There’s been a lot going on since my last post. Hurricane Irene gave us a good scare but fortunately we escaped with very little damage. Some of our neighbors weren’t so lucky. Most of the work here involved strapping stuff down—moving and waterproofing things. The ramp up and wind down were more stressful than the storm itself. A few downed tree limbs and a general mess outdoors was the extent of it as we dodged the bullet.
After months of back and forth with the manufacturer, the case husk for the Crow arrived. Despite my sending samples for the vintage antique tweed, the color and finsih were not to my liking. I had paid for an entire hide of smooth, dark brown leather for the trim to match the antique suitcase—fortunately that was perfect.
Because I’d already tested a lacquering process for the samples, I knew that I could get the tweed right. It was just a matter of taking the case apart and antiquing it. The next step was to mix up the lacquer tint.
The color I wanted simulated decades of darkening and discoloration from use. The recipie included yellow, red, brown and a hint of violet all mixed into a thin base of lacquer. The application would be done with a two inch brush in order for me to work it into the weave.
Even though the tint was strong, I wanted to use multiple coats in order to replicate the uneven weathering of the original. This gives it a more authentic look and feel.
I’ll get the last coat on this morning before I head down to Infinity Hall to meet up with my old friend Keb’ Mo’. He’s taping a PBS concert tonight, and I had a small part in hooking him up with the gig. We’re gonna be talking guitars and catching up. There are some new ideas on the boil—can’t wait to see what we come up with.
With about fifteen minutes to kill before our pizza was ready for pick up, my wife and I ducked into Barnes & Noble. Carla headed directly for the photography magazines while I hovered over a copy of Vintage Motorcycles. Eventually, I made my way to the music section and opened up a copy of the latest Guitar Player.
The main subject was dedicated to fuzz boxes so I was curious and hoping to see some coverage of my good friend Analogman. Before I got to the effects-pedal article I found something that stopped me dead and brought a smile to my face.
Wow! Just wow. There she was, spread out over two full pages—Rick Whittey’s epic shot of the Crow perched on a tree branch. Now, of course I knew that the editors had the shot, but I wasn’t prepared for this. Even when you pour yourself into a project like I do, you’re still happy when people “get it” and this told me that they did.
I rounded the corner of the aisle where Carla was standing and flashed the spread just to see her beautiful smile.
After a couple of gloomy days that saw a few inches of snow fall, the sun is breaking through again. Of course the sunshine makes us feel better and the workshop is humming with electric activity. The Crow guitar is sanded and ready for its first coats of nitro clear. I’ve stained the figured maple back with a black transparent stain that I think will go nicely with the main finish that I have planned.
While the stain is drying, I’m collecting all the electronic parts that I want to use. This build will feature authentic recreations of the Charlie Christian pickups, which my good friend Seymour has created in his lab. The Christian pickups are completely different from any other type, and the resulting tone is incredible. Here are my notations in the Crow’s journal—I’m including a scrap of the #42 wire as well.
I use a unique mounting trestle machined from 6061 aluminum. Here’s my drawing of the part that will go into the journal. I had a friend down the road help me machine the parts on his Bridgeport. The oval mounting holes will allow the pickups to be adjusted transversely relative to the guitar’s center line. Stainless steel hex socket screws will allow height adjustment from the rear of the instrument, keeping the front of the guitar clean and uncluttered.
This is the resulting part which will be attached to the bottom of the pickup.
Gotta get back to the paint room and start spraying.