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About curtisa

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  1. In this instance I'd suggest that epoxy as a pore filler is probably not suitable for what you want to achieve. You're quite likely to seal the wood completely if you use epoxy, making it impossible for the dye to penetrate properly. Even after sanding/scraping all the excess off the surface, there's a risk that subsequent application of dye will end up looking blotchy due to the differing ways the timber will absorb the epoxy under the surface. If you're trying to dye the timber I think your original method is the way to go. A filler that sits in the pores rather than being absorbed into the timber will be more compatible with dyes.
  2. Assuming the colour codes for your pickup wires are correct, what you have drawn there should work. If you wire it up as you've drawn it, adding back the ground wire to the switch shouldn't be necessary.
  3. Are you getting some kind of error message when you upload?
  4. Oooo. A mysterious pile of pale looking powders: Get your minds out of the gutter. It's sawdust. Useful tip: when trying to colour-match sawdust for mixing up a filler using CA, try sanding the same timber using different grits of sandpaper. The higher the grit, the darker the filler will look once mixed with superglue. In the above shot I've got Cheesewood sanded with 80g, 120g and 180g on the top row, and Maple sanded with 80g, 120g and 180g on the bottom row. By cutting some pretend slots into the end of a piece of MDF I can experiment with seeing which filler matches the maple fretboard best (untinted and pine Timbermate filler thrown in for good measure): After the filler dries we can sand it back and apply some finish to see how it compares. Also give the side of the fretboard a quick wipe with finish to make sure we're comparing apples to apples: At the moment to Cheesewood with 80g sawdust is looking closest. Pine Timbermate filler is second, but has a slight yellow tinge. Sanding up some fresh Cheesewood with 80g paper, the sawdust is mixed with CA and applied to the fret ends to fill the slots: Once dried the filler is sanded back and cleaned up: With a bit of finish applied, the timber darkens while the filler retains most of its inherent colour. Not perfect, but better than big gaps. The application of one coat of finish also helps highlight where I need to sand a bit more of the dried CA off the fretboard side (just below the bottom fret slot in the pic below, for example):
  5. Depends on the switch you're replacing it with - there's no guarantee it will come with the same number of solder tabs in the same arrangement as the 5 way. I assume you've simplified the actual layout of the pickup wiring for the purposes of drawing up the diagram. There's no grounding shown on the pickups, but I assume they're in the guitar somewhere. That being the case, I suspect you can ditch the red-drawn wires from each of the pickups entirely and just leave the two blue wires and the connections to the volume pot
  6. Just let a single drop form naturally at the tip of the bottle and slide into the end of the fret slot. Gravity does the rest. No big deal if you end up with a little blob of dried glue on the edge of the board, as you can sand it flush with some 320grit when it dries. Do both ends of each fret Sometimes you end up with a small tidemark around the fret on top of the board where the glue seeps out from under the fret crown. Once it dries you can scrape the excess away with a razor blade.
  7. Unfortunately you're coming up against the main drawbacks the DIY sustainer project always presented - poor string/note selectivity, simplistic circuit design, inconsistent results. I, and others here, did build a sustainer using the original circuit and coil design which worked decently over about 2/3 of the neck, but it was far from perfect. I'm not aware of any useful mods to the original design that would improve things, but here a few ideas to play with: Try swapping the wires on the LM386 output to the driver around. Perhaps your driver is trying to operate in harmonic mode (phase reversed)? Use a humbucker bridge pickup instead of a single coil. Verify you are getting strong drive signal from the LM386 by temporarily substituting a speaker for the driver coil. Potting the driver coil was supposed to help things by preventing movement in the coil windings. Some people painted the windings in thin coats of varnish or epoxy. A total redesign of the driver circuit was really in order during the life of the project, but no lasting effort was put into it. Really, the persistence of using the LM386 driver chip needs to be put to rest, as does the use of the 1-transistor Fetzer/Ruby preamp in front of it. As platforms for getting something out of the driver for testing purposes, they were fine. But as lasting, well-designed circuits with consistent, predictable behaviour they are completely inadequate for the task. The LM386 should really be substituted with something more efficient - a class-D switching amp would be ideal. Some form of automatic gain control (compression, limiting) should be incorporated into the preamp to regulate the amount of drive being applied to the coil and balance out the response of each note, use of low-power consumption componentry, tailoring the frequency response of the whole circuit etc etc. If you look through the patents, these were all known about many years ago, long before the DIY sustainer really got going. Joel de Guzman (username @Cycfi) was doing some interesting development of the sustainer for a while. He has a website where he discusses his Infinty project in the blog section here. It appears he's long-since ditched the LM386 and gone for digital signal control and class-D drivers. Not exactly DIY-friendly, but certainly taking the sustainer development in the right direction.
