Guitars, basses and other noisemakers

mjp

Founding member
See, you can't kill a Junior. You can leave it in a park for two days and it'll be fine. Run it over with a car, leave it in a dog house while you go on vacation. Doesn't matter. Just wipe it off and plug it in. FTW.

I'm sure people who don't play the guitar are scratching their heads about how emotional she was about its loss (and return). "It's just a guitar, go buy another one." I don't know why we get so attached to those machines. It's unnatural. But stealing someone's guitar is some evil shit.
 

mjp

Founding member
All right, it's finished. Looks a lot better. I still don't like soldering. Or painting. But it looks a lot better.

And I see by the time stamp on the "before" photo that I've had this thing for two years. If you'd asked me I would have estimated 9 or 10 months. A year at most. Just goes to show...something.

2014-06-19-Vixen-001.jpg

2016-07-03-Vixen-001.jpg
 
Looks great.

I'm wondering if you can tell me something: I notice that the bridge on that has the "saddles" in a three and three configuration with the result being that the vibrational length of the G string is longer than that of the D string. Why is it that some guitars have saddles with consistently decreasing vibrational lengths (except for those with compensated B string saddles) as one goes from low to high, and what is it about your guitar here that requires the three and three configuration?

As long as you're answering questions, as I see it, this configuration would seem to be most compatible with a plain G string as opposed to a wound G string. That way, the wound and plain strings would be grouped much like the saddles. But maybe that doesn't matter at all. Or does it?
 

mjp

Founding member
what is it about your guitar here that requires the three and three configuration?
It isn't just this guitar, it's pretty much consistent on every 3 tuners on a side (of the headstock) guitar (as opposed to a Strat or Tele with all the tuners on one side).

It's always going to be slightly different with every set of strings, but I almost always end up with a similar shape after intonation:

bridge1.jpg


bridge2.jpg


The low E and G strings always wants to be longer. I couldn't tell you the technical reasons for that.

The early Les Pauls and Juniors, etc., had a wraparound tailpiece with no compensation, just a straight bar, and once you've tried to tune one of those you appreciate the compensation.

this configuration would seem to be most compatible with a plain G string as opposed to a wound G string.
I've never played an electric guitar with a wound G string. Maybe in those heavy gauges you use a wound G is common. For the rest of us, the 99%, it's very uncommon. ;)
 
The low E and G strings always wants to be longer. I couldn't tell you the technical reasons for that.
But that's not the case on acoustic guitars, other than the compensated B string bridges on some (and most acoustics are three and three tuners/headstock). Now, maybe I haven't played high enough up the neck on an acoustic to notice that the intonation suffers on the G string, but on all of my basses, it's even spacing decrease from low to high on 4-, 5-, and 6-bangers.
 

mjp

Founding member
Expensive flat top acoustic guitars often have individually carved bridges (individual to each guitar, I mean) to improve intonation. I don't know why they don't always have some kind of universal carved bridge for inexpensive or mid range acoustics (like on the Vixen above), but I'd suspect it's just because there's more room for sloppy or slightly off intonation on an acoustic instrument with a big sound box like that. All that reverberation.

I don't know. I don't build 'em, I just play 'em.

Kind of.
 
I'm going to research this and report back. For what it's worth, which is likely sweet FA.

OK; here's something that appears to be of good source quality that gets to the issue:

http://www.lmii.com/scale-length-intonation

Search on "At first glance we might see" on this page to get to the G string compensation on electrics relative to the B string compensation on acoustics. It would seem that wound G strings on electrics may not work well with the three and three saddle configuration we've been discussing. I generally prefer wound G strings on electric, although yes, they are only available on the heavier gauge sets. This article also indicates that the secondary vibrations are lesser with heavier gauge strings, so I may try some 12s to replace my 13s. It's time for an en masse string change anyway; something I've been avoiding.
 
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I prefer a wound G because I'm somewhat addicted to the feel of the string biting into my finger. The wound strings having a much more satisfying bite than the non-wound. I normally go for a set of 10s with the wound G. I never have a problem bending the wound G to a minor third, which is the objection to using one that I often hear from people who don't use them. I think it improves tuning stability and I hear a sonic advantage when chording on an electric with a wound G that to my ears is absent without one.

I knew an old blues player years ago who played in many of the pubs where I lived, he used a wound G and would bend the G, D, A, and low E strings to ridiculous intervals; when his calluses would rip off from his fingertips he would bend down, pick it up and crazy glue it right back and keep playing.
 

mjp

Founding member
This guitar, known as the Sabionari, was made in 1679 by Antonio Stradivari. It's the last surviving Stradivarius guitar. Well, there are actually five survivors, but this is the only playable one.

 
When I was eleven or twelve, I put steel strings on my classical guitar because I got tired of the soft sounds. My teacher was shocked, and as you can imagine, that guitar didn't last very long.

Recently I've learned that now there are steel strings (Thomastik, f.i.) which you can put on a classical guitar without damaging it.
 
Cool!

After putting the steel strings on it the guitar lessons didn't last very long either. My parents had to buy me an electric guitar, and I made a hell of a racket and ruined my father's amplifier. Around that time most people began to hate me, but I hated them too, so everything was balanced.
 

mjp

Founding member
ruined my father's amplifier.
When I was 13 or 14 I figured out how to plug my guitar into our 4-track Magnavox reel to reel tape deck, overdrive the channel I was plugged in to by cranking the gain all the way up, and then send the resulting chaos out through the four 12" speakers in our giant Magnavox console stereo. It was my own version of a Marshall half-stack, and I think it was just about as loud. I didn't ruin the amplifier in the stereo, but I probably didn't do the tape deck any favors.

I was surprised to learn later on that Ritchie Blackmore (and maybe some other people?) used a tape deck as a preamp. You can see the deck(s) in a lot of old Deep Purple pictures and video.
 

mjp

Founding member
At one point he had a box screwed onto his guitar that controlled a tape playback. He called it the Paulverizer, and a lot of people assumed it was some electronic genius that he had come up with. But it was really little more than a big PLAY button to control prerecorded tapes.
Well I was wrong about that. Seems the Paulverizer was short recordable loops, not prerecorded sounds (like an old Mellotron). That's what I get for believing what I read. But then there was no YouTube when I first read about that thing. Or, you know, Internet.


To the point made in the first Paulverizer post, it's still true that Les Paul didn't invent tape loops. He invented this remote stuck to his guitar to control (what must have originally been) a group of open reel decks with tape loops on them (by the time this video was made I assume he was controlling a multi-track deck).

It's still cool, but it's still really just a remote control box.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
One of my musical regrets is never having seen him. In my 20's I could have shot up to NY for a night but alas...
 

mjp

Founding member
In my defense, it was on sale...

Epiphone.jpg


It's an Epiphone ES-339.

The 339 is a slightly smaller version of the ES-335 (and smaller than the Epiphone Casino that John Lennon and George Harrison played). I almost bought a Casino a while back but it's just too damn big for my delicate sensibilities. The 339 is the perfect size.

It's an Epiphone because Gibson doesn't make a 339 with P90s. And, you know, because a Gibson ES-339 is about $3,000.

I gave a Strat that I never played to my friend's kid, so the balance was off around here. Not enough guitars. Now we're back to six, and that's a good, even number.
 
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