Happy New Year, Welcome 2017!!

January 15th, 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday to end 2016, and usher in the new year. Looking forward to working with you on any of your guitar repair and upgrade needs. Also hope to see you at the upcoming NAMM winter show in Anaheim on the 19-22. I will definitely be getting there this year to check out all the new gear, meet old friends, hear good music, and soak in the vibe that comes with this great event.

Summit Rehearsal Studio Now Open in Pasadena!!

August 16th, 2015

Great news everyone:  Summit Rehearsal Studios has now opened its doors!!  We finally have a professional rehearsal studio again with multiple rehearsal rooms of varying sizes depending on your needs.

It is located on 2016 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 at the site of the old Pasadena rehearsal studios. It has been completely refurbished from top to bottom and is an impressive facility.  So if your band needs a convenient local place to practice or you even just need some space yourself check it out.

http://www.summitrehearsal.com/

The word is that they will also soon be opening up a professional class recording studio next door to the rehearsal rooms.

Let them know Maurice Adams Guitar Repair sent you.

Pasadena Free Summer Concert Series 2015

June 2nd, 2015

http://www.levittpavilionpasadena.org/

For a great series of summer concerts in the heart of Pasadena, check out this link for more information. Did I mention every show is FREE? This is a wonderful location to sit on a blanket and enjoy all types of eclectic music and is a very kid friendly space. Hope to see you there, and hope to see you in our shop sometime soon! Summer is just about here.

“Funky” DeArmond Wah Pedal Repair

March 30th, 2015

John from the band A Certain Groove,  called the other day asking if I could install a new potentiometer into his new Ebay purchase, a late 70’s DeArmond Weeper Wah pedal.  I had never seen one before but had him bring it over to see if we could handle the repair.  He had the new part and after inspecting the pedal it looked to be a fairly straightforward job.

Basically most wah pedals use a potentiometer that has a knurled gear on the end of the shaft that engages with a plastic toothed rack that is tied to the foot rocker.  When you are rocking back and forth with your foot in the funkiest of grooves, that rack is turning the potentiometer to allow for that variable opening of the mid and high frequencies.  Mix that in with some killer 16th note skankification and you are well on your way to Funk O’Delic Nirvana.  Eventually though that pot wears out after so much constant usage and/or dirt and corrosion getting into it.  Then you may start to hear a scratching sound when using the wah pedal, which is a major buzzkill.  Not to worry, just time to replace that potentiometer.  Just confirm the rating of the original pot, (usually 100k) and order one online from a trusted guitar parts supplier.

John’s groovy wah pedal came out great after installing the new pot.  The DeArmond has a really sweet tone and does not reach that super hi frequency point that so many crybaby style wah pedals do on the most forward sweep of the rocker.  Here is John in the shop after testing the unit out, and also a Youtube video demoing the pedal.

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If you get the chance check out his band at the following website for a gig near you.  www.acertaingroove.com

Guitar Setup Feedback from Everly Music

February 28th, 2015

Right around the time of the NAMM 2015 show last month, Jeremy at Everly Music, manufacturers of Cleartone Strings, gave me a call about getting some help with his gigging guitar, a mid 2000’s Gibson SG.   Having done setups for the folks over there before on some of their demo guitars, he knew I could handle the job.  I will let Jeremy explain the situation:

Maurice works magic on guitars! I’m so amazed at how my guitar plays. I gave him my guitar recently that had terrible buzzing issues and intonation issues across much of the fretboard. I just got my guitar back and wow! Not only am I able to play for much longer without my hand getting tired, he completely eliminated buzzing in all the trouble spots, the intonation is perfect and the sustain is longer than I remember it ever being! There is a good reason Maurice has been our go-to guy for our guitar setups for years. No matter what shape your guitar is in right now, give it to Maurice for a second opinion. You’ll be amazed when you get your guitar back, I promise you that.Thanks Maurice!”

At the Cleartone Strings shipping area, this Gibson SG is ready for priimetime

At the Cleartone Strings shipping area, this Gibson SG is ready for priimetime

 

 

So if you feel your guitar could be giving you more with less effort, bring it over and we can have a look.  Thanks again!

Guitar Setup Course: Feedback

January 24th, 2015

Hello and Happy New Year!  I hope everyone still has the holiday glow as you enjoy 2015 and keeping all those resolutions you promised to yourself.

One thing you may have always wanted to understand and do yourself is guitar setups on your own guitars.  There is really no better way to understand what makes some guitars play better than others, how to tweak a guitar that feels a little off more to your liking, and also be able to check if a used guitar is in great shape but just plays funny because it hasn’t been set up properly.

We are the only repair shop in the area who offer this type of course because we do not mind educating our customers.  You should not have to pay for a setup again after taking this 4 hour one on one course.  Here is feedback from our latest student in November of 2014.  He wanted to concentrate on Strats that he had, and was able to use the course immediately to work on another guitar he had.  So give a ring if you are interested to set up a time:  weekday evenings, or weekend mornings.

“I am very happy with the class and the results with the guitars.
 the fiesta red strat is the most playable – however the pick ups aren’t that great.
 the white custom shop strat is the most beautiful guitar – pickups have great tone –
 and finally . . . the black strat –
 I have been able to adjust the truss rod a bit more and have gone back and forth with the truss rod adjustment  – i believe i have it set up pretty nicely.  i have also set the action pretty nicely.  the intonation is a bit tricky as i am using a korg chromatic tuner (19.99) – for now i have re strung this guitar with the same size strings (10s) – this guitar has pick ups that absolutely scream.
Any how – thanks a lot for spending the time to work with my guitars, and teaching me so much – i am pretty confident in the basics of setting up fender guitars now.
it is an excellent service you provide. “

Great Banjo Upgrade: 5th string tuner

August 2nd, 2014

Customer brought a banjo in recently complaining that the 5th string tuner would just not stay in tune.  That string is the one which is shorter than the rest of the strings, starting at a higher fret and is usually tuned to a high G.  It really throws guitar players off because it is “lowest” on the neck but tuned the highest.  Does make for fun patterns when arpeggiating chords.

