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Plodding Along

What with near to and 40+ degrees it’s been way too hot to spend time in the shed, but I’ve caught up a bit now it’s cooled down. The V-Star Embossed is ready for final assembly, the neck is black with a transparent black fretboard and ebony fret markers, you can see the internal pup assembly in the photo. This’ll be the first and last tin I use unless I can find a thicker one as this one was just that tad too thin.

V-Star Embossed Tin CBG
V-Star Embossed Cigar Box GuitarLibro de los Muertos and Shovellin just need their necks and minor tweaking e.g. edge sanding and the speedo surround fitted and they’re ready to go too.
Libro de los Muertos and Shovellin

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Four More Cigar Box Guitars

Yes, four 😉 Seeing as I had a stack of marine ply I cut it all to CBG size so now I’ve got masses of tops, bottoms, ends and sides, with that said I started on one, then another and another to the point where I ended up with five body’s ready to go. Discarded one as the more I looked at it the more I disliked it and have ended up with the four as shown in the pic.

They are as follows:
From LtoR Rock On’ – Three string acoustic, Libro de los Muertos or Book of the Dead for non-Spanish speakers – Three string semi acoustic with humbucker, V-Star Embossed (cheers Con) – Three string semi-acoustic, Shovellin’ – Three string acoustic oh and the Shovelhead engraving is off centre on purpose, I didn’t want the bridge to cover it.
All need final tweakin’ but not gunna say what to which one 😉

Four CBG's On The Go

                     Four CBG’s On The Go

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Started on the third CBG

Decided to make the box and all with this one 😉 Talk about getting carried away. It’s got a three string Tasmanian Oak neck with Fender type tuners, just waiting on the neck glue to dry before final shaping – taking my time as I’m also waiting on brass corners for the box.

Ned Kelly Cigar Box Guitar

Ned Kelly Cigar Box Guitar

UPDATE 20th Jan: It’s finally finished – damn neck fought me like you wouldn’t believe.

Ned Kelly Tribute Cigar Box Guitar

Ned Kelly Tribute Cigar Box Guitar

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Finished the Latest Cigar Box Guitar

It’s a 270mm long Montecristo box stripped of all paper and dyed Royal Blue, the neck has a 15 degree scarf joint and is dyed Plain White and the Fretboard is Chinese Red – all normal off the shelf powdered food dyes not the over the counter stupidly priced timber ones, it’s got a split pair of piezo’s in it, the tail piece and hinges are from a caravan mob, nut and bridge are cut down bolts.

Texas Blues Cigar Box Guitar

Texas Blues Cigar Box Guitar

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Three More Records

Picked up three more records, I’ll get around to adding them to the list shortly (now done).
First is a 1957 press of Juanito Valderrama – Ole Flamenco
Second is Manitas de Plata – Flamenco the Spain of Manitas
Third is a WRC (approx 1971 press) of Stomu Yamash’ta – Percussion

Juanito Valderrama

Juanito Valderrama

Manitas de Plata

Manitas de Plata

Stomu Yamash'ta

Stomu Yamash’ta

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Reason vs MixCraft vs Reaper

Upper management decided that due to the fact I’m a dinosaur I have to look at a DAW as I tend to do a fair bit of composing/engineering here at home on the analogue synth’s then send the stuff off to the studio for final processing. That said, it was suggested I look at a DAW, that way I can (or should I say “THEY CAN”) find it easier to manipulate so the end product is easier to sort.
If you know me you’ll already know my opinion on suits so I won’t bother going in to that again, I’ll just be doing a comparison between the three DAW’s that are in the title. Now personally, I hate them (DAW’s that is). No let me rephrase that I tolerate them, as I find it easier to find the sound I want by turning a knob or pushing a slider than waving a computer mouse around. But to get them to shut the (insert expletive) up I’ll be comparing three. Propellerheads Reason 7.1, Acoustica’s MixCraft Pro 7 and Cocko’s Reaper Version something that escapes me and publishing my thoughts here just to prove to those who pay me I have actually looked at them 😉 it’s not going to be a real super in-depth review, just my personal view so take it or leave it.

