Agape Guitars

not pics

Can progress without pics rightly bear the name progress?

not picsRich Chaffins1 Comment

I have to wonder this, after the 1.6 bajillion comments I've seen on various forums, mostly guitar-related, that say "THIS THREAD IS WORTHLESS WITHOUT PICS!!!" or some variant thereupon. Well, due most likely to either A) Wesley, our 4-year-old lover of all things techy, or B) my complete lack of ability to remember where I put anything ever, I have no pics to share today. Ah, but there is progress! Read on, dear friends.

This work day started around 8:40AM and just ended a little after 10PM (as an aside, isn't blogging about my building of stringed things work, too, as it is shameless self-promotion? Thoughts?). After checking out the venue for my band's gig Friday night, going over details for our gig Thursday, and then writing out the set list for the Friday show, I began what is one of my favorite parts of the process: ordering parts. :) Got lots of stuff. Mostly for my latest commission, which I'll blog about shortly, but also a few odds and ends for Ben's bass and Alec's Revelator. I just love the anticipation of the arrival of parts/gear, the excitement when the postman or UPS knocks, the unpacking and inspecting...just love all of it.

Now, here's a listing of the stuff I did today that you don't get to see pics of just yet.

  • Ben's bass: My good friends at The Sign Factory finished up my bass templates yesterday, so after picking it up I dug right in and got the swamp ash body rough cut. Today, I attached the body template o' doom and routed the body shape out. And was amazed at the size of the body. It's probably because I've never seen a Tele style bass body in person, and this one is larger than those anyway, but it seemed HUGE to me who has only ever played the guitar version. Also, that is the heaviest chunk of swamp ash I've ever laid router to. For a guess I'd say the body is in the 7-8 pound range, with no hardware on (and no routing done, to be fair). Ben, if you're reading, good buddy, we may want to think about chambering this beast. In the next couple days with this one I'll have to make a router sled and chop off the top 1/4" to make room for the killer spalted maple top we're gonna put on there. It's gonna be vicious when it's done. :)
  • Alec's Revelator: As a public service announcement, I have to tell you that ValSpar Clear Flat acrylic SUCKS for finishing. Tried spraying this supposedly clear stuff on Sunday, and it is a pebbly, cloudy mess. No mas, no mas. Scored some MinWax semi-gloss poly today, and went about stripping off the old junk. Went a bit farther than I wanted (ah, the joy of power tools) and ended up removing some of the color that I had put on. This inspired me to just sand most of it back and start over. If nothing else, the grain lines on the ash would be more pronounced. Gotta tell you, though...when I first did the burst, I got two coats of the dye on and it looked gorgeous: still some of the redder grain showing through for a nice uneven, distressed look that just tugged on my whiskers (that's a good thing). However, I went on dyeing it cuz red wasn't in the original equation.

    It reappeared tonight as I was doing the dye process, and I couldn't go any further. So hot! Ack! So, after letting it dry, I shot the first coat of poly on. It's looking nice, ladies and gentlemen. Nice indeed. Can't wait to see how this one turns out.

  • Other guitar stuff I did today: Finished set up on a student's American Strat. Telling you how jacked up he had it would take longer than I want to write, so let's just say it took a while, but it's all better now. Also, brought my good friend Frank's Mexican Tele in for part 2 of its overhaul. I had worked on it a few months ago (new nut, locking tuners, tightening up the neck pocket, stripping the neck and oiling it), and it plays really well now. He decided to pimp the look and the electronics, as well. This guy is just nuts about the mighty Brad Paisley, so he purchased a cream paisley pickguard and also the Paisley signature APC pickups. Fitted the pickguard (which took more finagling that I had anticipated) and installed the pickups. I don't have a full tone report on them as of yet, but I restrung the old A string I had taken off and hooked it up to the little practice amp in my shop....dang. Some of it might have been the sheer length of the day, but man, that A string sounded beautiful. Can't wait to string it up and hear it through my Bogner. Will report back afterwards.

    Well, stick a fork in me. I'm done. Bed awaits. 'Til next time. Maybe by then I'll have found the stupid camera.

Small new blog feature...

not picsRich ChaffinsComment

FYI: Wordpress was kind enough to make available a nice little button for all you Tweeters (Twitterites? Tweens? Twits?)...now on each post, there is a "Tweet this" button to instantly link to the post and give you a bit of room to comment, etc. That is if anyone wants to tweet something on here. That would be great..just sayin'. :)

Test drive results!

not picsRich ChaffinsComment

Happy Monday, peeps.

Just as I said I would, I took the recently put-together Tele (still haven't settled on a model name yet) for a spin at our 3 services at Chestnut Ridge Church this weekend. Played it a total of 5-6 hours this weekend. And I gotta say...

Man, I LOVE this guitar. I will probably shed a tear or two when I sell it.

Key observations:

  • The 5-way switch with PRS-style wiring offers a silly amount of usable tones in one guitar. I had the classic twang in the bridge, very clean "quack" positions, the first in-between (position 3) tone I've ever liked, and a nice warm neck pickup sound. Even did a nice jazz tone there with the tone turned down a bit.
  • I am in love with the woodiness that the chambering provided, especially in positions 2 & 4. Adds a nice, quasi-acoustic "air" to the tone.
  • The amount of sustain really surprised me. It rings for a good long while.
  • The trapezoidal neck was really easy to get used to, and comfortable. My hand didn't tire out at all, and the oiled neck is stupid smooth and easy to navigate.
  • You really do need either a string tree or staggered tuners on a Fender-style headstock. Otherwise, there's not enough downward pressure on the nut for the B & E strings to stay in, and they slip out from time to time. Ordering some staggered tuners as we speak.

    So all in all, I was very happy with how it turned out. Everyone who's played it gave very positive reviews, both in playability and appearance. Thanks to all who have given feedback; you guys are great. There's still some minor stuff to tweak, but she's pretty much done. I'm going to shoot a demo video this week for the blog and, of course, YouTube with all the sounds on display. Have a great night!

Here we go...

not picsRich Chaffins4 Comments

Okay...finally got around to making a blog. Photo albums on Facebook just weren't cutting it. Special thanks to my friend Alise for being such a blog-head and so wise in the ways of bloggery that she made me feel an overwhelming sense of shame that I was not blogging 'bout building. So to speak.

I'm going to start by posting some pics of some already finished guitars and basses, and will slowly work my way into my current builds. I have to either wait 'til my laptop gets out of the shop, or download all my pics off of Facebook to put them on here. We'll see how that goes.