver lacquer, then sand it back, leaving metallic silver grain, then stain it royal blue, then mask off the center and paint the edge and sides royal blue, and paint a blue star with silver outline at the middle pickup, and a smaller one on the headstock. The neck would be silver, with blue racing stripes down the back, and an oiled rosewood fretboard (not painted or clearcoated). the sand back works. but i only tested clearcoat on it, not stain.
  12. Online research indicates there can be issues with the natural oils in fretboard woods. Enamels were specifically cited as having issues, and Acrylics were recommended. Another situation where Acrylic seems superior.
  13. Since you not CNC'ing, you may want to come up with a way to fix errors first, then start cutting. Unless you're a master engraver for the treasury department or something like that. Decidedly a non-trivial undertaking, Design your methodology for success. Then proceed with care, caution, and infinite patience. You are a far braver man than I, to take on such a challenge. And i got an A in wood shop back in the day! <g>. But the inlay is simply "to die for"! And will be well worth the effort. Design your methodology for success. Design your methodology for success. i don't think i can say it enough. Design your methodology for success. That will be the secret to victory.
  14. That's the major design constraint in this exercise - the lack of material at the end of the neck. Its an issue with pretty much all nohead designs apparently. You only get the last 15mm or so to work with. any more, and you get in the way of fretting chords at the nut. And you have the truss rod and the two nut screws taking up most of the center of that. So you can manage one screw on each side, and that's about it. The smart way to do it would be to cast/machine the hanger as part of the nut.
  15. Functionality - Ergonomics - Aesthetics that's one of the new slogans around here at "Norman Barrows Guitars". God that's an awful name for a guitar shop! <g> And no, i'm not a shop!
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