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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:08 pm 
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On with the saga of the headless Explorer returning to life...

As you may recall from our previous thread, the poor X910 was badly shipped and lost its head in transit:

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and you can read all about how it happened here...

So anyway, after a few trial runs with other repairs, I went ahead and glued up the mahogany Explorer (Electra X910 Rick Derringer model). It should be ready to inspect in a few hours when the urethane glue dries.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 1:42 am 
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It's looking good. the pieces seem to have been perfectly aligned, there's a bunch of white marks as you can see where the glue filled in, partly where the finish flaked away. I'll do more sanding and see whether the 'wet look' of clear darkens and hides that stuff or if I'm going to need to tint it. It feels pretty smooth though, and strong!

For those who are wondering, no I didn't glue the truss rod nut in by accident. It still turns, I checked.

I'm feeling hopeful. My Explorer experience so far has been dismal- one (the early Electra) has the soul of a hockey stick, this one had its head chopped off, and the other X910 body I've never seen and probably never will. But this gives me hope, it may work out after all!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 12:21 pm 
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I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who does his guitar work in the living room! Actually, I do some of the soldering and all of the wax potting in the kitchen, but you know what I mean.

Let us know how she goes!

Matthew


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 12:41 pm 
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heh, yes, when you get old enough you realize that 'living' means what you want it to...

and no (you had to ask) I didn't get any compensation. maybe i should have pushed harder, but it seems epidemic for people to pack things stupidly and then blame UPS. Having been an employee for UPS when I was a student, I know what happens to packages- they need to be able to roll around in the belly of an airplane- if you can't roll the box over, it's not packed safely enough. But... we have an empidemic of people who think you better not take responsibility for anything you do... and once they take that attittude there's not much you can do about it. If you make a claim, UPS will send a driver around to inspect the packaging and make sure it was adequate, and in this case the packing was ridiculously poor.

But then again, I've bought a number of guitars on ebay, and mostly had good luck, so my risk factor isn't all that high. If this were the only guitar I'd bought, I'd be more upset about it. Well, I -was- upset about it at first, but i got over it. there's way more important things in life than being upset about shipping damage.

One thing for sure- the body of this Explorer is really really heavy, and the mahgany neck is really delicate... I wonder that they didn't all jsut break one way or another, and it makes me think Electra Explorers are probably pretty scarce, even scarcer than they were to begin with.

I'm in the process of spot-filling the neck with super glue now, as I did on that divot lower down on the neck, which is mostly finished- if that's any indication I should be done with the repair in a few weeks...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 2:41 pm 
i used to work for ups as well... and 95% of the time if something get broken its because it wasnt packaged properly. things get thrown around and moved on converyor belts and things just get smashed.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 2:59 pm 
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EM, if you were the one packing the guitar, I would breathe a sigh of relief!

I've spent more time working the neck again today- it really does feel like a guitar again, I'm very happy. Just hope the glue joint holds... we'll see.

Anyway, with this major repair well underway, I can start thinking about how to set up this guitar. It came with a Kahler, which is really heavy but since the guitar was routed for it I might as well use it... I'm thinking of running Protomatic pickups (opinions on them?) because theyr'e what I have and they're nice vintagey looking zebras... I'll probably use the superblend mod so I have something like the spectrum knob, plus a fader...

As far as the MPC stuff, there's not much left, and frankly, my favorite pedal is not covered among the modules anyway, that would be a multi-band EQ. So... to that end I've chopped apart a perfectly good Guyatone 5-band EQ and am preparing to mount the circuit boards in the module cavity. I'll probably use one of the MPC knob locations for a blend pot to mix between dry and EQ'ed signal, and maybe the other can be a post-mix master volume... another thing I was thinking of was a parametric EQ, but with the 5-band I've probably got it covered...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:43 pm 
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You know how when you're working on a guitar, when you get it to a certain point (like, not broken in pieces) you're overwhelmed by the temptation to set all the parts on it, so you can see how it'll look, even though none of that stuff is really installed yet? Here it is:

ImageImage

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:01 pm 
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Can anyone identify the two smaller holes between the larger holes where the MPC toggles mount? LED's? Are they stock, and for what? Or did somebody drill them?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:33 am 
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Last night I discovered to my delight that the missing bits and pieces of the locking nut were in with the hardware- so I got that installed, after cleaning up the headstock.

The neck repair is mostly finished now- I had to make a deliberate decision not to worry about scarring- I'd rather get a good strong joint and not worry about hiding what happened. It's smooth to the touch and it's not terribly noticeable from a distance... so I'm going to make an executive decision and say 'good enough!'

Image

And on that note, I decided to go ahead and string it up, start working the bugs out. I mounted a protomatic pup from an Aria Pro 2 TS, soldered in some temporary very simple wiring- I can also begin to try different pickups and see what I like in it. It's just a volume pot and a switch for coil tap, and a jack.

Image

I think this is about the most beautiful headstock I can imagine. When you're playing it the line of the back of the headstock, and the line of tunrrs, is right lined up with your line of sight.

