Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Warren...

Happy Birthday Warren. Three years old and he's a mess! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Not Encouraging Black Friday...

I have been busy making guitars for sale. Christmas is coming and I have done well the past couple of years during the gift giving season and out of 5 recent builds one is boxed to ship and one is promised to a buyer. I have new builds handing in Sound Techs Music Store and a new opportunity has arrived. You can find my cigar box guitars in the gift shop at the Museum of East Texas. 

Here's a photo of the triplets. 
These guitars are made from boxes Katie shipped from Chicago. They have a new sound hole feature. It solves a problem I sometimes have when boxes have a blemish such as these that had a price tag and the tobacco warning label right on the front. It's hard to remove stickers without making an ugly spot so what I did was create a large screened sound hole but cutting out the unsightly areas. 

The screened material sort of looks like what you might find in an old style Catholic confessional booth. The border is the humbucker pick up mounting ring that you might find on say a Les Paul Style guitar.  I have two more boxes like this so there will be a couple more along these lines.

All are the same, but little different things here and there and surprisingly enough each one sounds different. As has been my experience you never can tell what a buyer thinks sound good. The things I prefer are often rejected as each person has a style and a sound they like and I think this is a great thing about these guitars. It makes it individual thing, a stamp, a badge, a sign on your soul. 

Thanks to my cousin Dixie who works at the Museum of East Texas for introducing me to the director, Ms. McDonald and for allowing my guitars in the gift shop. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the museum. It also looks like there might be more opportunity from this association with the museum in the future so stay tuned. 

There is another great little guitar on my work bench but it got held up waiting on parts. look for photos next week.  


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Wedding Anniversary Rose and Juan...

Married 12 years. Happy anniversary! 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Know It's Not Black Friday Yet...

In the great American huckster tradition I am getting some cigar box guitars built for Christmas gifts so we can do what we do best which is buy and sell. Seriously thanks to all my friends and family who have been my customers lately. Me and the whole cigar box world, which is way bigger than you might think thank you for your interest in good homemade fun. 

Here is one of my latest models. It's from a Ricky Patel box. It's wood but has some kind of outside coating.
Three Strings currently tuned open E. You play it with a slide like a steel guitar. 

Because the box is long it makes the neck feel short and "nifty." 

It has a new feature. The pickups on this guitar are piezo disc which when glued some where in the box pick up the vibrations from the top as well as percussive sounds if you tap the box while playing. Depending on many factors such as placement, material of the box or the number of pickups used (I sometimes put two discs in the box) the tone may vary but the overall sound of the piezo is a bit on the clear treble end of the sonic spectrum. Below you see a new feature which will probably be on most guitars from here on out. It's a capacitor that jumps the poles of the input jack creating a passive tone circuit that tames some of the treble from the sound. 

I the past I have pretty much when playing electric on these instruments turned the treble down, maxed the bass on the amp or added in effects pedals to get a darker sound. The added cap makes the sound a bit darker so you will now be able to add some highs to your sound.. No price increase to the product for this feature since it cost about $1 to add this to a guitar. 

This guitar will be hanging in sound techs music store in Lufkin Tx next week for $75. Shipping is available and I have found the best rate with the post office. Buyer pays shipping.    

Thanks again for all you guys interested in my music, my art. It gives me a good "on the right track" feeling. 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Old Ursuline Convent New Orleans...

With all the news from France I thought this might be a good time to tell a story about the Ursuline Sisters. They were nuns who came from France in 1727. Their mission and calling was to educate women as a means of establishing a more spiritual, civilized and just society, to care for the sick and to pray. Our last time in New Orleans we toured the convent, built in the French Quarter in 1745. 

In this location nuns twice prayed in 1788 and 1794 while fire swept the Quarter. Both times the fire did not jump the street to the monastery. 

I forget now which ones but some of these statues were brought from France with the original group of 14 nuns. 

If you recall your history the Church of England was formed when Henry VIII broke with Rome over a divorce.  During the war of 1812 as the Battle of New Orleans loomed the French Catholic population was concerned that a British victory would mean a sack of the city. Nothing like a war with some religious hard feelings mixed in.  A special Mass was said at the convent and at the moment of Transubstantiation a messenger burst in with news of the American victory by forces led by Andrew Jackson. 

This stair case is original from the 1740s. 

Courtyard Statues.
Next door to the convent is St. Mary's Italian Church known so because it was largely attended by the Italian Population of the Quarter. Parts of it were built in in 1727 and it was reconstructed in the 1850s. I think it is largely a wedding venue these days with maybe weekend Masses.   

Winding stair case in the church has what is believed to be the first use of the Fleur de Lis in New Orleans.

In 1823 the Nuns gave up the old convent to the Bishop and moved to a place in the 9th Ward. Around 1910 they gave this up to make room for some canal building and moved to a location on Nashville Ave. in uptown New Orleans and are still there today. That's a good thing because that 9th Ward location is where the levees broke during Katrina. 

 The Nuns continue to pray and do their work. Fire, flood and war are things we face today. We need all the prayer we can get. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Rose and Juan in Paris...

My prayers are with those in Paris and I am thankful that Rose and Juan made it back safely from their vacation. They were in Paris last weekend. They also made stops in England, Scotland and since they flew Turkish Airlines, Istanbul. Here are a few photos. Maybe the Europe heads can identify the famous places. 

From the small world department the band that was playing at the site of one of the terrorist attacks was the Eagles of Death Metal. We saw these guys at Riot fest in Chicago. I did not like their music but am glad they are safe. 
Here's a photo I made at that event. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover...

Ok you may be tired of reading about this and I might get through with documenting the bands I saw by the next time Riot Fest happens but here is more on the bands I saw at Riot Fest in Chicago last September. Besides I can't resist saying something about a dude who has a brother named Catfish. I'm talking about Bootzilla himself, Bootsy Collins. 

Despite the crazy looks Bootsy is an old school funk bass player who started a band in 1968 with his brother Catfish. In 1970 they became James Browns backing band and stayed with him for 11 months which was long enough to play on some of Brown's most notable recordings. Bootsy went on to George Clinton's P-Funk and has collaborated with everyone from Doc Watson to Buckethead. In other words after you been in James Brown's band you can do what you want. Bootsy is a member of the rock and roll hall of fame.  

Good big band, horns, singers, everything. 

If you are wondering about the costumes Bootsy takes a page out of George Clinton's play book by having several alter egos and a complicated mythology which best I can tell has something to do with an alien rock star who becomes weirder. 

So now you might have made up your mind that Boots is not your thing "he's too strange" just google up his facebook page. You see, me and Bootsy are "friends." He is a regular buy on facebook. You should check him out.  He thanked all vets from their service, wished his friends a happy birthday and he was sad when his dog died. 

Don't judge a book by it's cover. Maybe this tune is not real representative of all Bootsy's work but it's my favorite. 

"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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