Saturday, December 12, 2009

week 19

Week 19 is finished now and we mainly did repairs on guitars and went over some things. I have been working on a cheap strat copy that needs quite a few repairs as a previous owner did some butcher work on it. He had installed some new tuners but did a bad job with them, trying to screw the small locator screws directly into the wood without drilling the holes first. Also the neck had been taken off and when the owner tried to reinstall it, the screws were reinstalled incorrectly and one came out the side of the neck. This guitar is basically a disaster but it gives me something to work on this week and next week.
We also had our end of class party as a few guys will not be back next week. We had beer, chicken, and pizza and received our certificates (everybody received one). I went in today and took some pictures of some of Joe's guitars.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Week 18

I wrapped up building my guitar this week. I installed the tuning machines, bridge, pickups, wiring, string ferrules, strap buttons, truss rod cover, and the nut. I even spaced out the strings and filed the slots in the nut, then filed them down to depth for the correct action. I then installed the strings and set the intonation, then tuned the guitar. The last two weeks will be used for going over things and doing repairs, then I'll be out of here and back to Amsterdam!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week 16

In week 16, I installed frets in my guitar neck, sprayed the neck and body with sealer, and sanded the sealer. After sanding the sealer, the black paint for the burst was sprayed around the edges of the body and headstock. I then sprayed six coats of lacquer on the body and neck, then left them for a week for the lacquer to harden before wet sanding. While I was waiting, I didn't have anything to do on my guitar so along with several other students, I wet sanded some of Joe's acoustic guitars that he had sprayed just before our class started.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week 15

I made a bit of progress with the guitar this week and it is really starting to look like a guitar now. Starting on Monday, I removed the tape from the binding and filed it down to flush on the top, then contoured the back of the body with a nice rounded edge and a ribcage contour. I then sanded the complete body, trimmed out the neck pocket and fit the neck, drilled the holes through the body for the tele bridge, and drilled the holes/slotted the top for the blade style pickup selector switch. Today I stained the top with alcohol stain for the transparent black color that I'm going to have. Much to my disappointment, my inlay still has not shown up yet so I'm just going to go with a plain ebony neck as I'm not a big fan of dots.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 14

It finally feels like the guitar school is starting to wind down and I can head back to Amsterdam. This week seemed like I didn't make much progress, but I guess it wasn't too bad. I'm currently waiting for some precut mother of pearl inlay for my neck, but I'm hoping that will be here by Monday or Tuesday. I cut out the body shape, drilled the headstock for tuning machines, routed the body for the neck, two pickups, and control compartment, sanded the sides of the body, installed the side dots for the neck, routed for the binding and installed it. Next week I'll start sanding the body, install the inlay, install the frets, and start with finishing the guitar.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week 13

I spent most of week 13 working on the neck for my guitar. It is a maple 3 piece laminated neck, with the core being of a nice piece of curly maple. I decided to go with a reverse Jackson style headstock and a mahogany body with a maple cap. Joe has made us do as much as possible on the necks with hand tools, just so we know how to do it that way. I also glued together the body this week and traced the design on top, but I haven't cut it out yet. I also worked on the template for the neck pocket and pickups and did a test of that today.

Halloween this week, but I'm stuck here with nothing to do. The weather is starting to get cold as well, with a slight chance of snow for this upcoming week. Ugh! But I'm down to forty something days, so that gives me something to look forward to.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weeks 11 and 12

