Things I Buy on eBay for Making Guitars

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It’s been for a while since I’ve started to buy things on eBay for my guitar projects.
I can not claim that everything what I look for has the best price over there.
For example, some electrical parts: potentiometers, knobs, piezo transducers and other stuff I can find at the local electrical store much cheaper than anywhere else.

Another consideration. I don’t buy any tools on eBay anymore. Yes, they are cheap. But it’s mostly a garbage and waste of your money.
With a little exception. A caliper. See in my list below.

Another limitation. I live in Canada. Our customs limit for the tax free parcels is $20. Otherwise you pay not only the sale taxes but also the brokerage fees.
But we are talking about self made hobby instruments. Right? So it should not be a big problem. Just keep this in mind and consult with your customs regulations if you are not in Canada.

So here is what I usually buy on eBay without any problems:

  • single coil pickup
    Single Coil PickupIt will cost you between $3 and $4. Usually takes up to 3 weeks to deliver but the shipping is free. Not very good quality but overall quality is OK. Plus I always do the shielding which helps a lot with the buzzing sound elimination

 

 

  • Precision Jazz Bass Bridge
    bass bridgeNo. I’m not building too many bass guitars. Just only one I did for a while ago.
    But now I’m mostly making the Cigar Box Guitars. And one of the main quality of the CBG is that it rarely has more than 4 strings. In case you find that bass bridge has too big distance between the strings you may want to get one for 6 strings.
    Just remove the upper and the lower saddles (You will be able to recycle it in some future project. That’s exactly what I did in P-Bass Cigar Box Guitar

 

 

  • 4 String Noiseless Pickup Set
  • And again it is not for making the basses.  The cost is around $5. Not so expensive for the set of 2 pickups,eh? You just solder it to the guitar jack or addbass_pickups some controls and you are good to go with whatever your project is. So far I used them in 2 projects:

Cigar Box Stomp Box Wiring

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Every time I check how people find my site on the Internet I always check the most popular keywords.
And in most of cases the winner was this one: “wiring for cigar box guitar stomp box”.
Or something similar.
Funny, but looks like people are mostly interested in building the stomp boxes rather then cigar box guitars. :)
And after a small research I’ve learned the following thing: mixed terminology.
Most of these visitors were actually looking for the EFFECTS stomp boxes.
And what I have on my site it’s FOOT DRUM stomp boxes!

Nevertheless, some of those visitors are REALLY looking for the DIY foot drum stomp boxes.
I have 2 items of this type:

  1. Piezo Stomp Box – my first stomp box ever.
  2. P-Bass Stomp Box – the stomp box equipped with the Precision Bass pickups.

And while the first one doesn’t have too much in terms of wiring the P-Bass one does.
I didn’t event something special here.
As you can guess I’ve just found the wiring diagram for the p-Bass guitar on the Net.
For those of you who are not familiar with the electronic diagrams I’ve got very nice drawing at: buzzardsbass.com

Here you go:

P-Bass wiring diagram

The good thing about this drawing is that you just learn it carefully and solder the parts according to it.
You will need:

  • capacitor – 0.047mF
  • 2 potentiometers – 250Ko
  • 1/4″ standard audio jack
  • the wires to solder

That’s all that’s it.

As for the p-Bass pickups I’ve bought the pre-wired set on eBay for about 4$-5$.

Let me know if you have any questions about it.

And the best of luck!

For more details on the cigarbox stomp box itself visit the P-Bass Stomp Box pag itself.

DIY Harp Mic.

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Recently I started some sort of cleaning in my basement.
I have collected too many electronic devices which are obsolete. Telephones, CD players etc.
And TONS of power supplies!
Much more then the devices. Because when some device gets broken and I just put it into recycling bin. But I ALWAYS keep the power supply having the idea it might be re-used with any other device or somehow… That never had happened.
Until now.
Now I’ve find some parts of the power supplies can be re-used. The coils of wire inside the transformers can be very good for the magnetic pickups.
But that’s another story.
As for now, I want to share my another invention. DIY Harp Mic.
I often see the harp players with those “green, blue etc. bullets”.
They (bullets microphones of course) look really antique. Despite the fact it’s just a re-build.
So I started thinking about making something similar but from the stuff which collects the dust in my basement.
parts
Long story short. More

Diddley Bow.

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I know, I know. It’s not a real instrument.
But:

  1. It’s a lot of fun for me personally.
    – When you take a stick and an old string, and some magnet and few meters of wire… and you make it sound like a hell. Well, that’s fun! :)
  2. You can do a lot of quick and dirty tests and experiments and you always learn what is the best for you from it.
    – Originally I was using the regular piezo element from the buzzer as many CBG folks do.  But apart from the CBG I just can’t really shield it inside Diddley Bow. As you can guess – a lot of the feedback noise. So I decided to upgrade it with my new discovery: magnetic pickup made from the old broken headphones and the sewing bobbin.
  3. And finally it’s a well known tool among blues stars. Check this out:

So, why not to give a try?
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Cigar Box Ukulele exercise.

