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norm barrows

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Everything posted by norm barrows

  1. a bad bridge ground is always the #1 suspect for that issue. some other sort of "open" in your "negative bus" might also cause it. a bad bridge ground is just one possible open in the ground circuit (buzz when you touch the strings, but not when touching the jack). there should be a ground path from the jack to the bridge, and from the jack to the pickups, through whatever controls you have.
  2. All you really need is a good solid connection between neck and body to transmit vibrations. This can be done with glue, wood screws, or machine screw inserts. All three methods are viable. Washers and neck plates are used to prevent deformation of the wood around the screw head. I've used everything from machine screw inserts to drywall screws, and all points in-between, with no problems, using ferrule type inserts, neckplates, and washers. Go with what plays, feels, and looks best - that isn't overkill, too expensive, or too much like work.
  3. After painting the neck it was time to try some clearcoat. I tried some spray lacquer I got at true value hardware. It tended to dissolve the silver paint. So I quickly finished a single light coat on the front, and set it flat to dry, and hoped the silver paint didn't run. Once it dried it was ok. One of the spots where the lacquer really dissolved the paint - but it dried ok. The other bad spot. It too dried ok. It was obvious lacquer would not work. But I was lucky, and did not have to re-mask and re-squirt. Today I picked up clear rustoleum spray enamel, minwax water based acrylic, and minwax spray poly to test on the silver painted scraps from the earlier paint tests. I also need to get some non-water based acrylic.
  4. Here's the headstock after being squirted with silver.... And the back of the neck. The top, sides, and ends of the fretboard were (and still are) all masked off, so there will be clean rosewood when the masking finally is removed.
  5. After painting the body, I waited a few days while I decided what to do with the neck. It seemed awfully plain in just a solid blue stain. I considered a silver skunk stripe or a triangle with the base at the pocket and the point near the headstock. But after consulting with my friend, we decided to try the outline effect on the neck as well. So the first step was to mask and mark off the neck... The headstock, masked and marked off for trimming.... Then it was exacto knife time again. Magnifying glasses help with fine detail work. Here's the back after trimming.... And the headstock, trimmed, and ready to squirt...
  6. Once the outlines were all marked out, the masking tape was trimmed using an exacto knife. The front side - masked, trimmed, and ready to squirt. The back side - masked, trimmed, and ready to squirt. So then it was off to the "paint shop". It only required one coat to get decent coverage. Krylon metallic silver is hogh flow, and rather thin, very similar to Testor's silver, used in painting models. Once the silver dried for a few hours, i removed the masking. The front, with masking removed. And the back side.... Overall I'm pleased with the results. Some of the curves could have been a little smoother, but my friend likes the "custom look" of the slight imperfections.
  7. The front of the body, all masked and marked for final trimming... The back... A closeup of the trim lines made with the marking tool. Everything outside the lines will be cut away with an exacto knife, leaving the center masked off, and the edges exposed.
  8. I used a bit of plywood, a pencil, and some CA glue to create a marking tool The Idea was to run it around the edge of the body to mark off where to mask the front and back for painting. Unfortunately, I only got a little bit marked off, and the pencil came unglued. So i did a rough masking by freehand, which will be cleaned up with an exacto knife. But I decided to try the marking tool again, rather than doing the exacto knife trimming by freehand. So I sanded down both the pencil and plywood, fully coated the mating surface, as oppose to a thin bead as before, and once that dried i ran a bead down each side where the pencil and plywood meet. Hopefully that will hold, and i can mark off the tape, trim it, then squirt. I also ordered a different kind of silver paint to try - chrome enamel, as opposed to metallic silver enamel or metallic silver lacquer. I'm not sure what I'll use for a clearcoat. Acrylic would probably be easiest. But I have some spray lacquer, brush-on lacquer, and brush-on poly to use up.
