Friday, January 29, 2010

this 'n that

Been playing catch-up on a few projects. I had some finishing off to do on the guitar case. I needed to find a way of securing the guitar safely inside. I still have a few tweaks yet before being entirley happy with it. I made a leather belt to go around it for safety as the catches I used are to say the least - basic. Also it'll give it a bit more character. I like the hessian/sack lining I used on the case. As someone pointed out, sorta like a poor man's tweed. Might look good covering an amp.

My first attempt at fretting a CBG had mixed results. I tried it on a guitar I had already built. The action was far too high for correct intonation. So I took it apart, cut some relief in the neck under the lid to lower the action. It now has a medium sort of action which is just about low enough for fretting notes but still high enough for slide work. I sort of wish I'd left it alone from the start because it was a great sounding, simple guitar. Well you learn from your mistakes so in future, if I want frets, I'll design it with that in mind rather than adapt a good guitar.

I've got my home recording set-up, more or less complete but seem to have hit a "recorders block". Somewhat like "writers block" where you can't seem to find the creative inspiration. I get like this at times. It's partly due to my perfectionist approach to things. As a novice composer/recording engineer, I'm lacking a bit of confidence in producing something decent, so my sub-conscious puts barriers there on the basis that if I don't attempt something, then I can't make a crap job of it and be disappointed. Faulty logic really because if i don't attempt it, I'll have no results at all and still be disappointed and - wasted my time and money on the project. I know once I get started, I'll enjoy the process but as I have so many other things on the go, it's taking a back seat for now.

I picked up a Marshall Park 10 watt guitar amp from a kind person on Freecycle. This amp has a slight fault - a noisy gain pot. I took it apart and cleaned it but it's still faulty. It's an odd value, 200k ohm and I'm having difficulty finding one. So there's another project that will languish on my bench for a while. I've mentioned Freecycle before. People post items they want to give away and all you have to do is answer the e-mail saying you'd like it. You need to get in early if it's a popular item. Some people give it to the first responder, some draw lots so you don't always succeed in getting it, but I've done pretty well so far..... two guitar amps, a spanish acoustic guitar, mahogany shelves for cutting down into necks, loudspeakers for amps, an oscilloscope for testing my electronic stuff, a few cigar boxes and more. I'd like to add that if you do take stuff, it's nice to redress the balance and give some stuff away too. Don't be greedy. In the words of the great sage and philosopher Noel Gallagher of Oasis - "take what you need and be on your way."

What's next? Finish the "Special" CBG with the JuJu hand wound pick-up; hoping to carry on building the "Ratocaster" which is gathering dust; have a crack at a cigar box uke, start another batch of tobacco tin amps. That should keep me going for a while.


Anonymous said...

Hi David,
I've just set up a simple recording 'studio' on the PC too. I'm using an 8 track recording program that simulates the hardware recorder's that you get in studios. It's got volume sliders and all that stuff.
I'm having to go through the same problems as you with latency though. I'm undecided what to do about it yet. The sound card is the problem here too.

David said...

Jeff I can really recommend the Novation Nio 2/4 it does the trick, plugs into USB and acts like a mini mixer too. You also get recording software and a virtual guitar effects rack. It's over £100 new but money well spent.

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely check that out. You get a lot for the money by the sound of it.


David said...

Jeff - It's a nice package, does what it's supposed to. I was lucky and bagged an unused one on Ebay for about £80 - normally £139 new.
It's alos useful as a small mixer. Has guitar, XLR mic and midi inputs and outputs for monitor speakers, headphones and midi out. When I get chance, I'll take a photo of my little studio setup and post it on my blog.