Apr 30, 2016

Which Way Should I Turn my Truss Rod?

Which way to turn truss rod
Which way to turn an electric guitar's truss rod?

Because even the best of us forget sometimes, here is a handy graphic to help you be absolutely certain you're doing the right work to your beloved instrument.  

Apr 29, 2016

Using GIMP to "Photoshop" my friend

This was a fun challenge for me; what started out as contributing some "useful" photos to a collage as a present for a friend rapidly spiraled into a challenge to see just how many iconic photographs I could fit him into.  I already presented him with the masterpiece above (he loved it) - he doesn't suspect that there are more than half a dozen more already finished!

Apr 28, 2016

Return of the DIY Fretboard Camera

A little over a year ago I posted the original writeup for my DIY "FretCam" and figured it deserved a bit of an update.  A year+ in and it's holding up exactly the same, no change expected for many years either!  This was a great project for a couple dollars for adding a really cool perspective to your music videos and I'd highly recommend trying it out to any budding YouTube stars!

The only update I made since was to stick some Gorilla tape as padding/grip tape on the insides of the wood planks where they contact the headstock, it helps with grip and protecting the headstock and it's now grippy enough even to hold on to my SX headstock where it barely fits, as demonstrated in the video below.

Suggestions for improvements?  Fretboard cameras of your own?  Share in the comments section below!

Apr 27, 2016

Adventures of a Squier Strat Episode VIII

The lack of remaining Star Wars puns to exhaust is rather disappointing... unlike the continued mods to this Stratocaster!  Featuring three parts, including a new custom fret inlay, Fender American string trees, and a new bridge.

In-depth reviews of some common and useful pieces of hardware and more after the break...

Apr 26, 2016

How to Dampen Tremolo Springs with Aqurium Tubing

The title should be fairly self-explanatory as to the nature of this post; this is the spiritual successor to my previous post on dampening Stratocaster springs here.

Unlike the previous post, however, this focuses on a simple, clean, and effective alternative which should be preferable particularly on high-end instruments which require a less invasive method.

Previously, the spring pictured above had been dampened with felt and paper towel - a functional, but certainly suboptimal approach that is hardly the most attractive and doesn't effectively mute the strings entirely on high gain.

The aquarium tubing method requires a small coil of aquarium tubing such as the stuff pictured above, purchased for about five bucks, and will do the job for 8-14 guitars, depending on the number of springs you use (50 cents a guitar!)  The best part is that you just slide it into the spring, snip the end, and can silence the springs in a guitar in under five minutes with no cosmetic change.

Apr 25, 2016

You Shook Me All Night Long Guitar Solo Cover

My cover of the guitar solo from "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC, always a great song to rock out to.

If you're feeling brave, watch it on 2x speed.  I guarantee you won't regret it.

Apr 24, 2016

How to Analyze Blogger Statistics and Increase Views

How to analyze blogger statistics
Sample set of Blogger statistics

          Statistic analysis is terms of understanding social media is nearly as much of an art as a science when dealing with limited data sets and working with our understanding of how to influence and increase traffic flow to a website.

           I can't claim to be an expert in such matters but I do have about five years experience over the course of four blogs, a YouTube channel, and a series of popular Skyrim mods to analyze traffic flow from social media and Google can influence views and relative Internet success.

Apr 23, 2016

Apr 22, 2016

Motivation to save you from procrastination!

As a compulsive lifelong procrastinator myself, I often need a kick to remind myself to live in every moment and stop wasting time I'll soon regret having lost.  Just thought I'd share this quote, it's one that resonates strongly with me and perhaps with you as well.

Apr 21, 2016

How to dampen Strat tremolo springs

As part of a new wave of improvements to my Strat, I re-examined my questionable previous tremolo setup and found plenty of room for improvement.  

For some reason, two year ago I thought it was a good idea to screw the trek claw in as far as possible and Gorilla glue it in place.  Yeah.  After some scraping with a flathead screwdriver and workout-inducing wrenching on the screws, I was able to remove them and clean off the whole assembly.

Inside each of the springs I nested some felt/fabric to dampen reverberations from within.  Then, before re-attaching the trek claw and springs, I measured and cut several layers of felt to fit between the guitar and springs.  No glue used here, and I actually used two screws from the backplate to keep the felt in position, and looking pretty good as well.

Apr 20, 2016

Why is 42 the meaning of life? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Soviet Space program: Coincidence or Reference?

Now I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I am a huge fan of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, and this was an odd little gem that I came across while doing some research for a Russian culture project.

It's well known that Soviet dogs Belka and Strelka were among the very first animals to orbit the Earth and return alive.  They were not alone aboard Sputnik 5, however:

"They were accompanied by a grey rabbit, 42 mice, 2 rats, flies and several plants and fungi. All passengers survived."


Wait, how many mice again?  42 exactly?  No big deal, just an everyday coincidence.

Oh yeah, and this is what the Guide has to say about mice:

"Mice are merely the protrusion into our dimension of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who, unbeknownst to the human race, are the most intelligent species on the planet Earth."

(Let's not forget that the mice operated primarily by means of testing humans under the guise of being tested by humans.)