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This is about another “leftover” project.
Time by time, while shopping for the cigar boxes I collect the small boxes if they are nice looking and free (my favourite price).
I also had 3 tuning pegs and a 2′ poplar plank which left from the 6′ plank used in P-Bass Cigar Box Project

It’s not enough for another cigar box guitar. Mostly about the small sizes. So I decided to build something small. Ukulele. Cigar Box Ukulele. That’s how I named it.
Firstly I just have put all those three components together. And here’s what I’ve got.
Cigar Box Ukulele
And I still have a very strange feeling that I should of been stopped at this step.
I even know now why. But that’s later.

So I had proceeded making it electric. At the same time I was experimenting with DIY CBG pickup.
As a result, here’s how the instrument face looks like:
Cigar Box Ukulele: Frontend

Looks quite busy. Right?

And the worst of all is the ugly hole for the pickups.
There was a reason behind this issue. Originally I was going to make the pickups from the ferromagnetic buttons that you may find in many of the fridge magnets. But they are weaker and bigger in size. So I’ve ended up with the neodimium magnets from the old broken headsets. Read this for more details…
And that’s what making me think that I’d better left this ukulele just an acoustic thing.
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“Amigo” Travel Guitar Goes Electric.

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It’s been almost a year ago when I claimed that my “Amigo” travel guitar goes on the wall.
Amigo Travel Guitar
I was not impressed about its tuning ability and too high action.
I still think it has these problems.
But recently I have read a small post at some blog that the guy uses it as a lap style guitar and it worked for him pretty good.
Moreover, the high action turns from minus to plus in this case.
Well, I tried and it worked for me too!
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DIY Pickup in 4 Easy Steps.

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Here is my way to make Cigar Box guitars pickups.

1. Get a sewing bobbing.
bobbin
You are lucky if you have a sewing machine at home.
That means that you should have plenty of small bobbing around it. Or inside it.
The worst case scenario (which is my case) you may buy them by $1 for a half-dozen in Walmart.


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Mandolin in the woods: Miracles still may happen.

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It was my already quite old dream: to have and try a mandolin.

As a common hobby player collector I could not let myself to buy a brand new instrument just to give it a try.

So, I started to dig the CraigList and Kijiji  in a hope that someone may want to get rid of his mandolin which is just collecting the dust in some cabinet.

Especial gain in such hunt is if someone gives it away for free. No luck. While I know it’s possible.

Now. Slowly. My wife and me went from our good friend Allan’s place deep in the woods north of Lachute, Quebec.

It was around 11pm. Dark as it can be in the woods. The  road was running through the wooden hills. Time by time we were riding through he small summer time communities. “Mandolin!”, – my wife suddenly noticed? “What mandolin?” – I asked.

“There’s a mandolin upon the recycling bin on the side  of the drive way we just passed.”,  she responded. I was too curDSC_0022ious just to ignore it. A mandolin? In the woods? At 11pm? Upon the recycle been?  Sounded way too mystical.

So I stopped and backed up. There was a nice looking while way too dusty mandolin upon the bin!

No wonder, I picked it up.

Later, at home the ugly truth came out. Of course, the neck has a crack. But still, it can be glued and fixed.

I believe it’s a cheap Korean brand “Tradition” with serial # M405. Have no idea what is it.

here it is. I had to remove the rusty old string to return the neck to it original position.

Here it is cleaned up and unstrung.

Just another $1 CBG/Diddley Bow pickup. Part I.

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First of all. It’s not about most common well known piezo transducer. And well, I’m not sure that it’s not another “most common” thing.  But I was curious if it is possible to find the source for building a MAGNETIC pickup. Because all CBG fans know about the drawbacks of the DIY piezo pickups.

What is magnetic pickup consist of? Right, its a magnet and a a wire coiled around it. So I had to find: (1) a source for magnets and (2) a source of copper wire or (3) both. And of course the main goal is to get it FREE! It’s everyone’s favourite price, right?

Do you know anyone who works in the call center or some customer support department?  DSC_0086

If yes, then ask them what  they usually do with the broken headphones.

I’m sure that you can easily convince them to give it to you instead of just throwing away.

 

 

 

NEXT STEP: Crash them! But carefully. Inside each of two head sets you will find … Right, there’s a magnet with the copper coil around it.

DSC_0088

It is covered with some sort of plastic membrane. I remove it. It serves to produce the actual sound in the earphone. We don’t need it.

Because if we leave it the pickup will act almost the same way as the piezo pickup: the membrane and not only the metal string itself will produce the waves which will be converted to the electrical signal.

Just trust me you will not be happy with the resulting sound.

Tip. When you cut off the membrane fix the coil around the magnet with scotch. Otherwise it will be easily displaced.

The fastest way to test the “earphone” pickup is to put it into didley bow.

We just need to solder the 1/4″  jack to the pickup and fix it on something.

So, you can see the “electric part” ready for installation on the following  image.

DSC_0187

 

Stay tuned to know what came out of this experiment and if it was a success. The Part 2 with the  demo video  will be posted shortly.

Rockstand 7 guitar stand: a real space saver.

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Rockstand 7
It took me a couple of years to figure out what I’m missing in my basement.
The right guitar stand. Imagine you are practicing and want to switch the instrument? Right. You have to go to another corner to find the right bag, to open it, to get another guitar, to put the previous one back in place safely…

Well. And it took me another year to find the right solution.

Finally I did it! Rockstand 7 guitar stand!

And while I have already around 15 guitars (Strange, never can figure out how many exactly do I have) it’s more than enough to have 7 instruments right by your hand.Stupid, but I’m feeling happy. :)

 

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