  9. The blue is a very good match for the blue on the official Cowboys stuff I got for the guitar. The large star was purchased just to get a proper color sample of the blue. The small star was planned for the neck plate. I later discovered the guitar has a contoured heel with no neck plate. I may use the small star elsewhere. A leftover silver selector knob from the tele clone build will replace the OEM black knob. I wasn't sure if the pickups would be painted silver or blue. But since the center of the body is blue, the pickup rings wil definitely be silver, so I painted them. I was thinking that all silver hardware might be enough, and the guitar might not need a silver border on the body, but its just too much blue. So it will get a silver border on the front and back, and silver on the sides, similar to a burst, but without the fade, just masked off and squirted.
  10. I sanded the whole guitar down to bare wood using 60 grit. The "sealer" was clear, about 0.2 to 0.4 mm thick, and created a white powder when sanding, which smelled like juicy fruit gum. It was very hard. even 60 grit and a power 1/4 sheet sander barely scratched it. I considered the power planer, but just kept sanding. Then I mixed up some blue dye. Keda brand, an entire pack of blue with about two shots of water. It looked plenty dark in the jar, and on the applicator (papar towel), but the guitar came out aqua blue. Keda black dye is actually a very very dark blue. So after drying overnight, I took half the remaining blue dye, and added a small amount of black dye power (half a pea's worth). I then applied this over the aqua. I really lucked out. The result was Cowboys Blue. Its a surprisingly dark blue. A closeup of the color The back turned out just as nice.
  11. I finished sanding off the silver, using 100 grit. Apparently the body is 3 piece, not laminated, fairly soft wood, and has a thin hard sealer coat of some sort. All my sanding so far, and most of the sealer is still there. I'm going to step down to 60 grit, and get all the sealer off.
  12. I was hoping for a more "stain" type effect. If I had decided to just go painted finish from the get-go, I would have just scuffed the OEM white finish, then shot it in silver, And in general, I would have simply pretended I was doing a show car paint job, as opposed to a guitar finish. But I want to see some wood grain. I've almost finished sanding off all the silver with 100 grit. just a little hand sanding of horn cutouts and sharper edges left to go. I'm still confused about the body. Its seems to be three piece. some parts are smooth and flat like a chopping block. and some parts - where it seems "sanded through" - are like balsa wood in texture - open coarse grain. but light/drak grian line cross between the two parts, so it seems to be one piece of wood, just very hard and very soft in places, that have nothing to do with the grain. would shellac or something account for that? the hard parts are almost like a laminate. i really need to post a proper question in the finishes forum. .
  13. perhaps transforming any leg bars or strap bars into horns and cutouts in the body, while I was at it. This body I made for the "Ergo 12" started as a neck and a big rectangle of cardboard. I cut away (and taped back on) cardboard until I got the shape I wanted, then transferred it to plywood. But it will likely have balance issues. That's a '69 fender acoustic 12 string neck, and it weighs a ton with a dozen tuners installed.
  14. better for me personally, that is.
  15. Unfortunately, unless you're copying a known design, its hard to tell exactly how bad neck dive (IE imbalance) will be until you try. chambering and lighter wood below the desired center of gravity (CG) will work against you. above the desired CG it works in your favor. so where is the desired CG? where it causes the guitar to balance on your right leg at the proper playing position and angle, all by itself. And, it seems that location is directly above the leg cutout at the centerline of the guitar, when the guitar is at the desired playing location and angle when seated. This puts it a bit above the leg cut out. On most guitars, this is near the neck pickup position. and most guitars have an actual center of balance at about the 20th fret - very close to the neck pickup position.
