Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hitting The Road

I'm attending a wedding in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday (and the rehearsal dinner on Friday), so I decided to make a vacation out of it and ride the motorcycle there.

Last week, I  installed a new chain and sprockets, changed the oil and spark plugs, and just generally went over the bike to make sure it was ready to go. I also swapped from the stock seat to the Corbin, with my home-built whaletail rack on it.

My new suit is rolled up and sealed into a plastic storage box. Everything else is bagged in ZipLoc bags to keep it dry during the inevitable rain storms I'm sure to ride through.

The little bag on top has my latest cigar box guitar in it. I wanted a travel guitar to take with me, but I didn't want to spend $250, or more, to buy one. So an old Memphis with a plywood body donated the neck (and a sliver of the body, inside the box). New tuners, and a cheap P-90 copy came out of the parts box, and I made a bridge from a piece of an old cheapo, plus some aluminum angle stock. The tailpiece is made from the same aluminum as the bridge.

It actually sounds pretty good. And, if it gets destroyed by riding on the bike, I am out very little money.

I'll leave early tomorrow morning, and head for St. Joseph, Mo. I am avoiding I-70 due to the fact that I have made that trip too many times, in the past few years, and also because there is a plethora of road construction projects going on just outside of Kansas City. I don't want to get caught up in that!

From St. Joe, I plan to go to Hannibal, then south to U.S. 50. I'll take 50 across Illinois, and into Indiana. Eventually, I'll turn north and end up in Bloomington, to spend the night with my buddy Michael. Then, on Friday morning, it will be a relatively short easy ride through Indianapolis and eastward on I-70 to Columbus.

Sunday, I will head down to West Tennessee and meet my sister at my mom's place. We will be there until Wednesday morning, when I will head back to Denver. If all goes well, I will roll into my driveway late in the day on July 30, after 3500 miles (plus or minus) of motorbiking.

Steve is taking care of the house for me, and Carol is taking the dogs, so all of those bases are covered. I will try to post from the road, if possible.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

I'm Big on Bigsby

Last weekend, I finally got all of the parts I needed to convert my Les Paul Special (Cooper) to P-94 pickups, and add a Bigsby B5 vibrato. As I did on my Flying V, I used the Vibramate adapter, so that I didn't have to drill any holes in the guitar. The Vibramate has the added advantage of giving you perfect alignment of the vibrato.

 The P-94 is a P-90 style pickup which fits the routing for the humbucking pickups which came stock, in this guitar. Gordie Johnson, one of my favorite guitar players, uses them, and that prompted me to install one on my 2005 Flying V. I liked it so much, I decided to install them on Cooper. I found this pair, used, on eBay, at about half of the list price, so I snapped them up.

The Bigsby (and the Vibramate adapter) bolted right on, with no problem. I was a bit afraid that I might have to reposition the Cooper nameplate, but everything fit together perfectly.

This weekend, I decided to pull out the 1960s-vintage Japanese hollowbody that I used when we first formed Skull Full Of Blues, and build a rockabilly-style guitar. I had scored a 1960s Bigsby B6 for cheap, and I had a set of aftermarket P-90 pickups. So, I went to work on it and ended up with this:

It was a bit of a challenge to get the Bigsby set up, since it doesn't have the tension bar that the B5 has. This means that the strings break over the bridge at a really shallow angle. I had to file the string slots a bit deeper, in order to retain the string position under hard strumming. It plays nice, and sounds amazing, now. I'll definitely be gigging with this one, again.

Now, I now have three Bigsby-equipped guitars in my quiver. Triple whammy!