Weeks 11 and 12 are in the books now, as we had week 11 off and were assigned homework, which turned out to be quite a bit of homework. Joe gave us quite a few questions that we had to answer about guitar manufacturers, different woods, and about some manufacturing processes. I started on my homework on the Saturday after week 10 and it took me until Tuesday to finish as I took quite a bit of time on it, doing a good job. Joe told me that I had done very well with it, so good for me but I wasn't expecting anything less. Week 12 was spent on starting to build our guitars, so now I have my guitar neck started and the mahogany wood to build my guitar body. The three piece laminate neck was cut out and then glued, the rough shape cut out and the trussrod installed. I then glued on the fingerboard, which is where it stands now. We also picked out some mahogany for the body, so I have to glue the two pieces together for that on Monday. The plan so far is for two EMG pickups, which will be the 81 and 85 combo or the 81X and 85X combo, but I'm leaning toward the X series as I haven't used those before. The bridge will be a Telecaster type bridge for a humbucker, a bone nut, ebony fingerboard, and the color will be tranparent black, which will be killer with the nice flame maple top I have picked out.
I'm getting pretty bored with being in Lindsay, 13 weeks with basically nothing to do other than the school. Amsterdam is starting to look even better with every passing day, as I miss my friends.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


For the last week or so, I have been using a new (to me anyway) screen capture program called SnapIt from Digeus Software. Previously I had used Windows print screen or ACDSee's screen capture, both of which are a bit unwieldy as I would always have to edit the image afterwards, which is a pain. SnapIt allows me to capture only the area that I want, so that I don't have to crop it later and it allows me to save the image in jpeg, gif, tiff, png, or bmp, so that I don't have to convert the file format later either, so the image is always useable just after the capture. Just the fact that I don't have to crop the image later is a winner for me. It also allows you to use a hot key of your choice, which I found to be very handy as well. I actually find myself capturing more things than before because it was such a hassle previously, and I didn't want to go through all of the steps. Being an online poker player, I occasionally want to capture tables because of particular hands, and this is definitely the quickest, easiest, and best way to do it. The program comes with complete documentation as well, so anyone can use SnapIt with ease. I highly recommend SnapIt to anyone that needs to do screen captures, whether it is the whole screen and just a part.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week 10

Week 10 down...we mostly went over things we had done before, but did have a guitar come in with a broken headstock. We are working on repairing that plus the owner wanted it to be refinished, so we stripped off the old Oriental blue finish. The guitar had also fell at some point and landed on the controls, which cracked the front of the guitar and slightly pushed the controls back into the panel. It had been repaired previously in Bulgaria and the repair wasn't done very well so we are redoing that also. There is so much work involved with this instrument that it is almost like building another guitar. We have a week off next week for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, so the teacher gave us some homework, which consists of quite a few questions that we have to answer about a variety of things- guitar building, manufacturers, tools, and materials.
I got to go to Toronto again for a night and went to the Wrongbar and saw Sons of Otis, Lichens, and Om. I'm a huge Sons of Otis fan and they were fantastic, such a massive wall of psychedelic doom blues sound. Om was also really good and Lichens, who I was not famiiar with previously, was very different but interesting.
I'm now 52.1% through with my time here.... ;-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 9

Week 9 is down and was a pretty good week. I made a bone guitar nut this week that Joe rated as excellent, a rating that you don't get very much of from him. We went over some old things this week, made custom pickguards for acoustic guitars and today I made a compensated saddle, which turned out really well. I went to Toronto finally and had a good time, visiting several guitar shops and going downtown to the Cadillac Lounge and the Silver Dollar. At the Silver Dollar we saw a kick ass two piece (guitar, drums) band, the Speaking Tongues. They are highly recommended and have quite a unique sound. I'm going back to Toronto this weekend to see Sons of Otis at the Wrongbar.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 8

Week eight is now in the books and we picked up a few new things in the guitar building course and reviewed some things we had already done. I'm about to climb the walls here as I have no transportation, not that there would be anything to do in Lindsay anyway, but I could go to Toronto. My birthday is tomorrow....uhh....hooray? I wish I could go to Toronto tomorrow and do some things but I'll have to wait until next month.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week 7

Week 7 is now in the books, so I'm a bit over a third of the way through the guitar building course. This week was a bit of review week, going over some things we have done before along with being shown different repairs, which Joe has been doing throughout the course. Two more weeks and we start building our own guitars. On the personal front, I'M BORED! It has been the exact opposite of normal- I look forward to the weeks and hate the weekends because I'm stuck here with no transportation and nothing to do most of the time. I'm definitely headed out to Toronto next month when my land sale closes, and definitely getting a new tattoo and a piercing. As for what I HAVE been doing during the weekends, the picture tells the story.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Week 5

Week 5 is down and everything with the school is going well but I'm about bored stiff here in Lindsay. I knew that not having any transportation was going to be tough, but I really didn't think it would be THIS bad. At some point, I'm just going to rent a car for the weekend and get the hell out of here.

