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Archive for the ‘Rock Gear’ Category

I’ve never owned a Gibson amp, but I see them around and always think they are interesting.  Then a GA-20 showed up on eBay and it caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

1. The GA-20 is very much like a Fender tweed Deluxe.  Both have two 6V6 power tubes (maybe my favorite power tubes), simple controls (volume, tone) and compact cabinet with a single speaker.

2. This GA-20 was really cheap at $225.  It was cheap because it had been recovered in smooth, black vinyl and has a non-original, non-vintage 12” speaker.

3. Maybe it would be a good project to either restore back to original condition, or mod into a killer little amp.

So I bought it.  With shipping, just under $250 invested.  Here is what it looked like when I got it:

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I recently worked a deal that netted me a tweed Fender Bandmaster.  The model designation for this amp is 5E7, which is the classic narrow panel 3×10 bandmaster produced form 1955 to 1960.  These are cool amps.  The three ten-inch speakers is interesting, and sounds punchy.  Of course it is all tube with 5881 power tubes and three pre-amp tubes.  And it is all point-to-point wired by hand – no printed circuit board or el-cheapo components.  The ideas is to get as close to how Leo Fender was doing it back in the 50s as possible.

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I read an ad on Craigslist for a vintage Ludwig drum kit that need some work.  The photos posted were small and blurry, so it was a pretty tough to see what was actually being offered.  Even though the images were poor, I could tell there was a chrome snare drum, and it looked to be a Ludwig Supraphonic.  I’ve always wanted one of these drums, and I figured maybe I could get the whole kit pretty cheaply.  I went to the seller’s apartment after work to have a look, and decided the whole kit was not really something I wanted (it was mismatched and the insides of the shells had been painted black).  But the snare turned out to be a 1970 (date stamp visible inside) Ludwig Super Sensitive in decent shape.

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After having so much fun with my Project Ludwig Snare Drum, I decided I needed another project…

Are you familiar with the Rogers Dyna-Sonic snare drum?  If not, you should be.  They were once called “The Cadillac of snare drums,” and they featured some of the most unique innovations.  And I just bought one off of some StonerDude down in Kyle, Texas.

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A brief update on the Ludwig project snare…

Jammin’ Sam came through and delivered the silver sparkle wrap that will nicely match my Ludwig kit.  If you have never wrapped a drum before, Jammin’ Sam makes it really easy.  You call him and give him the measurements on the shell.  He pre-cuts the wrap and applies the tape to the back.  No glue or cutting is involved which makes the job really easy.

Here’s my shell and the wrap prior to installation:

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I always like a project.  Just that kind of guy I guess.  So, here is the idea behind my latest undertaking…

If you read the post, then you know I have an old 1970’s Ludwig four-piece kit which I re-wrapped in silver sparkle.  I love the kit.  It looks and sounds great.  The kick, tom and floor tom are the drums that I re-did, not the snare. 

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Since I graduated from Michigan State University back in 1990, I’ve not really considered additional education or advanced degrees.  First off, how much smarter can I get?  I may have peaked around my sophomore year.  But also, I have never been interested. Simply put, not in to it.  Until now!

Yep, I’m going to go back to school. 

Tuition is pretty steep, but I think it’s worth it.

Amp School, here I come!

Two days of intensive training on how to build a classic tube guitar amplifier.  You actually build your own custom tube amp during the class.  How cool is that?  You learn all about how tube amps work, and why they sound the way they sound.  You’re taught how to assemble the amp, including soldering.  You even get schooled on mods.  I’m so down with this class.

So, maybe for my birthday, if I’m good, I might get this class as a gift.  $1,600 may be kinda expensive, but you do come home with a boutique tube head that is your own creation.  And you just can’t put a price on that. (Well, I guess you can. They put it at $1600 bucks).

Who’s with me?  Check it out here.

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I know how concerned EVERYONE is on the status of my new Tele, and the good news is that it’s back from Oatley’s Guitar Garage, and I must say that Tom Oatley really outdid himself.  The guitar is a peach.  Love it.  It plays great and feels great too.  Cheers Tom. 