So me being me – captain negative bastard, I’m going to start with the con’s as I found them, the computer I’m using them on is a Windows 7 64bit system with a dual core cpu and eight gig of ram. Apart from that I’m computer knowledgeable but far from a geek – so on to it.
Reason: No support for VST’s which is madness in this day and age as Arturia do some brilliant stuff and I actually enjoy tinkering with Korg’s Legacy, but neither will work in Reason so that to me is a big no major failing.

MixCraft: Regularly crashes due to the fact that a lot of VST’s are 32bit and from my understanding they themselves acknowledge the issue. Sadly a lot of the better VST’s are 32bit and they aren’t being ported to 64bit so if this issue will ever be sorted who knows. I’ve actually had it lock up my machine to the point where CTRL/ALT/DEL don’t even work so a forced restart is needed.

Reaper: I found I had to troll through too many drop downs to get to what I wanted, whether that was a VST a filter or an FX.

Now as for the good bits, I’ll start with midi. All three found what I have plugged in at the moment, the Moog Little Phatty, Roland RS and Korg MS2000 which run through an E-MU 2X2 well the Moog has a USB also so – they also found the Arturia Beatstep and Keylab 61 but that would be expected considering the latter two bits of hardware are essentially made for DAW’s.
As for audio in, I run everything that isn’t midi capable e.g. the modular, guitars, voices etc through a Behringer mixer, I also run the three listed synths through it too as I find there are sounds there that just aren’t available and I just couldn’t be bothered hunting for a similar sound in the DAW’s (yes there’s the dinosaur again).
Reason finds audio in (I use ASIO) without a single hiccup, both Reaper and Mixcraft took a bit of dickin’ about. I actually gave up with Reaper, it used to work but for some reason it now refuses to. Mixcraft however was happy enough to find the audio but the volume was so low and the help files were too vague so I gave up on that too.
Exporting audio, now personally I like Mixcraft for that as you get a number of choices be it FLAC or WAV or MP3, why anyone would export a serious file as an MP3 escapes me but ehh it’s there.

Midi: All three seem to take midi files without argument, in Mixcraft you even have the choice of seeing it in the midi edit feature as a score (I compose some really complex stuff at times – scary) which is a real treat, BUT that’s as far as it gets, either I missed something or Mixcraft can’t handle automation, tempo etc. a good example would be Rossini’s ‘Dawn’ from the William Tell overture. The time sig is 3/4 and the tempo is from memory 54 or there abouts. Loading my comparison midi in to Mixcraft saw it tag the time sig as 4/4 and 120bpm ermm not quite right is that, Reason and Reaper handled it fine. As far as editing a midi file I must honestly say you can’t go passed Reason, both Mixcraft and Reaper were too frustrating – as they say less is more and Reason has that.

Addons: Reaper and Mixcraft make use of VST’s along with inbuilt stuff so essentially your bank of instruments is all but endless oh and Mixcraft also has Izotope Mastering Essentials which I happen to like. Reason on the other hand does come with a fair bit but to get the most out of it you have to obtain refills and and rack extensions which can become expensive.

End Bit: Which one is the better? None really (the dinosaur’s back) but I suppose I have to pick one. Reason has its stability, Mixcraft looks and feels better and the ability to utilise the squillions of VST’s out there, Reaper is cheap hmmmm a toughy.
I think I’ll have to lean toward Reason only because of its stability, if Mixcraft was more stable or the 32bit/64bit issue wasn’t then I’d be leaning toward that instead. If I had to give them a rating out of 10, Reason would get an 8, Mixcraft a 7.90 and Reaper a 6.5.

#reaper #reason #mixcraft #music #DAW #VST #synthesizer #sinultimata #arturia

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Another CBG

Picked up another Montecristo Cigar Box which is destined to become another Cigar Box Guitar 😉 I’m all but finished with the body as you can see in the before and after photos, I promise I won’t go apeshit with pictures this time ’round.

