Archive for the ‘Guitar’ Category

I have a LTD AX-2E, which was a model available for only one year.  Despite the funky body shape, it’s a beautiful guitar and the U shaped neck profile is nice.  The jumbo fret size makes the strings appear to stand at a gargantuan height from the ebony fretboard, but the point of tall frets is to enable very little pressure to fret a note.  It’s almost a scalloped sort of feel.  Kung-Fu action grip will make notes sharp. (more…)

I was watching the Steve Morse Rig Rundown at Premiere Guitar.  Steve stated that he uses the Neck pickup to solo in the higher pitches, so it isn’t as sharp on a person’s eardrums.  I’d never really thought of it in that way and not used it in that way very often.  So, I tried it out repeatedly. (more…)

I previously wrote about my trials of playing guitar while dealing with a serious illness.  With my 25.5″ scale length, LTD guitar, I’ve now found a medium point of balance.  When I am able to play, the guitar nearly plays itself.

After more than a decade of doing my own setups, I’d stopped measuring them and would do it mostly by feel.  I did it that way for years.  For the problems I have now, I need to be able to easily adjust anything if the guitar shifts from temperature or humidity changes.

At the time of the previous article, I had been thinking in very abstract terms regarding tension and height; trying to imagine the physics at work.  What I’ve ultimately found is that I’d made the height so low and relief so flat, the neck did begin to backbow and warp.  I corrected the truss rod, increased the tuning, and set the guitar aside to settle in.  When I came back to it, it got a setup similar to the factory specs and then some adjustments were made. (more…)

Awhile back, I found this page while doing research for building effects pedals or amplifiers.  Jack Orman has some really great information and ideas on his site for many different circuits, modifications, and adaptations.  I’ve found it to be quite inspiring and I encourage anyone who is interested in guitar or effects technology to check out his site. (more…)

Searching For Good Fretwork

Posted: December 27, 2015 in DIY, Guitar
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, I wrote about searching for inexpensive guitars with good fretwork to upgrade into higher performing instruments.  I didn’t really go into detail about what good fretwork is.  The reason was that there are literally thousands of articles, posts, and instructions about fretwork that can be found by using Google.  There are a few basic things to look for, though.  So, I pulled up the El Cheapo, Microsoft Paint to illustrate the basics.  For greater detail, Google is your friend.

Different companies do different things with the fret ends and there are other considerations, like binding.  However there are some warning signs to look for when inspecting an instrument. (more…)

I have never had a lot of money.  My only major investment toward playing music has been my Dual Rectifier.  Guitars costing over $800 have been out of my budget and I figure the same thing holds true for many other people.  Fortunately, mid-priced, mass produced guitars are made with higher quality than just about ever before.

When it comes to upgrading inexpensive guitars, the most important thing is to make sure the neck is well made and the frets are properly installed.  Any hardware or electronics can be easily replaced, but the cost of a major fret job or replacement defeats the purpose of upgrading an otherwise good guitar to be great.

For many years now, I’ve preferred Gibson-style guitars, or at least humbucker equipped guitars, at a more affordable price.  Epiphone G Series, LTD, Schecter C Series, and the like are along the lines of what I could afford and like.  I’m going to speak mainly about these types of guitars, since that’s where my most recent experience is.


ACDCPlexi VintageCleanThese settings are for an approach to getting some vintage tones from a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.  The Clean uses the ideas I’ve been developing about a higher gain setting against a lower Volume setting.  It also has less Bass dialed in.  This made the moderate use of Mid and Treble possible to control sizzle and distortion.  The Presence is just an extra treble control, because Channel 1 has no negative feedback in the power amp.  This setting is very full through the mids and has enough bass and treble to sound good, without either dominating.

The Dirty setting is copping a nice late-70s AC/DC tone.  It sounded really good for many Classic Rock tunes that aren’t fuzzed up.  Raw has a lot of top and bottom rolled off.  It only needs a little nudge to move into Plexi territory, though it could take some more Mid if a person wished to do so.  The Solo is engaged and dialed-in just enough to change the top frequency response.   (more…)

(11/15/15: Edited information about the Presence and Treble)

Modern, high gain, guitar amplifiers generate much larger signals than vintage amps, hence high gain (high increase).  Compared to a vintage amp, modern amps can produce much more distortion and saturation.  In addition, the low frequency content of a Recto is fairly great.  Stages 1, 2, and 4 of the dirty channels are shunting the lows at about 88 Hz, -3 dB.  While the amp voicing is another topic, it’s important to have an idea of what is coming into the tone stack if you wish to shape it.  Since I own a Dual Rectifier, I’m using it as the example, but these concepts and this tone stack are applicable to many amplifiers.  I’m focusing on the Vintage mode of the Orange Channel.

Our topics for this discussion are: target frequencies, response of individual controls, the interaction of the controls, and dialing in useful tones more easily.  Some of the information is simplified for clarity.


I am very ill.  In January of 2014, I began having pain in my shoulder.  By the next week, both shoulders, my wrists and hands were affected, more significantly on the right side.  By the end of February, I couldn’t walk very well and I felt very sick.  Since that time, I have had periods of being restricted to bed, short periods of relative wellness, and situations in between, but the pain and arthritis continue.  I was diagnosed with Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis and chronic pain (Edit June 2016: this was misdiagnosed Lupus).  Among the things it affected was my ability to play music. (more…)