Sunday, 30 December 2012

Quickie - Hondo II Parts

Ordered new machine heads, switch and nut for the Hondo II 'Faker. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that W. D. Music do enclosed bass machines of the right type and measurements so shouldn't have to do any unnecessary drilling. Win.

Still need to get a new scratchplate and a load of new screws to replace the rusted/stripped ones, of which there are many. This is pretty much going to be a trawling hardware shops job as the screws used on these Asian copies are narrower and slightly longer than the ones used on modern guitars so you can't just go to a guitar parts website and buy them.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Still for Sale - Jackson KVX10 with Hardcase.

Still trying to sell this, it's a pretty good instrument just not really 'me' any more. Email me if interested.

Jackson KVX10 - For Sale

I'm after £250 or thereabouts for it. I will consider dropping the price if the request is reasonable and you're willing to haggle. Demanding I knock £100 off and then refusing to budge will just make me judge you.

I should point out, due to recent events, that I may take a little while to respond to emails regarding this. There are good reasons for this, I AM NOT A TIME WASTER just busy and occasionally too tired to think about stuff like this, and if a lack of instantaneous response causes you to lose interest at least have the manners to tell me so.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Peavey Roadmaster - Testing


That was mostly successful.

The amp works, and sounds come out of it. The clean channel is nice and warm and clear, the reverb works but is a little noisy (not imagining this being an issue with high-gain doom though).

But the lead channel is still fizzy and glitchy and cutty-outy. Which sucks.

Well, from a certain perspective it's quite cool, as it'd be useful for noise stuff, but I imagine it won't do Eric's overall health much good if I keep using it. It's a bit of a mystery as all the relevant valves tested okay and all the big caps are brand new...

I've sent Oli a message to see if he has any ideas.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Eric's Got Some Brand New Caps

Having sent my Peavey Road Master head off to Oli for general diagnosis, I now have him back along with some new capacitors. After establishing that the big filter caps weren't going to ELECTROCUTE ME TO DEATH I began unplugging and de-soldering so I could whip the boards out and replace the caps.

Pre Amp Valve Board Connections

The de-soldering was something of a pain in the arse, not only because a lot of the stuff I de-soldered had no reason not to be some kind of plug connection, but because two of the wires I de-soldered had actually been a plug connection until the mysterious Mr. Previous Owners made something inside the amp explode and then made a bit of a pig's ear of fixing it. There are lovely scorch marks on various bits of the power board.

Anyway, with that done there was some rather more expected de-soldering to get the original caps off and then the new ones were soldered into place.
Power Board Connections
New Filter Caps

Old Pre-Amp Caps New Pre-Amp Caps

Eric himself remains in bits as it's quarter to eleven at night so I won't be able to test him anyway. Hopefully I'll be able to to that before Christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Prepare for Battle!

As you will have noticed I don't update this very often. The thing is that fixing up guitars is expensive and as I've not yet taken on any serious paid work for other people I don't have the money to just go out and buy stuff to put in my current projects.

Something that's not expensive though is making battle jackets, and I thought I might as well start posting about mine. I've resisted for many years, but I figure that at 33 years of age I can be as much of a cliché as I like because damn it I'm doing it knowing it's a cliché.

Battle Jacket - Front

Battle Jacket - Back

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hondo II Rickenfaker

Regular readers will be aware that I'm quite keen on the aesthetics of Rickenbacker 4000 series basses, but less keen on Rickenbacker as a company, so I compromise by being into so-called Rickenfakers.

Yesterday I bought a Hondo II Rickenfaker (not sure what the actual model name is) that needs quite a bit of TLC; at the very least a new switch, replacement machineheads, and a lot of cleaning.
Hondo II - Headstock Hondo II

 It looks awesome. And is far closer in apperance to a 'proper' Rick than my Retrovibe RV-4.

There are more pics over on Flickr.

