Sabadil – Allergy Relief the natural way

Anyone with allergies, you have to try out Sabadil allergy relief. Tasha found it for me. All natural/homeopathic and works better than any regular allergy pills I’ve tried. Plus I don’t feel groggy or drowsy.

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String tension

I’ve been thinking about how much I miss playing a short scale guitar.  The Harmony Bobkat I had back in the day was a 24″ scale and due to this, the strings were very “slinky” and easy to depress.  This is less a factor of the scale and more just basic low string tension.  Given the same size string, the smaller scale guitar will have a lower tension at the same pitch.  But, you can always run a smaller string on a longer scale guitar for the same tension.  Of course this does affect the tone.  Larger strings have more “umph” and put out more voltage across the pickups.  But, for what it is worth, a “normal” size string set for electric guitar is 10-46 and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top runs a set of 8-38, “lite – lite” strings.  His tone seems fine.

There is another problem with light gauge strings though.  They tend to get “buzzy” on cheap guitars with poor fretwork, and they also don’t work well with drop tunings.  Lastly, they require a light touch – something I’ve been working on, but still lack almost entirely.

So I started using a string tension calculator and found that the set of 10’s I was running on the Bobkat would have had about 14.4 lbs of tension on the high e string.  I currently run 10’s on my Telecaster (25.5″ scale) which equates to a tension of 16.2 lbs.  I was thinking I would have to run a set of 9’s to get into the comfy range, but that would actually get me down to about 13.1 lbs.  It turns out, DR (and probably some other manufacturers), has solved this problem and created a set of 9.5 strings.  They run 9.5 to 44.  On my tele that would end up with a tension of 14.6 lbs – perfect.  Some call these string sets “halfsies” because there is a 9.5 and 11.5 string on the top end, the rest are standard whole integers.  So, my conclusion is that whenever I get my fretwork done, I will have it restrung with a set of 9.5’s.  Then things should be buzz free, still be able to drop tune if wanted, and have the easy playing lower string tension I was use to on my old guitar.

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New Made in USA vs Used

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject in regard to guitars.  Does it make sense to purchase a brand new Made in USA guitar, thus supporting US manufacturing, or a used guitar.  There are benefits to both.  Let me break it down the way I see it.

There are a few things that come to mind when I am buying anything.  First, where is this item made (yes, I really do think this first as I like to support the US manufacturing industry).  Second, what is the environmental impact of this product (how it was made, materials used etc).  Third, price.  I’m not including functionality/features because I wouldn’t even consider an item that didn’t meet those criteria to begin with.

Buying new you get the benefit of supporting any company/manufacturer you choose.  This means in my case, I can hopefully support a US company that makes it’s products here.  This helps keep money within the US economy and keeps jobs around.  Without someone purchasing these products, the company would fail.  But, the downside of purchasing new is two fold.  First there is an environmental impact.  Whether the product is made of virgin or recycled material, there will be some waste and energy put into creating this item.  Second, it will no doubt be substantially more expensive than a used item of similar quality.

Buying used you get the benefit of supporting local business (assuming you buy from a local vendor), though not supporting the manufacturing industry.  This is still keeping money in the local economy, and in some ways, much better than buying new direct from a manufacturer, because you are keeping the money VERY local, within your own community – directly helping people you know and see every day.  There is also virtually no environmental impact, because this item has already been created.  That burden (in my mind anyway), was put on the original purchaser of the item when new.  The price will also be less, so there is a monetary incentive to go used.  Now the downside is that, as mentioned before, you are not supporting the manufacturer at this point.  If everyone did this, they would go under and eventually all used pieces would get sold/worn out and you would no longer have access to these products.  The other downside is that sometimes it is hard to find exactly what you want in a used item, so you may have to make a compromise.

In the end, I normally tend towards buying used.  Though if I can afford it and the environmental costs aren’t too large, I will consider buying new.  In the case of guitars etc, I currently own a guitar that I purchased used.  I have since upgraded many pieces on it, all of which were purchased locally and/or made in the USA.  What it really comes down to is thinking about what you are buying and where you are sending your money/what impact your purchase has on the future.

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More tele upgrades

I’ve gotten a few more things done to the telecaster.  First, chrome knobs.  I never did care for the black ones that had been on it.  These ones came from a Squire P-Bass my brother picked up for a project, he was changing his knobs anyway so they would have just sat on a shelf, perfect!  Second, I’ve weighted the tail of the guitar (channel between tone control and output jack) with a few ounces of BB’s), fixed my neck dive issue.  Lastly, I have just installed a set of Guitar Fetish stainless steel saddles (made in Korea).  They are wicked!

old-tele-saddles

These are the Graph Tec saddles that came on the guitar, along with the brass adjustment screws I put in shortly after purchase.  Notice how they are splayed and the lower E string isn’t lined up with the pickup pole?  Yeah, that’s nice.  These are made for a standard width, not the narrow “Asian” width of the cheaper telecasters like mine.

new-tele-saddles

These are the new Guitar Fetish stainless steel saddles. This is the “modern” style that belongs on this guitar versus the “barrel” style someone swapped on before I bought the instrument.  Same old bridge, now my 10.5mm spacing is proper, see the lower E string lining up like it should?  Nice.  The strings actually fit at the lower end of the fret board without slipping off the edge too!

tele-beauty-shot

Beauty shot showing all the recent upgrades.

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What? It’s March!

-15F this morning…not kidding.

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Wicked cold out!

Yup, it’s been a wicked cold one this year.  Tuesday, February 24, 2015 we had a low of -24.2F here in Norridgewock, ME.  Yeah, that’s wicked cold.

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Rock ‘n Roll

Vaughn and I have a standing father/son time every weekend in the morning playing guitar.  Recently he has started to play with me, clicking the button on an old stomp box I made back in college.  This morning I decided to try my hand at some Siravo.  So I tuned down to drop C, cranked the overdrive to 11 on my little K-20X, flipped down to my bridge pickup on the tele, and did my best to keep up.  Vaughn was impressed, quickly telling me that it “sounds like rock ‘n roll, daddy!”  That made me smile.

I did quickly learn that I need to practice my rock rhythm guitar chops badly and that it is also very unlikely I will fill in for rhythm duty in the Siravo lineup any time soon.  But, little mister and I had a blast doing it, and we filled the house with obnoxious guitar noise like I was in high school again.  Good times.

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Fralin Tele Splits

Someday I’m going to upgrade my tele, and when I do, it will have these cool Fralin’s on it:

Mockup: Affinity Telecaster with Fralin Tele Split-Blade Pickups

Mockup: Affinity Telecaster with Fralin Tele Split-Blade Pickups

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Desk mods

My desk is also my workstation and I need to keep little fingers from my dangerous leaded electronic parts etc, so I gated it off.  Using a bit of ingenuity, an old refrigerator shelf, a junk piece of wood, and a small section of brass rod I came up with this locking door:

Desk - door closed

Desk – door closed

Desk - door open

Desk – door open

To open the door requires you to pull the brass rod out (which is flush with the side of the desk on purpose so little fingers can’t do it easily) by first moving it slightly out with your finger via the slot, then lift the door up a half inch, then proceed to open.  Closing is a simple reversal of the process.

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I love our son

Our little man, now three years old, is such a good boy.  He does take a lot out of you though.  For instance, tonight I had to read to him for an hour before he would go to sleep.  Even though my voice gets a bit hoarse, it is worth it. 

Oh, yesterday he told me, “Daddy has big muscles, Daddy strong!”  That made my day :-)

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