Archive for April, 2013

In the Lab

Posted in Clark S. Nova, DIY on April 7, 2013 by pyraphonic

Tinkering with some digitally transferred 4-track recordings from a different era. Possible temporal self-collaborations in the works.

Guitars and Beyond

Posted in Guitars with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by pyraphonic

I have really been into playing guitar lately. My 3-year-old son has become a Beatles freak and the non-stop rotation of Hard Days Night and Help! has rekindled my love of guitars. I have always been mainly a guitarist, but for the last couple years I have been out in the oort cloud playing with modular synthesizers, so it has been fun reapproaching guitar. Here are some pics of my current arsenal, most of which I have had for many years.

1966 Fender Mustang
Non-original orange color, replacement pick-ups. modded with additional Les Paul style switch, non-original knobs.
This one is currently in sort of a Glenn Branca inspired tuning using only 2 gauges of string, each set of 3 strings are tuned to the same note. I originally had the sets in an octave apart, but my love of the major 7th chord made me tune the higher set a half step down from the octave.

Ovation Breadwinner Limited
More info than you ever wanted about this guitar can be found in this post.

Joshua Soundport
I bought this at the Rose Bowl swap meet when we first moved to L.A. I added the pick-up.

Norma bass
My dad got this bass as payment for helping a friend move many years ago. I wish I had left it the original sunburst, but it does sound better au naturel. I love this bass. It has a 60s Beatles bass sound.

Roland G-707 guitar
I put Buchla style knobs on this one. Apologies to Don. I have the GR-700 guitar synth brain as well. I love this set. The guitar plays really well on its own and the synth is really fun. The tracking is touch and go, but you can work with it, especially for ambient stuff. Though it requires a re-thinking of one’s guitar approach to have it be useful, in my experience.

Roland G-707 #2
I will likely sell this one soon. I’m not using them live currently, so the redundancy is unnecessary. But I could easily talk myself into saving it for my kid. UPDATE 5/27/2013: Sold!

Dolphinforce custom
A customized Japanese guitar with a flat white paint job with black grid and orange outline. Customized for use in Dolphinforce. Has nice Fender tuning pegs.

Bridgecraft Flying V
My son and I discovered this in our shrubs one morning. No joke, a V in the shrubs. It was super dirty, as well as missing the tailpiece, bridge and nut. I got a used bridge for $10, had a tailpiece and got the nut free. It plays way better than it should. I’m not really a V guy, but when you find one in your shrubs, you might as well roll with it.

Japanese violin shaped 6 string
This one is currently getting a make over, hence the lack of components. I had 2 of these at one point. The other had all original hardware. I traded it (and some cash) for a sitar which I got a lot of use out of and it significantly influenced my guitar playing.

Hakkenstein Japanese M.I.Y. (mangle it yourself) travesty
I had performed unspeakable mods on this poor thing in my youth.
I had it painted in day-glo colors at one point. The back still shows this:

Casio DG-20
Guitar or not? I have used this thing to great effect on several recordings.

Synsonics Jr.Pro
Not really mine – I picked this up in a thrift store in Portland for my kid. I may have to convert it to lefty.

Guitar Hero Controller Mod
Not a guitar of course. Also for my son. A write up of this thing can be seen here.

DIY modular ribbon controller
By no means a guitar, but the ergonomics are certainly inspired by guitars as well as the controller in this post.

Close ups:






If I were to add any to my collection it would be either an older Silverburst Gibson Les Paul or a Rickenbacker 360 12-string (the classic Harrison one).

Ovation Breadwinner Limited

Posted in DIY, Guitars with tags , , on April 7, 2013 by pyraphonic


In the early ’90s I attended a guitar show in Ohio with a friend. I brought along a bag of odds & ends worth about $200 with long-shot hopes of trading for something better. Eventually I came across an Ovation Breadwinner Limited. The guy running the stand saw me looking at it and asked in disbelief, “you actually like that thing?” I showed him what I had to trade. The guy says, “yeah, I’ll trade you for all this”. He even threw in a gig bag. My friend’s eyes about popped out of his head when I strolled up and showed him what I had.

The pickguard was always a bit of a mess as someone had swapped the lead pick-up with a larger one and then put the original back in. They had hacked up the guard to get the replacement in. Years later, while using it for a project called A.M. Gold, I cracked it even more by accidentally putting stress on the jack.



Recently I dusted it off and decided it was worthy of a make over. I found a guy on eBay that had Ovation new-old stock pick-guards for this model. I picked one up and re-wired it all from scratch with new components. I had never really cared for the active electronics in this guitar and it always seemed a lot quieter than my other guitars, so I gutted the active circuitry, wired the pick-ups as passive and it became a much better guitar in my opinion. After working on synthesizer circuits so much lately the guitar wiring seemed pretty trivial, which was nice. My favorite tone on this guitar is using both pick-ups but out of phase. I swapped out the knobs but still have the originals.

I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It is a really pleasant guitar to play.