Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

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I found this old brass fireplace pan at my local antique mall and immediately saw potential. The wrought iron handle seemed like it would accommodate two strings and it was long enough to provide a reasonable scale.

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I based the scale and fret spacing off of my son’s 19″ Zakk Wylde Peewee Les Paul, which was about as far as I could push the space provided. I used the rim of the pan as a bridge and, even then, I only had about an 1-1/2 of usable surface behind the nut.

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As usual, space was tight; therefore, traditional tuners were not a viable option. Using the rim as a bridge, I installed the tuners down the side of the pan and my simple, linear machines were perfect for the space available. These tuners are cheap, efficient, and adaptable—many of my past projects would have been impossible without the flexibility offered by these machines. I placed the 1/4′ jack in the upper right instead of the lower right, because the protruding cord would be the least obstructive and it could double as a makeshift strap button.

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The head isn’t spectacular, but I do like the functional aspect of the built-in wrought iron hanger. The nut is fabricated of a brass bolt cut to length and filed down to half its diameter. I left the head on, because the bass string pulls with greater force than its counterpart. The knurled nuts are my personal favorite; if I could, I would find a place for them in every project—they just look so cool and sometimes offer excellent function.

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The pickup is my own Junk Shop Audio Nd144 style, great for 1-string to 3-string applications. It has a compact design and can be installed in a number of creative ways—in some cases it can even be hidden completely for a smooth, uncut top appearance, to better preserve original cigar box artwork.

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The strap nut is created from a bolt, a beveled washer, a 1/4″ aluminum sleeve, and a couple of nuts. However, its more important function is to attach the metal strip that holds the pickup in place. The strap is made completely from red and black duct tape; I feel it complements the instrument well.

Thanks,

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Quick and Dirty Acoustic Pickup

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I needed a pickup that I could easily install and remove from guitar to guitar—this is what I created with few spare parts I had laying around.

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I grabbed a Lego crate and lid got the housing and a RCA jack for the connection. The active agent is a piezo disk that I broke out of a buzzer housing.

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Drilled a hole in the bottom of the crate and installed the RCA jack.

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Then, I drilled a hole in the  lid and inserted the piezo wires.

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Next, I soldered the wires to the hot and ground terminals on the RCA jack and closed the crate.

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To allow for easy installation and removal, I added a 3/8″ removable Glue Dot to  the back of the piezo disk and one side of the Lego Crate. Done.

It needs some more sound shaping, but it has potential and is decent in a pinch.

Check out my video:

Thanks,

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Yard Dog Tremolo (controlled by cellphone app)

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So…this is the newest addition to my Yard Dog collection—super low rent manifestations of repurpose and modification. This project is based upon the mechanism present in the Strobe Light Tremolo; however, instead of utilizing an internal light source, the light comes from a free and ordinary cell phone app. This allows for many variations, as flashlight apps with strobe light features can vary in speed and brightness, thus allowing for a bit of customization from user to user.

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I started with an ordinary sardine can—cleaned it out and drilled the holes for two ¼” jacks and a single pole, double throw switch.

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It’s wired simply—audio in to switch with one side as a bypass and the other side controlled by the photocell. The photocell was extracted from an ordinary nightlight that comes on automatically when a room becomes dark.

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I originally had just the piece of painter’s tape over the top, but found that the phone created noticeable interference. Therefore, I lined the inside with aluminum foil and then carefully insolated the bottom with part of a sticky note and the top with more painter’s tape, just in case the foil shakes loose. Since the phone creates so much interference and it sits on top of the unit, I cut about an 1/8” of aluminum foil to keep my signal quiet; it is barely audible when the light turns on and off. I cut a small, strategic hole exactly where the phone’s LED light exits the phone.

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Duct tape was the lowest rent covering that I could thinking of, so I placed two pieces over the top and ran my thumb around the edge a few times. Then, I used a razor blade to cut the excess tape close to the outer edge. I found the hole and cut the duct tape and then wrote the name in red Sharpe.

That’s it—a simple, effective analog effect driven by digital technology.

Watch my video:

Classical Acoustic Resonator Guitar

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I picked up this broken Fender Classical Guitar at a local antique mall for pretty cheap. The bridge was completely ripped off and tied to the headstock in a sandwich bag. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but thought, why not.

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First, I tried to clean the broken wood off of the bridge and guitar top; I applied glue and clamped it—that proved unsuccessful, so I cut a big ol’ hole in the top about the size of a stove drip pan, because that’s what I do.

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I found that a paint can lid from a five gallon paint can fits perfectly over a stove drip pan—who knew. Four small screws were installed to keep the lid from shifting when the strings exert pressure. A tailpiece from an old acoustic was sanded and then added for greater stability.

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I cut the ends off of the bridge to make in more compact and then cut and stacked two pieces of brass rod to serve as a saddle.

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I found that this modification required a lot of reinforcement—I glued the bridge to the lid, cut small holes on either side, and then zip-tied a similar-sized block of wood to the bottom of the paint can lid from over the bridge. Additionally, I installed a brass bolt through the top of the lid that secured it to the drip pan via an old mounting bracket from a junction box.

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I strung it with nylon strings just to see what it would sound like—it doesn’t resonate similar to steel rather, the resonating sound comes from the unplayed/untouched open strings and the untouched top. The player must keep his or her arm off of the top of the guitar or it will sound like any other classical guitar, which is cool, because it offers flexibility with regard to sound.

