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Entry for August 2019's Guitar Of The Month is now open!


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curtisa last won the day on August 10

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  1. Aye, but a guitar with a finish so rubbery that it dampens the natural decay and sound would be...well...kinda icky to play, to say the least To a degree, yes: Joe Satriani plays Surfing with the Alien on a cheap Strat clone It certainly sounds like Joe's playing, even if it doesn't exactly sound like Joe's sound. Surprised you put that ahead of wood. I'd personally put that waaaaaay down the list. Which is why I'm sure we'll never see any real objective reasoning behind the importance of the various components that make up an electric guitar and their subsequent impact on tone. Everyone's been 'trained' to know that mahogany is warm and maple is bright, but I bet any builder worth their salt could make a bright sounding mahogany-bodied guitar if they wanted to. A lot of the experiments trying to demonstrate the importance of some part of an electric guitar having an impact on tone centres around plucking long sustained notes or chords, or showing the results passing through a spectrum analyser to reveal the minutiae behind the sound. But the real-world application of testing like that is nearly meaningless as no-one plays or listens to their guitars in that way. We play in bands in bars, and perform pentatonic scales at 135BPM, and plug in to an AxeFX, and listen through headphones, and have a few drinks while we jam along with some backing tracks. And we do so safe in the knowledge that the wood underneath the opaque black paint finish on our Fendsonanez SuperThunderPatrolMeister86 is Honduran mahogany...or is it birch plywood?
  2. Epiphone EX retails for around $1500 which is right at the top of your budget and doesn't leave much in the bank if you're wanting to retrofit some kind of tremolo to it. Floyd Rose FRX seems to be about $430. Duesenberg Trem is about $160 shipped. Stetsbar will set you back $350 upwards depending on options. All of the above also assume that they are compatible with the bridge dimensions on the Epiphone EX, so you'd want to do your homework before buying one. I'd personally be hesitant to buy a brand new instrument at that price, and then immediately modify it with a new trem. Dean Z 79? Secondhand/discontinued ESP LTD EX series? The recent Gibson vs Dean lawsuit may put the brakes on Explorer production from other manufacturers for a while, so you may be stuck for newer options until the dust settles.
  3. Here you go; the Floyd Rose FRX: https://floydrose.com/products/frtx?variant=29837643090
  4. Editing thread names might be restricted until you reach a certain number of posts. Floyd Rose make (or at least used to make) a double locking retrofit trem for Les Paul's that is surface mounting that might work on an Explorer. Seems a lot of work to make a stock Explorer look more metal, though. Wouldn't it be easier to start off with an Explorer already fitted with a trem, like an LTD?
  5. I'm a tone agnostic. I could be convinced either way that some things make a difference one way or the other, but I've yet to see convincing arguments either way to sway my opinion for or against. Personally I think the biggest thing that makes the most difference in tone are the pickups and what you plug the guitar in to. Other things that I feel make a significant difference are the scale length, string gauge, how much down force is applied to the bridge as the strings pass over the saddles and what kind of bridge is used (floating trem, hard tail, tune-o-matic, top load etc). Timber used might make a difference, but trying to prove it's importance in imparting a particular tonal quality gets really wishy-washy because the work executed in trying to prove it's difference invariably results in changing multiple things simultaneously in the comparison. This is further compounded in nearly all the 'experiments' I've seen/heard by the fact that the most variable part of the comparison is never eliminated when doing those kinds of comparisons - the player. Only for open strings. As soon as you fret a note the nut is unlikely to play any part in determining the tone of the instrument. You could probably 'normalise' any nut material by the use of a zero fret too. Difficult to prove. How do you determine that the neck itself is or is not responsible for the characteristics of the tone you're hearing? I guess you could make two identical bolt-on necks - one from maple and one from mahogany, and swap them on and off a common body, but in doing so you're also swapping more than just the one element between tests.. There's a Youtube video of a concrete Telecaster compared to a wooden version (don't know what species) floating around. IIRC, the concrete one sounded brighter, but still sounds like a Tele. I'd be somewhat skeptical that the finish itself could be an audible contributor to the sound of an electric guitar. My gut instinct is that it would take a relatively massive difference in finish thickness and makeup to impart an audible difference between two otherwise identical guitars.
