Monday, June 05, 2006

Some Days ARE Better than Others

Got up at 5:30; Practiced for a couple of hours; Did 1,680 reps in two hours twenty minutes on my Bowflex, and then the doorbell rang. It was the mailman with a package from Stuttgart, Germany...

I guess I need to rewind a bit.


A couple of posts back I mentioned that I was planning to install a B-Band electret transducer in my fretted Glissentar because I had come to hate the stock L.R. Baggs piezo ribbon transducer so much. Well, as fate would have it, I was telling this to my lifelong friend Mike Brannon of the Synergy Jazz Quartet, and he said, "Why don't you use a Carlos; They re the best under-saddle transducers in the world." I had never even heard of them.

Mike went on to tell me he uses one on his steel string acoustic, and another friend of ours Robert Cordero, uses one on his Flamenco guitar. I had no idea, but evidently this is THE unit the Flamenco cats swear by. Well, Mike and I go back over twenty-five years and I trust him, so I paid a visit to Carlos Juan's American Guitar Center website.

After reading up on all of the various units, I saw that the CP-1A endpin unit would probably be the best for my application, but I still had some doubts about it (They are much more expensive than the B-Band units are, and while a $109.00 mistake is liveable, a $300.00 mistake is harder to swallow). So, I decided to use the contact form and e-mail the American Guitar Center guys and explain my situation.

After letting them know I was working on an experimental eleven-string guitar, they very generously offered TO SEND ME ONE FREE OF CHARGE TO TRY OUT!!! You could have knocked me over with a feather.

OK. We're back to today.


The Carlos unit is on the left. Oh yeah: One of my students lent me his John Stowell book and DVD to chack out. He's an amazing jazz guitarist; one of the top ten of all time by my reconning.

There was no way the stock battery housing could stay, so... *snip*... it's gone.

No way I could keep the screw-on housing on the Carlos either because I had to insert it from the outside in, versus the inside out. So... *snip*... I had to detatch the battery connector from it too. I left the Baggs ribbon transducer in place: I just drilled another hole at the high string end of the saddle and put the Carlos unit on top of it. Not too often a guy gets to take a power drill to a guitar. It was fun.

The Carlos unit is about 1/8" thick, so I had to sand the saddle down. I was wanting to raise the action a tad anyway.

As is always the case with the Glissentar, the real pain in the patoot was changing the strings: That took twice as long as installing the pickup! The combination I have now works great: Savarez Alliance High Tension Carbon Fiber B's and E's, the regular Glissentar wound A's, D's and G's (Made by D'Addario), and a Hannabach .047 Super High Tension low E.

The tubes of glass beeds are for the treble strings: I knot them behind the beads, and they never slip out of the pins.

Strings are on. Almost done.

As you can see, the housing for the stock battery had to go. I think I will move it to the middle of the large plastic plate, and then both systems will be available should I want them. Not sure where the new battery will end up, but it works fine in my lap for testing purposes. The battery cuttout also allows me to reach the micro-pots for gain and mid boost easily while I work out the gain, effects settings, and EQ's in my Lexicon MPX-G2. I want to match the level with the RMC Polydrive in the Grand Concert SA, which the Baggs was too wimpy to do. With this set on 50%, it's already much stronger than the Baggs!

When the strings settle in, I'll have a review of how it sounds.

Not TOO many leftover parts. LOL!


Two super-massive, super-dense bodies on a death spiral into each other in the heart of a neighboring galaxy. The color is artificial: Blue is super-heated plasma that surrounds the bodies for over a lightyear (!), while pink represents the polar jets of ejecta from the "black holes." There are positively gargantuan forces at work in the universe!


Every now and again, life is all sweetness and light.


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