May 31, 2016

Rob Chapman Rig Competition

My submission to the indomitable Monkey Lord's competition to write a riff using only the first four frets.  I only found the competition two days before the deadline so it's rushed and sloppy, but nevertheless has a good variety of creative riffs that I hope you enjoy!

Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson book review

"Why Nations Fail" explores the historical and economic lessons learned by humanity over the past ten thousand years and why, in general, most societies succumb to increasing greed and inequality, and very few "break the mold" to produce relatively egalitarian, innovative nations.

          The general thesis is twofold; first, many societies are built with extractive political and economic institutions that help the few oligarchs and exacerbate inequality, and some form inclusive institutions that encourage innovation and trade.  Second, the institutions that make a society extractive will tend to perpetuate themselves in a "vicious circle", while inclusive institutions will also experience positive feedback as "virtuous circles".  If the meat of this book is the historical evidence, then this thesis is the bread, cheese, and everything else.  "Why Nations Fail" tends towards repetition, but in doing so it presents an undeniably strong fundamental idea that will change, or at least refine, the way readers approach socio-economic problems for decades to come.

May 30, 2016

Rogue RM100-A Electric Mandolin Mods

Rogue RM100-A Mandolin Review

Exactly two years after first buying this mandolin, I went about some modifications to the look and feel to give it some new attitude after two years hardly used.

May 29, 2016

CYMA CM032 M14 AEG Review

While I haven't done much with Airsoft in the past year or more, due to the overwhelming popularity of my CYMA AK-47 review from a few years back, I figured I should follow up with it's brother AEG, the CYMA CM032 M14.

Overall the two have a lot in common and the primary differences are cosmetic and structural, with a few exceptions, so let's check it out!

Strat Gilmour switch wiring mod neck / bridge pickups tone

My first video demo of my Strat's tone after modding the wiring, it has an excellent clean tone in my opinion with the neck and bridge pickups in parallel.  It keeps the crisp response and high register of the bridge mixed with the stronger lows and bell tones of the neck pickup, and I just don't care all that much for the mid pickup in general.

How-to customize the Strat wiring

May 28, 2016

History of Stripes the Stratocaster's mods

A little "guitaramentary" (to steal someone else's description of the video!) of my Squier Strat, from around three years ago to the present!

May 26, 2016

Squier Stratocaster Pickups Dissection

This episode is for science!  What exactly does go into those dime-a-dozen Squier Bullet Strat pickups?  Let's find out!

May 25, 2016

Juan Estruch Classical Acoustic Guitar (further mods)

Finally tired of the sharp fret ends on the flea-market classical acoustic here, I decided to try out my first fretwork (and a bit of woodwork as well).  It isn't perfect aesthetically but feels much nicer!

Basic tutorial and pics after the break:

May 23, 2016

Adventures of a Squier Strat Episode IX

Finally beginning to exhaust possibilities for (moderate) external upgrades, today I took the adventure to the inside of the guitar, introducing two simple wiring mods that greatly diversify tonal possibilities, plus maybe a few tricks to help you along the way.

May 14, 2016

Guitar Family Photo

A nice group shot of the family, nice to have a well-rounded set of instruments.  Cost of each ranged from $15 - $300, it cost less than the price of an American Strat for the entire group!

May 11, 2016

Installing humbucker covers in a Schecter Omen 6 guitar

What should have been an incredibly easy operation to improve the aesthetics of this guitar turned out to be... a medium easy operation to improve the aesthetics.  After quite a bit of modification, it turned out rather nicely.

May 10, 2016

Breaking News: Trump selects Sarah Palin as V.P. Candidate

          Amidst the firestorm of debate surrounding the potential V.P. picks by the remaining candidates, billionaire business mogul Donald J. Trump dropped a bombshell this Tuesday by announcing that he would be selecting former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate for this coming November election.

          While only eight years ago, selecting Sarah Palin as V.P. spelled the end for otherwise reasonable candidate John McCain, it doesn't appear that this move, or indeed any other move made by Trump, has had any influence on his unwavering standing in the polls.

May 8, 2016

Infinite Sustain with a Hollow Body Guitar Through Feedback

A brief technical demo of a cool and potentially even useful hack for infinite sustain on your guitar.  Hollow body guitars will work much better and at lower volumes, semi-hollow guitars likely form a nice compromise at performance volumes.

May 5, 2016

Photoshop Photo Prints

After completing the edits seen here
I chose the best several to print and "frame" as gifts.  As a college student with no car, money is tight and I have little way of getting real frames or prints if I could afford them.

Enter DIY approach, recycled cardboard and a school printer.  With some careful crafting and $0.75 total, we can get results that, if not exactly professional, look pretty great hanging on the wall around the dorm and make an excellent series of conversation starters.

May 4, 2016

Across The Stars Star Wars Improv

Happy May the Fourth with this one-off improv of "Across the Stars" from Star Wars.

The Making of a Starcraft Marine

Photoshop Yourself as a Starcraft Marine

I like to think I'm becoming rather adept at "Photoshopping" with GIMP.  In any case, this is one of the most satisfying pictures I've done yet!

Some in-progress pics after the break:

May 3, 2016


It's only the beginning of the fourth month in and we've reached 5,000 views, thanks for the phenomenal growth rate viewers and I hope you'll come back for much more in the future, you guys rock.

WVU Honors Hall Open Mic Night 2016 Performance

My little performance of "Sweet Child O' Mine" in the dorm a few days ago, felt great!

Stripes the Stratocaster held up very nicely as well, and the scalloped fretboard gave me some interesting vibrato with my nervous hands.

May 2, 2016

How to Upgrade and Dampen Stratocaster Tremolo Springs

A very "quick" video tutorial I put together showing how you can upgrade your Stratocaster easily with replacement tremolo springs and aquarium tubing for just a couple dollars.