Now it's lunchtime, and I'll start the cleanup this afternoon.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

For Sale - Jackson KVX10 with Hardcase

I have been trying to sell this for bloody ages. I'm more into more classic/retro styles these days, so don't really play it much. This is the very guitar the scammer I blogged about claimed they were interested in.

Jackson KVX10 - For Sale

I'm after £250 or thereabouts for it. I will consider dropping the price if the request is reasonable and you're willing to haggle. Demanding I knock £100 off and then refusing to budge will just make me judge you.

It's on eBay, but to be honest I'd rather deal direct. Email me if interested (that is not my real email account, because of aforementioned scammers).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Quickie - Harley Benton HBB200 (?)

Said to a work colleague I'd check out and fix her daughter's bass which I think is a Harley Benton HBB200 (active small body P & J)... odd beastie in that it seems to have passive controls and active pickups (there's a battery in the control compartment, but the pots and stuff are just regular pots and stuff and there's no PCB. If anyone can shed some light on this I'd be grateful).

Anyhoo, the problem was simply that the bass 'had stopped working one day', which sounded like would be either a bad solder joint or a bad pot. Got the bass home (and lost several doom points for carrying a hardcase covered in Spongebob Squarepants and Kerrang! stickers from Cardiff to Swindon) and plugged it in, no signal... twiddled the knobs and suddenly there was noise. Still not sure at this stage what the controls actually are so off comes the back and into the cavity. Pretty basic set up with two volume and two tone pots, along with the aforesaid battery... and at this point I realise the problem. The battery is mounted to a metal clip which is screwed to the side of the shielded cavity, and the tone pot for the P pickup has come slightly loose and turned so one of the contacts touches the battery clip presumably (happy to be corrected if wrong) meaning when the tone is on full the signal is being shorted to ground.

Tightened the nut on the pot, and moved the battery clip so if the pot comes loose again the only thing it can come into contact with is the insulated connector.

Job done.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Fixing Eric the Destroyer

Took my Peavey Road Master Vintage Tube Series over to Mr. Foxen's to get a service.

First of his blog entries about it is here.

ION I'll post the final part of Fun With Scammers tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Fun With Scammers - Part Five (already!)

Impatient scammer is impatient.
What is going on there? Have made the payment into your account and have not hear back concerning the transfer details .Kindly get back to me asap.


So here's my response (as per a suggestion by Mr. Foxen)

Hi Miriam,

Sorry it's taken a while to get back to you, but as you can understand I am a very busy man and cannot always deal with things immediately if they happen during the day.

I'm afraid I must ask you for a payment of an extra £20 to cover the shipping, as PayPal fees removed from the amount you have sent me will leave me out of pocket when I transfer the money to the shipping agent. Once I have received this amount I will go ahead with the money transfer to the shipping agent.

Love and kisses,
Howard Philips Lovecraft
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Scammer got back to me. Has 'sent' the £20. Foxen reckons policy is to blindly agree to stuff so as not to scare off the marks.
Have sent the additional £20  now,Kindly make the transfer asap and get back to me .

My response. Just generally seeing if I can freak them out a bit now.

 I will do. Just waiting for

dry skulls in a dusty valley

the money to clear into my account and as soon as it

with all the tops sawn off

has I'll do the transfer.

Urlock Gaur

Fun With Scammers - Part Four

So... a flurry of activity from my scammer.

First a screen cap of an email from 'PayPal'.
'PayPal' Email

Further down the page is the shipping address, which is in Surrey. I won't share the address as it is a real place and therefore is somebody's actual house.

Next up was an email from the courier:

International Shipping Company.
Overseas Shipping of your personal effects, furniture and household goods.
Weekly shipping to over 5000 destinations. Daily collection from anywhere in the World.

Quality International Overseas Moving Services from 1st Move International Removals Company. As full members of BIFA we pride ourselves in bringing safe, secure, cost saving services to our customers.

