Jun 30, 2016

Reel Character Asymmetric Humbucker Preview

What is that exactly?  Good question.  You will find out tomorrow, or maybe the day after.  For now, you will have to suffice with the knowledge that this is the slug coil and is wound to 5.6 K ohms and might find its way into my next project, which won't be revealed until even later.  Rest assured that good things come to those who wait.

Jun 29, 2016

Guitar Pickup DC Resistance Measurements

          While only one factor among many, the DC resistance of a guitar pickup is a very useful metric that can tell, roughly, how many winds a pickup has on it and how "hot" it will sound, or how much voltage it will put out to drive your amp.

          A pickup with a low DC resistance will generally sound thinner and twangier, with more pronounced attack and clearer treble.  A hotter wound pickup will sound warmer with more pronounced mids, dampened treble, and drive the amp a little harder as well.  Other factors such as magnet strength and pole piece distance each play their own part, but the resistance, or at least the number of winds, plays one of the largest roles in the overall shape of the sound.  That in mind, I decided to measure a few of my own guitars and share the results for the science-y aspect of it and hope that you find it interesting, if not necessarily extremely useful.

Jun 26, 2016

Jun 25, 2016

First "Reel Character" Custom Pickup

          After finally getting all the minimum necesary supplies, I was able to put them to work winding my first cutom pickup - a Strat single coil bridge with coil tapping!
*If you haven't seen my inordinately popular post about the "Reel Great" guitar pickup winder, you can find that first here: http://mattwins.blogspot.com/2016/06/how-to-build-guitar-pickup-winder-from.html

          Wait - a coil tapping single coil?  Heresy!  Fully handwound?  I'll show you how it's all done, and if you don't mind squandering a couple hours of your hard-earned life and risking your sanity by winding a mile of copper wire thinner than a human hair, you too can achieve the same results!

My extremely advanced high-tech workbench featuring state-of-the-art... okay it was about $30 for everything.

Jun 22, 2016

New Guitar Day: Ibanez RG8

          A few days back in a fair trade I swapped my Douglas Hadron 727 out for this Ibanez RG8 eight string guitar.  It needs a bit of work and I'll get to cleaning it up and tweaking it as soon as I have a good set of strings, but for now, first impressions:

          This being my first 8-string, the fretboard feels like the deck of an aircraft carrier.  With the trademark flat Ibanez neck profile, however, it doesn't feel too terribly unwieldy and I think it'll just take a little adjusting to.  Electronics all seem to work fine, the pots are a little scratchy but nothing some oil can't fix.

          The pickups are weak, as is a common complaint about eight strings.  If it weren't so difficult to find parts for eight string pickups, I'd be inclined to engineer my own solution; if good eight string pickups weren't prohibitively expensive, I'd just swap in a nicer set.  Ah well; the sound is still usable with some tweaking.  Otherwise, everything else seems quite manageable; the body has taken a little bit of damage but the natural wood finish absorbs damage far better than a high gloss finish, and the multi-piece neck is very nice indeed, as is the curved neck heel.  More in-depth review and description of any fixes/mods coming up in a bit, stay tuned.

Jun 20, 2016

"Flashes in the Abyss" Solo Preview!

Sneak peek at a solo from my in-progress instrumental, "Flashes in the Abyss" - some Yngwie Malmsteen inspired wailing on the scalloped fretboard :)

Aside from being a song in it's own right, it's part of the theme song to "Laser Strike III", which is simultaneously in the works, might take a while to wrap up all these projects going at once!

Jun 18, 2016

New SoundCloud Profile

I'm personally new to this service but just today launched my own account where I will share all my completed songs and the best of my original music.  

As of right now, I've only uploaded some older work, a few Christmas songs I released almost two years back (including my heavy metal Carol of the Bells, which is worth a listen any season!)  No, I'm not a massive Christmas fan, I simply fail to finish production most of the time without a clear deadline!

That being said, my "first" album is in the works, writing lyrics and riffs and designing the album artwork, including a new band name, which I'll keep under wraps just a little longer ;)  Once I do record and get through production, however, all my music will be available absolutely free, so be sure to follow now and look forward to some fresh new beats in the future.

Jun 17, 2016

10,000+ Views!

With my latest post on the "Reel Great" pickup winder taking off explosively (and quite unexpectedly!) we've blasted past the 10,000 view mark today, thank you viewers, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

How to build a guitar pickup winder from (almost) nothing

Looking forward to an adventure in hand-winding guitar pickups, but not looking forward to the costs involved or the potential need for an expensive specialized machine or rigging up a sewing machine somewhere, I found a super-DIY method that should satisfy any and all "hand winding" enthusiasts.

With a bit of creativity and a few odds and ends, you could fashion together your own custom guitar pickup winder with your own style!  It's not hard, it only requires a bit of ingenuity while you tinker, and that experience alone is worth it in my book.

Jun 16, 2016

Custom Telecaster Thinline Build Design

Is there any room left in the market for another small guitar-builder?

I've been looking into building custom guitars in very small batches, but I'm not sure if there's any profit to be made, I'd like to just put this out here and see if anyone else has any experience.

Jun 9, 2016

Simba Clarinet Review

I'll start by saying I'm definitely not a serious clarinet player - (if you're not a consistent follower of this blog, I love playing guitar and was ranked among best in state playing trumpet in high school; I casually experiment with mandolin, tin whistle, and a few others) but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to get a cheap starter clarinet a year or two ago.

For $25 used it wasn't a bad deal at all; new for over $100 is likely a waste of money for a subpar instrument.  Long story short, it looks like a clarinet and sounds like a clarinet for a very low price, but it of mediocre construction and feel and won't encourage a serious student long-term.

Pics and more details after the break:

Jun 7, 2016

KORG Sledgehammer Pro Tuner Review

One of the recent deals on Musician's Friend for Memorial Day was the Korg Sledgehammer Pro tuner for guitar and bass - I was used to just rolling with the built-in tuner in my amp or an app on my phone, but for $12 I was too intrigued by the design to say no.  The Korg Sledgehammer is an excellent, easy to use tuner with a killer design.

Jun 6, 2016

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins book review

The Selfish Gene is a book that should need no introduction to anyone with more than a passing interest in genetics.  More so than any book since The Origin of Species, The Selfish Gene has shaped our modern understanding of how life constantly evolves and adapts to the challenges it faces.  Unlike Darwin's 1859 masterpiece, however, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene has the benefit of another century of knowledge incorporated, and as a modern classic is a joy to read.

Jun 1, 2016

Cheap old instrument projects

Pics of a three (very) cheap instruments I've recently picked up and have in-progress at the moment, trying to tune-up and actually learn to play as best as I can.  Updates/reviews on the individual instruments will be posted as they happen!