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I am designing a new gig-bag, taking into account my own thoughts from having traveled by air, land and sea, as well as commuted on bicycles and trains with my prototype.
The image above shows the prototype, which is a conventionally shaped bag, just 100 mm shortened in the neck portion. One thing that I like in particular is the laptop pocket and “fully loaded” organizer pocket in front. I have biked to the day job as well as gone on business trips with laptop, iPad and all other necessities in this bag alone. In addition, the shoulder straps are comfortable and can be fixed to the back of the bag with velcro strips, which are cleverly hidden when not in use.
The one thing I noticed is that when I ride my bike (and I do most of the time, and I wear a helmet too) the bag hits me at the back of the head, especially when wearing a helmet. Also, when the bag is squeezed into its waterproof SKB shell as in the picture above, the remaining space could be used more efficiently. The new design addresses both of these issues:
As you can see, the bag is asymmetrically shaped, as some hard cases are. It comes with rubber feet on both the side and the bottom, so you can rest it on the floor without having to “jerk” it or use both hands to get it into an upright position when it needs to be put down. This also leads to a larger available space in the SKB shell. Lastly, when worn on the back, the neck portion will not hit the back of the head (is the idea). Remember that a typical .strandberg* guitar weighs only 2 kg (4 lbs), so the fact that it is not symmetrically placed should not be that much of an issue.
Comments are welcome if they are quick – the order will be placed in a matter of days.
Most EGS guitar orders are for stainless frets, which, if you’ve ever worked with them, take a lot of effort to work with. Accurate seating of the frets makes for less leveling work, which in turns leads to less re-crowning work and saves lots of time. I have always hammered my frets in, which doesn’t always meet the above criteria, so I wanted to try pressing in the frets. Conventional presses (read Stewart-MacDonald) come with brass inserts for set radii. But with a compound radius fingerboard, or a multiscale fingerboard, there is a lot of variation of the radii across the fretboard. Additionally, the StewMac inserts are only 63.5 mm (2 1/2″) with isn’t enough for even a 7-string multiscale fingerboard.
After a lot of experimenting, I have come up with a preferred compound radius formula starting with 16″ at the zero fret and reaching 20″ at the 24th fret. For a 25.75″-25″ scale on a 7-string with a neutral 4th fret, the following picture shows the radius that each fret describes:
As you can see, the increase in radius between each fret is not linear, but less at the first frets and the last frets, due to the angles of the frets.
The idea of making the press insert out of a flexible material and adjustable had been brewing for a while, and here is the first prototype.
The insert is made out of PEEK, which is very strong, while still flexible. Glue squeeze out doesn’t stick to it, as an added benefit. The adjustment range is from 12″ to approximately 25″ and easily accomplished by turning the handle. I am planning on adding a counterweight to make the press itself balance. It has a 43mm mount, which is the same as most electric hand drill machine stands. I put my scales in the one pictured above and could easily accomplish 40 kg of pressure without the stand budging, and this was more than enough to press frets.
I made this for my workshop, but will be happy to have a batch made. Manufacturing cost is highly dependent on the number of units (i.e. the prototype you see was _very_ expensive). Let me know if you are interested, and if we get enough volume, it might be almost affordable. For reference, the StewMac Jaws fret pressing system costs $240, and the complete arbor press system costs $165. This will cost more for sure, just to set expectations.
Here is a short clip demonstrating it in action:
Here’s the deal: Misha LOVES everything about #15, except the way that the bass strings respond on the bridge pickup. He really needs a very particular, tight, sound from it. So, meet #23. I am moving Misha’s hardware and neck onto this build, along with slanted custom Bare Knuckle Aftermaths. I picked #15 up in Stockholm and plan to ship #23 to coincide with Misha’s Wembley gig in London.
This means that #15 will be for sale, with a new neck. You will have a choice of neck materials and shape – scale length will be 25.75″-24.75″. Pickups are Lundgren M7s, master volume, 3-position pickup selector.
Individuals already on the wait list will have priority, and will have to give up their position on the wait list when completing the purchase. Exact pricing will depend on neck options – contact me with your preferences and forgive me if it takes a few days to respond.
Here are a few pictures of the final guitar stand. There was no good-looking plywood to be had in town, so I had to settle for this material which is called “OSB” or Oriented Strand Board. It’s cheap, durable, and I would imagine is kind of ecologically sound since it’s made from waste wood. Having said that, it might well contain awful glue compounds or have been shipped from across the globe… The weight turned out to be 490 grams (a little over 1 lb) which is well below most, and they are easy to pack.
I did make a few spare ones for the .strandberg* owners that I will meet at NAMM. Future orders will also have the option of including a stand and those of you that own a .strandberg* but don’t have a stand can purchase one.
