Author Archives: Tom

Analogman modded Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man

Analogman modded Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man

Analogman modded Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man

The Electro Harmonix XO Deluxe Memory Man was released in May of 2009. The XO is denoting this is the latest version of the DMM that features a smaller die-cast footprint and true bypass switching. It has four NOS Panasonic MN3008 chips. The circuit remains about the same to the original and so does the sound. The Analogman modifications are a delay time tweak, input impedance increase and a gain reduction mod.

I am a delay snob and I love this pedal. This is the only pedal I am using with my amps that have effects loops. It adds a huge delay texture to your sound and the Mix knob allows you to dial in your wet delay tone. I have the DMM sitting on top of my amp where I can more easily operate the knobs and it makes the trip to the effects loop shorter.

This pedal can be very subtle when using a quick slap back delay to add a little width to you signal or you can dial in some over the top psychedelic sounds. Either way the blend knob lets you tame the guitar to effect ratio and then the Feedback knob controls the amount of repeats.

I like to strum a chord and turn the Feedback knob UP to induce self-oscillation. Then adjust the Delay knob to a slower time setting and the DMM creates a fun tape warping/wobble sound. This effect is cool for ending a song or even building a crescendo into or out of a bridge.

The delay time tweak:

Analogman extends the delay time of the Deluxe Memory man to about 500mS or so and warns that at the higher delay times (over 400mS) may have a slightly metallic, ring modulated sound and might sound funny if you play clean. Just turn the delay time down a little if it starts getting too weird.

Input impedance increase mod:

Analogman modded Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man

Analogman modded Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man inside

When on, the Deluxe Memory Man has a slightly dull tone on the dry sound due to a low input impedance. This mod helps both the WET and DRY tone when the pedal is ON. Makes no difference when off since the pedal is true bypass. If you run a buffer in front of the Memory Man you may not notice the tone loss.

Gain reduction mod:

Analogman reduces the gain for less distortion on the DMM to help with overloading problems. There is a gain trim pot on this tweak. If you turn it down too much you lose the ability to self-oscillate, but at Analogman’s marked setting the gain is reduced enough to sound good and still allows self-oscillating repeats. You can turn it all the way up to get back to the stock gain.

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster custom built at Spencer Acoustics. I wanted one of these from Fender, but they cost 12,000 American dollars. Needless to say, I cannot afford that type of money, so I turned to the internet for sourcing my zebrawood materials. On ebay I found a gentleman selling a zebrawood body blank. It was a project he started 22 years ago and never finished. I told him I would finish it and send him pictures, but problem is I lost touch with this man.

The neck is a vintage Telecaster inspired Extreme V also zebrawood – baked zebrawood to be exact. This neck was oven roasted to produce a caramelized baked effect. The fingerboard material is cocobolo rosewood with amazing red and orange colors. The frets are gold as is every piece of hardware on the guitar.

This guitar is a chunk. A boat anchor for sure and that is why I never added strap buttons. I call this a Sit Down Special. Zebrawood is very dense and very heavy. You do not want to wrap this guitar around your neck. Just sit down and enjoy the roasted vintage inspired deep V neck carve and let the attack of the zebrawood delight you acoustically.

All gold hardware. Even the frets are gold!

Solid zebrawood body telecaster.

Solid zebrawood body telecaster.

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster

Zebrawood Telecaster Spec Sheet:

–BODY
Guitar Model: Sit Down T
Body Wood: Zebrawood
Body Contours: Arm and Tummy
Body Binding: none
Body Color: Natural
Back Color: Natural
Body Finish / Aging: none
Body Inlay: none
Input Jack: Reassessed Carved
Bridge: Fender
Bridge Recess: none
Strap Button / Screw Color: No strap button
Electronics Mount: Reverse
Control Plate: Gold T Style
Pick guard: none
Tremolo Cavity Cover: none
Control Cavity Cover: none

–NECK
Neck Wood: Baked Zebra
Neck Color: Natural Nitro
Neck Finish: Hand rubbed oil
Neck Tint / Aging: none
Neck Back Shape: V
Depth at fret 1: .873
Depth at fret 12: 1.02
Neck Binding: none
Fingerboard Wood: Cocobolo
Fingerboard Radius / Roll: Extra roll
Fingerboard Finish: Hand rubbed oil
Frets: 21
Side Dots: Black Acrylic
12th Fret Inlay: none
Headstock: Vintage
Headstock Top Wood: none
Headstock Color: Natural
Headstock Finish: Gloss
Nut: 1.65, Bone
Tuning Gears: Kulson
Neck plate Engraving: none

