Relining a Guitar Case

Relining a Guitar Case

This project has been moved to the main Darkling Designs Website.

To view the full project please click the following link.

http://darkling.poppameth.com/relining-a-guitar-case/

 

Before

Original Condition

Original Condition

 

Removing the lining.

Removing the lining.

After

All Done

All Done

 

Project Preview – Relining a Guitar Case

I’ve been working on relining the case from my Roadstar II guitar. It’s a TKL chipboard case with a faux fur lining. It had evidently been in storage a while and picked up a nasty musty smell I couldn’t get rid of. The only way to remedy that was to rip all the lining out, seal the wood, and reline it. The project is nearing completion. I should have a pictorial guide up by the end of the week if I can get the migraines to leave me alone. It didn’t help that someone decided to delete everything on the camera’s memory card, but I managed to recover those images before they were overwritten.

Stay tuned.

Project Preview – Pedal Board Case

I’m in the process of building a case for my Little Holey Vengeance pedal board so I can actually get the pedals mounted and use the damn thing. Right now I hate to mount them and basically have nothing to protect them when not in use. This is the first case I’ve built so I doubt it will turn out perfectly. I’m building the frame out of 3/4″ plywood (left overs from the speaker cabinet) and the top and bottom will be 3/16″ birch underlayment grade plywood. I’m covering it in olive green vinyl to match the board and lining it with brown velour. The vinyl isn’t really meant for this application. It’s more of an upholstery type vinyl so it isn’t taking the glue the best. I’ll make it work though, even though I’m not foreseeing the seams turning out well. I got the vinyl cheap though. Plus I got to see the pretty girl (Denise) at the fabric store. Now that I’m single I can look all I want and not feel guilty!

I’m hoping to have the case finished up in a week or so. I’ll get full project details up with photos at that point.

Quick Updates

I just wanted to post up a quick update on the progress of a few projects.

1) The Holey Vengeance pedal board is to the point where the primer and base coats of paint are finished. The next step will be lettering and graphics painting, which I intend to work on some tonight. I also plan to post photos of the current progress in another Phase 3 mini update later this evening.

2) The Ibanez Roadstar II will finish up soon. My brass block has arrived and the new pickups have shipped. I’m hoping to have all parts in hand by the end of the week so I can finish it up.

That’s it for now.

Ibanez RG270DX Tremolo Upgrade for Cheap

Overview

This is a little guide detailing my recent project of upgrading the stock tremolo on my Korean Ibanez RG270DX. I was originally considering putting a Gotoh 1996 in it like the RG470 project I recently did. However, I decided I didn’t want to sink $180 into a tremolo I didn’t use that often so I found a far less expensive option.

The stock tremolo on the RG270DX isn’t all that bad. The base plate is not hardened steel like the higher quality tremolos. I’m not sure what it is, but it looks more like brass in coloration. The other drawback is that it’s a single locking tremolo, meaning that it has a locking nut but does not have locking saddles. After doing some research on the internet I found it mentioned several times that this tremolo could accept Floyd Rose locking saddles with no modifications. After a little more research I found that the best quality saddles of this type are the Schaller ones or the OFR saddles you get directly from Floyd Rose. Unfortunately these saddles run about $20 each, which get’s expensive enough that I may as well just put the Gotoh on the guitar. I did however find a good alternate set of saddles at StewMac. They are replacements for the OFR and only cost about $20-$25 for a set of six, depending on what color you want. Obviously, these aren’t going to be of the same quality as the OFR saddles, but all reviews say they are still very good. It seems that they are cast metal instead of formed steel. Again, I’m not sure of what kind of metal they are. I decided to go ahead and take a chance on them.

So for this project I’ve spent roughly $22.00 on saddles, $5.00 on a new set of posts and bushings from StewMac as well, and about $5.00 for a set of saddle shims. $32.00 isn’t a bad investment to turn a single locking tremolo into a double locking tremolo. Let’s move on to the details.

Dis-assembly

The first thing I need to do is remove the strings from the guitar and remove the springs and tremsetter from the back of my guitar.

Old Tremolo

Old Tremolo

Tremolo Cavity

Tremolo Cavity

Springs and Tremsetter

Springs and Tremsetter

Now let’s look at the new saddles I got from StewMac

New Saddles

New Saddles

And a comparison shot next to the old saddles. The sizing is almost identical.

Comparison

Comparison

Before proceeding with the tear down, I’ll take the time to measure each saddle position from the front edge of the base plate to the front of the saddle peak where the string rests. I’m hoping that by doing this I can duplicate these positions with the new saddles and avoid a massive headache setting the intonation, which is never easy with a Floyd style tremolo.

