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It sometimes pays to mess around with your gear!

I've had this older Behringer BX600 bass combo amp for a while now, and while I was always more than happy with the amount of loud this 60W amp produces, I was never, ever happy with the tone. It was always much too trebly, and had almost no bottom in it. It has the 'upgrade' speaker in it that handles 100W, but Id almost bet it's just a relabeled guitar speaker, because of the frequency response of it. For bass, it just plain sucked. I also did a little 'reverse engineering' on the two ports in the cabinet, anf found that the enclosure is tuned at approx. 65 Hz.

Guitar Fetish Classic Keystone Tuners

Guitar Fetish Classic Keystone 3X3 guitar tuners, item #E07

Guitar Fetish Classic Keystone 3X3 guitar tuners image

I have a cheap ol' Epiphone 'Junior' guitar that I bought about three years ago, having sat down with the whole bunch they had in the store that day and carefully picked the best of. I've since upgraded the pickup somewhat to one from an Epi Les Paul Custom (obtained thru a trade on Craigslist), which was a huge improvement right off the bat. It being a 'knockaround' guitar, I didn't want to spend a lot of money trying to upgrade it. But those crappy, cheap, stamped tuners finally had to go! So I went Web-shopping and came up with some tuners from Guitar Fetish (www guitarfetish.com) that I thought would (at least) look cool on it, with their classic 'keystone' buttons.

These are listed on the Guitar Fetish website as "Classic Keystone Tuners", with an item number of E07. They sell for $20.95. A first I thought that, for that price, I shouldn't expect great things from them. But I was wrong!

Epiphone Les Paul Studio

Here’s another of my posts about the guitars I’m doing setups on for a friend of mine; an Epiphone Les Paul Studio in Alpine White.

Features:
Mahogany body with carved Mahogany top
Mahogany set neck
Alnico Classic Humbucking Pickups, open coils, black
Pickup Selector Switch, Two Volume/Two Tone Controls
Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece
Grover Rotomatic tuners
Alpine White finish with black appointments

Action, Fit, & Finish:

Upcoming guitar reviews

A friend of mine has tagged me to do setups on all his guitars, because he seems to like the 'test' setup I did on one of them.

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Fernandes Sustainer Power Mod

Fernandes Sustainer Power Mod

I was wondering if I could power my Fernandes Dragonfly Pro sustainer with a standard DC power adapter. I have a box full of 9vdc adapters. I chose a "center-pin-negative" power adapter from my box and tested the voltage and verified polarity.

Fernandes Battery Connector Adapter

I cut the connector from the power adapter. I happened to have a spare battery connector sitting around which I used for this test. Using the following diagram, I soldered the connections, taped the bare connections so they wouldn't short together or against anything else.

To test the adapter, I snapped the battery connectors together (neg to pos and pos to neg) which reverses the polarity, and plugged the instrument cable in to the guitar's output jack. The LED lit up nice and bright, so I braved turning the amp on... After the tube filiments heated up, I was pleasantly surprised that my Fernandes Dragonfly Pro was operating perfectly on the new 9vdc power adapter. No more changing batteries in my guitar!

Crate GX-15R...

Crate GX-15R...another brick in the (practice-amp) wall

I’ve acquired the next brick for my ‘wall of practice amps’, that being a Crate GX-15R.
Keeping one’s eye on the local Craigslist site can be of great benefit, as I picked this little amp up for only $10. It was dusty and dirty; had ‘dust bunnies’ about ¼” deep inside the cabinet, but it cleaned up very nicely.

Pyramid WH1038 Woofer

Gear Review - Pyramid WH1038 10“ Woofer

Little-Bitty Practice Amps: Fender 'Frontman 10G' - UPDATED

This installment of ‘Little Bitty Amps’ tales a look at the Fender ‘Frontman 10G’.

This is indeed a little bitty amp. It’s about 10“ wide, 11“ tall, and 5 1/2“ deep. It retails for about $60 at the major websales outlets.