The carcass was stripped of all paper work and dyed blue which was a logical colour for a blues slide 😛 then I clamped it in the CNC machine and cut out the maps of Texas for the sound holes and got carried away and engraved Texas Blues on it as well. Next cab off the rank is fit a couple of hinges as this make of box doesn’t come with them and line the inside with white paper – I’ll do that tomorra.

Update 8th Dec: Made the neck and fretboard, decided to do the neck white and the fretboard red with white fret markers (it’s fretless) and white stars instead of plain dots – def goin’ the Texas road 🙂 I’ll get photo’s up shortly, I want to wait until the scarf joint on the neck is rock solid before I finish it off.

Before - Cigar Box Guitar
After - Cigar Box Guitar

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I think myself lucky

I was sitting here trolling through some classical pieces – mostly Rossini for something to start the new album with and then it hit me, William Tell Overture part 1 Prelude Dawn, talk about gob-smacked. I’ve heard it a million times before and just took it as a nice peaceful piece of music but as I’m listening to it, the next door neighbour who has only lived there a few days came home from work and was greeted by his daughter (probably around 3yrs old I’ve no idea) with a hearty ‘Daddy Daddy I love you.’

Now you’re probably sitting there thinking so what, well I’ll tell why what (huh?) he is profoundly deaf and for me to hear his daughter over the top of ‘Prelude Dawn’ gave to me a new vision of that 2 minutes 45 seconds (give or take) of music. Instead of a peaceful morning dream sequence, the way I’ve always seen/heard it, it became a subtle audio visual feast and for that one simple fact, that being I can hear I can honestly say ‘Thank God’ – if I couldn’t hear music I think I’d go spare.

Anyway the youtube video attached to this is Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Prelude Dawn is obviously the beginning to approx 2:45/50, enjoy.

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Who Is An Idiot – or My Oopsy

I mentioned the other day my like of working with timber, and two days ago I decided it was time to have a quick tidy up, that being put wood where the wood should go (I always put tools away as I finish with them) seeing as I’d made a slight mess doing the restore of the rare as rocking horse excrement Modelo 1813 Asturcon (with provenance I might add) bass.

Anyhoo, I saw three 10 foot lengths of timber that could be put on the rack in the other shed, plus a 5′ x 5′ 6mm sheet of MDF that could go in the same place. Actually the MDF is two 6mm sheets stuck together with two more 5′ x 2′ stuck to that as bracing (I was using it as a roof section on a store room for a while) so I grabbed the MDF first and stacked that, then went and got one of the 10′ lengths and seeing as I had to stretch over the MDF to stack the 10′ length I knocked the MDF which obviously wasn’t stacked real well and it slipped off the rack, twisted and came down corner first. Did it make me yell? Hell yeh it did, it made a noise a big noise – but the bigger noise was coming from me as that corner came down on top of my right foot and yes you guessed it I wasn’t wearing boots (who wears boots to clean up?).

So after covering the shed floor in what looked like gallons of blood (weren’t really but hey I’m a musician I can exaggerate) I hopped out of the shed and in to the house only for her who must be obeyed to yell at me for being a dipstick and getting blood on the carpet. Personally what’s the more annoying part is I use both feet when playing, the left for the sustain pedal, the right to switch patches but if I move my right foot too much now it splits the skin and makes it get all bloody again so I’m stuck with trying to do everything left footed at the moment.

Anyway the moral of this story?
WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR EVEN IF YOU’RE JUST CLEANING UP HARMLESS STUFF OR THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, AND YOU TOO COULD FEEL LIKE AN IDIOT!!

After dropping wood on my mostly bare foot

After dropping wood on my mostly bare foot.

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If I had the Spare Cash I’d Like To See

Just sitting here thinking of places I’d like to see around the world if I had the spare cash. They’re not in any particular order, they’re just as they came to my befuddled mind.

  1. La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (pic 1)
  2. Catedral de Santiago or the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (pic 2)
  3. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (pic 3)
  4. El Molinón (home ground of Real Sporting de Gijon) (pic 4)
  5. The Giant Hand in the desert – Atacama Chile (pic 5)
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