IMG_1782We had a great unexpected visit from George Porter Jr. He was in town with the Meter Men and had a bass tuner emergency. Pleasure to meet you George and glad we could get a new Hipshot on there.

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Tim and the Romance of Luthiery, Vintage Gibson needing a new fingerboard

Giants Baseball on the Radio,  bottle of wine from an admirer (for later of course),  and a sweet vintage Les Paul being saved by a new fingerboard.   The previous owner somehow ended up with a Phenolic fingerboard, not ebony put on the guitar.  We are making it right.

Replacing a Fingerboard on 1950″s Gibson

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Jimmie Dale Gilmore gets LR Baggs Anthem and tour of the Plek

Jimmie Dale Gilmore who is the nicest guy you will ever meet not to mention that amazing voice came by while he was in town recording a new record. He needed a pickup for his new Collings acoustic guitar. We put in the new-ish L.R. Baggs Anthem. The pickup is a nice combo of internal mike and under saddle transducer.  Gerd and Michael the inventors of the PLEK machine happened to be visiting from Germany.. Here we are showing Jimmie what the Plek can do.

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Stew Mac makes it easy to rewind pickups (among other things)

It’s a familiar story, someone brings an instrument in with the symptom of a weak and bright output from their electric guitar.  Since the pickup still works, you would not think that it is a  broken pickup.  It’s actually very common to get a weak bright signal from a broken pickup, especially a dual coil pickup like a p-bass (seen here) or a traditional Gibson style pickups where one coil can die and the 2nd could still still pass some signal.   After a quick measurement we could see one of the two P-bass coils measured open.  More often than not we can repair the open coil by very carefully opening up the pickup, finding the break and repairing it.  Unfortunately the break was not on the outside and this was not a vintage piece so rather than digging deeper we elected to rewind.  What is nice about this winder is you can mount the pickup on either side depending on the direction you want to wind the coil (yes you can flip the coil but then you have the protruding magnets to deal with).  It also winds very smooth and even with no bounce or wobble.  The 2 round pieces on the rod between the hand and the bobbin limit the range of the wire on the bobbin so we can do our hand scatter winding and not have the wire fall off the side of the bobbin. This is a very convenient feature. I may make that piece gear driven in the future.   Here in the photo we sanded a little coating off the wire to take a measurement.  We are trying to match this coil to the other good one.  Matching is a whole other story that I will get into at a later date….

You can check out the Stewart MacDonald site to check out all the pickup wire and DIY pickup making supplies as well as all the cool tools.

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Plek, Cutting and leveling the wood fingerboard before fretting

  • Small but mighty cutter. 50,000 rpm Cutter at work cutting the fingerboard level

  • Strung up and ready to measure

    Cuter at work cutting the fingerboard level

    Fingerboard ready for a little clean up and frets.

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