Category Archives: Music related

Pine Barncaster Build part 1

Moving 1500 miles cross country has proved tough for CT and myself, what with leaving family and friends, starting new jobs, and learning to live in a place that seems to be trying to kill you for several months out of the year.

So….guess what….I chose to reward myself with a new guitar building project! As of late, I have been fascinated with the recent revival of pinewood guitar bodies. Bill Kirchen (think “Hot Rod Lincoln”) recently posted an interview on YouTube, showing off his pine telecaster built by Carmine Street Guitars in New York. The sound and look absolutely killed me. Carmine Street actually builds these guitars out of 200 year old pine lumber, reclaimed from New York city buildings. I certainly can’t think of a better way to recycle.

When I hit Ebay looking for a body, it became clear to me that I needed to make a choice- do I get a piece of perfectly figured wood, or find something with more personality? I decided to go with a body filled with knots, worm holes and discoloration. A Barncaster.

Barncaster body front

So I picked this body up off Ebay from a very reputable builder. When it arrived, I was nearly speechless. Painfully cool. The colors are simply unbelievable. If you hold it up to the light, the corners glow amber from the un-cured sap.

Barncaster body side

Check out the blue/green coloring, and the details of the fibers.

Barncaster colors

The spot that you see is an almost translucent, hard sap

This spot is almost pure sap!

This spot is almost pure sap!

The character continues on the back of the guitar. Notice the rear-loading cavity.

Barncaster back

This guitar is absolutely gorgeous to me. I am a true believer that it’s our imperfections and limitations that make us unique and interesting, and that same thing can be said for guitars, or really anything we choose to create. Follow me unto the desert and join me in the worship of cactus as we await the spaceships.

For the past few days, I have been sanding this sucker down, starting with 220 grit, and ending up with 400 grit for finishing. I even bought a can of compressed air to blow the sanding dust out of all the cracks and worm holes.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I struggle with what stain to use, and make my first attempt at a nitrocellulose lacquer spray-finish!

 

News of (a very small corner of) the world (small updates)

Hi Everyone.  All 5 of you.  So much love for reading my little corner of the world.  I thought I would take this Feisty Friday (what we call it at work!) and update you all on the goings-on at Living Analog.

First things first.  My husband is a lot of amazing things and one of them is amazingly creative.  He just finished up recording a new song (that he wrote).  It boggles my mind that this person I live with CAN WRITE A WHOLE SONG.  And sing it, and play all the instruments that goes into it.  He’s not a one man army, he gets a lot of input from his band mates.  So if you have any inclination and because I don’t have the capacity right now to figure out how to upload this thing, check out his band blog at www.grandbeautymusic.com.  The song is called “You Go Blind”.

I mean, how can you not love a guy who can write music and who hangs out with his dog, making sure no marauding kitty-cats come and invade their territory?

JT AND MONKEY

Next up: Cameron.  Cam the Man, foster dog extraordinaire is still hanging out at Living Analog.  We’ve taken him to be famous on TV (featured on KSDK’s Sammy’s Stars) and countless adoption events.  Last week my sister and I took him to see Roman Holiday on Art Hill.  He was a perfect gentleman and charmed all the ladies in line for LuLu’s Food Truck and then settled in and watched the movie as quiet as a little mouse.  He’s come out of his shell so much in the few months he’s been back in our house and I really, really, really want him to find a forever home soon so they can enjoy this goofy love of a dog.  Unfortunately most people are really charmed by him and then put off by his age.  Any suggestions you guys have on this matter would be greatly appreciated.  I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do — so this weekend we’ll be at the Sunday adoption event at Local Harvest in Kirkwood if anyone wants to meet the Silver Fox.

CAMERON AT ART HILL

And last but not least — a new project!  There is a room at the back of our house, directly off the kitchen that I have never, ever showed on our floor plan.  Kind of like it doesn’t exist.  But it does.  And it’s crazy town in there.  So when Apartment Therapy started posting about the August Style Cure, I thought it might be a good kick in the rear to sign up and get our back porch back on track once and for all.

It’s bad.

BACK PORCH

Which means it can only get better from here!

The first assignment for the Style Cure was a sort-of style diagnostic.  JT and I both took one.  It was kind of hard!  It’s not everyday you sit down and pin point exactly what it is you like and why you like it.

