Project Progress Report

For all the people who aren’t reading this blog who aren’t wondering what the seven projects on my workbench are, I’m haven’t listed them with their current status below:

  1. Mean Green Machine Project: The “Mean Green Machine” is code-name for my G&L Legacy, and the current project is optimising it for serious wanking. Repairs to the high-E tuner are complete, and the guitar is staying in tune as well as can be expected for a guitar without a locking nut. After playing with the tremolo set up some more and evaluating the tone, I’ll have the micarta nut replaced with bone or graphite. 
  2. Lo-Noise Valbee Project: Last night I plugged the FX Loop’s  SEND jack into my mixer to check for hum. Until now I assumed the problem was confined to the power amp, but confirming it’s omnipresence suggest its actually the power supply. A superficial test of the all the components on the board didn’t reveal anything because they have to be removed first. That means I need to desolder, check and ideally replace  every component on the power supply PCB. If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’ll have to build a variable power supply to check the transformer. This is going to take a while, so I’m going to get a VOX 20 or Blackstar HT-1R head to play at home in the meantime.
  3. Aria AVW-100 Project: Last night I also replaced the ON-ON switch with a suitable replacement I found in Akihabara for about 500 yen, but the sudden and unexpected volume boost when switching hasn’t gone away. It’s almost worse. If I were to guess what’s wrong, I’d say that the wah and volume circuits are BOTH on for a second. Meanwhile, the 1800 yen Burns pot another guy sold me won’t fit because the shaft is too thick, so I’ll have to go back and search for some long split shaft mini-pots. For now, I’m giving up on this, and am considering selling it.
  4. AKG K141 Studio Headphone Repair: Just as I made my decision to get 3 meters of cable from a vendor in Akihabara, I realised that I would need a stopper sleeve for the new cable. This is a phallic T-shaped part that wraps around the cable, and holds it inside outer shell. Too lazy and hungry to make the rounds again, I also realised that  I could just make an incision in the stopper sleeve with an X-acto knife, so I could wrap this part around the new cable. Then I realised that if I could do that, I could cut some insulation off the old cable and just reuse it. DUH!!! Easier said than done, though. The three leads inside the headphone cable were glued together which was reassuring because it meant I couldn’t have fucked the cable strands up too badly, but it also meant that I had to use a cigarette lighter to melt the substance glueing them together. Little spots of blue grease appeared on the leads, and loosened them up enough to get my X-acto knife between them, and use the dull edge to split them up. I think I can remember the wiring, but want to confirm first. Meanwhile, I’m still amazed at my own failure to see this solution to the problem until the very moment I spend money on it.
  5. Sony Speaker Box Project: The first step in this project is to dismantle my Sony headphones and measure the dimensions of the driver. However, I want to wait until the repairs above are complete before canibalizing my only functioning pair of cans. So the project is still in the planning and consideration stage.
  6. Custom Tubescreamer Project: As one of the component technologies and testbeds for making my own personalised Tubescreamer, I acquired a Mid-Booster kit from Akihabara well over a year ago. So far, all I’ve done is analyse the circuit extensively, and try to assemble it on a bread board without a proper schematic. However on my last trip, I found pre-drilled enclosures for about 1500 yen, which I plan to get on my next trip. This project is not a priority, and I may just decide to use the parts in the kit for a completely different circuit, like a homemade Barber Silver LTD.
  7. LM386 Perqiue Blend Project: Impressed but not totally satisfied with the Smokey HI-GAIN orignal, I got a pair of LM386 ICs ,and have been saving my empty packs of the black-label American Spirit Perique Blend cigarrettes to make my own which will have better clean sounds. The hard part will be selecting a good 2″ speaker, but I found several options on my last trip to Akihabara. The trick will be to make a switching system to audition different speakers.  Will also need to get a glue gun for this project.


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