a new, custom, lo-fi, machine age, badass microphone

a small amount of back story may be in order…  i’m obsessed with tube amplifiers, guitars and microphones. when i record i sing into a vintage electro-voice ribbon mic from the 1930′s. not the kind of mic i’m going to gig with. when i rehearse, which is rare if ever, i sing through a tube pa head with a beat up dynamic mic that doesn’t feed back as easily as an sm-58, but i get a nice, dirty, tube overdriven, fat vocal sound. when i play in clubs the pa is always too clean making my vocals overly clear and smooth, which exactly what i don’t want. so recently i took this old tape recorder mic out to a gig mounted to a copper pipe i could jam into a mic clip and it did the trick. nice and gritty with some of it’s own compression. but, it did look kind of lame.

a few weeks ago i had a conversation with someone who turned me on to this cool mic he had recently purchased. it both looked and sounded great. a lo-fi masterpiece. as soon as i saw the mic i knew i would make a mic body,  and soon. not unlike the cbg hollowbelly inspired me to build, this mic came together quickly, like it wanted to be made.

i installed a vintage, controlled magnet element for a super lo-fi vocal sound. it has great output and sounds nice and gritty. i’ll be using it on my upcoming set of shows in michigan starting at the end of this week.

i have thoughts on how i could improve the mounting of the yoke as well as the manner in which it is held together and either 1/4 inch connector or an xlr (or both). the parts for this mic where almost all in my basement inside of things i have cannibalized. i have several more of these elements as well as a few crystal elements (which are far less expensive) so i might make a few more. the mic is just over 3 inches long and can hold most any element, 2 inches and under.

upcoming shows in michigan

why do i keep going to michigan to plays shows? probably because i can’t get any traction here at home. i’m not sure why people in other parts of the country are so willing to help or give me a try and here they all want a guaranteed draw in what i consider a pay to play situation. enough complaining. i’m off to detroit and else where.

i’m going to fly to detroit on the 8th to play a hand full of shows starting july, 9th at paychecks lounge. every show will be with dale beavers who i’ve played with in the past. i’ll be doing my one-man-band thing and playing drums for dale. also, i hope to debut another project i’m involved with called the girls from hateville. this band is made up on dale, me and fisher michigan. i’m not sure what we will be doing, but i’ll probably be the drummer in that as well. we have plans to record a few things while i’m in michigan.

if all worked out here, the posters should link you to the venue or whatever i could find.

cbg update

i’ve been busy doing a  lot of pickup work for a few days. i’ve made some serious strides in my process since i added a few tools. but, more on the pickups another time.

i’ve got 7 guitars in the works now. one headstock shattered while attempting a new technique for cutting the slot. it’s not the first one i’ve broken and i’m surprised i still have the 7 smoothly running through the process.

there will still be 8 guitars as i found an unfinished guitar (#17) hanging in my shop. i made it last summer and ran out of time or parts or both… it’s only needs to be wired and set up, so it will join in at that stage. it’s a cool all white model.

where i stand right now is all of the guitars have their pickup cavity and lid recess finished. i’ll fit the lids soon and then carve the necks, then they are ready to be assembled.

day three of builds

today i didn’t get much done on the guitars. i needed to get some other stuff done and it’s freaking hot out. i did get the headstocks on all but one neck shaped. the one i didn’t do is having one of the “horns” glued back on after the router knocked it off. that’s why i shape them by hand…  any way, after about an hour of rasping and filling on headstocks, i was drenched. also, i’ve acquired a a drill press since my last set of builds and i’m working out a more accurate and less time consuming method of making the slot in the headstock. so, i need a little bit of head scratching time to work that out.

a few people have mentioned that they don’t know what i’m building exactly. so i’m posting a few photo’s of cbgs i built in the past which are basically what i’m building here, minus or plus a few embellishments.

two of these guitars are spoken for, so they will be built to suite their future owners. i’m not sure how the others will go just yet. if you want one custom made for you, get with me soon, as i’m not going to be going too slow here…

the “hollowbelly” cbg now resides in the south of england. spending most days laying about on the beach living a carefree life of leisure. every once in a while tho it must endure a beating from the living legend of the cbg himself, hollowbelly. i made him this guitar over a year ago, it and my #11 are the first of their kind.

this is my cbg #12 the "hollowbelly" custom model used on the album "punk, northern and blue" by the man himself

here is  a shot of the headstock from my #11, the twin to #12

my standard headstock
here is a photo of my second ever cbg build, which is the inspiration/prototype for all the guitars that have followed to date.this is my 2nd build and it contains my 2nd ever magnetic pickup. this cbg was also used to test the 1st 10 or so, pickups

eight new cigar box guitar builds

on saturday 6/19/10 i started building 8 cigar box guitars. i’m going to make an attempt at documenting the process here. i’ve made about 13 guitars from this same basic design that i’ll be using.

the cbgs that i’m making will all be 3 string, fretless, 25″ scale and utilize one hand-wound 3 pole magnetic pickup of my design and making (i will show this process as well… i think).

the neck and pickup are the main parts of the guitars i make. both are what make mine unique. many aspects of my neck are unique to my guitars alone as far as cbgs go. they have a tilted headstock, which will help with string alignment and look pretty badass. the necks are tapered and fully hand carved.

most cbgs have square straight necks, which for me is fairly uncomfortable as a player. the process of actually carving the necks is fairly quick as it turns out and it makes a world of difference. i made the decision to taper the neck early on as well because it made more sense as well from a playing standpoint. i have strings closer together where i’m fingering note/chords and a little more breathing room where i strum/pick (i use a very chaotic, claw-hammer, finger-style, banging technique).

a bunch of head scratching went into the development of this neck/guitar. it became clear to me that if i wanted to be able to make more than one, i would need some kind of template to work from. making the template was nothing more than making a neck and not going past the initial shaping phase of the build. sounds easy enough, right? that’s what i though anyway. well, as it turns out, it was a big pain in my ass. what i thought would take an hour or two ended up taking days… it needed to be damn close to perfect, and perfect is not something i do often, if ever.

so, what happens is this:

i go to home depot, or lowes (i hate admitting this, but it’s true) and look through their 1 x 6 maple lumber. i find 36″ sections of longer pieces that look like they will be straight. i get an “associate” to cut them to the lengths, i put them in a cart, go to another aisle of the store, pick out the pieces that are in fact straight and put the rest back. i usually use 1/2 to 1/3 of the wood they cut for me. i only feel a little bad about the stuff i leave behind. just try to find and 8 or 10 foot board of maple at the depot that is straight, impossible.

i take the lumber home, rip all the pieces in half (2 3/4″ each). then i trace the template on the pieces, ruff cut out the pattern with a saber saw, put them in my router jig with the template on top. rout them to exact size except for the headstock horns, which i do by hand.

and that is where i am as of now…

free download is over, sorry.

as of about a week ago i had the free download of sad sack removed.  if you really need it for free, you can find it if you look around a little on the interwebs.

here’s where you can now buy it in cd format or as a download.

sad sack and broke home blues

sad sack has been mastered, so it sounds different than the original raw download.

you can also find my newest release, broke home blues there as well.

you should also be able to get it at all the normal places, itunes, amazon…

Sad Sack

cass1 Operator

2 Love Stomp Blues

3 Blind Man Blues

4 Weary Bones

5 Desire Blues

6 New York City Blues

7 Bleeding Sand

8 Black Heart Blues

9 River Jordan

10 Talk Aloud 


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