Measuring for Intonation

Measuring for Intonation

Next I’ll use a pin gauge to get the shape of the old saddle set. This works fairly well for recording the existing radius of the saddles if you don’t have radius gauges. You can get a pin gauge fairly cheap at any home improvement store. I usually use this for measuring the shape of window casings that I have to cut ceramic tile around.

Measuring the Radius

Measuring the Radius

Measuring the Radius

Measuring the Radius

Now I want to remove the old saddles from the base plate. First I’ll use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the string tubes from the rear of the tremolo.

Removing the old saddles

Removing the old saddles

After I’ve broken them loose I can finish removing them with just my fingers.

Removing the old saddles

Removing the old saddles

Next I need to use a hex wrench to loosen the bolts holding the saddles on the plate.

Removing the old saddles

Removing the old saddles

Removing the old saddles

Removing the old saddles

They slide right off without having to completely remove the bolts. This is the empty base plate.

Bare Plate

Bare Plate

I’ll mention a few things of note here. Notice the large hex screws in line with the tremolo arm holder. These screw hold the block onto the base plate. These may be of interest to you if you ever consider upgrading the block to something like a larger brass block in the future. Also notice the staggered pattern of the screws that were holding the saddles on. There are multiple holes for these to allow for greater adjustments to the intonation. I ended up moving one of these to the back hole to make the new saddle fit better. The old one was barely being held at the very tip.

Next I’m going to clean the plate while I have it apart. I’ll use an old toothbrush and a can of compressed air to get the loose dust and other crud off of it. Then I’ll wet a rag with denatured alcohol to wipe away any built up residues and other gunk.

Cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies

Denatured Alcohol

Denatured Alcohol

I’m using alcohol because it dries quickly, does a good job of cleaning, and isn’t so potent that it’ll take the finish off the metal.

Next I’m going to examine my knife edges for damage. Considering the cheap nature of this no name tremolo, they are in very good shape. There is very minimal wear on them. I’ll take a fine half round file and gently file them back into smooth round outs while I’ve got the tremolo out of the guitar. I should mention that these edges should be checked for damage at the beginning of the project. If they are in really bad shape they may not be useable and a new tremolo would be a better route to pursue instead of this low cost upgrade.

Filing the roundouts

Filing the round outs

Re-assembly

Now lets start putting things back together.

The first thing I want to do is swap out my pivot posts, which have some wear on them from over 15 years of use. In my other guides I showed you how to pull the bushings out of the wood and tap new holes for new bushings and posts. In this case, the new posts from StewMac are nearly identical to the old Ibanez posts. They are so close in fact that they screw right into the old bushings. That means it’s pointless to pull the old bushings. I’ll just swap the stud itself this time. I will note that these posts take a different size wrench than the old ones did and they don’t come with that wrench so I’ll have to add a few more wrenches to my guitar case.

Stud comparison

Stud comparison

Now it’s time to place the new saddles on the base plate. This is just like taking the old ones off only in reverse.

Installing the new saddles

Installing the new saddles

And here they all are after I measure them back into the same position as the originals and tighten them down.

New saddles installed

New saddles installed

I will note here that after stringing the guitar up and getting it all back in tune I discovered some string buzz due to the radius being slightly out. Most RG series guitars have a neck radius of about 16″. Most Floyd saddles are designed for a 14″ radius, which is not quite as flat. That means that my outer strings ended up being a bit too close to the fretboard in relation to the inner strings. To remedy this, I removed the high E and B saddles and placed a shim under them. The shims are just thin pieces of metal with a hole in them. They lay directly under the saddle to boost it up and the screw that locks the saddle to the base plate goes through the hole to hold it all in place. So far I just did these two saddles, but I may have to shim the low E as well once the strings stretch out completely and I get the entire assembly tweaked.

Now let’s see the tremolo once it’s back in the guitar.

New saddles installed

New saddles installed

I always put a drop of TriFlow Superior Dry Lubricant on each post when I put the tremolo back in. This is a thick liquid that dries very fast and leaves a thin layer of teflon behind with no sticky residue. It provides great lubrication to the knife edge without leaving a residue for dirt to stick to.

Strung Up

Strung Up

I also add a drop of the same lubricant to the peak of each string saddle where the string lays over it. I’m careful not to let any lubricant run down into the saddle where the block is. This can cause the string to slip out of the block. Just plug the hole with a paper towel while lubricating the peak.

Strung Up

Strung Up

I now have it fully restrung and the springs and tremsetter back in place. I’ve got it all pretty well balanced out. I’ll have to make some adjustments to the tremsetter once I get all of the stretch out of the strings and then I’ll start testing it. So far it sounds fine and the intonation came out pretty well perfect, just as I was hoping for. We’ll see how well it handles diving once I get the tremsetter adjusted.