I don’t get too many banjos through the shop so I had visually inspect the instrument first to see what might be going on.  I found that the tuners on the banjo were friction tuners.  These are a cheap type of tuner used very often on banjos, and ukeleles. I do not recall seeing the on guitars.  This tuner in particular would just not hold the note at the high G and so as useless.

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Old friction tuner and puller tool that I used to remove it from its post.

After some quick research online I found what I was looking for, a retrofit 5th string tuner that was geared like a regular tuner.  Since the other four tuners were working fine, we decided to leave those and just replace the offending unit.  Here you can see the difference between the two tuners.

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New gear operated tuner on the right. Notice the install post is larger than the original

So once I had the correct replacement part, I removed the old tuner.   What was left was a hole in the side of the banjo which was too small to install the new tuner.  I had to use a specialty reamer with the end ground off to enlarge the hole enough to fit the new tuner into. This is the trickiest part of the repair:  make the new hole too large and the tuner will not stay in there.  You want a very tight fit but not so much that you may split the neck wood when installing.  Once I was where I needed to be, I also used some slow set wood glue in the hole to help bind the new tuner.  Another important consideration is to get the proper angle of the spring post so that the string has some fall away from the fretboard, but also does not end up rubbing against the tuner body and causing a different tuning issue.  20140510_092001

 

After letting the glue set for 24 hours, I strung up the banjo, checked the intonation, and tested the new tuner. Everything worked out perfectly and this budget banjo was better than when it was new.  Here you can see the happy customer with her new friend.  I highly recommend this upgrade for anyone who has a budget banjo and wants an inexpensive way to upgrade their playing enjoyment.  Who wants to keep tuning when you can be playing.

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Rescue of the Guitar Project Gone Bad

July 16th, 2014

Customer brought this baby in recently to finally have all those parts put back on the guitar, along with some new pickups. A (now ex) boyfriend had promised to upgrade the electronics. He got as far as  stripping the old parts of the guitar, and then the project sat in the closet for a long time. Fast forward 10 years and my customer finally decided to bring it to me after I had repaired another guitar of hers. She was impressed enough to trust me with her “baby” apparently, and felt it was time for this rocker to finally roll again.

20140621_134041The trickiest part of course was dealing with getting the electronics back into this hollow body guitar.   With the help of some surgical tubing and a hemostat I was able to guide each of the pots back into the proper hole after prewiring everything before putting it in the guitar.  I did this for each pickup and then wired the output jack and added a ground wire to the bridge to reduce noise. 20140621_143935Then the guitar got a restring and complete set up.  It was during the setup that I realized the floating saddle had no radius, while the fretboard had a 12″ radius. So when the outer E strings were set properly the inner strings were way too low and buzzing against the frets. If I set the inner strings correctly then the outer strings were way too high.  To fix this issue I sanded a curve in the top of the saddle to match the fretboard radius and then added in some new fretwire on the top of the saddle.  Came out perfectly.  Adjusted the intonation as best as possible after that and tested it all out. That guitar sounded really good. I guess those upgraded pickups from the ex-boyfriend really did do the trick after all.

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Shop Closed for Spring Cleaning: May 16th-June 2nd

May 14th, 2014

Apologies but our repair shop will be closed for a few weeks as we do some remodeling and take some R&R during that time.  We hope you can wait until we are open again for your next guitar repair, and look forward to seeing you then.

Buzz Killer In Action for Spot Leveling a High Fret

March 2nd, 2014

This is the Buzz Killer, by Rectify Master at www.rectifymaster.com.  Its basically an incredibly cool little tool that lets you knock down high frets without having to remove the strings from the guitar, and allows you to keep the correct neck relief since the strings are tuned up to pitch.   The unit will follow the slight curve of  a properly set up guitar neck by tightening the center thumb screw, which pulls both ends up just slightly, creating a curved bottom where the sandpaper is glued on.  The sandpaper can be in just the center or across the whole bottom of the “beam” depending on how many frets need to be knocked down.

I had seen this groovy device in the shop of Greg Bach from Buzz Feiten Tuning sometime last year.  I finally got around to ordering it online, and within a week of receiving it I had the perfect guitar come in to use the Buzz Killer.  The electric guitar in question was brand new, hot off the press, from a boutique manufacture.  It looked great, sounded good for the most part, and the owner really liked the guitar, BUT….the hi E and B strings would just completely fret out and turn to mush at the first fret.   This wasn’t just a little buzz, this was a complete deadening of the note.

The action was really, really low but the rest of the fretboard sounded fine.   The string nut checked out fine,  and the neck relief was good.  Only thing left to check were the fret heights.  That’s when I found that the second fret was MUCH higher than any of the other frets.  In fact the rest of the frets were nice and level.  In this case a full fret leveling would not only be overkill but also way more work and higher charge to the customer than necessary.

The Buzzer Killer was perfect for the task, slipping under the strings within a minute I had the offending fret leveled with its two neighbors and the guitar sounded awesome already.  I did loosen the strings and pull them aside to round and polish that fret, but the whole job took a lot less time that it would have otherwise, and I could sand only the fret necessary, not all its neighbors too.  Good for me and good for my customer. Buzz Killer