Image

It feels like a big step forward to get a guitar body working and playing as an instrument again. It's got some stuff to be worked out yet for sure. But at this point it feels like spending some time playing it, and feeling how it likes to be played, is the best way to proceed. One thin g I notice already is that it's extremely easy to bend notes on it- no doubt an effect of the Kahler tremolo. It's a big heavy plank, but it's comfortable, I'm getting used to it.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:26 am 
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That neck repair actually looks pretty good -- better than I expected it would turn out. Good work!

Matthew


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:15 pm 
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Heh, this thing rocks. You know what the vibe is? It's like imagine you're the guitarist wasted out on tour with Alice Cooper back in the day, barely coherent to stand up and play, and this thing is such a Cadillac that it effortlessly cranks out the screaming rock & roll... it feel so easy to play, almost too easy to play, it feels like cheating... it's hard to explain... the protomatic pups are great, what a lovely vintage tone, I love it.

Which motivates me to get busy and finish it! OK, what's next? Well, mainly I need to decide on the wiring plan and get the parts needed.

It's not going to be restored as MPC, I already decided- there's no multiband EQ MPC module, so I'm going to install a pedal in the compartment. There are two extra holes so there's lots of room for switches, but I only want a single row of four knobs. This will not be a stock restoration, but another hot rod, call it a leadsled if you will.

I was considering an MPC-style 5-way rotary, but I've had my fill of that control. I spend all my time sitting thinking trying to remember what combination I'm at- I like the later approach of using pull-switch pots for the knobs, or toggle switches where you can quickly think of what effects are on or off.

I love the blend pot, so I'm going to put a blend pot with a chickenhead knob out on the point of he body where the rotary selector originally went. The four knobs will probably be Master Volume with pull switch for coil tap, Master Tone with pull switch for phase reverse, and a blend pot for fading in the onboard EQ pedal. The switches- well, one for the pedal power, and that leaves, hmm, three switch and one knob position... I may just install them and leave them unwired until I think of something to do with them... been looking at sustainer circuits lately, actually...

And I also have an untested design for a single switch series-parallel control with the blend pot, that'd be nice to try out.

So last night I got busy and ordered blend pots and knobs and things, as well as stuff that's been hanging up other projects- pickguard material so I can get the flying Vee together, fretwire, that sort of thing. When I can actually get some time off in the coming weeks it'll be nice to have some projects to look forward to.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 11:50 pm 
Hey, X, that looks to turn out a real player!
Cool thing, instaling a sustainer system :) From where are you ordering?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:55 am 
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I wasn't going to order it, I've been looking at schematics. A sustainer is essentially a little preamp with a flat speaker (the kind used for beepers and such) mounted under the pickup. From what I can see the sustainers use a very crude op-amp chip, so the sound quality isn't so much at issue- not that you'd be able to even hear it. Yet the same 386 chip is what's used in the ebow.

My thought was to use a simple preamp and do the same thing- I have an extra preamp here, so that could be a starting point. Gotta find the little speaker though, probably Radio Shack has them.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:49 pm 
Hehe, sustainers are pretty cool :) My uncle had a sustainer guitar from Fernandes, very cool toy!

BUT, both the sustainer and the eBow works with magnetic fields. Basically the opposite way our guitarpickups work, or some kind of the same way an elecromagnetic motor works. Both thingies induce a magnetic field which causes the string to vibrate, i.e. make sound/noise. How strong the magnetic field is, determines how "sesitive" the system is.

X: I would love to see that schematic! Could you post a link here? I would like to see how they get it to work with a speaker.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:33 am 
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here's the diagram that got me started on this:

http://www.sorberawebdesign.com/sustainer.jpg

but then I discovered its origin, in this thread on the projectguitar site:

http://projectguitar.ibforums.com/index.php?showtopic=7512&hl=sustainer

(notice that this thread has 25 pages of posts !!!)

There are a couple different ideas people have- some are using the circuit above, others are doing other things. Some are using a speaker, some are using a coil. in fact, a guitar pickup can be used for this, but I gather it's not that efficient, being made for sensing rather than creating vibrations in magnetic current. Still, some pro systems do just this, and take over the neck pup, which is apparently the best placement, though most people prefer to give up the middle pup so they can keep the neck pup. apparently a good source for a coil is doorbell buzzers... and another guy is winding his own and reporting back on how to wind the best coils...

There's also a difference between a feedback device which merely amplifies the signal and feeds it back to the pickup (they say microphonic pups work best) and a coil which actually induces continual vibration in the string, like an ebow does. Most people ar interested in the latter. However, I'm thinking the simple feedback effect may work for me- I wonder what would happen if you mounted a flat peizo speaker on the backside of a tremolo bridge (like, toward the tail of the guitar, inside the rout, on the bridge) and induced string vibration that way. And I wonder if you'll be able to hear the note amplified out the guitar body too...

just what I needed, more things to experiment with!


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