Image

Image

JT decided my style is “British and fancy”.  I hit back with his style being “Nerdy and fancy”.  The main take-away is that at the end of the day we both prefer quality over quantity and want a relaxing, inviting space. So that’s what we’ll be working on for the next month.  Anyone else doing the Style Cure?  Have a great weekend regardless!  Cheers – CT

JT’s Pigonse G40V Hot-Rod, Part 1!

I have a Pignose G40V I bought new a few years back and have since loved it’s simplicity and durability. Due to it’s portability, and the size of the venues Grand Beauty generally plays, this amp has seen a lot of action, mic’d through our PA. I won’t claim to know the official pedigree, but it supposedly was designed by someone who had something to do with the original Fender Bassman amplifiers. This sucker is tiny, with only a 10-inch speaker, and packs a massive 40-watt punch!

Pignose G40V
Pignose G40V

Being as cool as it is, I simply can’t leave it alone. Why? Well, it’s equipped with all Chinese parts. Don’t get me wrong- the Chinese are fine people- awesome food, impressive culture. Not necessarily the best folks to be mass-producing tone, though.

Vintage Jensen 10 inch speaker
Vintage Jensen 10 inch speaker

Step number 1 was finding an awesome speaker. CT and I happened on the Midwest Musicians Swap Meet in Saint Louis, where I found a great vintage Jensen 60’s 10-inch speaker in new housing. I also came across a couple of Soviet-era Sovtek 12AX7WB pre-amp tubes (to be seen in part 2).

Testing polarity with D-Cell battery
Testing polarity with D-Cell battery

Once I got the Jensen home, I had to figure out which terminal was positive, as neither one was marked. I used an old trick, where you electrical-tape both the positive and negative ends of a D-Cell (or 9-volt) battery with wire, and then connect to each wire to a terminal. When the speaker “sucks in” on connection, you have negative polarity. Reverse the wires, and you should see a “push out” of the speaker on connection. This will be your positive polarity, and you can now mark on the casing the + and – terminals, and connect it to your amplifier.

Jensen speaker mounted in the Pignose
Jensen speaker mounted in the Pignose

The mounting holes lined up great, and connections were secured. Success! Now my Pignose has a vintage Jensen speaker, rather than the cheap Chinese stock that it came with. Stay tuned for part 2, where I attempt to replace and bias the existing Chinese tubes with Soviet-era, mean-ass Sovteks!

Where did Paul go?

The new music station caused me to once again shuffle everything around in the Living Room but have no fear, folks, Paul is staying.

J:HOME Model (1)

(An updated furniture floor plan.  I don’t know what happened to those poche walls but it looks kind of cool.)

There are some pieces in the house that I really want to hold on to, others I keep around because they fit in for now or I’m still hunting down that amazingly-perfect-but-so-cheap-from-a-thrift find.  “Paul”, as I call my McCobb Planner Group secretary is a keeper.  He was holding up the ledges wall but has now moved over here to greet visitors at the front door.

ENTRY WALL BEFORE AND AFTER

This wall is looking a little bare but I’m slowly moving in artwork as the furniture continues to shuffle around.  What’s great about this setup is it gives us the “landing strip” they’re always pushing for over at Apartment Therapy.  The salon-style vinyl chair is a great place to drop my purse or my work bag and Paul gladly holds the day’s mail and the contents of JT’s pockets.

AFTER AT ENTRY #2.

(View from the front door above.  That’s my Martin Sigma that I still don’t know how to play yet.)  Ironically the salon style vinyl chair and the four wood chairs we have around the tulip table were the things I thought for sure would sell at the Green Shag sale last year but didn’t.  Then I had each posted on Craigslist  and now I’m pretty glad they’re still here.  Go figure.

In the (much larger) world outside our living room, Google decided to close down its Reader.  I liked Reader so much that I even blogged about it (almost two years ago!  yikes!)  So what is a blog-addicted girl to do?  I tried out Feedly and liked the iPhone app but it wouldn’t work on the required Internet Explorer browser we have at work.  No blog reading all day long?  Not happening.  So I switched over to Bloglovin.  (Kind of wish they had a better name, makes me think of McLovin from Superbad).  It has a much more image-oriented format, which I am enjoying so far.

