Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Searcy String Works fall 2007 product release is almost here gang. If you haven't reserved your set of Obsession or Bolero humbuckers you might be out of luck this time because there are only a few sets left. I banged out a very rough MP3 of the humbucker sound if your interested in hearing it. I plan to do a few more as I have time.
The Bolero is a nod to the hotrod humbucker sounds of the '70's. With a DC resistance of 14.8k ohms, the hotter, wax potted coils give it a great bite for driving your amp. The vintage style Alnico-5 bar magnets ensure a controllable output that can clean up nicely when needed. The 4-wire lead allows for coil splitting and phasing switching.
Every guitar pickup maker eventually attempts to capture the vintage humbucker tones of yesterday. This pickup represents my attempt to satisfy this "obsession". Using Alnico 5 magnets and 1950's specs as a guideline, each of these pickups is handwound to 7.5k ohms. The design has been updated with a 4-wire lead, making the Obsession a perfect neck position match to the Bolero.
We have only made these pickups in black this time around.
Neo Jazz Bass pickups are unlike any Jazz Bass pickup on the market today. The use of a long, single neodymium magnet gives the Neo Jazz it's name and it's unique sound. The traditional Jazz Bass clarity and "burp" are loud and clear but these pickups also produce better bottom end definition for a richer and fuller sound.
The 3" long blade style pole eliminates string spacing issues. The Vintage style leads are connected to the pickups using screw terminal connectors. This allows for fast and easy phase corrections without even opening the control cavity. This standard will be used on future Jazz Bass style pickups so that even someone who can't solder can replace their pickups. Epoxy potted for your protection and 4 black mounting screws are included.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I had some trouble making the screw holes so close to the corners. In the end I used my new Scroll saw to shape the holes exactly the way I wanted them without blowing out the side of the pickup cover. It took me some time to get used to the new pinless blades. They are a bit tricky to install but once you get the hang of it they are a handy option. I think I like this new tool!! I can see the scroll saw finally becoming an important part of my shop.
I hope these pickups impress Jared over at JC Basses. I can't wait to see what they look like in the 8 String Royal JC Bass. I like the variety of work he does over there and would be only too happy to have my pickups seen in a few more JC Basses. pickups done and out the door right on time. After they were epoxy potted and the copper shielding put in place I played them in my test bass (only has 4 strings but it’s better then nothing) They are impressive pickups if I dare say so myself. They sound full and punchy but not too powerful or aggressive. These are the biggest NeoJazz pickups I have made so far. The blade poles offer nice even response across the strings. Reverse Wound / Reverse Polarity construction offers some hum canceling ability when both pickups are on. I did a little series / parallel switching with these and they go from full and dark P style sound to a bright and clear J style sound with the flick of a switch.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Do you know Antonella Mazza? She may look like the spokesmodel for Warwick basses or MarkBass Amps but the truth is she one of the most well respected and in demand bass players in Italy. If you need a grinding groove goddess to hold down the low-end in a rock band or a master of the upright bass to fill out a jazz gig Antonella has what it takes to adapt to almost any gig. Having played shows for crowds of 450,000 and even breaking her foot during a gig without missing a beat Antonella is a veteran of the road. She has played for jazz greats like Lillian Boutte' and Lino Patruno but she can hold her own with rock guitar shred masters like George Lynch as well.
She has been featured in interviews with The International Instatute of Bassists website and BassGirl.com where she discusses her passion for the bass. She explained that "She has studied upright bass at G. Verdi Conservatory with teacher Ezio Pederzani and at the Novara Conservatory with Davide Botto. She received a masters degree in Ethnomusicology from D.A.M.S. and also as Sound Designer. She has held clinics on electric bass and upright bass with Dave Clark and Bruce Geerz from Berklee College of Boston, with John Patitucci, Claude Tchamitchan, Paolo Costa, E.Lo Greco."
So, still thinking Antonella Mazza is just another pretty face? Check out her MySpace page and listen to the music or watch the videos. Check out her relentless tour schedule. Listen to the song clips from her Antonella Mazza Bass Power web site. If, after that, you don't understand that this lady is a master of her craft with more dedication than 90% of the players out there then you aren't paying attention. Perhaps you're distracted by something.
So, why am I going on about this lady? Well first I, too, am a bass player and love the chance to hear new players. Second, Antonella recently wrote to Searcy String Works and asked if I would help her develop a new pickup system for her upright basses. After a few emails back and forth we worked out a rough idea and decided to give it a try.
