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Give MN Back to Canada

June 30th, 2008
temperature falls
the cold and crispy clean
breathing in what’s left
of the air

brains freeze to my sleep
I crystallize
make no mistake, we’re far away

chemicals die
this has to be the same
a restless breaking-free
of a fantasy

sounds don’t put up a fight
reverberate
I just don’t know what else to say


Blackout

June 30th, 2008

It’s very satisfying to photocopy a map in negative and black out all the words.


I don’t know why I made this an ordered list…

June 26th, 2008
  1. I just sanded all the primer off of the Jackson. I think it took longer to sand off the new primer than the old paint. What happened was a friend of mine mentioned “sandable primer” at a party last weekend. Here I thought all primer was sandable. Back to the interwebs for more research. Until then, maybe I’ll buy a bridge for it and string it up just for fun. I also think I’ll be buying a router soon.
  2. Those body shapes I laminated are going to be my “practice” body. It’ll take more work to sand the sides down than it would to route a new body from a 13×17″ blank. I just glued one now.
  3. I’m never going to finish these projects.
  4. I’m going to Milwaukee for their Zinefest in July, a week after our Zinefest. I think I’m performing there. Richmond is October 11, and I’ll be hitting that one too if all goes as planned.
  5. I need to start recording again. I hit sort of a weird mood earlier this week and found myself on Tuesday night retreating into the fields of Northfield at 2am to look at the stars and regroup. I got bit up by bugs and headed home, stopping for a half hour at a wayside rest to play guitar. I decided that I already got what I needed from those experiences when I was 19 or 20, and that I need to ditch my habits of solitude and venture into the world of people.
  6. I want to spend the 4th on my roof.

The Jackson Re-build

June 22nd, 2008

I’m refinishing my Jackson, and in the process converting it to a hardtail-bridge, three-single-coil Strat format guitar. I’m doing a real hack job and I’ve documented half the process. Photos…

Before
Before. HSS pickup layout and floyd rose bridge routing a la 90’s wannabe shredder rock. The hardware was cheap and stripped, rendering the guitar nearly useless.

Paint Stripping
I stripped all the paint by hand using a sanding block and 60-grit. Everything in my apartment got covered in dust.

SandedSanded
Down to 120 and then 180.

RoutedRouted
I called someone I know who has a wood shop in Stevens Square to route out the cavities. I didn’t have a template and I’ve never used a router before, so the edges got fucked up. I just cut blocks of alder to approximate size to fit in the new cavities.

DamageRepair
I used a chisel to remove the extra wood to fit the blocks, and accidentally knocked out a huge chunk from the back. I pried it out and glued it back in.

Adding Wood
Once the blocks fit (enough) I used a shitload of glue and clamped them in place one at a time, letting each side set for 24 hours. Then I used my dad’s belt sander to get it flush with the body.

I'm a Hack
I fucked up on the back. It got all wavy from me not holding the belt sander right. This is why I did the back first!

But I TryTo Cover it Up
I used lots of wood fill everywhere to get it even. This is my kitchen table. I eat here, pay my bills and shit, and now I sand wood here too. I’m questioning my lifestyle.

PrimerPrimer
Sanded it again by hand with 120, and primed it with cheap rustoleum primer. Maybe it’s time to work on recording again.


I’ve never done this before

June 20th, 2008

It’s been a shaky transition between drawing stuff on paper and actually cutting and glueing wood, but I did one thing right: I started off with an experimental project that uses cheap materials.

I’ll right more about the project later, after I get the drawings for the circuitry done, but for now I’ll say that it’s an electronically modular guitar, built out of laminated birch veneer plywood.

Yes. Plywood. This idea is not going to appeal to Hendrix and Clapton wannabes, but again, more on that later.

The challenge at this point was actually laminating (glueing) the plywood together. I needed two pieces of 3/4″ and one piece of 1/4″ to make 1 3/4″–the standard thickness for an electric guitar. The original was to have the body shapes pre-cut with all the cavities cut out and then just glue it all together. Once I actually applied my woodworking skills using a hand-held jigsaw, I knew that wasn’t going to work. I just made rough cuts.

For the laminating itself, I tried clamps. (glueing the 1/4″ to one piece of 3/4″, which will be the back of the guitar) I got a huge gap in the middle because I didn’t have enough clamps, so today I came up with a new solution (below.)

Laminating Part 1Laminating Part 2

Laminating Part 3Laminating Part 4
Photo one is the bottom of the guitar (the previously and poorly glued part) covered in glue, waiting for the top. Two and three shows glue getting spread on the top. Then instead of clamping, I took a bass cabinet I bought at Savers for $7.99 and put that right on top of it. On top of the cabinet, my keyboard amp, and on top of that, a bass practice amp. (photo four)

I had dreams last night that I took the clamps off and the guitar just fell apart. I also had dreams of afunctionul in Dead Poets Society. But that’s a different story.


I remember what this was like…

June 16th, 2008

I now have my laptop back and glass in my passenger side window.  Such simple things, but what an effect.  Now I can get back to work on my life.  Wait, do I want to do that?