We specialize in looking after you belongings by securely
packing them with our unique export packing system, offering
full marine insurance which is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance.
We also use our buying power to get the best shipping rates
available for your move.

We have daily collections from most of the UK and weekly sailings toover 5000 different destinations worldwide.

Our experienced members of staff are here to make your international move as quick, smooth and hassle free as possible. They will be on hand to answer any questions or queries that you
may have about your move.

Dear Horatio Nelson,

We have successfully calculated the pick up cost according to the delivery address given to us by your purchaser and your own pick up address. The total pick up cost is £300.00 GBP However, we have been asked to expect the pick up cost from you through Western Union Money Transfer. You will send the pick up cost to our agent who will come for the pick up. Below is the details you will need to send the money:

Adeniji Olalekan
80 Bourke Street
Sunny Side
South África.

You will need to send the money through Western Union Money Transfer, you can easily do that by going to any nearest Western Union office, You will need to send the following information as soon as you have sent the money:

Sender's name and full address

Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)

You will use the following security question and answer while you are sending the money:

Security Question: What is it for?

Answer: Pick Up

We will be looking forward to read from you so as to know when we should expect the money and to arrange for the pick up date and time.

Still not convinced, get back to us through our Customer Care Email Desk @ ( For customers feedback.....................

Get your Free personalised removals quote by completing the quote request form here

Check out the ShrinkFast Packing system here - it protects your cargo whilst in transit!

Free moving boxes and packing supplies for 1st Move international movers

See what our customers think of us

How to contact our team, email, phone fax and postal address are here

1st Move International Removals Home Page Online Forms Moving Tips

No screen cap because it really is text only. This copy 'n' paste cannot truly show how amateurish this is, the justification is all wonky and there are no logos or graphics anywhere, none of the links actually contain URLs, and a quick look on Google only mentions '1st Move International' in connection with scams. The most jarring thing though is why a guitar being shipped to Surrey would need a £300 shipping fee sent to South Africa.

And finally from 'Miriam':
I have made the payment now, im sure you must have received the payment notification message from PayPal regarding the payment. The pick up company wanted £300 for the pick up and delivery, so i have included it in the payment i made. I have also informed the pick up company, im sure they will contact you regarding the details you will used to send the money. Please make sure you send the money to them on time and arrange pick up time and date.

Thanks and hope to hear back from you asap.

I am currently considering my next move.

Fun With Scammers - Part Three-and-a-half

'Miriam' has apparently transferred funds to a PayPal account that doesn't exist. And the courier wants me to wire money to South Africa. More later.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Fun With Scammers - Part Three, plus Helping People Out

Heard back from the scammer, but was busy so it took a while to get back to them.
Thank you so much. I have forwarded the address to the shipping company so they can calculate the pick up and delivery cost for me to make the payment. I'm sure they will contact you soon. I would like you to know that the payment will be made via PayPal because is fast and secured to send and received money online, All you have to send me is your paypal email address so I can make the payment immediately.

Hope to hear back from you asap.
 And my reply:

Hi Miriam,

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, being a Timelord is a very busy job and there were some Yeti in the Underground that needed dealing with urgently. Don't let this put you off though, I am still very willing to sell you this instrument.

My PayPal email address is ravenor@ordoxenos.inq

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Grigori Rasputin
Russia's Greatest Love Machine
 Generally going for a less consistent and more surreal thing now.

As for the 'helping people out'... A comment on Part Two of this little adventure came from someone else who is also being scammed by 'Miriam' and wanted to know how to deal with it, I offered the best advice I could which is to report the scammer to Gumtree. And I really suggest that people generally take that approach, I just happen to be in a particularly happy/mischeivous mood at the moment which is why I'm deliberately baiting the scammer instead of going through official channels.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Fun With Scammers - Part Two

Heard back from the scammer, who is operating under the rather dull nom de clavier Miriam Berma.
I wish to let you know that I'm satisfied with the conditions and i will like to inform you that am buying the item for my Family in Thornton Heath,so i will be the one responsible for the pick up and delivery stuff.kindly get back to me with your full name and address so that i can forward it to the pick up agent to calculate the pick up fees for me.