So keep an eye out here for updates as this project progresses.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Steve Benford of Benford Guitars has just announced that the Screaming Eagle guitar is done. Don't those Searcy Custom Pickups look cool? I think Steve's decision to go with the subdued look was the right call. I also got this letter from Guitars For Vets
Help Honor Our Heroes With The Gift Of Music
Guitars for Vets (http://www.guitarsforvets.org/) is an organization dedicated to providing disabled veterans with the gift of music in the form of free guitars and live musical performances.
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the idea is the brainchild of former US Marine Dan VanBuskirk, guitarist Patrick Nettesheim and guitar student turned bandmate/luthier Steve Benford. Together they have played multiple shows at the local VA hospital and have so far given away two guitars. Their goal is to see this idea through to a full-fledged nonprofit organization capable of providing guitars and instruction to veterans. This humble gesture is intended to provide some sense of normalcy and peace to those whose lives are changed forever for their sacrifice.
Nettesheim and Benford are currently raising funds to apply for nonprofit status. Guitars for vets T-shirts and 75mm Artillery Shell Lamps are for sale on the website. Benford has built a guitar with a 101st airborne "Screaming Eagles" theme to be auctioned off on eBay on Friday, November 16th, with 100% of the proceeds going towards attaining nonprofit status. Specs and photos for the guitar can be found at http://www.benfordguitars.com/airborne.html and http://www.guitarsforvets.org/events.html . Plans are also in the works for Air Force, Navy, and Marine themed guitars to be built and auctioned off at later dates.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The gluing and clamping is next for the 8 String Neo Jazz pickups. Jared Carpenter of JC Basses has started a web page showing the progress on the 8 String Quilted Maple bass these pickups will be going into. This bass will also be sporting the most amazing maple top I have ever seen!
I hope to finish these pickups next week so that JC Basses can have them by the end of the month. So far things have gone relatively well and making the dead line shouldn't be a problem. I am having some trouble from my magnet supplier though. After finishing the first bobbin I ran out of magnets of this size. So I ordered more. They have sent me two shipments so far that are the wrong size. These little annoyances are why I have to leave myself plenty of time to get the pickups out to clients. You just don't know what you don't know... It's all very dramatic. Like a reality show only realer because it's happening to me.
Will Clint get the magnets in time?!
Will the covers be finished without cracking?!
Will they sound like the golden voices of Angels?!
Tune in next time for the next exciting installment of Searcy Shop Blog!
Same Pickup time... Same Pickup channel...
I got to do some more work on the 8 string Neo Jazz pickups for JC Basses again yesterday. This time I made the lower half of the shell for the first cover and finished a large amount of the second cover. I chose some walnut for the lower half of the pickup. I like the contrast that it has with Ebony. I don't know why I care though. It's not like anyone will ever see this part of the pickup.
After cutting out the walnut blank on the band saw I drill a few holes in it and then it's on to he scroll saw. This nice new Hitachi is the latest addition to the shop. It's replacing the ancient $40 junker that I have had from the start of Searcy String Works. Unlike the old junker it's variable speed and will hold both pinless and pinned blades. It has a nice hold down foot, a tool stand and a light. It's a joy to run and I suddenly feel spoiled. Normally I refuse to buy new tools. There is just too much depreciation. I would rather get a deal on a used one. But this one was on sale so it wasn't too bad a deal.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Steve Benford is reaching the end of the 101st Army Air Borne guitar The Screaming Eagle. He has some cool In Progress shots of the guitar being built on his web site. This picture he just sent me is of the LED that will be the eye of the Eagle. I can't wait to see what it looks like with the JumpWings pickups I made installed. When it's done the guitar will be auctioned off to help raise money for his Guitars for Vets program. G4V buys guitars and other instruments for disabled vets learning to adjust to and test the limits of their new circumstances. We should do every little thing we can do to make life better for these brave men and women who have paid a very high price for our country. Please help Steve if you can. He is doing all the work. All we have to do is help him get there.
Steve also has a Tribute page on the Guitars for Vets web site. If you have a friend or loved one who has served in the U.S.Armed Forces drop Steve a letter and tell him you would like to put their picture up in tribute.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Got the first cover done for the 8 string set. Band Saw, Scroll Saw, Belt Sander, Hand Sanding Block, Sand Paper, Scotch Brite, Burnisher...
Now can you see why we charge more for a wood cover? Now if you will excuse me I need to go wash my hands.