–ELECTRONICS / SETUP
Neck Pickup: Charlie Davis
Middle Pickup: none
Bridge Pickup: Menalis Hot Bridge
Pickup Selector: 3-Way Blade
Optional Electronics: Reverse selector switch to accommodate rhythm player
Controls: Tone, Volume
Knobs: Gold textured
Customer Supplied:
Factory Accessories:
Case: Suhr gig bag
String Gauge: .010 – .046
Tuning: E Standard (E, A, D, G, B, E)

–SPECIAL REQUESTS
Body:
Neck:
Electronics: Reverse control plate neck=bridge bridge=neck
Accessories:
Setup:
Signature Request:

Mahogany Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Headstock and inlay mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar

Headstock and inlay mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar

This is the first acoustic guitar I build with Randy at Spencer Acoustics. Mahogany back and mahogany double sides with a beautiful tight grain spruce top. The guitar is very lightweight and acoustically very loud. In order to sing over this guitar, you really have to dig deep down in your diaphragm and belt it out – this guitar will drown out a quiet singer in an acoustic setting. Vocals really need to be miced if performing.

As you can see from the photos the mahogany is visually striking and almost iridescent. The mahogany has a 3 dimensional aspect to it. If you look though the Acoustic Guitar Build section of this site you can see the step-by-step process used in building this beautiful dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Back of mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Back of mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar.

Toneczar Stereo Powerglide Two Speed Tremolo

Toneczar Stereo Powerglide Two Speed Tremolo

Toneczar Stereo Powerglide Two Speed Tremolo

I love this pedal. Sounds boss with a fuzz and two amps. Duel in – duel out, two speed tremolo pedal. At home I run two 2×12’s vertical and side by side. I run most of my pedals into my Divided by 13 Switchazel input and then run the Switchazel into the Toneczar Stereo Powerglide pedal and then into a stereo loop pedal. I am using the Electro Harmonix 720 stereo looper.

The panning warble created when using two amps in Pan mode is very pronounced. You have an option to Pan or Sync the tremolo effect. When switched to Pan the pedal pans between both speakers. Sync mode raised and lowers the volume of both at the same time. I like the Pan mode best as it creates a wonderful rotary effect.

I find this pedal useful when creating a living and breathing soundscape. The Toneczar operates completely silently so no knocking or ticking extras.

With this tremolo I am able to get some Transformer-like dubstep robot breathing or atmospheric sounds. Fun with pick scrapes.

A three position Waveform (Brown/Black/Square) Mode toggle switch goes between a Fender Brown, Fender Black Face and then a full on Square chop option. The Brownface mode is deep and swaying. Blackface mode is silky smooth and even. Square-wave mode is full off/on chop at maximum depth.

John Painter Amps JTM 45 Handwired Point to Point Amp

Painter Amps JTM 45 handwired point to point Marshall style head 2018.

John Painter is the owner and sound engineer for The Kitchen Studios in Dallas, Texas. The Kitchen Studios has been making classic recordings in the heart of Dallas for over 30 years and boasts a client list topped by Grammy winning artist Erykah Badu.

Over the last year or so, I have gotten to know John, or ‘JP’ as he is known, on a personal level and I can tell you this gentleman is a class act – top shelf type human. Classic is what defines JP.

As I walk into JP’s guitar room, the distinct loom of cash money fills my nostrils and a 1959 Les Paul catches my eye hanging on the wall. Next, an intimidating vintage Marshall full stack looming in the corner challenges me to a duel – my watts vs your ears. Holy hell, I have arrived in guitar nirvana.

Les Paul Juniors litter the floor while vintage Strats share wall space with other Gibsons and rarities like a Shot Jackson and one of a kind Chris Forshage guitars. You really cannot beat vintage gear that is in good shape. There is something special about a piece of wood that has been a guitar for 50 plus years. It knows what it’s job is.

Painter Amps JTM 45 handwired point to point Marshall style head 2018.

Painter Amps JTM 45 handwired point to point Marshall style head 2018.

Painter Amps JTM 45 is a handwired take on a Marshall JTM style head. The dual inputs makes cross patching or ‘jumpering’ possible and then the two volume knobs blend between the two channels. One channel is a clean edge and the other is a hotter more raspy gain, but not totally saturated type Marshall snarl. The magic comes when you blend the two channels with the duel volume knobs. The Painter JTM 45 is touch sensitive and makes finding tones at the edge of breakup easy.

Painter Amps JTM 45 handwired point to point Marshall style head 2018.

Painter Amps JTM 45 handwired point to point Marshall style head 2018.