  6. I think the problem is that the spring is in the wrong position. It looks like the spring should be between the metal baseplate of the tremolo and the underside of tremolo arm. At the moment you have the spring underneath the bridge, which is pushing it up and away from the body. This makes the strings sit far too high behind the bridge and will be why the strings want to pop out of the saddles. Edit: nevermind, already mentioned by someone else further up.
  7. Well, you know what they say about men with big teeth... ...big toothbrushes.
  8. Is there any reason why you wouldn't use acrylic or poly for the whole neck? If you're going to the trouble of just trying to finish the fret board in poly/acrylic, why not use the same finish for the entire neck instead?
  9. Is it imperative that it's vulcanised fibre material? Vulcanised fibreboard may be available from an electrical wholesaler as a switchboard insulating material, although you might striggle to find anything thin enough for pickup construction. Maybe try tube amp building suppliers? Point-to-point tag boards are sometimes made from similar materials. Anything flat, rigid, non-conductive and easy to shape would surely work - plastic sheeting, fibreglass sheeting, thin timber... Google?
  10. Google images returns loads of results that suggest that you have the bridge in roughly the right position. If the bridge is completely moveable once the strings are removed, it might be possible to see a slight 'shadow' on the guitar top where the exact location of the bridge is meant to be, which would help you re-align it to its original location. Did the bridge always have a tendency for the strings to pop out of the roller saddles while playing? But it would also mean that the trem arm would work back-to-front (depressing the arm would make the strings rise in pitch).
  11. I realise that comment may be said tongue-in-cheek, but it's important to note that you shouldn't be spraying any paint without taking appropriate safety precautions. Whether or not nitro is more or less harmful than polyurethane, both paints have severe health side effects that should not be discounted. Safety first, please
  12. Mainly because any oil finish doesn't provide a hard-wearing, moisture-resistant finish to any type of wood. The lack of effectiveness of an oil finish on maple are compounded by the fact that maple has extremely small pores that won't allow deep penetration of an oil finish, and as a surface coat it is extremely thin and relatively fragile. Sweaty finger tips pressing against nickel steel strings imparts tarnish on to timber, which also happens to show up more plainly on pale wood like maple, so you're likely to end up with some discolouration on an oil-finished maple fretboard after a few months of playing. Nitro or poly are significantly thicker and more durable, so any grime and muck tends to sit above the surface of the finish, which allows an opportunity for the user to wipe it off when it becomes too unsightly and (hopefully) restore the look of the original finish if required. Discolouration on an oil-finished neck itself will still be apparent but will take longer to appear, simply because the palm of your hand isn't in simultaneous contact with any metal surfaces while playing, and the tarnishing effect of steel-on-sweat isn't able to develop. I believe the most common method is to install all your frets and the spray clear on the whole neck. The clear won't adhere to the frets, so it's relatively easy to remove the finish from the frets by scraping or careful sanding/scrubbing with steel wool. Obviously with the frets installed you won't be able to sand the finish between coats, in which case you just polish the fretboard on a buffing wheel to achieve the desired level of gloss. Bearing in mind it won't be a particularly hard-wearing or long-lasting finish that may require some restoration every so often if the eventual blackening becomes too much, as many coats as you feel comfortable with. Assuming you're finishing the fretboard before inserting the frets, maybe 4-6 coats as a minimum with a light sand between coats as directed by the application instructions of the finish you're using.
  13. I didn't watch the whole thing, but he could be drawing it out in its entirety at 1:1 scale on MDF simply because he doesn't have any paper available large enough for him to demonstrate his processes. I suppose creating the template for the body can begin using the actual piece of MDF he started his design on rather than trying to transfer it from paper to MDF. But unless I'm missing something, any template he's hoping to create from the same piece of MDF for the neck will be wasted. Everyone's design preferences will be different. I personally don't see the need to plot the whole thing out in so much detail as he does. The neck could be represented by two tapering lines, plus a handful of perpendicular strokes to represent the nut, the last fret, the end of the fretboard and perhaps the fret where it meets the body. But each to their own.
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