  16. I'm leaning towards shorter AND shifted left. I do a lot of semi-palm muting, so i rest my wrist just behind the saddles. So for me the "picking area" is at the bridge pickup. When i sit down to play air guitar, my right hand rests on my right leg. So to put the picking area where i want it, the leg cutout needs to be at the bridge, not the middle pickup, IE about 4 inches to the right. this shifts the entire guitar 4 inches to the left. This actually makes balance worse, but playing position better. So now your guitar sort of has a 4 in longer neck, and a 4 inch shorter body - from a balance and "how far does this thing stick out?" point of view. Add 4 inches to the bottom of the body, and it sticks out no more in that direction -. you just have a long neck - and better balance, and a 4 inch longer moment arm to hang weight off of.. By shorter, i mean overall length of 3.5 feet as opposed to 4 or 5 feet long. 3.5 feet is still longer than most standard guitars, which seem to tip the scales at 3.25 feet. If I were you I would make a cardboard "neck template", and a cardboard "body blank". I would tape the neck to the body, then cut away material from the body until it fit me and placed the neck where I wanted it when seated. This would get me a basic body shape. From there I'd probably go with a cheap prefab neck, and cheap wood for a test body. I'd use that to work out balance when seated. So now it fits me, and balances when seated. Then I would figure out where the strap needed to be for balance, adding strap button arms as needed for testing. When that's done, I have a guitar that fits me, is balanced sitting, and hangs correctly standing. If it looked good enough, i might leave it at that. If not, i would likely use that design to build a nice one with more expensive parts.
  17. First tests are not promising. The mic works, but is not loud. Feedback is an issue, but can be controlled with the EQ. The mic's frequency response curve has a lot of treble and upper mid, with almost no bass. With the addition of a booster pedal and an EQ pedal it might be ok. But I'm starting to think full range recording mic of some sort.
  18. The Electric Guqin What the heck is a Guqin? Basically, a Guqin is a 7 string fretless baritone acoustic laptop/slide guitar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guqin I first learned of the existence of this ancient Chinese "guitar" from my Youtube recommendations... Then I learned a bit about how they were built... I decided to get one - assuming they weren't insanely expensive. I found a nice basic Guqin on Ebay for something like $238. I placed the order in late February. The Guqin was due by early May. In March or April, tracking reported as delivered when it wasn't. The vendor said they would re-ship. May came and no Guqin. So I ordered another somewhat nicer one from a different vendor, with the fastest shipping available, but still under $500 total. I figured the better the shipping, the better the chance of it showing up at all. I was right. On June 3rd I got a notice I had a package at the post office. When I went the next day to pick it up, I discovered I had TWO packages.... . That's right - both the original Guqin ordered feb 24th, and the one ordered may 9th arrived on june 3rd. So far all I've managed to do is get the big one on the left tuned up. Tuning up the little guy is next. This is the piezo kit that was not used in the red guitar build, plus a bar piezo I got for The Oriental, before I decided to go hotrail on that build. I'll be installing it (somehow) in one of the Guqins, most likely the larger one (more room to work with). I will start with mockups and tests and temporary installations (IE tape), before i do things like drill for jacks and piezo EQ mounting screws. In general, I suspect a "low impact" approach to the mods will be the best way to go..
  19. Another place where the sandpaper seemed to cut through a laminate. What I can't understand is why the factory would laminate, then paint over it? Didn't pass Quality Control ? More scratch imperfections... As you can see, Its a paint, not a stain, and the grain does not show though at all. I was hoping for a two tone effect depending on the underlying grain. But I had no wood of the same type for testing. It worked in the tests, but on a different type of wood. The paint itself is also not very smooth. Results on the neck were similar. Agian, it did not fill grain well... If i were going to continue to paint it silver, I would do it like a car. Scratch fill primer. Sand to 2000. Then squirt 6-10 coats of silver, then sand to 2000 again, then lacquer clearcoat, then sand to 2000 again, then wax and buff. But I have a new plan... Sand back to bare wood again. Stain it blue - hopefully some grain will show that way. Then mask it off and do the edges in silver. Stain the neck too, and maybe do the front of the headstock in silver, or maybe just leave it blue with lots of silver hardware up there.
  20. The neck, with the fretboard masked off, and ready for squirting. The body after two light coats of silver. Coverage is poor. The paint is thin. I used half a can doing two light coats. The paint does not fill scratches well at all... When sanding it almost seemed like the stain grade was a curvetop style laminate, and this is a spot where the sandpaper cut through to a coarser whitewood body underneath...