FEATURES:
2 channels, clean and OD, selected by a pushbutton switch
Master volume control, gain control on OD channel, bass, treble.
CD/line in, headphone out
6” speaker in closed-back cabinet with front vents
10W output

FIT & FINISH:

Little-Bitty Practice Amps

Little-Bitty Practice Amps

I recently got this strange urge to start collecting small guitar practice amps, thinking how cool it would be to stack up a whole wall of them and find some way to hook them all together at once. Just for chuckles…

So I started with a little Peavey Rage 158 that I swapped a chorus pedal for thru Craigslist. This little fella is 15W, has two channels (clean and ‘dirty’), 3-band EQ, pre & post gains on the dirty channel, CD input, and headphone output. Quite solidly built little guy. It houses an 8” Peavey ‘Blue Marvel’ speaker, which suprisingly has a great low-end as well as the high-end you’d expect from an 8”. Overall, it’s a really nice-sounding little practice amp. The one thing I’m not too crazy about is the proprietary Peavey ‘Trans Tube’ emulation. It just seems to suck all the highs right out of the tone, especially at the higher gain settings. Real tubes do tend to have that compressive effect once they reach saturation, but the tube emulation in this amp does seem to go a tad overboard with that. On the clean channel, though, this thing really surprised me with its overall tone. Good bottom, as I said, and nice twinkly highs. Very full, pretty tone. The 3-band EQ is very effective in bringing out the tone you want from the amp.

Then I got to thinking about plugging my multi-effect unit into the CD input (which is basically a line-level input right into the power/output stage of the amp), and tried it. Wow! Nice! I have to find me another one of these little amps now, so I can split the stereo output from the stereo multifex unit into them and get nice, spacey stereo choruses, reverbs, and delays. Talk about aural therapy!

'Cheap' Electric Guitars

'Cheap' Electric Guitars

Time was when there existed a huge disparity between the ‘name brand’ guitars and the ‘cheap’ guitars. Lately, that gap appears to be narrowing quite a bit. Cheap guitars used to be built with the junkiest hardware, Lauan plywood bodies, and the weakest pickups ever made. Many of them weren’t even considered playable by experienced players, and in their opinions, couldn’t even be made playable due to the poor workmanship and low quality standards. It was easy in those days to distinguish between the low-end of an American company’s product and the best of the Asian offerings. Nowadays, though, we’re seeing some good stuff coming out of the upstart brands from Asia, while the American companies’ import lines still seem stuck in that old mindset.

A case in point is Gibson’s Epiphone imports, such as the SG Special, LP Special II, ‘Junior’, and such, in the under-$200 range. These guitars, while generally quite playable once set up right, still use laminated wood for the bodies and the cheapest tuning machines they can find. The bodies are often very inconsistent in density, and thus inconsistent in sustain and tone, even among the same models produced in the same lot. If one is careful to choose between several units on display in a store, he can often find ‘the good one’ from among the lot, and be satisfied with what he got for his money. My Epi ‘Junior’ is such a one. There were about 10 of them in the store that day, and I spent a good hour playing them all, unplugged and plugged, and walked out with the best one for my $100. I’m still happy with it. The same can be said of the low-end Fender ‘Squier’ brand. Both these brands’ low-end guitars are produced in Asia or Indonesia, and the quality is inconsistent to say the least.

'Spectrum' Model 90BP Electric guitar

'Spectrum' Model 90BP Electric guitar

Right before my birthday, and as my sister-in-law was planning a visit, she told me about some guitars she’d picked up really cheap at Kohl’s (of all places!), and asked if I’d like one for my birthday. Never one for turning down a FREE GUITAR, of course I said, “Sure!”

I wasn’t expecting much, thinking it was probably along the same lines as the ‘First Act’ guitars they sold at Wal-Mart. When she arrived and presented me with this guitar, new-in-box, I really didn’t know what to expect. But once I got it out of the box and examined it, I quickly discovered that she actually got quite a bargain for the $50 clearance price (the mfr’s. webstore prices it at $129.95).

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How To Build a Telecaster

How To Build a Custom Telecaster - PART 1

DIY - How To Build a Custom Telecaster - PART 1 of 5.

The Plutonians - Underground Music provides the jamming audio tracks so enjoy this unique how-to series!

The Plutonians Free Music . . .

Italia Guitar Straps

Italia Guitar Straps

4" leather Strap

I recently got my hands on a 4” wide leather guitar strap by ‘Italia’, and thought I’d say a few words about it.

First off, let me say that this is not ‘just a guitar strap’…this is truly a piece of equipment.

It’s 4” wide, as I mentioned, and in two layers. And it’s in two separate pieces; the 4” piece that goes over the shoulder, and a narrower back piece ‘slot-locked’ into it. The top/outer layer of leather is about 1/8” thick, and appears to be dyed all the way thru (mine’s black), with a somewhat understated grain pattern. Very classy, nothing outlandish about it. The company’s logo has to be looked for, as it’s very small and not deeply engraved in the leather.

Visit Italia Guitar Straps for more info.

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