Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oil Can Guitar, Part 2

Part 1 here.
I have now assembled all of the ingredients for my guitar. The Singer oil can I ordered, which I thought was from a defunct oil company called Singer turns out to be machine oil for Singer sewing machines. A gallon of it. I imagine the average consumer wouldn't use a gallon of oil in a lifetime, so it would have to be for repairmen or factories.
Here's the plan: Screw the neck into a piece of hardwood. (While guitar nomenclature calls these "bolts," they are technically screws.) Stick the neck+wood into the can (cutting a hole to fit). Screw the neck into the can. Drill holes for the bridge. Add the bridge, wire the pickup, and we have ourselves a guitar.
I went with one P-90 pickup in the bridge position, like an LP Junior*. However, I don't like tone knobs, so it just has a volume control. (Note on volume knobs: Single coils typical use a 250k ohm volume control, and humbuckers usually use 500k. The LP Junior, however, uses 500k. But I don't have a tone control**, so I worry the 500k would be too bright. I talked to the folks down at Ye Olde Guitar Shoppe and they decided it wouldn't make a difference, and if it didn't like it I can exchange it. I went with 500k because that's what they had in stock.)
I have a feeling putting this together will be easier said than done. Stay tuned for updates.
(click for larger)

*Introduced in 1954, the Les Paul Junior was meant as an "entry level" Gibson. (It cost $50 at the time, $380 in today's money.) It had one P-90 pickup, as opposed to the full Les Paul, which had two. (Humbuckers would be introduced in 1957.) Like most Gibsons, the LP Junior had a 24 3/4 inch scale length. The neck I have for this guitar is a 25 1/2 inch scale length, which is what most Fender guitars use.
**Why don't I like tone knobs? All a passive tone knob does is add a capacitor into the circuit that bleeds off high frequencies. The more you turn the knob, the more highs are bled off. But even when the tone knob is turned all the way up, the signal is still degraded by the capacitor. Taking the tone out of the circuit really opens up the sound and makes it sound full and less strangled. Oddly, someone who agrees with me is the guitar player for Blink-182. He's not exactly a musical hero of mine, but his signature model Fender doesn't have a tone knob and he gave basically the same reasoning I did. So I have it set up for a "wide open" sound, and if I need to adjust the tone, I can do it on the amp.

1 comment:

Richard said...

What happened with this? Did you ever finish it?