Joy to You and Me!!!

Here is my response. Tactics used here are changing names, obviously fake address and a random Invader Zim quote at the end of the message.

Hi Miriam,

It's great to know that you are completely satisfied with a guitar that is in a constant state of exploding, I do hope your family enjoys it.

My full name and address is:
Harry Paget Flashman
221b Baker Street

I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding the collection

Archibald McNulty

TAQUITOS! And a clown with no head!
Stay tuned!

Fun With Scammers - Part One

For quite a while now I've been trying to sell a 2002 Jackson KVX10. Thus far the only interest I've had has been from people who don't understand simple things like "no I won't take it all the way to Southampton unless you guarantee you'll buy it" or "dropping £100 off the price based on the cost of buying the current entry-level Jackson new is never going to happen."

But now I have what appears to be a scammer who has found my ad on Gumtree. The first communcation from them was a simple "is this item still available" message, to which I replied "for a legitimate buyer, yes."

This morning I got this message through (via Gumtree's own messaging service. No way was I going to deal direct until I had a fake email set up, of which more in a bit):
Ok, before we can proceed abt this sale i will like to know your

Contact number :..........
Email :..........
Condition of the item & Best price :..........

So pretty much a definite scam, as this kind of broken English and insistence on dealing direct is pretty common. Of course it may not be a scam, so this is the point where I start being a bit silly (an idea I got from Mr. Foxen), to see what happens. So I sent this reply:
Thanks for your interest in the item

My contact number is 0898 474747
My email address is
The condition of the item is exploding.
The best price is £1,000.

Kind Regards,
Horatio Nelson (Admiral)

So quadrupled the price for a guitar that is currently exploding. The email address is a real one I've set up for the sole purpose of this 'transaction'.

Just gotta see what happens next.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Non-Guitar: Permanent Job

Well, hopefully the coming months will see a lot more activity from Atomic Tangerine as I have today accepted a permanent role with the company I am currently temping at.

A slightly greater disposable income from a non-temporary role means I can buy parts more regularly and maybe even branch out into doing gear reviews and stuff.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Flying V Bass Body

Further to previous posting I have now received the Flying V bass body. It's in pretty good nick overall, and seems to be made from a decent, solid hardwood (Not sure what type. Looks mahoganyish).


The previous owner has already had a go at removing the existing finish, which will make it a bit easier for me to strip the remainder and get some decent laquer on.

This project is likely to cost a bit, as cheap aftermarket bass soapbar pickups and non-Fender-style necks don't really exist so it's most likely that I'll be going with Seymour Duncan or maybe Kent Armstrong for the pickups and unless a better alternative presents itself Warmoth for the neck. Seeing as how everything else is going to have to be a more expensive option I might as well get a Hipshot bridge as well. And then this'll become my main bass so I can damn well get my money's worth from it!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Recent Purchases

It's all go here chez Dreadful... at least planning-wise it is...

Recently got a Crafter Junior guitar neck off eBay to go with the Squier Strat body I got off Mr. Foxen. The neck pocket will need to be made a little bigger but that's not a huge issue. Also going to get some Nitromors or somesuch soon to remove the 'burst finish and once that's done FiL will help me out filling the trem cavity and sorting out the channel someone thought it'd be awesome to chisel between the control and jack cavities. Electronics and hardware plans have already been covered here if you're interested.

And I'll soon be getting another bit of wood from eBay, this time a Flying V-style bass body (which may or may not include bridge and tuners). £21 including postage seems a pretty damn good deal to me. That's going to either get soapbar pickups or I'll fill in the pickup cavities so I can put P-bass style split coils in.

So now I'd best start budgeting for all the other parts I need.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Quickie: Plasti-Kote Polyurethane Spray Paint

It would appear that I have found the way to refinish those guitars that just aren't quite good enough to need nitro lacquer.

