Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Late Evening Canoe Trip...

Left home alone again I took off for a late afternoon canoe trip to Townsend Park on Lake Sam Rayburn. I chose this spot because I could remember a few trips here with my dad where we launched the boat but never cranked the big motor. All the fishing was right there in a little creek by the boat ramp. I thought this would be perfect for the canoe. 

The wind was up on the main lake so this was a pretty good choice. The lake is still high but I do not think it would get high enough to close this ramp. It's a good deep one. To get out of the wind I fished the flooded forest. 
I know there's a gator somewhere around here. 

The cajuns have studied the mouth of the bream quite extensively. The came up with a small spinner lure called the beetle spin that fits exactly right for the hook up. Now a days I suspect that now that they got the bait just right the Chinese are making this lure that's been a fish getter since the early 60s. 

Final score for the day was 10 fish. All were CPRed to fight another day. The freezer is full. Soon as we have an open weekend it's fish fry time. Note how these were caught among the trees of the flooded forest. 

Here's a little bass. He took one of the old 1970s vintage lures I bought at the downtown craft fair. A good old Cordell Hotspot, a predecessor of the modern day rattle trap.  Cordell produced the Hotspot from 1958-1980. Headquarters for the company was in Hotsprings, Arkansas. By 1980 when the company was sold they had factories in El Salvador and Taiwan as well as Hotsprings and made 22,000 lures a day. I don't think Cotton Cordell ever got a patent on this lure shape and that is why there are so many copy cats on the market today.    

These dried catfish heads were hanging in a bush right off the point across from the boat ramp. This is a message. "There be catfish here" it says to anyone interested. 

My rig for the day. It's mix of a few items you might find on a Gulf Coast wade trip, a couple of Eastern European Army surplus items from a country that no longer needs them, a dry bag that has served me well on Texas river tube trips and a matched pair of 1970s Lew's Speed Stick Rods. One was my dads and I think I got the other in a thrift store. I remember when these came out. They cost $10 and that was an unheard amount to give for a fishing pole. Besides this they were much stiffer that the old noodley S & H green Stamp rods we had been fishing with. I checked Ebay while writing this and I see a fellow has a matched pair just like my two that he wants $80 for. I don't think I have any rod and reel combos that I gave more that $40 for and most less. I don't consider any of them cheap just well selected versatile gear selected for durability.  I might have one rod that cost more than $40 but after years of fishing it is not going to be collectible on ebay. 


Monday, April 25, 2016

It's a Marty Party...

Well Prince may be gone but Saturday night at the Polk County Convention Center we saw Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. Marty is the same age as Prince was and is married to Country Music Hall of Fame star Connie Smith. He also sang at Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records and the discoverer of Elvis funeral and was the officiant at Merle Haggard service. If that's not rock I don't know what is. 

Check those amps and guitars. A feast of Fender gear. Amps look to be mostly from the 70s. 

Marty's Telecaster guitar was once owned by Clarence White of the old 60s rock group The Byrds. 

Kenny Vaughan on guitar. This guy is a monster picker. He's one of those behind the scens Nashville guys that should be famous. 

Chris Scruggs on bass. I saw him in Nashville once on lap steel. He's great also. 

Hansome Harry on drums. Also great bluegrass type singer.  

Check these guys out. They put on a great show, very well paced with some great guitar fireworks. 


Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Family Reunion on the Wallace Side...

Well kind of on the Wallace side. Let's see if we can run this down so you can understand. My cousin Sue and her husband Duncan, who live in Washington State were in Texas for Dunc's 50 year Texas A&M class reunion. They called up all relatives in Lufkin and the surrounding area. Sue was my dad's oldest brother's daughter so that makes her my first cousin. Many of the attendees were from Sue's mother's side of the family which were a bunch of Tompkins and Gibbs. So not exactly all related but all associated through the marriage of Sue's parents Leonard and Alouise. In fact one person, Clay who is related to my Aunt Alousie, and has known my brother Glenn since 1st grade related a story of how it was hard for him back then to understand that they were not cousins. 
Duncan and Sue. I should have got some better photos but my big camera battery ran down and I am left with this photo of Sue not looking. As a consolation she probably looks good in some one else's photo and Duncan is looking away. 

This is my Aunt Sandra and cousin Clay. Sandra was married to my dad's brother Bill/ First time to see them in a while hopefully we can keep in touch. Clay has the Wallace hunting and fishing gene so we need to team up for sure. 

