Project: Custom Archtop F-hole Covers

Anyone who has tried to play a loud room with a nice, resonant archtop knows this problem well: you briefly lift your fingers off the strings and “WOOM”…. debilitating feedback through your amp.

There’s a low-fi quick fix for this of course, just run to the restroom and come back with a few handfuls of toilet paper. Then stuff ’em in the sound holes, like so:

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Octoprint: free SMS notifications on filament runout and more

While I’ve never had a spool of filament run out mid-print, it was time to prepare for the inevitable. First, I would need a sensor to detect the scenario. Also, time is usually of the essence if you’d like to save the print and swap in new material, and I figured it would be best to get an instant notification via SMS.

I came up with a solution using my preferred 3D printer interface, OctoPrint. It was a bit involved, so buckle up! This guide assumes you have some experience with basic electronics, 3D printing, OctoPrint, and Raspbian (ssh, shell, GPIO).

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Converting machine screws to thumbscrews

Thumbscrews are useful for things you want to take apart/adjust by hand, such as guitar pedals, cases, clamps, and microphone stands.

I often find myself wanting a thumbscrew for something that didn’t come with them, but I’m too impatient to order one or visit the hardware store, especially when I have a bunch of perfectly-good matching machine screws around the house. So why not make them?

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Adding the missing STOP button to the JamMan Solo XT

The JamMan Solo XT by Digitech is a basic, compact, affordable looper pedal. It does most everything I would need, but after using it a few months, I found the lack of a dedicated stop button really frustrating. Sure, you can stop a loop by quickly double-tapping, but this is actually not very easy to do in the heat of the moment, especially when you’re juggling all the other things you need to remember in this one-pedal setup (long-press is undo, tap once is overdub/start track/start record).

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Apogee Duet 2: Repairing the OLED display

Knolled Apogee guts

I recently returned from a nice week-long art residency along the northern California coast. My primary goal during this time was to record some solo jazz guitar. Imagine my dismay when I plugged in my Apogee Duet 2 interface on the first night and it didn’t turn on.

After an hour or so furiously swapping cables and downloading drivers, I discovered that it was indeed “working” and being detected by the system. That is, the inputs and outputs of the unit were functional. But the OLED screen that usually showed meter lights and other UI was busted.

Well luckily, you can do most of what you need with this thing in software using Apogee’s “Maestro” drivers and some might agree it’s a better overall UI experience. So I was able to get some recording done that week after all. But of course, the broken-ness of it all got under my skin and I started researching how to fix this out-of-warranty $300 future paperweight.

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Archtop tailpiece mount for 1/4″ output jacks

Ugh, drilling holes in old acoustic archtops, right?

Unfortunately, for adding an output jack there are not a lot of good solutions. In the past, I have super-glued them under pickguards, which works fine for the casual cross-legged sit-‘n’-play but it isn’t the most stable thing when you’re standing. So what can be done?

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Mid-century pole lamp – replacement cone lampshades

I’ve had this mid-century pole lamp that’s been sitting in disrepair. The plastic (?) cone lampshades started disintegrating and one day a friend was over, reached up to adjust one and it exploded and shattered in his hand. Game over. No one makes replacements for these.

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Fender 1000 Pedal Steel Pickup Covers

A quickie!

Lee Jeffriess spread the word that I might be the guy to reproduce obscure pickup covers, and sure enough I got a request for a new one, this time for the Fender 1000 Pedal Steel.

These guitars have “jazzmaster” style pickups in the 8-string format. The client reported they were a perfect fit and after some polishing using a plastic buffing compound they might be able to fool Leo himself. The above shows 3 covers with the original. Not telling which is which 🙂

If you need one for your reproduction project, I put them up on Shapeways who can fulfill the printing and shipping of them: https://www.shapeways.com/product/TMX8J22N4/fender-1000-pedal-steel-guitar-pickup-cover

Get in touch if you need anything else specific regarding these!

Project: Quilter-powered ’40s “Ampro” speaker cabinet

Remind me to go on walks more often. I was passing by one of my favorite ephemera shops Stuff Modern and remembered they have a real convenient (and well decorated!) bathroom upstairs that I needed to use.

So I popped in, and stumbled upon this:

O… M… G….

It’s an Ampro 12″ speaker cabinet with a glorious art deco metal faceplate. The grill cloth behind the faceplate is unscarred. The back of the cabinet is removable and latched on like a sewing machine case. The handle is spring-loaded and automatically stows itself down when not in use. It was $119 and looked as “like-new” as anything from the ’40s possibly can.

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