Friday, 8 June 2012

New Gear: Behringer BDI21

Behringer BDI21

So, just before the Julibee weekend I ordered a Behringer BDI21... I'd heard good things about it but being aware of Behringer having a somewhat less than awesome reputation for build quality I was a little wary, but eventually decided that at just over £30 including postage it wasn't going to have a huge impact if it just turned out to be a box of useless electronics.

I picked it up from the local Royal Mail depot today.

It's isn't just a box of useless electronics.

The basic test rig was my Retrovibe RV4 running via the BDI21 into my Peavey Firebass 700 head and Thee Cab ov Elvis. With everything plugged in I set the EQ on the Firebass flat, set the BDI21 to 'Fat Tube'*, plucked a couple of notes using only the dry signal, and turned it on. Lovely. The sound was immediately fatter and warmer than anything I could get with the Firebass alone (which, while awesome, is woefully solid state at times) and even at low volume there was a satisfying rumble that I could feel through the floorboards. The 'SVT' and 'Solo' settings are also pretty damn cool, so I don't feel compelled to spend loads of time fiddling to try and get a perfect sound out of it (though I'll probably do that anyway). Adding in some Mids at the Firebass rounded everything out nicely.

Next up was adding the good ol' Bass Big Muff to the chain and seeing how that fared in line with the BDI21. Wow. Just... wow. Amazing sound, head and shoulders above anything I can get out of the Big Muff going straight into the Firebass. Where before it was cool, but at the same time somewhat muddy and lifeless, now it is satisfyingly mean and growly with decent definition even with the Sustain on max. Disappointingly the Woolly Mammoth clone doesn't fare so well, and the Bassballs barely seems to do anything at all.

Would definitely recommend the BDI21 to others, it's bloody fantastic.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Joe's Guitar

Finished and set up. Sounds pretty good.


On the fragility of plans...

Guitar build may yet end up being a bass build.

If it does it'll be a kind of Rick/P-Bass hybrid. But with extra P in the form of a second pickup closer to the bridge. Contoured Rick-style body, P or maybe even J neck, not sure exactly what hardware or controls as yet.

It'll be called a 'Rickecision' because 'P-Rick' was funny for exactly as long as it took me to type 'P-Rick'.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Behringer BDI21

Just ordered one of these, as there's no way I can even remotely afford any SansAmp gear right now but I want to get in on the analogue valve amp emulation bandwagon.

More when I've got the thing and have had a chance to play with it.

Saturday, 26 May 2012


Well, it's certainly been a bit of a day here at Atomic Tangerine. Having had a terrible night's sleep I overslept enough that I missed most of the overtime I'd volunteered for, enough that it simply wasn't worth going in. Fail. So following shower, exercise and breakfast I decided to get going on that Stratcopy I'm working on for a friend.

I downloaded a generic wiring diagram from StewMac, and set to work. I won't bore you with all the details but I ended up with a pretty neat wiring job.

Yuh huh, I'm pretty happy with that.

So neck the pickups go in, the neck and middle from the Strat body I got from Mr. Foxen, and the bridge was originally the neck pickup in my old Jag-Stang, so the guitar has a 6.0k bridge pickup as opposed to 5.2k.

Aaaaanyway, I wire up the jack, ground the bridge and set to work using my trusty old Peavey Envoy 110 and a tuning fork (it's much easier to test pickups this way as it means not having to remove brand new strings if you need to do more work), and what I found was a little surprising. Position 1 on the switch was giving me the neck pickup, position two was the neck and bridge combined, and the rest of the switch positions were giving nothing but silence.

So I look at the diagram and check the switch and realise that the wiring on the diagram needs a different switch, so I get yet another diagram and set about desoldering and re-wiring.

And this time it works. Which pleases me.

Now I need to re-string it and set it up left-handed as J injured his hand a while ago and is finding it easier to play left-handed now.