I hope someone finds this guide helpful. I’ve seen a few questions about how to do this in the past. I’m sure this will work on other tremolos as well but you’ll have to figure out if the saddles will fit the tremolo you have in mind.

With all that being said, I’d like to conclude this guide by leaving you with a picture of my balls, which I can now proudly display thanks to my new locking saddles.

My Balls

My Balls

 

 

Making Your Own Instrument Cables – Part 2

Updated Information

This is an update with alternate methods of crimping from the original instrument cable article. This project has been moved to the Darkling Designs Website.

Please click the following link to view the full guide: http://darkling.poppameth.com/making-your-own-instrument-cables-part-2/

Homemade Pedal Board

Making a homemade pedal board.

I recently found some info on the net about making your own pedal board from Gorm shelving found at Ikea. Since I don’t have an Ikea anywhere near me I decided to improvise and see what I had laying around in the basement. I found a good size board of low quality white pine my cousin had given us to use for some shelving my mother wanted in the kitchen. This was left over so it was free for use. I also had some left over velcro so that wouldn’t need to cost me a fortune either. I work in a paint store so spray paint is easy to come by as well.

Once I got all my supplies together I used the table saw and band saw to cut out my design and my new table top sander to shape it up a bit. Here is what I ended up with after putting it all together with some left over drywall screws.

Pedal Board 1

Which color?

I decided to make the top tier a little higher than the bottom so it would be easier to hit those pedals. I also left plenty of spacing to feed cables through. I reinforced the edge and middle of the shelving to make sure the cheap pine didn’t crack when it was stomped on. The next step was choosing a color to paint it. I had orange, yellow and green on hand. I finally decided on orange because I’ve been GASing for an Orange amp lately.

The first thing I did was spray a coat of shellac primer on. Shellac is alcohol based and made from Lac Beetle droppings, which are a natural plastic. Shellac is one of few things that will seal the knots in the wood and keep them from bleeding through. I was going to use a brush on version that I had tinted gray because the orange paint would have covered it better. Unfortunately, that can was old and had turned to gel. So I sprayed it white.

After letting it dry overnight I sanded the primer coat and sprayed two light coats of orange on the top and bottom. I put short nails in the bottom of each corner so after spraying the bottom I could flip it over and stand it on those nails to keep it spaced away from the drop cloth while I sprayed the top. Spray paint is a real pain by the way. Bright colors are even worse. They don’t cover well and they are so thin that they run easily. It’s important to keep your coats thin and even.

After it dried for a couple of days, I sanded it with 600 grit automotive paper and sprayed two more coats on top. When this dried I really wasn’t happy with the results. I hate gloss finishes because they are so hard to get a good even result. This was no exception. Gloss spray paint tends to orange peel when it builds up leaving a textured finish. I sanded it down a little again and spray one more light even coat on it. It still isn’t quite up to my expectations but it’ll be good enough for this pieced together project. The next time I may try Dupli-color sprays. These are automotive paints and go on a bit thicker. Another good trick is to use a flat color coat instead of gloss, though flats are harder to find. Once you get a few good coats on you can wet sand it with 1000, 2000, and 3000 grit paper and get a very smooth finish. Once that is done you can spray it with a good clear coat to get your gloss or satin finish as desired. This is the way I intend to do the next board I make.

Here is how it has ended up so far. This is an almost complete photo.

Pedal Board 2

Ready for Velcro

I found some old metal trim from a counter top I took out of my kitchen a couple of years ago. I cut it to size and sanded it with 1000 grit paper to give it a shiny brushed look. I affixed this to the front edges of each shelf to keep the user’s boots from rubbing the paint off the edges or damaging the soft pine. I also attached 8 white rubber feet to the bottom of the board. There are three on each side and one on each center support. These keep the board from sliding around. I got them at Home Depot fairly cheap.

All I have left to do is add the velcro. I’m figuring on either two or three strips per shelf. I have to look at the pedals that will be used and figure out what spacing I want. I plan to use the self adhesive backing to stick it in place and then add a few staples since the adhesive they use tends to peel over time. I’ll post a final photo when I’m done.

Stay tuned for the next project which is a continuation of this one. I’ve got my supplies together to make some high quality patch cables from scratch. These will be used to daisy chain all the pedals together on the board. Good cables are a must. Too many people spend a fortune on boutique pedals and then put them together with cheap buzzing cables.

Update

Some final pics!

Board with Velcro

Board with Velcro

board5

Some Pedulz!!