Back behind them is the table representing the Tompkins and Gibbs side of Sue's family. While my mom knows most of them as they are her contemporaries I only know a few. If I try to name them for photos I probably won't get it all right. 

This was the Wallace table. In the foreground is cousin Alan and wife Missy. 
A look at the Wallace table from the other end with old Wallace hunting and fishing companion Jim, Donnie and Beverly, Clay and Sandra, Glenn and my mom, Mary and Miguel, Cathy, Alan and Missy and almost cousin Clay. 

Sue gave me a great set of photos stretching back though Wallace and Nerren family history.  I have some stories I have looked up on some of the people that I will get posted later. 

In addition to the A&M anniversary shortly after graduation Sue and Duncan were married so they were surprised with this cake. 

Here's what they looked like back then. A new day, a new Ford Mustang and a fine day of family 50 years later. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tin Box Two String...

Ok, It's been about 8 days since the last blog post. Bet ya'll thought I was through. That's the way it is in the internet world. Here today, outta gas tomorrow. I'm not. Just busy at the old day job and busy working on my own stuff. You will hear about it all in the bye and bye. 

Here is something kind of new. It's a two string build from a tin that held a bottle of scotch. I've made a few one strings over the past couple of weeks, some are budget instruments that will be on sale later today at the museum of East Texas Gift Shop. They are not electric. This two stringer is. 

I usually tune to an open chord. A lot of the blues cigar box players like the I and V tuning but I like that third in there. This guitar is tuned both strings, low and high to E an octave apart. Of course it's possible to tune E and B or E and G# but I like this sound for now anyway. 

It plays well with a tube amp and a fuzz pedal. I jumped the jack with a blue capacitor. I don't know the value of it, it was just one in the variety pack I bought at Radio Shack. It's quiet with a tube amp and pretty loud but will feed back as the volume goes up and some may like that feature. 

Note the slanted bridge nut. That's on purpose and intones the strings. The higher string just needed to be a bit shorter. 

I think for now I will take an order if you want a three string cigar box but I have some exploring to do in the one and two string area. These guitars will be a bit cheaper depending on what I got in them. I'll sell this one for $45, more if I have to ship. I am going to hang on to it for a few days and make a demo before I display it somewhere. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Making Stuff...

I need an instrument that's kid friendly to sell. It's for down at the museum where kids see my nicer guitars, like it but mom won't shell out. I mean that's cool because my guitars are really a grown up thing. It's not something a parent wants to step on when they get up to let the dog out. So I took some advice from the museum about what a parent would spend in the gift shop and I came up with these. 

Yeah, I drink a lot of coffee and really it's not all even this kind. Here we have a coffee can one string diddley  bow. It's all acoustic and you play it with a slide. Made from parts I had laying around and found items the only thing I bought was a pine stick for the necks. This batch produced in 2 hours time will pay me about $10 bucks an hour. I share this info in case you kids out there are like thinking about being an artist or something like that. Luckily I worked 9.5 hours at my day job today so the lights will stay on around here.  

I am trying to come up with a kid friendly slide that sounds good and is not metal. I think I have something cooking which is good because at this price point I can't give away copper slides. 

So next I came up with this. 

It's a one string, acoustic, banjo tuner and played with a slide. Not a bad sound at all. 

It's a Collin Street Bakery Centennial Tin. Collin Street Bakery is a famous maker of fruit cakes but you may remember the story of the accountant who from 2004-2013 embezzled 16 million from the company to fund a lavish lifestyle. This instrument is about the opposite of lavish but I plan on making a demo when I get around to it.  

Seems there is a pattern to my craft fair selling. One good guitar sells, something that's reduced sells and then some low cost items sell. I'm going to try this in some of the brick and motor locations I have guitars. The craft fair stuff sells because I am playing it. We will see if mixing items at different prices sells itself. 

New business cards are in. We saving the planet by having them on recycled paper. Same as the old one but the back reads "free lesson with the purchase of guitar". Heck, I'll give you a lesson even if you don't buy a guitar. 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cigar Box Spring Fling...

Well I called it Antiques Weekend in downtown Lufkin but I think the real name was Spring Fling. Anyway I set up a booth along with 25 or so other vendors and sold cigar box guitars. My voice is a little worn from playing, singing and talking all day long but it was another good day for sales. 