  21. I don't advocate long counterweight guitars - its just something i'm experimenting with - like the thumbscrews. With the counterweight experiments (remember the lead brick idea for the red guitar?), I'm reaching the conclusion that shorter is in general better. Even my Roswell is somewhat awkward due to its body length - and its heavy. In the long run, I suspect a slightly longer (3.5 foot) thin body and strategically placed weight on the lower right back side will be the answer - combined with nohead designs of course. This should result in the best compromise between overall length and weight in a balanced guitar. traditional headstock designs would be similar, simply with more top end weight to be countered. .
  22. The back turned out very similar to the front... The the body with all the finish sanded off... More stain tests, to determine the ratio of silver lacquer to lacquer thinner. This is 50% silver lacquer, and 50% thinner. In the end, it didn't behave like stain, it behaved like thin paint. And lacquer clearcoat reacted with the silver, making it run. So I gave up on silver lacquer. Not only was the silver stain not working, I also ran into delays of game, due to kittens sleeping on the guitar padding... And in the sandpaper box... I switched over to Krylon metallic silver spray paint. This is the metallic silver, with one very heavy coat of blue. Adhesive from the painter's tape is sill visible. x This is the non-metallic silver lacquer. I was thinking the metallic flake might be "too much", but my buddy likes it, the flake is very small and subtle, and the guitar itself is rather "busy" - with three pickups, a large bridge/tailpiece, and controls hiding much of the wood anyway. So at this point, either I get some non-metal flake silver, and maybe some clear acrylic, or just go for the metallic silver, and clear lacquer.
  23. Think of it this way. all you really need is the bit of wood from the neck to the tailpiece. It only has to be wide enough for the neck, pickup, bridge, and tailpiece mountings. and it only needs to be 1/2 to 3/4 in thick. Everything else - strap horns, leg cutouts, balance - is about putting the strings and controls where you want them, and prvoding things like arm or wrist rests, or upper fret access. So start with a neck and that 3 x 10 x 1/2 ( or so ) plank of wood and figure out what to add to make it fit you. leg cutout / bar will determine left /right location when seated. leg cutout depth / body width will determine up / down location when seated. spacers/ body thickness / belly carves will determine close to / away from the body location when seated. balance will largely determine neck angle when seated. leg cutout shape may have some effect. balance and leg cutouts / bars will determine how it "hangs " when seated. balance and strap button locations will determine how it "hangs" when standing.
  24. use a spacer instead of a full body. keep it as light as possible while maintaining sufficient strength, and only add mass for balance. and don't forget moment arm. twice the length and half the weight for the same torque around the center of balance. The downside is that guitars with long counterweights are long and awkward. Most guitars are 3.25 feet long My "guitar #3" is 5 feet long, and its somewhat awkward - like swinging an axe - you need a clear field of fire around you. My "x-4" build is 4 feet long. much more manageable, but still takes some getting used to. Its a nohead design, so it needed less counterweight to begin with.
  25. I sold my randy rhodes due to its lack of a leg cutout. i put a simple drywall screw sticking out of the side of my roswell. It was just enough to keep it from sliding. I later removed it for cosmetic reasons. And I've heard of V's with leg bars / cutouts added. If you Google it, I'm sure you'll find some. The Moderne is a very rare beast. Introduced at the same time as the flying V, but never actually mass produced. They released a "reissue" for a few years decades later. But apparently there were perhaps at most three prototypes originally built. I believe only two prototypes are known to still exist. There may be a kit though... looks like the "reissue" was the first production run, in 1982. you can get an Epi clone for about $600, and here's a "Chibson" clone for $280.... https://www.dhgate.com/product/unique-design-moderne-korina-1958-reissue/534584933.html?f=bm|GMC|pla|8141954144|84397643496|534584933|pla-863384510794|113003009|US|jugg__guitar|c|2|&utm_source=pla&utm_medium=GMC&utm_campaign=jugg__guitar&utm_term=534584933&gclid=CjwKCAjwt-L2BRA_EiwAacX32b9ty-Fr_pnkLBREH2QD0f1iuZepnbrQwOvqaJZ1i5L8dB5AXloYFhoCWr0QAvD_BwE
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