Alright, now that's stacking up to something a little suspicious, but still possible that it's nothing more than a random coincidence.

Add in the fact that these mice were among the first to travel in space... and that Sputnik 5's historic journey took place in Douglas Adam's childhood...

Well I could be wrong, but I'd place it at the probability of two to the power of 276,709 to one against.*

*Not to be confused with a binding wager or official statement.

I only wish Adams were alive today, and we could know for certain.  
Here's to remembering the life of a great man.

Anyway, there you have my personal theory.  If you have any better ones please do speak up!

(Alternatively, as Adams said himself, he simply picked an ordinary number that was neither too small nor too large.  But where's the fun in that?)

Some different reading:



Apr 19, 2016

Custom Fretboard Inlays

After somewhat botching my twelfth fret inlays when scalloping, I wondered if there was an easy solution to cover up my mistakes and make my guitar a bit cooler in the meantime.

I could've forked over $10 to Amazon for a set of inlay stickers but I decided to stick to the low budget, DIY theme, and I'm pretty happy I did!

Apr 18, 2016

Adventures of a Squier Strat Episode VII - The Fretboard Awakens

A.K.A. How to (not) scallop your fretboard.  But fear not, this story still has a happy ending.

Lots of pretty pics and some decent tips below!

Apr 15, 2016

Adventures of a Squier Strat Episode VI - Return of the Strat

There are times when one must ask themselves, "How else can I put an unnecessary amount of work into a cheap beginner's guitar to see what happens?"

If the "Episode VI" didn't give it away, it happens rather frequently to me.
Damn straight I'm scalloping the fretboard.  Wish me luck, I'm already planning my next installment, to be titled "How not to scallop a guitar fretboard".  I'm not sure whether it will work, but I'm certainly learning in the meantime!

FPS: Unofficial Chart of College Majors

Part of a new series of doodles called "Fairly Plausible Statistics", just for fun, never to be taken seriously.

Apr 14, 2016

Rondo Music Douglas Hadron 727 Black Flame

Some more pictures of my Douglas Hadron 727 black flame model for anyone interested.  Hopefully some of you will stumble across this while looking for pictures and I'll be able to help you out :)

More pics after the break, enjoy!

Apr 12, 2016

Language Analysis of the 2016 Election

I'll take a nonpartisan stance and let the data speak for itself.  I think this is an excellent idea and can reveal some fundamental dynamics underlying the candidates' movements themselves.  

It would be interesting to be able to definitively discern between candidates speaking at a low level because they themselves think at that level, and candidates speaking at a low level to speak down to their supporters.  

As the intentions of the candidates aren't so easily determined, I think perhaps this is most revealing about the candidates' movements and their supporters.  Perhaps future studies could correlate this to the average education levels of each candidates supporters, it would certainly be worth a look.

Apr 9, 2016

Custom Gibson Explorer Paintjob Series 2016

Custom Gibson Explorer Guitar Paintjob
Matt Winkler Custom Explorer Paintjob Series
Apparently I'm getting rather decent with my graphic design abilities.  Which is a milder way of saying I'm incredibly thrilled with how this turned out, especially the iridescent model.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and feel free to drop a comment below!

Juan Estruch Classical Acoustic Guitar Review and Mods

A few months back I stumbled across a beat up classical acoustic guitar at a flea market.  Missing a few strings and with bent up tuners - I think I took it home for $15.  My luck is generally pretty terrible but I think this was one of my best scores on a cheap guitar, and after some fixing up it's worth much more than every penny spent.

Initial condition: Fix ASAP!

When I first found it, it was in mediocre condition, pretty beat up, missing a string or two, and with all kinds of damage to the tuners.  Other than that, however, the body was still solid and the neck straight, so game on!

Out with the old

Original tuners: beat up, several bent, missing tuning head.

In with the new

Replaced with the most affordable set of classical tuners on Amazon: not perfect but now it's all at least perfectly functional.  Total cost of the guitar: ~ $25

Pics and more after the break:

Apr 8, 2016

Worst guitar ever?

I can't say that I think eBay is a reliable source for quality guitars, but I really appreciate the honesty here - it is a little bit intriguing, I have to admit.

Apr 6, 2016

First Time Gypsy Jazz Improv

First time today trying out the Gypsy jazz style, I like it a lot so far even if my playing isn't up to scratch.  Hopefully someday I'll look back fondly on my progress; for now, I'll have to be content being a bit better than Nick Jonas.

Apr 5, 2016

7 Years Lyrics & Guitar Chords (Lukas Graham)

7 Years Lyrics and Guitar Chords Lukas Graham
Lyrics and Chords to 7 Years Lukas Graham

Tabbed and synchronized the chords to the lyrics of 7 years by Lukas Graham, it's a beautiful song for sure and I hope a good tab will help you enjoy it even more!

Apr 4, 2016

Future Strat Build Designs

My latest computer-aided designs for a future guitar build, loosely based on the style of Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat and intended to incorporate at least three different painting techniques I hope to try out - look for it in the future, and feel free to vote for your favorite in the comments below!