ETA: Oh yeah, and none of the knobs I have will go on the CTS* shafts so I need to get new knobs.

*Yeah, the eletronics are waaay better than needs to be in this guitar, but when there's only about a fiver difference between the generic electronics and the good stuff you might as well just get the good stuff.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Squier Strat Body

And here's the Strat body I got off Oli.

Tentative plan is strip, fill in the various holes including the channel that has been cut between the jack socket cavity and the control cavity*, refinish, and then load up an HH scratchplate from Axes 'R' Us with some GFS Mean 90s and wire it up using master volume, master tone and a 4-way blade switch (allowing series/parallel switching). Thinking I may go with black hardware.

*The 'plate has been taken off at least once before (badly, judging by the state of the screw heads) so I'm assuming whoever did it decided they'd rather hack up the body of their guitar than desolder or just plain cut the wires going to the socket.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Body Parts

Went out to get a loaded Strat scratchplate. Ended up with the whole body. Score! Cheers Oli.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

First Job - Rockwood by Hohner LX90L

And so here it is, the first project I'm doing for somebody else!

Rockwood LX90L

Popped round to my friend Joe's earlier for a cuppa and noticed he had a Strat copy sat in the corner, which I promptly offered to fix up for him. The guitar is a Rockwood by Hohner LX90L, which as Strat copies go is, admittedly, pretty low end.

Rockwood Electronics
Yes, the body really is made from fibreboard.

From what I can tell it has a reasonable sound (it only had three very old strings on it and it's very noisy) and doesn't play too badly either. As is to be expected on a cheaper guitar those electronics have to go, so I might as well go the whole hog and get CTS pots and a Sprague 'Orange Drop' cap, and once that's done I'll re-assess the pickups. Further reports when there's something to report!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cathedral - Cosmic Funeral

Because it's been a while since I posted any music... let's groove, sonic motherfucker!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Because Everybody Loves Free Stuff...

There are quite a few guitar shops who have websites what you can buy stuff from these days. I must admit I never actually use them because I'm unemployed and have no money, but there are a few that I nevertheless have bookedmarked as they're well-designed and pretty user friendly.

One such place is Dawsons, but this is not an advert for them because... well... it isn't, it's a guy posting to his blog. But I digress, the main reason why I'm mentioning this place is because they have some pretty decent competitions, which when most comps are still US-based and open only to US citizens is pretty damn good. I figure if I enter enough of them I'll actually win something eventually too.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Lestelepaulcaster Design

Well, I'm still no closer to actually being able to build the guitar, but thanks to this software and some subsequent fiddling in MS Paint I have at least come up with a picture of what I intend the guitar to look like.

Tele-Paul Design

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Phone camera

I have finally spent some time learning how to use my smartphone's camera properly, including finding the macro function. Ultimately, this means better pictures on the blog!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Boss PH-2 Super Phaser - Gain Mod

Just did a simpified version of the gain mod from this site. The plan there is to remove the 27k resistor at R79 the PH-2 comes with and then do a switching thing between that and a 15k resistor (basically, lower resistance value means more volume), but really I cannot think of a reason why I'd need to switch between usable volume and really noticable drop in volume, so I went for the 'usable volume' option only, by doing a straight swap of the two resistors.

The picture isn't great as I still cannot find my camera, and my smartphone doesn't have a macro function that I can find, but helpfully the new resistor is bright blue and about twice the size of all the existing ones so it does stick out a bit.

Just did a quick test and it works a treat, now there is no volume drop at all when the phaser is switched on. I'd call that a win really.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Fender Jag-Stang & Boss PH-2 Super Phaser

Righto, I have a Fender Jag-Stang in bits that I want to really do something special with.

It's gonna be a quite a big project, as it'll have a complete refin on the body (including addition of tummy and forearm contours whilst it's naked), new scratchplate, new electronics (including different controls), new pickups and I'll be immobilising the bridge.