That’s it; check out the video:

Stay tuned for the removable pickup rig that I have designed for use with this guitar, since nylon strings negate use of my 9 volt power adapter pickup.

Thanks,

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Students Constructing 2×4 Steel Guitars

A couple months ago, I built lap steel guitars with six students at a local elementary school. One of my professors had invited me out to guest speak for her gifted and enrichment class; so I discussed how pickups work, showed them my baseball bat guitar, and then we built some rockin’ guitars.

I had drilled and finished seven boards, and then outfitted them with a 1/4 inch jack and my very own 9 volt adapter pickup. The rustic finish was the result of a mixture of vinegar and steel wool that had been corroding in a jar for the past couple of years. It brushed on fast and then turned out like this over night.

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The students chose their lumber and then we got started. First, they screwed in four eyebolts and inserted two bolts that would serve as the bridge and the nut.

Then, the they screwed down the slotted angular piece that would later hold the eyebolt tuners.

Next, they screwed in the six screws that would hold three strings tight over the nut.

Each student added the three eyebolts and nuts that would tune the guitar.

Each guitar was personalized with artwork and some even earned a name.

The students added the strings and I tuned them up.

I had two amps set up and they all took turns playing their steel guitars with their
Cu63 copper slides.

That’s it—a few hours spent building guitars with a bunch of fun and creative students.

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Thanks,

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Jumper Wire Test Box

Hi,

I originally created this test box in preparation for building a portable guitar rig. I had found an old RCA repairman’s vacuum tube box that, if modified, could hold a small tube amplifier, a 10″ Celestion, and a few effects pedals. I’ll likely present this “road rig” as an ongoing, realtime project later this year, but for now I will show you this excellent tool for figuring out complex wiring schemes. 
The box is simple in form; the only criteria I used in choosing the donor box was that it be flat as possible and have a length and width just larger than 8.5×11, so that a sheet of computer paper can be used for a template. To create the template, I used a drawing program from an old software cluster called Apple Works, but you can likely use just about anything.
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I tried to make my box as versatile as possible and therefore included two rows of six 1/4″ jacks, one row of switches and one row of RCA jacks (which require the same sized hole and are interchangeable), one row on the bottom for speaker jacks and speciality items, and one row above with pilot holes drilled for expansion. You need not fill all of the holes with components, as it can get quite expensive; it’s better to get a few items to play around with initially, leaving space for project specific components.   
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The pictures are self-explanatory, but the easiest way that I have found to make a box like this is to print the template, tape it to the box as straight as possible using painter’s tape, drill pilot holes with a small bit, remove the template, and then drill the various sized holes for each component. If you like my template (shown below), follow the link to my Google Drive account and download the “jumper wire test box template” file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz_BJp6_LjKySVVjQTRvVXBZVzA/view?usp=sharing
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The strips of painter’s tape between the components allow you to label each component when wiring for easy removal and reuse; and the jumper wires make experimental wiring a breeze. Simply wire, plug up, test, and rewire if necessary. When you are happy, set up your permanent project box and wire it based upon your tested design.
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Check out our other fun projects in the menu above and don’t hesitate to comment or contact us if you have questions, concerns, or need advise regarding a project.
Thanks,
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Homemade Promotional Guitar Pick Project

Homemade Guitar Picks

Hi,

Over the past few months, I’ve been
trying to get the word out about this site and recently entertained the idea of making homemade, promotional guitar picks to distribute. I believe I have stumbled upon a reasonable process and wanted to share it with you.

The process entails printing 56 pick-sized designs on a sheet of transparency film and then laminating it. After that, four laminating pouches are cut into eight separate sheets and are then laminated to the back of the primary sheet one at a time. Finally, the picks are harvested with a Pick Punch and finished with 600 grit sandpaper.

This project takes a little effort, but the final product is a very excellent, medium-gauge pick. Detailed instructions are in the works—in the meantime, have a look at the attached images.

Thanks,

uW5Z0b

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Sneak Peek — First images of SlipStick Carry-On Electric Slide Guitar prototype

Hi,

I’m here at Orlando Airport waiting for a flight back to St. Louis. I was at a management seminar over the past few days and had originally designed this guitar for the trip, so that I would have an instrument to play during the down time.

I call it a carry-on electric slide guitar because it is 20 inches in length and designed to fit diagonally across a carry-on sized suitcase. It worked well and though I brought a distortion pedal and mini amp, I really only needed my iPhone, the GarageBand app, an iRig interface, and a pair of headphones.

The bench image is early, as I have since moved the strings closer together and added a 1/4″ jack, but I will likely install three strings on the on the finalized model.

There will be more to come.

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December Project — 9 Volt Power Adapter Guitar Pickup

Hi,

December’s project is a high output/low noise guitar pickup, constructed of two power adapter coils, four metal picture hangers, a handful of neodymium magnets, and some electrical tape. This project comes in under $20 and can be modified to fit a number of applications— whether it’s a replacement pickup for a stock guitar or a home build like the six-string steel guitar I’m working on or even a four-string cigar box guitar.

I’m excited to release this versatile pickup design and am extremely happy with the results thus far. It’s stereo capabilities and compact design offer numerous options and I am convinced that further exploration will reveal many more useful applications.

Check out our other fun projects in the menu above and don’t hesitate to comment or contact us if you have questions, concerns, or need advise regarding a project.

Follow the link to this month’s project: https://junkshopaudio.com/9-volt-power-adapter-guitar-pickup/

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