Dec 28, 2016

Guitar Transformation Pics (Before & After)

DIY guitar before and after
"Blondie" - Scrap Partscaster
There's something eminently satisfying about a good "before and after" shot of something that you've worked very hard on.  

With that in mind, I find these pictures extremely satisfying, and hope that you too will find it at least a little bit cool, and that I may assert dominance by demonstrating some degree of luthiery competence :p

DIY guitar before and after
"Sienna" - 335 Kit

More after the break:

Dec 21, 2016

Semi Hollow Guitar Kit Demo Riff

While this may be a bit of a teaser since it's coming before the rest of the writeup documenting the build, here's a quick improv riff to demo the tone (and feedback!) of this semi hollow with just two strings.

Dec 20, 2016

DIY Semi Hollow 335 Guitar Kit Built Part I

Warning: in-depth walkthroughs and lots of pictures ahead!

I recently bought my first unfinished guitar kit online and have been working intensely on it over the past couple days, now it's time to go back and evaluate what worked and what didn't, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and help you decide if one of these kits is a good idea for you as well.

Typically the first advice more experienced guitar builders give is to not cheap out on the initial parts and the wood.  Oops.  $100 semi-hollow from eBay?  Challenge accepted.

Dec 18, 2016

Free Christmas Tabs for Classical Guitar

The First Noel Classical Guitar Christmas Tabs

Have a very classical Christmas with these three tunes!  I came across the works of Kevin Gallagher and was so happy with these arrangements, I formatted the tablature into cleanly printable pages for convenience, and hope everyone might enjoy as well.

Silent Night Classical Guitar Christmas Tabs

If you like the arrangements, check out Kevin's site at and feel free to donate to help him out.  If you appreciate the formatting and wouldn't have come across these pieces otherwise, stick around my blog for a while longer, make yourself comfortable; more good stuff is still to come.

Dec 12, 2016

"Take Five" guitar cover

My abridged cover of this jazz classic - my jazz playing might not be up to scratch, but I do like the sound that I'm getting with just the "Les Plywood" into a Vox practice amp.

Nov 22, 2016

Comparison of DIY Guitar Kits by Price

DIY Guitar Kits Comparison Price

          In the market for DIY guitar kits, or just checking out what's out there?  At first it can be pretty intimidating to compare the options, so I made an (excessively) simple chart to compare some of the options out there.

          Of course, quality varies quite a bit by maker, and there's a wide range of prices by each maker and distributor, but I took a rough average for a fairly simple (but not bottom-end) guitar kit by each distributor so you get the general idea of where to shop around for your budget.

          It is interesting to see such a strict divide between makers; a plethora of "low tier" kits $200 and under (most peak at about $200 for a semi-hollow or ES-335 style guitar) and the "high end" kits where body and neck each cost near $200, hardware and electronics excluded.  Whatever your budget or needs, this should help give a rough overview of the market, hope it helps!

Nov 6, 2016

Old tunes played on a cheap vintage "Melodier" guitar

I thought a fun way to demo/introduce this guitar would be to play a few oldies on it.  It may not be the best sounding guitar but it definitely has some of that vintage vibe.

Nov 5, 2016

New Guitar Day: Cheap Japanese "Melodier"

Teisco Melodier Vintage Japanese Guitar

          It's another NGD with a rather unusual find - one of those vintage Japanese guitars that were cranked out in all sorts of funky shapes from the 50's through the early 70's.  The most common brand was Teisco, and sometimes all guitars of the sort are referred to as such, but this guitar is labeled as a much less common "Melodier" guitar.

Teisco Melodier Vintage Japanese Guitar

          While these guitars have never been praised for their playability or sound, it's been a very fun project fixing up this little oddball piece of history and turning it into a decent and quirky music maker.

Nov 2, 2016

Oct 27, 2016

Don't wait - Intonate!

Before intonating, pretty much straight from the parts bin

Here's my little PSA for the day - don't wait to intonate! (how Seussical!)

          Seriously though.  Especially for people newer to guitar tweaking, intonation is one of those things that can slip through the cracks, water under the bridge you might say (you do not want water under this bridge; it could get rusty and who knows how hard it'll be to intonate then.)

After the first round of intonating, fixed the worst of the problems but still wasn't quite there

Oct 23, 2016

Pignose PB-30 Bass & Keyboard Amp Review

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

Just once in a while, the Gear Gods will align things in your favor.  Such was the case when I took up bass and keyboard within two weeks of each other and stumbled across the uncommon Pignose PB-30 on clearance.  Judging by the drought of other reviews anywhere online, I thought this might be a well-needed review for this relatively unknown but quite decent amplifier.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

Oct 21, 2016

Gem by Eric Johnson Guitar Tab Lesson

Here's a little video I put together of "Gem" by Eric Johnson synchronized to the guitar tabs.  It's an excellent song, hope it helps someone to learn it!

