Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm still here flying the flag for cigar box guitars

Hi folks, sorry if I've been a bit slack with my postings lately. I'm still as fired up over these things as before, just had lots of other stuff going on too. My passion in life is guitars and in particular, cigar box ones and all the crazy stuff that goes with them.

First some updates. The uke is at last finished. I'm pleased with it but doubt I'll make any more. Too complicated - I like the simplicity of a three stringed, no frets, cigar box guitars. Fun to build cos it doesn't take forever and quite forgiving if you make a little mistake. I've finished the old radio HMV amp and am well chuffed with it. First stage was to install an LM386 based amp circuit board. I just used the existing speaker, the on/off switch and one of the tone control pots. The rest of the radio was left inside but disconnected. The only adjustable control was a gain pot. The thing is pretty loud but very trebly. So second stage was to use the original volume pot so I can turn it down when the wife shouts at me, and add a treble cut control. Not too happy with the treble control. I need to experiment with that. But the whole thing fits the bill for a inique ratrod amp. Definitley a "keeper". I'll post a photo soon. looking for some cheapo radios at car boot sales now.

The UK CBG fest is looming. Got my ticket, booked a hotel - can't wait. Gonna be a great day. There'll be a couple of CBG documentaries to watch, some building and playing workshops, stuff to buy and a great gig in the evening but best of all is meeting all the like-minded folk. Aren't you sick of politics, newspapers, rubbish tv, work, adverts, crappy people messing up our world and all the rest of the negative stuff? Well I am and this whole cigar box guitar stuff keeps me going and it's good to know there's some other folk out there that feel as positive about this crazy thing too. Thanks for your great company and if you can get there I really recommend it. See my post on it for the link.

Got a great email from a guy in the Netherlands who wants a guitar making, so it's got me motivated again to make a couple of new ones. Had some probs with my bandsaw which has been "wandering" when I tried cutting the necks. Fitted a new blade and it seems to be OK so watch out for some photos of these new builds as they develop.

One of the problems I've found with CBGs with piezo pick-ups is the tendency to feedback when you crank the amp. I think I found the answer - a graphic equalizer pedal. I just bought one on Ebay for UK £25 - a Behringer EQ700. Only had a quick play with it but can see that tweaking the sliders down at the lower-mid range settings, really cuts the feedback. Why prat around with all the various methods of shielding the piezo when you can just plug in a pedal? This one is a bit plasticy but for the price is OK for home use and light gigging.

Finally I'm back into doing so experimenting with my playing with a view to recording. I'm messing about with my Akai Headrush on tape delay and loops. Some pretty weird stuff coming out that's got me excited. I've just opened a Myspace musicians page so I can put some recordings on it. I'm trying to get it to look interesting but it's not easy to work with - a learning curve to climb. So far there's not much on, just a short music track and a photo. Hoping to fill it out with some more stuff soon but if you want to have a look at it, here's the link.

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