Saturday, August 26, 2017

Harley Benton SG Kit Building Diary 2/3



Hello and welcome to this week's article!
After the body has been painted and sealed with tru oil, it was time to start assembling the kit.
I have mounted with ease the six tuners provided, using a screwdriver to secure it to the headstock.

Then I have aligned the neck on the body and I have fixed it with the screws and the metal plate (yes, it is a bolt on Sg :D)

After the neck was firmly in place, I have started the isolation process using aluminum duct tape, cutting it with scissors and adapting it to all the electronic cavities as good as possible, in order to isolate the pickups from unwanted electromagnetic sources.

I have also isolated the cavity for volume and tone knobs and the plastic cover.

As you can see those red plastic plugs means the pickups are solderless: I just had to attach them to the pickup wire to make them work.

After the shielding operations I proceeded to put the knobs and the pickup selector into place, tightening them with a bolt.

Then I have installed the pickups with their plastic frame.



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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Harley Benton SG Kit Building Diary 1/3

Hello and welcome to this week's article! 
Today and for the next 2 weeks I want to share with you a diary of the building of my Harley Benton Sg kit, a chinese guitar kit sold by Thomann, the biggest music dealer in Europe.

Why did I decide to buy a kit? 
Obviously not to have the best sounding instrument in the world, I just wanted to know more in depth the process of building and setting up a guitar, and to have fun with the finishes, the painting, and so on. This kit is a great antistress hobby and very useful for didactic purposes. Plus it turned out to be very playable too (although I have read mixed reviews on the web, some people have been less lucky than me with their kit)!

For the first phase I have made treasure of the tips of the luthier Luigi Valenti of Valenti guitars (check out his products, they're awesome): since the guitar body was already covered by a layer of wood sealer, I had to sandpaper it off, with a thick grain paper (200 to 320). 

I have eliminated most of the coat and risen the grain, so that the wood is now receptive to the dye.
Then I have applied to the wood (a very light basswood with a copper-ish colour a first coat of purple wood dye, using rubber gloves and a piece of cloth. 
In the following photos you will see me applying 6 layers of purple dye, leaving the paint to dry for 24 hours between one layer and the other.

Before each new layer of dye I have sandpaper the whole guitar with a thinner grain sandpaper (800 to 1200), to even out the wood and to make the veins of the wood pop out more.
After a while I have started focusing my sandpapering a bit more towards the center of the body, in order to create a lighter area that will be the core of my "raspberry burst" attempt.

Then I have started painting the central part of the body with a pink dye, instead of the purple one, in order to create some contrast (which is the core of the raspberry burst, even if the type of dye and the reddish wood below created something that is much closer to a cherry colour than my initial idea).

After about 5 layers of color and 5 sandpaperings, I have started applying a layer of tru-oil.
Tru Oil is a type of protective oil made for wood, and it is often used for the wooden part of guns, to make them smooth, shiny and protected. It is one of the best and easiest ways to preserve the natural look of the wood.

I have applied on the guitar six layers of tru oil, sandpapering with a 1200 grain between each layer and waiting 24 hours between each application (you can see in the following pictures one photo after each layer of tru oil). 

After the sixth and last layer of tru oil the body was ready to be assembled with the rest, and in the next weeks I will explain everything in detail.



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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review: Jst Soar

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are reviewing a new delay plug in: JST Soar!

The producer and software developer Joey Sturgis is back with a new plug in that mantains the characteristics of his Jst lineup: scheumorphism (which means a graphic ui that resembles a classic piece of hardware), easiness of use (most of his plugins are really made to sound good almost out of the box) and good tone.
This Soar is a delay plugin that is made to recreate the classic hardware tape units of the past, but it features several modern tools to take full advantage of the digital age flexibility.

On the central and right panel the interface features the classic controls you would expect from a delay: a tempo control (with a tap button and another one that syncs it with the song tempo), a dry/wet mix knob, a mono/stereo switch and a control that lets us choose the delay offset.
On the left panel instead there are 5 controls that lets us fine tune the "tape" aspect of the delay: age of the tape, health of the machine and flutter (the older and more "ruined" it is, the less hi-fi it will sound), plus a repetition and a contour control, which makes us adjust the accumulation of the repetitions.

As for other Jst plugins, scratching the surface you will reveal a good amount of controls, to fine tune your sound in a very precise way, and to give it a twist not achievable with other processors (unless obviously you use several different plug ins combined), plus the plug in is surprisingly light on resources, compared to many other products of the same kind and that offer a similar amount of features.

Try it out, you will not regret it!

- True Analog Tape Modeled Processing

- Tape Control Including: Repeats, Age & Flutter

- Variable 15/30 ips Speed

- Groundbreaking Tape “Health” & “Contour” Adjustments

- Onboard Mono & Mix Controls

- Built-in Tutorial Mode and Control Definition

Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to use Delay and Reverb fx sends

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
This article is a more in depth view of our group and fx channel article: how to actually set up and use a Delay (or any other modulation effect) and a Reverb fx send (or more than one) to give a coherent tone to our whole project.

This is done to achieve two results:

1) not having to open a single effect instance for each track, which can be extremely cpu-demanding

2) to create a tone that will give a consistent tone print through our tracks, as it used to happen in the hardware days, in which obviously the number of hardware processors was limited and the mix engineers had to send it, in different amounts, to various tracks.

We are using the classic Presonus Studio One interface, but the same concept can be applied to any other professional daw.

What do we need to do?
We take our vocal or guitar solo track, for example, and just drag and drop from the effect pool window on the right side of the screen our effect into the "send" area of our track in the mixer (you can show or hide the mixer by pressing F3). Once the effect is there, it will automatically create an fx send track in the mixer with the name of the selected effect (you can also rename it). Then from the send of each track (e.g. Vocals, solo etc) you can decide the amount of effect to be sent to that particular track.

Esample: more Reverb send for the vocal track, less send (but the same reverb, so it sounds like they are in the same room) to the snare drum.

Another interesting thing is that we can also create and save complex chains, like the following effect track that can be sent to many single vocal tracks, instead of loading the effects in the insert of each one:

1) Eq filtering up to 1000hz: this will affect only the effect track, meaning that the following effects will work in our track only from the frequences above 1khz, so the effect will sound less muddy (this process is explained in detail here).

2) Delay with short tail to thicken the vocal and give it some shimmer.

3) Reverb with short tail and low dry/wet ratio: we are using it only to create some tail.

the purpose of this chain is to create a subtle effect send to be used on all our vocal tracks (or guitar solos, for example), we can also click on the arrow on top of this fx track in the mixer and store it to recall it in other projects.

Hope this was helpful!

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