Oct 20, 2016

Building a "Wintercroft" paper mask

With Halloween just around the corner, what better way to prepare than building a doomsday costume? designs and sells excellent low-poly mask templates so you can build any of dozens of different designs with nothing more than some card and tape.

Wintercroft Paper Gas Mask

Oct 18, 2016

Oct 10, 2016

A Tribute to the Headbanging Hurricane Hero

My tribute to this crazy guy who wasn't going to let Hurricane Matthew stop him from celebrating the 30th anniversary of Slayer's album "Reign in Blood".

Oct 2, 2016

Certificate of Appreciation Blank Template

Here are some simple blank border templates I made as part of a certificate for a tutoring event, but can work if you're building a certificate of appreciation for just about anything.  Feel free to use and share indefinitely if it's useful to you!

Sep 26, 2016

Green Day - "Time of Your Life" Cover

This song has meant something different every time I've heard it lately.  I know my singing is far from perfect but it's better than yesterday and that's the best I can do.

Sep 25, 2016

Free Lightsaber Mouse Icons

On a Star Wars kick playing Jedi Outcast, I was briefly inspired by the lightsaber cursor on the menu.  While not half as cool as that professionally done cursor, these minimalistic lightsaber cursors I drew add a little personality while being minimally obtrusive, and uber easy to install/uninstall.  Enjoy :)

Sep 16, 2016

Bias FX Demo Review and First Impressions

Bias FX software
A look at the excellent user interface of Bias FX

Last night after watching a series of increasingly enthusiastic favorable reviews of Bias FX software by Positive Grid, I decided to see what I could experience myself.  Unfortunately, the $200 for the (mostly) full software just isn't in my budget for gear now, but thankfully they do make a demo version available for free on their website here.

How did my experience stack up to the fawning reviews available?  Read on to find out...

Sep 13, 2016

New (old) Bass Day: '92 Fender Korean P-Bass

Some teaser pics of the latest acquisition before I get around to the full writeup: today I picked up this old P-bass as part of a trade.  It was in need of a bit of TLC but now it's functional; I see potential for more intensive modding in this bass's future, check back soon for updates!

Sep 8, 2016

Reflection on Political Satire Experiment

A few months ago I wrote a satirical piece on Trump selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate.  What was meant to be a lighthearted bit about an impossibly irrational and doubtlessly entertaining duo quickly turned into a rather darker demonstration of the trust people place in anything that remotely resembles reputable "news" outlets, as well as the long reach of Poe's law on the internet.

Long story short: if you're not the Onion, you'd better issue a lot of disclaimers, because people find it difficult to believe that satire can be written elsewhere.

Sep 6, 2016

Questions regarding Immigration Policy

Here are a few questions and statements from a debate with a friend that I thought would be interesting to share, whether as questions, ammunition for other debates, or just fuel for thought:

I'll just put out a few questions then because I'm genuinely curious what you think: what does it matter if children are living here and their parents didn't go through the official regulatory processes?

If a family has been here for decades and settled down, has kids, the parents have jobs... what is the point of deporting them? Why go to the trouble and expense? Is that justice, or is it going out of your way to flex legal muscles and prove a point?

So a different question: what is the point of forcing immigrants through lengthy, expensive, convoluted immigration processes anyway? 

Sep 5, 2016

Websynths - Bach Prelude in C Major

My little demo of the excellent Websynths, which allows you to play infinitely variable synthesizer sounds directly from your web browser!  I sorta learned a bit of Bach's "Prelude in C Major" for the fun of it, be sure to check it out!

Sep 4, 2016

Ibanez RG8 Walnut Natural Photos

Ibanez RG8 Walnut Guitar

Took a couple more photos today in better lighting for anyone interested in an Ibanez RG8 natural finish up close.

Ibanez RG8 Walnut Guitar

Sep 2, 2016

New Jazz Lick

Here's a quick little jazz lick that I learned via a YouTube video by QuistJam.  The tone is using the Seymour Duncan '59 neck pickup on my new (old) Schecter C1 through the Vox Pathfinder 10w practice amp with a bit of reverb added in the studio afterwards.

Aug 29, 2016

Vox Pathfinder Limited Edition Union Jack Unboxing & Review

My wordy unboxing and video demo of the Vox Pathfinder 10 Limited Edition Union Jack guitar amplifier.  I got it on sale from Musician's Friend and for a low cost practice amplifier it packs a punch at a low price with a great build, at the expense of being short on even simple effects.

Aug 28, 2016

New Guitar Family Photo

A more recent photo of much of my guitar family.  All three with maple necks were built from parts, and not one of them bought new or for over $150 including upgrades.  This group covers quite the variety of pickups, neck profiles, and wiring layouts, and I'll be a bit sad to have to sell any of them.

