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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:07 am 
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As part of my ongoing obsession with Electra and Westone guitars, I was doing Google searches for the various model names- bingo! I found a band called The Stereo Future which proudly boasted that 'The Fourth Dimension" (as they dubbed it) drew admiring comments every time they played. Better yet, they were in Seattle (where I live!)

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Not so good was the news that the Dim IV had intonation problems and was in danger of being sidelined.

I emailed the band, praised their good taste in guitars, filled them in on Matsumoku and how these were some of the best guitars made, and assured them that with proper care their Dim IV should have flawless intonation, and that its H-S-H wiring meant it was tremendously versatile.

Nick (in the picture above) emailed me back and was delighted for the news, as they were in the midst of recording an album, about to record guitar tracks, and he really wanted to use the Dimension IV. After convincing him I wasn't just a rabid fan stalking him, we scheduled a time to meet. I offered to set up his guitar in return for the chance to photograph it for the archives.

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The Fourth Dimension had clearly been through some heavy use, but was in good overall condition for the most part. Two of the locking nut retainers were missing, which accounted for the intonation problems. I brought replacement cap screws and washers of similar size, and Nick got busy fabricating replacement retainers while I restrung the guitar.

I'd brought two guitars along, my own identical Dimension IV and also the red Dynasty, which appeared alongside the Dim IV in the catalog. When Nick saw my Dim IV he was impressed to see another in good order, and when he played it he was full of admiration and said it was inspiring to think his guitar could be anywhere near as good condition. I laughed and assured him that his would soon be just as accurate.

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I asked Nick if he ever used his tremolo bar, he said no (I don't either) so I pulled the back plate and added another spring, holding the Bendmaster bridge flush against the body- better sustain, but also much more stability than a floating bridge. Don't get me wrong- the Bendmaster is a good tremolo bridge, and it only takes a little attention to centering it out when playing and tuning to keep it in tune- but if you don't use it, it's easier not to have to bother with running it as a floating bridge. Definitely in the studio you don't want to spend any time worrying about keeping the guitar in tune!

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While we worked, Nick told me about the band, how they'd all met as art students in St. Louis, and how they'd found the Fourth Dimension in a St. Louis pawn shop. Aha! Suddenly it all made sense!

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Meanwhile I did the usual setup- string with GHS Boomer CL's, which have a very light upper set for bending and heavy lowers for tone and non-rattling. I adjusted the bridge saddles to make the 12th fret harmonic and fingered note match. Nick likes the action same as me- as low as possible without buzzing, so I got out the little allen wrench and set the string height even and close.

The electronics all checked out perfectly, and now I could play spicy jazz chords halfway up the neck and have them be spot-on in tune. Nick was delighted, strapped on his Fourth Dimension, and let loose with a stream of licks and textures for the new album. It sounded good even unplugged, but we plugged it in to my little suitcase amp and I went over the controls with Nick, so he knew exactly how the coil tap, phase reverse, and mid switches work. Nick's playing is very textural in their songs so he was able to make good use of its wide range of clean and distorted tones.

You know the rest, it sounded great- like all our Westone and Matsumoku guitars.
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So now The Stereo Future has its Fourth Dimension back in harness recording their new album, I'm looking forward to hearing from Nick how it goes. For more information, check out their web site, from which the band photos above were so gratefully borrowed:

http://www.thestereofuture.com/

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 3:21 pm
Posts: 400
Location: Seattle, WA
Your posts are always so detailed! Good work!

Matthew


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:11 pm 
That rocks! I'm more than half tempted to give you a column here! :D

Hurry up with that vacation so we can hook up.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Glad you enjoyed it- I had a lot of fun playing "Matsumoku Man" and helping out a guitarist in need.

I don't need a column, I think the forums are the perfect place for this kind of photoessay. I wish everybody would take pictures of their guitar exploits (yes you, you know you have them!) and post them to the forums.

P.S. I'll give you a call monday, AP2.


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