I had been planning on taking some pictures but Joe wants us to wait until we are working on our own guitar before taking them and that will be after week 8 if we stay by the schedule. So maybe I'll have some pictues up then as I brought my Canon camera with me....there sure isn't anything else to take pictures of around here!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

guitar school, week 5

We aren't finished with week 5 yet, but I decided to make a post anyway. We have been working on acoustic guitars all week, starting with bending sides on Monday. That went quite a bit better than expected, as I had read all kinds of horror stories about it. I also had been planning on taking pictures as I went along but we were told this week that there would be no pictures until we started building our own guitars.

Friday, August 28, 2009

guitar school, week 4

We continued working hard this week, mainly on the following:

a- making a nut and saddle for an acoustic guitar, then slotting the nut for good string location and action.
b- wiring pickups, switches and jacks.
c- making control panel covers by hand for non-typical, custom control panels.
d- how to make a dowel and repair a pulled or mislocated stud insert.
e- finish work and buffing

Next week, we will start on bending sides for acoustic guitars.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Les Paul, R.I.P.

Rest in peace, Les Paul. An amazing talent that touched anybody that ever played rock 'n roll, not only through the amazing Gibson Les Paul (I have 2!), but with all his inventions- multi track recording being the most important. He played amazing guitar until the very end. We'll miss you, Les.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

guitar school

I didn't mention in the first post, but I signed up for 20 weeks in the Lado Luthiery School in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada and have just finished the first week. I was familiar with Joe Kovacic's guitars from seeing Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden and Voivod playing them, so that tipped my decision over a couple of other schools that I had been looking at. I have been playing since I was 15 and always wanted to build and repair guitars, so better late than never! We really did a lot the first week, mainly working on necks but we put together some neck through body guitars as well. I'm really looking forward to completing the school and opening my own shop in Amsterdam.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Couldn't stand the weather...

Up until yesterday the weather had been pretty good since I've been in Canada but we had a killer thunderstorm yesterday. It appeared to have rained at least 3 inches in an hour or less, mostly while I was in doing some grocery shopping.

On the guitar building front, we've jumped right in and have been working on building bolt on and neck through guitar necks this week, and also started with frets and side/fingerboard dots. It has been really cool so far and I've learned a ton already.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I arrived in Toronto, Canada yesterday for a 20 week stay to learn how to build acoustic and electric guitars from Joe Kovacic, a.k.a. Joe Lado. Joe has quite a reputation for quality instruments and when I saw that this was going to be his final school, I just had to sign on. I met Joe today and he is quite a character and I'm really looking forward to the class starting on Monday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Makelaars redux

I have to say that I would have to be very desperate to ever use Rotsvast ever again as they are the absolute worst, the very bottom of the barrel. When we first attempted to move in the apartment at 31 Kromme Mijdrechtstraat in June of last year, there was still stuff in the apartment from where Rotsvast let a tenant live there short term until they found something for them in a neighborhood (De Pijp) where the tenant wanted to live. This delayed our moving in by a day and then when we did get to move in, the apartment was dirty and the tenant had left dirty sheets on the bed. We complained to no effect however. As part of the contract, we had to pay for a housekeeper to come in once a month, but nobody ever came to the apartment...but we still had to pay. The contract stated that our term was 'tot and met' (to and including) April 30th but on Wednesday, April 29th at 10 in the morning, Rotsvast called and said that the owner was back in town and wanted to move in at 5 in the afternoon that day! We found out later from the owners that they had been in Amsterdam for two weeks and had made that request two weeks previously but Rotsvast only told us the day that the owner had wanted to move in! Needless to say that didn't happen, but we ended up getting out of the apartment by midnight, even though it included my girlfriend and myself dragging a large mattress up two floors of steps in a dark stairhouse to get it done. We had to do the run through of the apartment with the owners the next day (Queen's Day, a holiday here). The makelaar was nowhere to be found, of course. The owners told us that while they had been on a year long trip, they repeatedly had to call to get the rent money every month and had run up a couple of hundred euro phone bill in the process. They also said that they thought that we should get the cleaning money back since no one had ever come by to do any cleaning. As of the date of this post, we STILL haven't gotten our deposit back although the owners said everything was fine and told Rotsvast the same. The contract plainly states that the deposit would be returned in a month after we moved out. They shove us out of the apartment early but they can't give us the deposit back on time. We have called several times now and still do not have the deposit back. The best that I can recommend is avoid Rotsvast unless you are absolutely DESPERATE as they are the worst of the worst, just horrible liars.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

