A carpenter once showed me a great trick with a toothpick. One of our doors was sagging, because the screws in the hinges were loose, and couldn’t be tightened. With a glint in his eye, he pulled out a handful of toothpicks from his pocket, saying “my secret weapon”. After removing the loose screws for the hinge, he stuffed a few toothpicks in each hole, cut them off flush, and then re-tightened the screws in the holes. Presto chango- it was all nice and tight. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best!
In this video, I apply this simple trick to the tuners on my Epiphone Riviera P93. Some of these screws have been loose since day one – the kind of loose where no matter how much you try to tighten the screw, it just spins freely in the hole. The wood fibers in the hole are stripped out and no longer gripping the screw threads. One simple toothpick, inserted in each hole and cut off flush, just like that carpenter had shown me- and now the screws go in nice and tight. The soft wood of the toothpick makes the perfect filler. No glue necessary.
That same carpenter also shared these fine words of wisdom: “Caulk and paint are what a painter ain’t”, but that’s a story for another day
I use clear waterslide decal paper, and print on my inkjet Canon Pro9000mkII. After printing, and waiting a while to ensure the ink is dry, I spray on a few coats of Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear acrylic to protect the ink during the soak. Then, after the clearcoat dries for 30 minutes or so, I trim the paper to final dimensions and soak the paper in warm water. When the decal starts to move freely from its backing, I wet the surface of the enclosure and slide the decal directly onto it. I iron out the bubbles with wet fingers, and adjust the decal into its final position, being careful not to stretch the decal.
The next step in finishing up the pedal that we’ve modeled, drilled and painted previously, is to prepare the artwork and labels.
In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to compose your pedal artwork in GIMP, the free GNU Image Manipulation Program. I’m using GIMP 2.8.2 on Windows, but it also runs on Mac and Linux.
I start with an overview of my Under Pressure compressor and Speed Racer Overdrive artwork, and then show how to compose your own pedal artwork from scratch.
I cover the basics of project setup, layout, working with the rulers and guidelines, the graphics and text editing and selection tools, sourcing artwork and fonts, retouching and removing blemishes, extracting components from a larger image, layer compositing with masks, and more.
Here are some of the resources shown in this video:
In previous posts, we modeled the enclosure in Sketchup, drilled it, and now we’re ready for paint and artwork. In this video, I talk about options for finishing the enclosure, and choices for art and labels. Then I demonstrate surface prep, priming and painting, in preparation for the waterslide decals.
To give you an idea of how long this took for me to complete, I started filming the intro and the Sketchup tutorial videos in June of 2011. Over the last year, in the time-spaces between the rest of life, I’ve been gradually editing, revising, extending, and composing music for the project.
In this tutorial, I start out with the absolute basics, and gradually pick up the pace, progressing to more and more advanced topics. I divided the video up into 5 sections, but kept them all together in one 55-minute video. In my previous multi-part videos, I had to split them into multiple YouTube clips, due to the YouTube length restrictions, but now that they’ve relaxed those for my account- I hope it’ll be better having it all in one video.
This is the first post in a series on building guitar effects pedals. It’s going to be a bit out of order- I’ll be starting with what is usually considered the finishing touches- putting the pedal in an enclosure, modeling and laying out an enclosure in Google/Trimble Sketchup, drilling the enclosure, painting and finishing it.
Then hopefully later, I’ll go back and do a project showing how to build a simple boost pedal from scratch.
Here’s the table of contents for the whole DIY pedal building series:
This first video is the motivational intro: here are some of the things I’ve done, and yes, you can too! If you have some interest in electronics and guitars, what better way to improve your knowledge? You can get started with little or no electronics experience, and you’ll learn a bunch along the way.
Back in 2009, I described my frustration with the Tune-o-matic bridge on my Epiphone Riviera P93. The retainer wire that holds the saddle screws in place is just a terrible design. A good choice to address this issue is the Nashville style tune-o-matic which has individual saddle retainer clips, while also increasing saddle-adjustment range for intonation. Another good possibility is a roller bridge, like the Wilkinson B33. I figured the roller may pair well with the Bigsby, possibly improving the Bigsby vibrato’s general tuning instability.
In this video, I show how to swap in the Wilkinson bridge, and then do a series of comparisons to see if there’s any difference in the overall tone, sustain, and tuning stability with the two bridges.
I recorded many many takes of the strum-tests comparing tone and sustain, and my results were always pretty inconsistent. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to produce the exact same string excitation for each strum. So, I think the variances in sustain and tone are largely insignificant- though it does appear that, across all my tests, the roller may have slightly longer sustain times. I imagine that if I replace the Epiphone bridge posts with the beefier Wilkinson posts there may be a greater sustain improvement, but I’ll leave that for another day.
It seems not that long ago, I was celebrating 100,000 views. Now, I don’t regularly check and obsess over my YouTube channel view-count. But this week, while trying to catch up on my replies to an ever-increasing backlog on my YouTube inbox, I noticed that my view count was in the high nines. Well, this morning, this is what I saw:
This is truly a mind-bender.
I recorded a quick video to say thanks to everyone, and to solicit some feedback for my future projects. I also talk a bit at the end about Jerry Seinfeld’s motivational technique for tricking yourself into getting things done. Don’t Break The Chain!