I got a neck in the mail today.  $25 of Ebay.  A slightly strat-style design, but not looking too standard as far as fit.  (I lined the holes up to my Jackson and they’re off.)  Perfect for a new build, though.  I have to keep an eye on these.  Necks can go pretty cheap because they can all have slight differences.  But it seems that if you’re building from scratch, you just start with the neck and work around the differences.   New necks of standard dimensions are rarely seen under $100.

I have a show tomorrow.   As far as I know, they’re still looking for people to fill in the night.

Oh yeah.  I designed another guitar last night, after looking at Telecaster Thinline forum threads.  I designed a PRS-type body with a drip-shaped f-hole, that can be built hollow with a wood frame and masonite.  I really want to make it a 12-string, if possible.


Guitar Design

June 12th, 2008

I get into these phases which, if you’re on the periphery of my life, look like ruts, but they’re not. I get an idea and I want to run with it, and that gets in the way of what I’m “supposed” to do.

I’ve completed my guitar design, and now I have a general drawing of the whole thing, left and right sideview drawings (to show the contours), a wiring diagram and pickguard layout, and a rough routing diagram.

On top of that, I got another idea for a guitar design, and it threw off my sleeping schedule. I was laying in bed a few nights ago, trying to fall asleep, and it hit me. I stayed up sketching it out until about 4 a.m. I’m not saying what it is yet. I want to get the plans done first. It’s a unique idea that there may be a niche market for. It would also be a good one to start out with as a practice build–but that’s all I’ll say! I already bought a neck off of Ebay.

I’ve been harassing Geek Squad the best I can. I sent a customer complaint online and by phone, demanding my computer be done by Saturday, and I’ve been calling them constantly. I had to explain to one of them on the phone that it doesn’t need to take a week for something to get shipped from Minneapolis to Kentucky. Every time I buy something expensive it gets shipped two-day Fed Ex. Geek Squad, on the other hand knows they’re losing money when a repair job is under warranty and instead goes with the pony express. Figures.


All this falling apart

June 9th, 2008

The last month has been a disaster. I’m trying to dig myself out of so much negativity, my body feels completely drained. It probably doesn’t help that I only sleep 4 hours a night, or that sometimes I forget to eat, or that I never forget to drink. I trudge my way through the day and reclaim myself at night, tending to overextend my schedule. Now I have a new job I’m not quite sure of and I’m as far as ever from realizing any of my goals. Somehow I’m in good spirits today. Maybe that’s because my downstairs neighbor was home all morning, meaning I didn’t have to wake up to the sounds of tortured animals. (see below)

I have a lot of stuff to work on, once my laptop is actually in my hands again. Geek Squad is my #1 source of stress right now. There’s a lot of stuff I can do to try and make some progress, but it’s all in the air for now.

I designed a guitar. I’m ditching the idea of making a Jazzmaster copy. Seems a little pointless to build from scratch and not design it yourself. So I took some hints from the Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Les Paul flat top and my Washburn, and successively traced draft after draft of my own design on translucent graphics bond until I was happy with it. The body is a single-cutaway design that’s offset like a Jazzmaster, but with a more standard body size. (I tried to match my Washburn’s basic dimensions.) I designed the pickguard as sort of a cross between a Jazzmaster and a Telecaster Deluxe that I’ve seen pictures of. The hardware and pickups are laid out like a Les Paul or SG, with a Tune-O-Matic bridge and two humbuckers (to match the more Gibson-style short scale and Mahogany body.) The real weird touch is that I’ve incorporated a Strat-style jack plate as a continuation of the pickguard design, in the same way that the Jaguar’s control plate is set. The controls will be simple: one master volume and one master tone, but instead of a switch I want to have some sort of a balance control. Still have to figure that out.

I post pictures you know when.


The List is Growing

June 6th, 2008
  1. I wake up to howling dogs under my apartment every morning at 8:30, and have to listen to it until I leave
  2. My computer is broken and Geek Squad is taking forever to fix it.
  3. My car window is broken
  4. My brother still owes me $150 for saving his cat
  5. Someone I did some website work MONTHS ago still hasn’t paid me for it, claiming there’s no money in the account, and he still thinks he can call me up and ask me computer questions
  6. And finally–there’s no hot water in my building.

Solder on PCB

June 5th, 2008

When I got home today, I went to get my mail and there was a blank circuit board in there from General Guitar Gadgets! (I built a looping pedal way back when, and decided to do the point-to-point soldering myself. Then the project didn’t work. So I ordered a printed board for it.)

Soldering can have quite a calming effect–watching as a board gets populated with components and forcing yourself to be patient. It was a nice surprise–I forgot that I ordered it!

I never want to build circuits on perfboard again! Of course for one-offs its practical, but it was so easy rebuilding the looper on the PCB. The solder just glides effortlessly onto the copper, and it didn’t fall apart every time I heated up a lead. I shouldn’t talk because I haven’t tested it yet…