The set-up required removing the bridge to flip it around, and that flip required all of the saddles to be removed and re-installed in the proper position.  Tom raised the bridge a bit and then was able to lower the saddles so that everything was working properly.  When I first got it, the bridge was all the way down, so the saddles were raised up so high that the intonation screw was actually rubbing on the guitar string.  Tom sorted it out skillfully.

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I like playing the drums.  And I like working on them, because I am a bit of a tinkerer.  But I don’t particularly enjoy putting new heads on because I’m simply not great at tuning drums.  My brother is an ace at this, but he’s in Michigan and I’m in Texas, so I’m on my own.

No worries, I’ve done it before at it always works out although it can be a bit frustrating while I am doing it.  But I’ve set aside an hour to re-skin the snare, tom and floor tom.  I’ll leave the kick for another time because it is actually sounding pretty phat right now.

So, it’s right about noon, I’ve just lit a cigar, I’ve got a Miller Lite, I’m out in the garage and I’ve decided to do a real time post as I re-skin the three drums.  It should take me about an hour I reckon.  I want to have this done by 1:00 PM for sure, should be no problem.

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This is the is the companion article to “Good Lord, that’s a lot of guitars.”, but with the focus on amplifiers this time.  Granted, I’ve not owned as many amps as I have guitars, but there are fair amounts, as the headline indicates.  Also, this article further supports my claim to total embarrassing guitar nerd-dom, so don’t be thinking that is new news to the Jeddler.  Here we go basically in chronological order as best as I can remember…

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A New Addition – UPDATE

Just a quick post to update EVERYONE on the status of the new guitar… I know so many people are on the edge of their seat wondering, What is going on with Jed’s new git?  Or am I just practicing my typing skills and talking to myself (more likely)?

The guitar arrived Friday by the time I arrived at work.  It made the trip with no issues and/or damage (it only traveled from Houston).  The case is pretty cool even though I don’t think it is a Fender case.  It’s a nice tweed on the outside and the inside is plush. The Tele sits in there nice and snug.

The guitar itself looks great; very clean.  Only found two small dings and they are virtually unnoticeable.  I don’t mind dings anyway.  It definitely needs a set up as the action is a bit high for my taste.  And I think the bridge needs to be sorted out a bit.  The only other thing is the ¼” jack is loose.

So, it’s off to Guitar Garage this week for Tom Oatley to do his magic including a full set-up and reversing the control plate to get that dang switch out of my strumming path.

I’ll keep ALL of you posted.

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A new addition.

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I bought a Fender Telecaster over the weekend on eBay.  I’m so fired up to get it and the seller tells me it will be delivered to my work on Friday (tomorrow)!  Awesome.

For you git-heads, it’s not anything super collectable or rare, just a Fender Telecaster Custom ’62 reissue.  This is basically a replica of the double-bound pre-CBS Tele with a Bigsby.  The finish is a nice three-tone sunburst.  I like the rosewood fretboard and yellowed (faux aged) finish on the neck.  And dang if a double-bound Tele isn’t the best looking Tele of all time.  These Japanese-made Tele are really well made and have a nice vibe.  They are light but very solid and tight.

Why did I buy this guitar?  Well, it’s going to be a little customization project for me. 

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Drum Conundrum.

I have a sweet ‘70s Ludwig drum kit.  I bought it when I lived in North Carolina for about $300.  It had originally been black, but had since been stripped of the wrap and brush-painted in natural.  But the drums are nice and big (24” kick, 13” tom, 18 floor) and I thought they would be cool in a period-correct silver sparkle.

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Welcome to the pinnacle of guitar nerd-dom.  The following is a list of every guitar I have ever owned (off the top of my head, I may be missing a few).  Trust me, I could go in to a lot more detail, but I’m afraid I’d be creating a black hole in the web with my super-concentrated geekness.  Enjoy.

  1. 1964 Fender Jazzmaster– Bought this from a classified ad on AOL (pre-eBay days) for about $450.  The finish was stripped and it had a brushed-on clear finish.  Everything else was original including the tortoise pickguard, pickups and slab rosewood fretboard.  I had the body refin’d to Burgundy Mist, a Fender Custom Color, and added a repro greenish-white pickguard.  I think I sold this for about a grand after a year.

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