One thing that strikes me is that I rather like the look of matching headstocks on Fender-style instruments, so I'm considering it with this project. But I'm also wary of obliterating the 'Fender Jag-Stang' decal because even with keeping the serial number it may adversely affect the value should I decide to sell it on... I mean, yes by that point very little of what's on the guitar will be original anyway but people do get quite worked up over having the 'right' name.

Something to think on, and any comments on the matter are gratefully recieved.

In other news I'll be replacing the gain resistor in my Boss PH-2 Super Phaser at some point during the next couple of days as it needs a bit more oomph when I'm actually using it; when you;re into playing loud psychedelic doom stuff a pedal that actually drops the volume when switched on isn't that useful.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Harley Benton GA5 - Master Volume Mod

Today I fitted the master volume mod to the GA5 head. Does what it says on the tin really; providing more fine control over the amp's volume. Not much gain at the moment, which is a little disappointing as being a grumpy doomster I like lots of gain, but apparently that's easy to sort out and will be the aim of a future bit of modding. Need to get some better drill bits for doing metal as there'll be other mods going on this amp in future... and I was good and used clamps and saftey glasses when drilling.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Peavey Firebass 700 - Cleaning and Gutshots

After much struggling I got the innards out of the Firebass 700 head. Not helped by some pretty obtuse bolting and a stupidly heavy transformer.

Basically I needed to give the pots a clean as they were pretty noisy so this meant having to be able to get at the pots and spray them with contact cleaner.

Contact Cleaner

Firebass 700 - Front Chassis 1

Firebass 700 - Front Chassis 2

Also decided to take the back part of the chassis out, having discovered it's basically two parts, just to be nosy.

Peavey Firebass 700 - Rear Chassis

And here's the clever bolting, which is actually the bolt that holds the top carry handle on (there's a similar one at the other end).

Troublesome Bolt

Need to do some more cleaning some time, paintbrush and vacuum cleaner job, to get rid of all the dust on the inside but that's a job for another day.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Harley Benton GA5 - Master Volume Kit

Got this in the post today.

It's a simple kit, supplied by AlnicoMagnet on eBay, to modify a Harley Benton GA5 or Epiphone Valve Junior for proper master volume functionality; meaning that the pre and power amp stages have their own volume controls thus allowing greater control over the sound.

Friday, 10 February 2012

B.Y.O.C. Ego Boost...

See what I did there?

Random internet person has used my B.Y.O.C. Confidence Booster as an example of How It Should Be Done.

This pleases me. Now I need to save up for another B.Y.O.C. kit so that I may do more awesome soldering.

Peavey Roadmaster - Troubleshooting pt. 1

My Peavey Roadmaster head still has its original valves, the thing is nearly 30 years old and being a hard rockin' bad ass or something I tend to push it quite hard.

When I was playing through it yesterday I noticed that the pre-amp overdrive had taken on a fuzzy, glitchy quality. which did sound very cool but as valve amps are supposed to give you nice, warm, smooth sounds was probably cause for concern.

One quick consultation with Mr. Foxen later and it's probable that at least one of the pre-amp valves is dying. Luckily the Harley Benton GA5 head takes the same type of pre-amp valve (12AX7) so I have an easily accessable test rig for checking the valves.

Peavey Roadmaster - Front Panel Removed

Harley Benton GA5 - Chassis

So that's what I do... a quick check of each valve in the GA5's pre-amp to see if  they're all working fine. And they are. Which is puzzling, so I put them back in the Roadmaster, connect it all up, and switch it on; nice valve-y overdrive soon gives way to glitchy fuzz. There's definitely something wrong here, but I'm puzzled as to what exactly. Perhaps I need to push them harder in the GA5, which would be easier if it were a master volume amp. As it was I had the volume maxed but as I have neighbours I can't really spend ages bashing away because through a 4x12 cab even a 5 watt amp is pretty damned loud.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Retrovibe RV4 Coil Split

At some point I'm planning to do a coil split on my Retrovibe RV4 so I can get ALL THE TONES from it.