#13 is the second build that includes a piezo loaded bridge. #9 was the first, but the time from completion to delivery was so short that I had little time to play around with them. This time, I have tried them through a couple of different amps and am very impressed. Here are a few pictures of the work that goes into installing them – it is fairly manual labor since having custom saddles manufactured becomes reasonably priced only when the quantity is very high.
I start with GraphTech piezo equipped saddles for Wilkinson tremolos and saw off just the front portion.
I then put them up in the milling machine and mill them down to the correct thickness.
The next step is to shape them roughly. I usually do this on a Dremel with a disc grinder.
I make sure the fit into the custom bridge/tuner housings. These have been modified from the original by having a slot where the saddle would normally sit, and a hole for the wire to go through.
Next, after some final finishing work, is installing them into the guitar. I now rout a gradually deeper channel under the bridges themselves.
Each cable is hidden under the next bridge, ensuring there is some slack for intonation and string height adjustment.
The final assembly also includes a string grounding cable that the 1st string needs to be threaded through. The other strings are grounded through the zero fret.
This assembly can be used with for example the GraphTech Acousti-Phonic pre-amp, but also with the Hexpander pre-amp.
Less than a week to go until NAMM 2012 starts. Make sure to stop by booth #1219, situated in Hall E, to check out 7-string #22 with the new patent pending EndurNeck(tm) profile, as well as the piezo-equipped, IPNP(tm) (licensed from Rick Toone) fitted 8-string #13. Strandberg Guitarworks is sharing a booth with Toone & Townsend, the brainchild of luthier Rick Toone and Townsend Machine. You will see the state of the art when it comes to headless hardware and contemporary guitar making.
I am proud to present the first result of a collaboration with Al Mu’min of the HAARP Machine, and the subject of my first ever patent application, the EndurNeck!
The EndurNeck allows you to play longer, faster and better by providing not only better support for the muscles and tendons of your fingers, palm, and forearm, but also acts as a guide that helps you straighten your wrist when playing the lower frets. Drawing on concepts like Jerome Little’s Torzal Natural Twist and Rick Toone’s Trapezoid Neck Profile, the EndurNeck is a brand new innovation that requires no special tools or techniques to manufacture or maintain.
The key is a cross section that forms an asymmetric trapezoid, leaning towards your thumb at the headstock end and one that leans towards your palm at the body end. This means two things: 1) when playing in a classical pinch grip, the surface that supports your palm moves gradually closer to the bottom of the neck, meaning that it is easier to reach around the neck with your fingers and 2) when pressing your thumb against the upper surface of the profile, its gradually sharper angle near the headstock helps straighten your wrist and the gradually more shallow angle near the body again also helps straighten the wrist and shortens the distance between the fingerboard and your thumb for a more comfortable and relaxed grip.
In addition, the shallow angle at the lower side of the neck at the headstock gives you more room right where the index finger meets the palm, again helping straighten your wrist. Combined with a slight fan of the frets that also follows the natural angle of your arm as you move up and down the neck in a “windshield wiper” motion, you are bound to be completely unconstrained by the physical limitations of a traditional guitar neck. The effect is greater and more noticeable for wider necks.
Together, these components of the guitar neck design all help to reduce the risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries, such as Cubital Tunnel Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and improves your playing as a positive side effect.
The EndurNeck is patent pending and available on all .strandberg* guitars as an option at this time.
The long awaited bass tuners are finished! As soon as a critical mass of orders has been achieved, a production run will be done. Introductory price will be 550 SEK/string (+VAT if applicable) including string lock. Standard finish will be the same satin black as the guitar tuners. Custom color options include chrome (pictured below), gold plating, and colored anodization (blue, red, yellow, brown, purple, and other colors available) at an additional cost. E-mail your orders and I will send a PayPal invoice requesting a deposit at 50% of the order cost to secure your order. Delivery date depends on how quickly the orders come in, but should be expected at least the first half of 2012.
Here are some vital stats about the bass tuners:
The diameter of the tuner housing itself is 15 mm, and the recommended minimum string spacing at the bridge is 16 mm.
Minimum string spacing with the string locks mounted in a straight line is 8 mm, although by shifting them, it is possible to get a tighter string spacing.
Minimum string height off face of instrument (although it is recommended that the bridges are recessed into the top in the desired radius to match the fingerboard) is 16 mm and the adjustment range is in excess of 5 mm.
Intonation adjustment is done by de-tuning the string, loosening the locking screw and then adjusting with the built-in adjustment screw, re-tightening the locking screw again and tuning to pitch. The intonation range is 11 mm as standard, although it can be extended by replacing the adjustment screw.
Maximum string diameter is 4 mm.
Weight for an individual unit, including string lock is 35 grams and below some comparisons are shown. For example, 35 grams is the same weight as a guitar tuner, a competing individual bridge unit weighs 63 grams and still requires a tuner. For a 6-string fanned fret bass that requires individual bridges, the weight saving will be almost a half kilo/pound assuming a fairly lightweight tuner.