Aug 27, 2016

How to Edit Yourself as a Space Marine

I posted a while back my edit of myself as a Starcraft marine and decided now to create a video tutorial and a few more edits for anyone interested in making their own :)

Aug 26, 2016

NGD: Schecter C1 Artist Limited Edition (Repair + pics)

Exploring pawn shops in town for the first time I came across a small shop specializing in guitars.  Among the Squiers and Epiphones I found this gem (literally, it's a Schecter "Diamond Series") with a bit of corrosion at $100.

Fast forward to an easy fix and an incredible all-purpose guitar with a neck-through build, 24 frets, custom inlays, pearl binding, JB and '59 Seymour Duncan pickups, and custom 5-way switching on top of everything.

Aug 23, 2016

Cheap Viola Review and Mods

Fair warning before we get started: I have experience doing all sorts of handiwork and modifications, and pretty extensive work on electric guitars, but violins and violas are quite different animals and I'm certainly not an experienced technician.  That being said, a few mods were pretty simple and safe to do to tweak this extremely cheap viola from Amazon into something slightly nicer and more playable.

Aug 19, 2016

Harry Potter House Ravenclaw Poster HD

Harry Potter Ravenclaw House Poster

My dorm room needed a bit more decorating so it was time to crank out some posters.  I decided to share this Ravenclaw house poster that I edited a bit to refine a nice design circulating the internet.  I doubled the resolution and then edited away some of the pixelation, discoloration, added a texturing effect and deepened the colors for an ultimately more HD and printable poster for all my fellow Ravenclaws to enjoy.

Aug 18, 2016

Always Let the Paint Cure

A little P.S.A. for everyone - make sure the things you paint and especially clear coat have ample time to cure before using and traveling with them.  This is the result on the Les Plywood after it had four days to cure and I needed to travel with it in a zippered gig bag.  Am I disappointed?  A little, but it was far from perfect to begin with.  Just try to give it ample time to cure as you are able!

Aug 12, 2016

Post-Polishing and Adjusting the Les Plywood

"You can't polish a turd" was a favorite saying of my high school band director.  Maybe not, but you can certainly polish plywood.

Aug 10, 2016

Instrument Wall Layout

Here's a pic of (one of) my "walls of instruments" currently, for your design inspiration.  It has quite the variety of instruments for a relatively small space, and guitar wall hangers are a wonderful invention.

Aug 7, 2016

Building a Guitar Body from Plywood, part III of III

In part III of this build, we go through removing orange peel and polishing the finish, wiring, final assembly, and adjustments!  Sound demo coming your way soon as well :)

Aug 5, 2016

Building a Guitar Body from Plywood, part II of III

In part II of this build, I go through shaping the chambering, gluing and shaping the body, and everything involved in getting a decent paintjob.

Aug 2, 2016

Building a Guitar Body from Plywood, part I of III

Plywood gets a lot of flak in the guitar tone world, but shouldn't be neglected - for one, it's easier to work with more readily available, and much much cheaper than fine tonewoods, making it perfect for the amateur luthier (raises own hand).  Second, Gibson has been making fine sounding guitars, particularly hollow bodies, out of plywood for decades and no one complains.  The tone is better if you call it "laminate".

I'll walk you through how I built my first guitar body from plywood, my first guitar body at all, and let you know what worked and what didn't.

Jul 29, 2016

Building a tiny guitar, because, you know, it's a tiny guitar.

When you want to test your luthiery skills but can't afford another guitar, weird things happen.  As in, matchbox sized guitars for no real reason.  Anyway, it sure is adorable in it's own funky way, more after the break!

Jul 20, 2016

Partscaster Paintjob Mockups

Some "concept art" mockups of ideas I have for paintjobs for this Partscaster here, gotta love that GIMP.  Feel free to comment your thoughts below!

"Beat It" Solo

My less-than-perfect cover of the solo from "Beat It" by Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen.

This was a really difficult solo but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  This was also my first demo of my handmade Frankenstrat replica so check that out if you haven't already!

Jul 19, 2016

"Make America Great Again": How Four Words Say Virtually Everything About Trump's Campaign

          Kinda catchy, don't you think?  Certainly most people do, considering how often this phrase has turned up this year since the rise of Trump.  Considered as a meme (Richard Dawkins meme, not the internet kind) it has proven extremely successful, having stuck around for nearly 40 years since Reagan's campaign, and has found a new host in Trump's campaign.  It's fascinating to consider how appropriate this simple and enduring slogan has proven in describing this (thankfully) unique campaign.

Jul 18, 2016

Building an Eddie Van Halen Frankenstrat Part 2 of 2

If you haven't seen Part I: The Painting yet, go ahead and check that out first: if you have, now's the time to check out how this fantastic Frankenstrat turned out for only about $100.