I kind of set the bar for this blog a little too high with the previous post. I thought I’ll update when a project is completed in full, but in reality, most of them take a while to complete. So here’s what I’ve done this summer (yes, I actually did work on some projects):
I fixed that Big Muff Pi, for the most part. I replaced the battery clip and the DC in connector. Also replaced the cap that sits along the battery’s, and replace the Tone pot — it was 10k where it should be 100k logarithmic. The thing sounds good, but the notes close to the 12th fret get muffled if I hit the strings hard enough. I think (that is, people I asked) that one of the transistors might be shot. I’ll get to it eventually, but moved on to other things. If you replace the DC inlet on that thing (because I hate the ones that are a 1/8″ plug) — remember that it’s switching and that it’s inverted with the plus on the ring (or outside if you change it with a “normal” plug). The inlet I put on it has 5.5mm on the outside and 2.1mm on the inside. It seems to be a standard.
I did study music theory at ACM in Chicago. It was only five lessons, but enough to get started. What I should do is keep working on it on my own now, but with school and finishing my guitar, I have no time.
The YBA-1A was fixed by my friend Bryan and worked for 10-15 hours, but then it cut out in the middle of a practice. It turns out one of the Tung Sol EL34B died. It was a new pair. I’m not sure why it happened and Bryan isn’t either. Potential offenders: Crappy tube, the fan isn’t powerful enough, Bryan biased it too hot. I think I’ll try to replace the fan with a modern one and see how that works. Meanwhile I keep using my friend’s Ampeg V4B, so I’m not in too much of a hurry to get it fixed.
I have no idea what’s going on with the Vox Phaser. I can’t really match the schematic I found online (which is blurry) with any of the connections on the PCB. I will need someone else’s help on this one.
I acquired all parts for the Neotek rack job, but didn’t pull the trigger on the enclosure. Front Panel Express might be a little too expensive for me, so I’m still trying to figure out how to do it. I might just cut the front panel myself, but I got bigger fish to fry!
Finally! The Strat build! Well, it turned into a Jazzmaster build. I was trying out different Fender necks to figure out what profile, width, and radius I really, and since 60s Strats are too expensive, enough so not anyone can play one at a store, I got to mostly play Jazzmasters. They all just felt perfect in my hands — just the perfect fit when sitting down, and the necks were amazing. I tried a few Strats (some new, a few 70s models, and one 69), but none felt as good as those Jazzmasters. So I ended up ordering a neck and body from USACG. The neck is their 63 — C shape back contour, 1.650 wide at the nut, compound radius starting at 7.25″ and fully transitioned to 9.5″ at the 7th fret. It seemed like all I’d have to do would be drill some holes and put it together, but it turned out to be a lot more work. I had to finish the neck myself (didn’t like how it came out the first time, so did it a third), and now I’m in the midst of finishing the body. It’ll be a black Jazz with a tortoise pickguard, and hopefully it’ll be done before December, but I’m letting it take as long as it should.
Once I’m done with the Jazzmaster, I’ll post a long article of everything I learned about finishing a neck and a body. I’d like to think it’ll be helpful, because I know I could have used something like that. For now though, I’ll stick with short updates of where I’m currently at.