  8. You can never have too much light. I find the lamp on the articulated arm that appears in a few of those pics to be indispensible for getting a bit of light right where I need it and holding it steady.
  9. They're life savers, to be sure. The one in those shots got partially "eaten" by my router when I foolishly put the router down on top of it while it was spinning down (not while I was wearing it). It's now got a massive shredded hole in the centre of it to remind me to never do anything stupid like that again.
  10. Before performing the crowning I re-paint the fret tops with the permanent marker. Some people don't bother with this step, but I find it helps makes things a bit easier to see as I'm going. Once again, the aim of the game is to only use the crowning file to remove as little material as possible. I'm aiming to file so that there is just a weeny bit of a red permanent marker line remaining on the fret top, indicating that I've only reshaped the sides without lowering the height of each fret. I also wear one of those headband torches, so I can put as much light onto this process as possible: All 24 done: Fret edges get bevelled now. I do this early as there is a risk that I'll slip and scuff up the fret top. Doing the edging early means that I can polish out any slip-ups with the various sanding grits. Doing it later means that any slip-ups will necessitate going through the polishing process all over: Then on to polishing. Work my way up through the grits from 600 to 2000, then a final buff with the Dremel before wiping any excess scuzz off with a cloth: Useful tip: have the neck secured in some way so you don't have to touch it while you're polishing the frets. It tends to be messy work, and any crap on your hands can easily transfer to that pristine timber. Wash yer hands before you handle the neck again: Useful tip: remember the earlier post where I wrapped the edges of the masking tape up with a long strip on either side of the neck? Here's where it comes in handy - for removing all the small strips of tape in one piece: Before/after shot. No more popping-uppy frets or sticky-outy edges:
  11. Using the levelling beam as a template, cut some 400grit paper into long strips. The paper won't last long working against nickel, so may as well cut the full sheet of paper up. A quick squirt of spray adhesive and we're ready to go: Neck goes back into the cradle/T-shirt combo and the beam gets run over the frets a few times. The aim of the game is to ensure that the red permanent marker gets rubbed off each fret by the least amount possible: Change the paper frequently. This is after about a dozen or so strokes. The abrasive is pretty much all gone now: After four paper changes all the fret tops have been touched at least once:
  12. Resuming proceedings on the next day, the caul comes off and masking tape goes on. Each strip gets butted hard up against each fret. The last thing I want is the freboard getting damaged in any way while I'm leveling and crowning: Eventually as the gaps between frets get narrower, a single strip of masking tape becomes too wide to fit, so we cut the overhang off with a scalpel fitted with a fresh blade. Useful tip: as the gaps get narrower further up the neck, use the masking tape offcut on the highest frets and work your way from both ends of the neck: Useful tip: Can't remember where I stole this from originally, but once all the fret gaps are taped up, trim off the overhang at the sides to about 10mm and wrap the edges along the full length of the neck with a strip of masking tape (reason behind this will become apparent later on): One final check of straightness and tweak the truss rod if required to get the neck as straight as possible before levelling: Grab a permanent marker and commence "painting" the tops of the frets. Use a contrasting colour that's easy to see. Red or blue works well. I find black a bit difficult to see under certain lights. The painted fret tops makes it easier to see how the levelling is going:
  13. Now that the inlays and neck profile have been sorted it's time to move on to the refretting. Break out the DIY fretbender doodad and put a few lengths of jumbo fretwire through, and trim off 24 ready for pressing. Useful tip: measure and cut starting from the 24th fret and work your way back to the 1st. That way, if you mess up the measurement of one of the upper frets and accidentally cut it too short, you can reuse it on a shorter fret lower down the neck instead of throwing it away: Undercutting the tangs on the DIY tang cutter, Just a set of cheap nibblers with a groove cut into the baseplate to accept the edge of the fretwire: Before we go any further, just need to quickly run the fretsaw through each of the existing slots to clear out any residual gunk and allow sufficent depth for each fret tang to seat fully: Then it's off to the fret press to drive them all in. The neck is resting in a cradle lined with an old T-shirt to prevent marring up the back of the neck (yet another DIY creation): Once done, a few drops of superglue are wicked into the end of each slot from both sides and the 16" radius beam gets reused as a clamping caul. Let it set overnight before proceeding further:
  14. Assuming you're not looking at super-skinny Wizard necks, I don't see why a guitar neck wouldn't be strong enough. The'yre made using the same materials and techniques. There will be other chalenges you'll need to deal with that will matter more - how to fit bass strings to a guitar bridge and tuners, re-cutting the nut slots to fit the thicker strings, dealing with the tone that may result from using bass strings over a very short scale length,
  15. 3rd pic does it for me, although whatever feels most comfortable/logical to the player is ultimately what should win out.