new apartment

We finally found a new place and moved in on May 1st but still aren't really settled in. It took 6 WEEKS (!) to finally get a functioning internet connection and the largest closet had 2 beds stored in it that took 6 weeks to get sorted out where they were going. After all that, we were told to put them out for trash pickup! The location is in the center of Amsterdam, which is really cool for me although my girlfriend doesn't like it as much as I do.
In an earlier post I said that I would reveal the annoying bitch's name that was living over us- Wendy Pragt, I hope you rot in hell. Kromme Mijdrechtstraat 31-1

Thursday, April 2, 2009


What the hell is up with makelaars (real estate agents/scum for the English speakers out there)? I have wasted my time going to see two different apartments with two different agencies now and have told both of them that I wanted to take the apartment, only to not get a call back from either of them as it appears that the apartments were taken before I ever saw them and I was only backup. The last one really sucked as my girlfriend and I were both sick and got up a lot earlier than either of us would have normally done to go see an apartment that was already rented out. And on top of that, no common courtesy/respect of a phone call to tell us that we didn't get the apartment. For anyone out there looking for an apartment in Amsterdam, the first apartment was with Rotsvast in their Centrum office in Amsterdam and the agents name is Roos. Don't waste your time. The second I finally heard something back from but it appears to me that I was second choice on the apartment as I didn't hear anything back from them for over a week, then out of the blue I was contacted about the apartment again. Stay tuned....

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I don't know how many people, if any, that read what I have to say but it doesn't really matter as it enables me to get things out of my system. For those that do read, you may remember my previous post about our horrible upstairs neighbors. On last Saturday (March 21st), we were awakened by horrible noises upstairs that turned out to be our neighbors renovating their place by having a wall ripped out. No advance warning, no note in the entrance hallway, just nothing...typical classless move by individuals with no class. From their previous actions, and from their klootjesvolk (look it up if you aren't Dutch!)names, we had figured out that they had no class but this put it way over the top. Now, a week later, the noise hasn't abated and went from 9:30 AM to 8:30 PM, my girlfriend and I are both sick with colds which were probably brought on by the lack of sleep. I feel sorry for her as she has been quite sick. Upstairs neighbors to be named later, I have a little info for you: karma is a son of a bitch....and I'm karma's messenger. We move out of here in 5 weeks at the most, and if you think you don't like me now, you REALLY won't like me later. To the owners of this place that will be moving back in: You can have your assholes back and I'm extremely sorry for you to have live under shit like them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


They just aren't getting any better...

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I hadn't meant to be away from posting this long, but I have had quite a few things going on in my personal life lately, mainly pertaining to my future here in Amsterdam. Nothing for definite yet but I should know something soon.... Meanwhile, we are still dealing with our idiot neighbors from the floor above us. They were gone for a week, which was really nice but evidently they felt compelled to make up for a week off by making a ton of noise when they got back. Our lease runs out here in just less than two months and let me tell you, karma is a bitch.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

multi tabling

I have temporarily dropped down in stakes while adjusting to playing more tables as I had been playing 6 but have moved up to 12. I had forgotten just how bad the players are at .10/.25.