BLOGLOVIN

(Yep, that’s a screenshot from my Bloglovin account and I am a major blog addict!!!)

In the blog world, I’m afraid we may have lost JT from this site forever.  He set up a great new site for his band, Grand Beauty, here.  We haven’t all the way decided on things but I think he may start posting his guitar raids and fixes on the band website.  We’ll see.

recording-2013-001

At any rate, you should check it out.  He’s uploaded a bunch of their recordings.  That’s my husband singing “Beast of Burden” and if it doesn’t make you want to take your clothes off and dance around, you may need to have your head examined.  Cheers – CT

PS – HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER!

Ledges: Painted & Hung

Projects move in fits and starts over here at Living Analog and nothing ever stays in the same place for more than two months.  That’s the peril of living with an interior designer.  One of our friends at our Sweetheart Dinner commented that our house is like a kit of Legos — we always take it apart and rearrange it.  I’ll take that as a compliment (albeit a nerdy one!) — we love to reimagine our space and have chosen flexible furniture pieces to accommodate my need for change.

So, change.  Here’s one wall of the dining room over the last few months:

TWO BEFORES

And then, I drug home a bunch of lumber, convinced JT to hammer it all together for me and  — voila! — an art wall!

MUSIC SPOT #1

The real impetus for change here came from my New Year’s resolution to make it easier to listen to music in our house.  I knew I wanted to move the record player, tuner and speakers to a more central location.    So while I was at it, I thought why not add some storage and display space above.  At first I was going to use our Ikea floating shelves but those got repurposed for the Wall of Wine.

IN PROGRESS

That left me scrambling for a new plan and I decided on these ledges from Ana White.  They were affordable and easy to customize — we have about 5′-3″ of wall there so we made the ledges 5′ long to max out the space.  And by going with these ledges rather than just hanging our picture frames right to the wall, it gives us flexibility to change things us as the mood strikes (which, as you know, with me is often!)

MUSIC SPOT #2

Right now I’m displaying some of JT’s record collection along with some art pieces we’ve collected or been gifted over the years.  I still need to get some things all the way into their frames and finalize that mysterious blank canvas.  I’ll be back with more as I tweak it along the way.  This wall has been surprisingly difficult for me to photograph (wah wah) so I’ll try to get some better pictures for the ol’ blog too.

MUSIC SPOT #3

I’m off to spin some more vinyl and dance around in my sock feet with the dogs. What have you been changing up around the house lately?  I find that all home renovation projects go better with some loud tunes, especially of the Rolling Stones variety and now we finally have a spot to really “tune in”!

Cheers – CT

1961 Silvertone 1458 Guitar and Amp

Picked up this odd package from a guy who had bought it new back in 1961. Everything in the original ad was there- the guitar, amp and case. Amp still sounds amazing, even with the strange RCA-to-1/8” input system.

The guitar is straight as an arrow, and required minimal adjustments. I did end up replacing both tuning arrays with period-correct replacements.

The electronics on the guitar, however were (as always) perfectly destroyed. You will rarely find original potentiometers or paper-in-oil capacitors in working order.

This package is another beautiful testament to the durability and wonderful design of these early Sears-brand guitars and amps, made in the USA in the late 50’s to early 60’s. A period when even a cheap, catalog-bought instrument was made with the utmost attention to quality.

See my Ebay posting here

Do you realize . . .

We’re floating in space?

Yes, that’s my man Wayne Coyne in the giant ball at LouFest.  Yes I jumped up and down for two hours in the mud and took terrible iPhone pictures.  Yes it was amazing.   Yes I am still hobbling around two days later because my legs were not ready to be jumping up and down for two hours.  Yes it was worth it!!

Because half of you may be scratching your heads right now at my cryptic ramblings, please amuse your ears with this amazing song.  I hope it gets played at my funeral.

Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Shenanigan helps me with a sewing project:

So helpful.  I needed a giant furry paperweight just then.

And, the music room gets taken over by thrift store picture frames, soon to make their way into the almost finished bathroom!  A lot has been happening in the littlest room of our house — new trim has been installed, caulked and painted.  Shelves are up.  Hooks are up.  Turkish towels are up.  And soon, I’ll put a blog post up!  Cheers – CT