I play mostly clean with a touch of dirt. I like the amp to break up some when I dig into the guitar strings. The duel volume knobs make fine tuning your clean to breakup ratio intuitive and pleasurable. There is a large grey hairy sweet spot on this amp that I don’t hear in other Marshall clones.

This 45 watt head has plenty of headroom for nice clean tones, but it can grind too. No tone sucking effects loop or master volume. This amp sounds great and comes equipped with kt66 tubes that give it that classic tone. John says you can swap in el34s if you want, but the Painter JTM 45 is specifically designed to run kt66 tubes.

The point to point handwired Painter JTM 45 amp is affordable with a MSRP of 999.

Where to buy:  TheGearPlace.com and The Gear Place – Reverb.com Shop

Making Acoustic Guitar Neck

Clamping the five pieces of wood together that comprise the guitar neck.

Clamping the five pieces of wood together that comprise the guitar neck.

I used every clamp in the shop! It was necessary to glue the five pieces of wood together that makes up the neck of my guitar. The woods used is mahogany, a curly maple and bloodwood for the stripe. Bloodwood is an extremely dense wood, so I decided to make that the backbone of my guitar. Titebond glue is used in every joint.

First I liberally applied titebond to the surface of my woods. Then I used a roller to even out the layer of titebond.

After all eight sides were even coated with titebond, I pressed them together with every clamp in the wood shop. This would remained clamped for 24 hours.

Rolling the titebond glue onto one of the maple stripes.

Rolling the titebond glue onto one of the maple stripes.

Gluing the bloodwood backbone of my guitar.

Gluing the bloodwood backbone of my guitar.

Finger Plane Carving the Braces

The finger plane. A tiny, but effective luthier tool.

The finger plane. A tiny, but effective luthier tool.

I had virtually no wood working experience before meeting Randy Spencer. This man is a genius and can build anything. Beyond that, he has the patients to teach! What a guy. Ok onto the endless carving of braces.

Meet the finger plane. This guy is very handy and will become your friend over time. You really need to have a delicate touch and yet deliberate forcefulness is needed to cut into the wood. I became a sculptor.

There is a serious learning curve involved in artistic craftsmanship. You don’t just have a special gift for this work, you have to make mistakes, learn and practice. There is not a limit to skill. Only personal effort limits you.

Adding a scallop to the X-brace.

Adding a scallop to the X-brace.

Adding a scallop to the X-brace 3 Adding a scallop to the X-brace 4 Adding a scallop to the X-brace.

Mother of Pearl Rosette

Finished rosette turquoise and white mother of pearl.

Finished rosette turquoise and white mother of pearl.

The spruce top of my dreadnought acoustic has a double mother of pearl rosette design. When I was ordering from StewMac, I did not know if I wanted to go with a white or turquoise mother of pearl rosette. In the end I did both! I figure if one is good, two is better!

I routed a channel in the top to accept the mother of pearl inlay and used razor blades to hold the pieces in place. Then bloodwood dust is used to fill the space between rosette pieces and glue introduced to hold it all together.

I had to cut the turquoise pieces of rosette in half to fit the wider rosette design.

Laying out the pieces to the rosette.

Laying out the pieces to the rosette.

Filling the center with blood wood dust and glue.

Filling the center with blood wood dust and glue.

X bracing, go bars and Sharp pencils

Laying out the braces for the spruce top.

Laying out the braces for the spruce top.

A sharp pencil is a precise tool, while a dull writing utensil can make for an unfit guitar. There is no room for error when building a fine instrument – 1/100 of an inch here and there times 100 measurements adds up to a whole inch! Yikes that can mean your neck is crooked, so sharpen those pencils before making any marks on your wood.

The white sheet is a template for a dreadnought acoustic Martin style guitar. I transfer the line from template to spruce and then use a ruler to connect the dots. This is the blueprint for the top’s braces.

Once the spruce top is marked, I need to build the x-brace itself. A file is used to notch the x-brace precisely for a tight fit. The x-brace consists of two long pieces notched to fit inside one another. This is the main brace for the top of the guitar.

Filing notch in the x-brace for top of guitar bracing.

Filing notch in the x-brace for top of guitar bracing.

Go bars are used again to apply downward pressure on the glued surface.

X brace glued on with go bars.

X brace glued and positioned with go bars.

Go bars and braces

Back braces glued, then secured in place with go bars.

Back braces glued, then secured in place with go bars.

After routing the braces, I glued the supports and set them in place using go bars. Go bars are flexible metal rods that apply downward pressure to materials being glued. A real danger when using go bars is their quirky tendency to ‘pop’ off and go though your tone wood or window, eyeball, whatever – these things pack a serious punch and can fly clear across the room! Like every other tool in the shop, respect the go bars.