The question is which method to use for achieving this?

The most obvious is to buy a couple of push/pull pots and use those (plus another one for series/parallel switching). The problem with that is that it costs money and I'm currently an unemployed bum.

The next two options are probably better as I can do them with stuff I have about the house.

First is to utilise one or both tone controls to this end, providing me with a variable coil split on one or both pickups (and either one master tone control, or no tone control) which is better as I can then minutely adjust the perfect sound, instead of the simple one-or-both that straight forward switching offers.

Second (and probably vastly more unusual) is to have, basically, four volume controls; one for each coil. I know this is possible as there are diagrams for using such a set up with single pickup passive MM-style basses. I have no idea whatsoever whether this would be at all worth it, but it'd be an interesting experiment nonetheless.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Columbus EB-3 Copy - Taken to bits...

Took the EB-3 copy to bits today to have a look at the pickups and whether the neck pocket was shimmed.

Firstly it turns out the neck pocked was shimmed with a bit of folded copper. Columbus Neck Pocket Copper Neck Shim
(in the background can you can see how much I failed to keep the strings in place using a cable tie)
I've taken this out as I want to replace the bridge on this bass at some point (adjustable intonation FTW) and unless I bugger about installing a Tune-O-Matic style thing and have it set stupidly high I need the shim out so the neck sits at a shallower angle.

When I was over at Mr. Foxen's picking up the Woolly Mammoth clone he mentioned that a lot of cheap '60s knock off instruments featured single coil pickups under humbucker covers, which is something I was vaguely aware of as a friend has an LP copy with the same 'feature' So I took the pickups off and had a look at them and surprise surprise, they're both single coils masquerading as humbuckers.
Columbus Neck Pickup - Back Columbus Neck Pickup - Coil Bridge Pickup - Back

It's not something that's easy to see for the uneducated eye, but compare the above with pics of genuine equivalents.

(Not exactly the same style, but the bridge pickup is based on a Hofner humbucker and this is the closest gut shot I could find)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Woolly Mammoth Clone

Got myself a 'clone' of the Z-Vex Woolly Mammoth bass fuzz pedal. I know some would regard such a thing as depriving V-Vex of money and even try to claim some none-existent copyright infringment, but frankly when the original costs £250 and the clone cost £45 there's no contest really.

Rather pleased with it really, it means that I can now have the nasty buzzsaw type fuzz that I always felt my Bass Big Muff lacks. The EQ, admittedly, doesn't do an awful lot as far as I can tell and the fuzz control only makes a difference in the last 10% of its turn but I still like it.

Woolly Mammoth Clone

Bass Effects Rig

Monday, 16 January 2012

Columbus EB-3 Switch Replacement

Put the new switch in my Columbus EB-3 today.

Works a treat, actually being able to properly switch pickups makes a lot of difference and the bridge pickup comes through a lot more, suggesting dodgy contact in the original switch (but then it was nearly 40 years old so not surprising really). Also my best soldering job yet, big thanks to Mr. Foxen for the solder recommendation... lead solder really does flow a hell of a lot better.

Next on the list is buggering about with coil splits on the Retrovibe RV4. Have heard that using one of the tone pots as a variable split for the neck pickup and wiring the other as master tone works a treat so I'll have a go at that as it means spending no money (which is good as I'm unemployed. Again.)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Quickie - Columbus EB-3 Thumb Rest

Added a thumb rest to my Columbus EB-3 copy, meaning I can finally play it in my proferred position without having to have my right hand completely 'floating'.

Columbus EB-3 Thumb Rest

Also got a switch to replace the busted one it has already.

Monday, 2 January 2012

I've Got The Power

Turns out you can get 9v power supplies with tip-positive 3.5mm jack connectors from Maplin. Finally I can use my EHX Bassballs and Dunlop Crybaby without dicking around with batteries.