Her's Laura from Heritage Antiques. She was one of the organizers of this event and bought this guitar. Really great bunch of folks down there and a great bunch of vendors to hang out with. 
 This lady bough a one string coffee can Diddly Bow. 

I did a bit of buying myself. There was a guy that had a fishing lure booth. He had some collectible stuff buy I bought a dozen 70s vintage Hotspots, jitterbugs, skipjacks and boy howdy lures for $10.  Also met Mike at the record booth who after some talk we discovered we were both at a Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee show at the old Crossroads club in Nacogdoches way back in the day, not really sure what decade that was now. 

As usually my booth attracts a lot of kids. Looks like later this summer I will be part of Family day at the Museum of East Texas. I'll do some kind of program with some cigar box history and playing geared to kids. My guitars are for sale at the Museum. One sold this week and a portion of the proceeds benefit the museum. I plan on having some one string instruments geared to kids for sale there soon. Remember I do have a day job to arrange my production schedule around.   

Sold this guitar to an old high school friend, Greg. Sorry I did not get your photo with the guitar. Maybe later. 

Don't know who made this photo but thanks a lot. I have a lot of people to thank for the success I am having. Thanks to all the people who have bought my guitars. Thanks to the people this weekend who seemed to be surprised I was a local guy and not flown in from Hollywood or somewhere. I know I really don't sing that good but my music is an honest performance of my soul. Thanks to Sound Tech, Standpipe and the museum for letting me hang guitars. Thanks to Jace who thinks I should show up to Third Man Records in Nashville and give one to Jack White. Thanks to my family for putting up with me. 


Friday, April 08, 2016

Here's the report. I turn to journalism, the who, what, why of how many catfish you can catch using 5 gallons of stink bait. I am qualified to report on this because I almost have a degree in this one thing and actually have a degree in something else entirely but neither is English or newspaper or journalism and that makes me just as qualified as anyone reporting for Fox news these days.  So for the record we caught 27 yesterday. This was the second trip with the 5 gallon bucket. 

If you are wondering both Hanks Creek ramps are closed due to high water and the Monterrey Park ramp is closed because of a collapsed culvert.  We launched at The Bill Shelton ramp at Cassels Boykin. I love the view from this over look. 

Cathy and cousin Beverly work the flooded bush for catfish. 

For once I caught the biggest and the most. Cathy has been a bit off her game because of some reoccurring neck pain and Beverly couldn't get anyone to tie a hook on.   

Me and Cathy pull a double. This was about three hours fishing. We have lots of fish in teh freezer and a fish fry is planned but spring is a busy time so stay tuned. 

Some fillets went to the freezer and Donnie joined us for communal dining at it's best. Four friends, lemon, catfish, ketchup, hot sauce and one plate. What else do you need.  

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Saturday, April 02, 2016

Screaming Blues Cigar Box Build...

Here's something different, but not exactly new. It's a cigar box build with a Duncan Designed single coil pickup. I've made a couple of single coil pickup guitars. One was kind of an experimental thang, an early build that I think I am going to dissemble for the parts since I have moved on into a more complex stage of building and the other is one that is my fish fry, crawdad, craft show player that never goes out of tune.  

The Duncan pickup is a higher quality pick up that came out of a Squier Deluxe Strat that I removed for the sake of installing some other after market pickups. I have two more of these so expect two more guitars like this. I also have a couple of late 60s eary 70s Harmony guitar pickups that will be used in future projects.   

It's a Latin Gold Cigar Box. These cigars were made in San Antone starting in the 90s but are out of business now. Seems the idea was to have a cigar store where the cigars were made, smoked and bought but I have no idea why that business model stagnated. 

 There is no tone or volume control. The pick up is wired right into the jack with a capacitor jumping it for the custom mudbelly tone circuit. It's ready to scream. 

I checked ebay. The Duncan Designed pick up is a $20 value. The photo below shows a place above the pick up that cracked with cutting of the box. Does not affect play-ability. With the single coil magnetic pick up it should do well with tube amps and rock band volumes. I have had a busy day job this week so I have only given it a run through to make sure everything worked and it played clean and quiet into a 1968 Bandmaster Amp. . 

By the way it's 4 strings instead of the usual 3. I tuned it EBEG# low to high. It's frettless and plays with a slide. 

It's for sale. Due to higher quality parts, the pickup, I am asking $90. 

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