Here’s something you don’t see every day.

Every once in a while, something really exciting comes into the shop.  Today, our friend Clay brought in his 1954 Gibson Les Paul Jr.  Wow!

IMG_0164

IMG_0165

IMG_0166

It’s not 100% original – the tuners and nut have been changed and it’s been re-fretted, but who cares?  It’s still 100% awesome.  The finish is checked beautifully, it has tons of battle scars from it’s 55 years of constant gigging, and it’s light as a feather and super resonant.

Clay brought it to us because it was playing unevenly and buzzing all over the neck.  As it turns out, it had been re-fretted recently, and it was a pretty poor job.  The frets hadn’t been fully seated into the fret slots, and as a result there was quite a bit of unevenness with the fret tops all the way down the neck.  We couldn’t just do a fret level to fix this – we’re going to have to re-fret the entire guitar.  This is going to be fun – it’s not often we get to work on an instrument of such vintage.  We’re going to get this thing dialed and playing sweet, and get it back on stage where it belongs!

Presto, chango!

We’ve made some changes to our blog – since we were unceremoniously and mysteriously dumped by Google Blogger, we’re now hosting our blog on our own server.  We’re still figuring out how this all works, so please bear with us.

In keeping with our recent changes, we thought it would be fitting to show off our friend Brandon’s guitar, which has undergone a radical change of it’s own.

Before:

IMG_0032

After:

IMG_0162

Brandon’s Strat got the works: Level & Dress, full setup, three Lindy Fralin P-90 pickups, all pots and switches replaced with high quality Switchcraft parts, new cream knobs and switch tips, custom Terrapin pickguard, a new bone nut, and Schaller tuners.  Presto, chango!  It plays great and sounds fantastic.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our new improved blog!

Heading into the studio?

We get a lot of touring and recording artists come through our door – some famous, some not so famous.  What do these people have in common?  They all need their guitars to be in tip-top shape BEFORE a gig or recording session.

Recording engineers and live sound engineers have an important and difficult job: making you sound better.  We talk to people in the professional sound industry all the time, and they love it when a client walks in to a session with a guitar that is properly set up and intonated.  It makes their job much easier, makes the recording session run smoothly, and saves everybody time, money, and headaches.  Engineers can spend countless hours (and sometimes even re-recording your guitar parts!) after you’ve left the studio, just to clean up intonation and string buzzing issues that wouldn’t have even existed had the guitar been properly set up before the session.
So consider this: next time you’re headed into the studio, think of how much potential frustration you might avoid by having your perfect before you record your next multi-million selling single.
Our friend Mark, from the band Strike Anywhere (strikeanywhere.org) took our advise and brought in his Sparrow Les Paul in to us before he heads out on a European tour for a solid month.  We leveled and dressed his frets, glued them all down to prevent any lifting or odd resonances, and did a thorough setup.  The guitar came out great, and now Mark is ready to tour the world and elsewhere.
IMG_0041

Pimp my Les Paul.

Yesterday, our pal Scott from the band Kowloon Walled City brought in his Les Paul with a peculiar problem: his bone nut slots were far too low, apparently being cut down by his strings.  We could have just shimmed the existing nut and cut the slots to their proper depth, but since it seemed that the original bone nut was too soft, Scott opted for a new nut.  After discussing his options, he settled on a brass nut.
Brass nuts were all the rage back in the ’70’s, but it’s rare to see one these days.  They provide a nice bright, bell like tone, are almost completely resistant to wear, and just plain look cool.

IMG_0013

A properly cut nut should allow the string to just *barely* clear the first fret when fretted at the third.  If cut too high, the action will be stiff in the lower positions, and if cut too low the open strings will buzz or make a sitar like-sound.
Scott was pretty happy with his newly pimped-out Les Paul – check out his guitar at Kowloon Walled City’s (http://www.myspace.com/kowloonwalledcity) next show.
SF Guitarworks, bringin’ the bling.